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Oh, Snap: Snapchat Owner Lands Music Licensing Deals to Bring Songs to Posts

Snap, Inc. has landed licensing deals with several major music companies to incorporate music into posts on its photo- and video-sharing app Snapchat, the company confirmed today (Aug. 3).

Snap, Inc. has secured licensing deals with several major music companies to incorporate music into posts on its photo- and video-sharing app Snapchat, the company confirmed today (Aug. 3).

That includes multi-year deals with Warner Music Group and its publishing arm, Warner Chappell, as well as Universal Music Publishing Group. Snap is also signing similar deals with more than 200 members of the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA), such as Concord, Anthem Publishing and Reservoir; and roughly 300 members of indie digital rights agency Merlin, such as AWAL, Entertainment One and DistroKid, an industry source tells Billboard.

The new feature is now testing in New Zealand and Australia, as Bloomberg first reported, and will reach global users this fall. “We’re constantly building on our relationships within the music industry, and making sure the entire music ecosystem (artists, labels, songwriters, publishers and streaming services) are seeing value in our partnerships,” a Snap, Inc. spokesperson said.


Snapchat already allows users to share what they’re listening to on Spotify and Apple Music in posts. What’s different now is that users can soundtrack their photos and videos with music, similar to platforms like TikTok and Triller. Snapchatters will have access to a curated list of music that rotates every day, the source says, allowing users to discover music from emerging artists as well as established ones.

If a friend sends a user a Snap with music, the user will be able to swipe up to view the song title and other information; a “Play This Song” link will then direct the user to listen to the full song on Spotify, Apple Music, SoundCloud and other platforms.

All this could open up a potential new promotional tool for the music industry. Snap, Inc. says that Snapchat reaches 90% of Americans aged 13 to 24, and 75% of those aged 13 to 34.

“We’re excited to be the first major partnering with Snap on this new feature,” said Warner Music Group chief digital officer and executive vp, business development, Oana Ruxandra. “Both Warner Music and Snap have long track records of embracing innovation and experimentation, and working closely together, our goal is to enable cutting edge social tools to bring our artists’ music to Snap’s highly engaged user base.”


Recently, several other photo- and video-sharing platforms have clashed with the music industry over licensing. Late last month, the NMPA ended a months-long standoff with TikTok, which it had accused of copyright violations, and livestreaming platform Twitch is currently negotiating music licensing deals with record labels and publishers following a flurry of copyright takedown notices. Now, the NMPA appears to be closely watching video-sharing platform Triller — last week, NMPA president and CEO David Israelite took to Instagram to issue the platform the warning, “Have you licensed your music properly?”

“Our agreement [with Snap] will bring an important new revenue stream to publishers and songwriters and improve the overall quality of the app for users,” Israelite said. “Snap is doing it the right way — licensing the music it needs before launching to the public.”

Added Merlin CEO Jeremy Sirota: “Merlin is excited to partner with Snap given the unique role they can play in the evolution of social music. Merlin’s members have always been early adopters of innovation in the ever-changing digital ecosystem. We look forward to a productive relationship that offers users new ways to express themselves, enables artists to build new audiences, and provides value to our members.”