Music content drives a massive amount of traffic on Facebook. The website has consistently been a popular platform for artists to showcase their work and connect with listeners, and serves as a valuable promotional tool for musicians and record labels. The social media giant, however, does not have a perfect relationship with the music industry. A new problem has arisen with the recent surge in popularity of video content, much of which uses copyrighted music without proper permission or compensation. According to the Financial Times, Facebook is currently developing new software that will allow them to identify and take down video content that contains copyrighted music in order to combat this issue.
The new software will reportedly be similar to YouTube's Content ID. Although YouTube's copyright detection software has helped them pay $2 billion to rightsholders since it first launched in 2007, the system is not flawless. The software has created problems such as removing content on behalf of artists who aren't interested in taking down videos and flagging artists' own work as copyright infringement. Facebook's new copyright identification tool will be used not only as a way to strengthen the relationship between the company and the music industry, but also as a way to compete with YouTube.
“They see the huge amount of traffic music content is responsible for on their platform and don’t want to be on the wrong end of an artist fight,” an anonymous source tells Billboard. "They also see that there’s a potential opportunity to position themselves as friendly to content creators as opposed to YouTube, so they are working fast to get this right.”
Later in their report, the Financial Times shares that the three major labels are currently working towards cementing a deal with Facebook that would allow them to license music to the social media platform, letting them monetize copyrighted music on a per-stream basis. The report states that this deal will likely not be completed until the spring. Another issue Facebook intends to address is the popularization of fan-made cover versions of copyrighted songs, the majority of which are uploaded without the permission of songwriters and publishers.
It will be fascinating to see how social media companies like Facebook continue to adapt to the ever-changing climate of the music industry moving forward.