Facebook promises personalized music in first label deal

In what may be music to the ears of Facebook users, they can now add some of their favorite songs to videos they upload and share. A joint statement did not specify the terms but hinted that the agreement would address compensation by YouTube, a constant source of irritation within the music industry.

UMG becomes the first major music company to license its recorded music and publishing catalogs for video and other social experiences across Facebook, Instagram and Oculus, according to a report from Variety.

Facebook and Universal Music Group have inked a deal that will see the label's music licensed across Facebook, Instagram, and Oculus. Said Michael Nash, Universal Music Group's executive vice president of digital strategy. Users can easily opt to watch music videos on YouTube for free, potentially making it more hard to convert some of its users into paying Remix subscribers.

YouTube is on its way to launch its new paid music service which will be out by March next year. That has obvious benefits for Facebook, as well (but to spell it out - Facebook wants to do anything it can to encourage people to make and share content on its services.).

Facebook's agreement with Universal - especially if competitors Warner Music and Sony Music reach similar deals - could eventually raise questions for Vevo, a site created in 2009 by the three big labels to monetize their videos.

Tamara Hrivnak, Head of Facebook's Music Business Development and Partnerships, said of the deal: "There is a magnetic relationship between music and community building". Facebook's aggressive push into video has intensified competition with YouTube.

The deal marks an important milestone in the social company's ambitions to compete with Google's YouTube, now the most popular destination online for listening to music.

  • Joey Payne