After reports last summer of a pilot program between Facebook and the major labels that would have brought selected music videos to users’ News Feeds, the social networking giant is reportedly planning to offer users a way to more organically incorporate music into their use of the platform.
As the New York Post reports, Facebook is testing a new partnership with Warner Music Group on a product called Slideshow that will allow users to soundtrack photo albums or videos with selected music from the major label. The company has been surreptitiously testing out the new feature since last October, and will roll out this most recent iteration in Australia this week.
“We are always testing ways to help people better share their stories with friends,” a spokeperson for Facebook tells Billboard in a statement. “Slideshows are a new way for people to share photos and videos in a creative and succinct way. To date, we’ve been using Facebook-owned music to accompany these slideshows, we will now be testing the use of a limited amount of music from Warner Music Group as soundtrack options. ”
Warner Music Group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
While some are calling the move an offensive strike on YouTube, it would appear to be more directly targeting a much younger startup, Musical.ly, which lets users soundtrack brief lip-sync videos and share those with their friends. Artists from Fetty Wap to Meghan Trainor have backed the app on social media recently, and earlier this month the startup raised $100 million in its second funding round.
That’s not to say Facebook isn’t hoping to put a dent in YouTube’s video dominance — the company has made a series of moves since last summer in the hopes of doing just that, offering “premium” content creators the same revenue split from advertising that YouTube does, and bolstering its Live platform. In March, SXSW and Facebook partnered on behind-the-scenes footage from that festival. The company added new features to Live in April and debuted an API for developers, just before Metallica streamed its Record Store Day performance on the platform.
Updated, 1:53 p.m. ET May 16: A statement from Facebook and further information on Slideshow was added to this report.