Facebook Said to Offer Hundreds of Millions for Music Rights

Facebook Said to Offer Hundreds of Millions for Music Rights

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Facebook is offering major record labels and music publishers hundreds of millions of dollars so the users of its social network can legally include songs in videos they upload, according to Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter.

The posting and viewing of video on Facebook has exploded in recent years, and many of the videos feature music to which they don’t have the rights. Under current law, rights holders must ask Facebook to take down videos with infringing material.

Music owners have been negotiating for months in search of a solution, and Facebook has promised to build a system to identify and tag music that infringes copyrights. Yet such a setup will take as long as two years to complete, which is too long for both sides to wait, said the people, who asked not to be named.

The latest discussions will ensure Facebook members can upload video with songs just as it’s rolling out Watch, a new hub for video, and funding the production of original series. Facebook is attempting to attract billions of dollars in additional advertising revenue and challenge YouTube as the largest site for advertising-supported video on the web.

While Facebook can still pursue professional music videos, the company chose to prioritize clearing user-generated material. The money from Facebook is the latest windfall for a music industry surging from the growth of on-demand streaming services Spotify and Apple Music.

Global music sales grew 5.9 percent in 2016, according to The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. Most of the growth is attributable to paid services from Spotify and Apple, though sales from advertising on YouTube are growing as well. The industry has rebuked YouTube time and again for not respecting intellectual property and paying too little to musicians.

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