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Snap’s New Pact With DistroKid Lets Artists License Music to Snapchat: Exclusive

Snapchat parent Snap Inc. has struck a multi-year partnership with independent digital distributor DistroKid, adding more music for Snapchat's 265 million daily active users to soundtrack the 5…

Snapchat parent Snap Inc. has struck a multi-year partnership with independent digital distributor DistroKid, adding more music for Snapchat’s 265 million daily active users to soundtrack the 5 billion photo and video posts created on the platform every day.

Under the partnership kicking off today (March 8), DistroKid artists who own 100% of their sound recording and publishing rights can opt to distribute their music to Snapchat, marking the first time a distributor has enabled artists to independently grant these rights to a social platform like Snapchat, and get paid for doing so. The songs will be available for use in Snapchat music-based creative tools including “Sounds,” which launched in October to let users add music from the platform’s library to video posts, as well as to soundtrack augmented reality “lenses,” Snapchat’s version of an Instagram filter.

“With DistroKid, independent artists everywhere now have an easy way to get their music into Snapchat,” DistroKid founder and CEO Philip Kaplan said. “We’re excited to partner with Snapchat, and introduce millions of new tracks to millions of Snapchat users.”

Added Snap global head of music partnerships Ted Suh: “We’re thrilled to partner with DistroKid to integrate their artists into our new music-based creative tools […] and see the significant impact it has for music creators and the industry. It’s been exciting to see Snapchatters use our camera to discover and engage with new music in their conversations with real friends.”

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Snap has previously announced music licensing deals with Warner Music Group and its publishing arm Warner Chappell Music, Universal Music Group, Merlin, the National Music Publishers’ Association, Kobalt and BMG Music Publishing.

Snapchat reaches 90% of all people aged 13 to 24 and 75% of all those aged 13 to 34 in the U.S., U.K., France, Australia and the Netherlands, according to a Snap spokesperson. With today’s announcement, Snap is also releasing statistics for the first time to illustrate how making a song available to those users through Sounds can help kick-start an independent artist’s career.

In late January, emerging pop artist WOLF worked with Snapchat to license her October release “Hoops” for the Sounds library, where Snapchat highlighted it as a “featured” song. One month later, the song had been used in 3.5 million videos, commanding 148 million cumulative views in the same time period, according to the spokesperson, and the track now has 2.4 million plays on Spotify.

“The way Snapchat has come in to support me is unreal,” WOLF’s Julia Wolf tells Billboard. “When they featured Hoops, we were all taken aback by the immediate increase in streams and Shazams we saw. Seeing people react so positively to the music felt like a dream.”

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Nearly half of the videos created with “Hoops” were sent via direct message, which Snap hopes to mean that users are sharing music discoveries with friends through Snapchat. When another user views a post incorporating Sounds, they can swipe up for the song information and click a button to listen to the full song on the streaming platform of their choice.

As short-form video continues to dominate the content business, Snap has steadily rolled out new features to preserve its place in the video market. In November, Snapchat launched TikTok competitor Spotlight, an entertainment platform for user-generated content which surfaces users’ public posts. As of January, Snap says that Spotlight has more than 100 million monthly active users.

Meanwhile, last week, DistroKid also announced a partnership with livestreaming platform Twitch to fast-track musicians to “affiliate” status on the platform, which unlocks monetization features like channel subscriptions, bits and ad revenue sharing.