Facebook is gearing up to battle YouTube to be the top destination for music videos and other content containing copyright-protected songs, according to a report from Bloomberg. The company is reportedly offering music publishers hundreds of millions of dollars to retain the rights to music featured in videos uploaded by users and page owners. It’s a way to, at least initially, stave off the concerns of the copyright holders who must tirelessly work through Facebook to get the content taken down.
Down the line, however, Facebook hopes to build a system for identifying videos with copyrighted content, similar to Google’s landmark Content ID system, that would pave the way for the social network to rival YouTube as the internet’s top-tier video service and, possibly, even a streaming music contender. Some type of deal would be the result of years of negotiations between Facebook and music publishers, and it would arrive just as Facebook is globally rolling out Watch, its redesigned video programming tab.
While appeasing copyright holders with regards to user-generated videos is a near-term concern for Facebook, the move would be a step toward realizing the company’s grandest vision for online video, something CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been plotting for years. If Facebook can begin vacuuming up video advertising dollars away from YouTube, as well as secure the rights to copyrighted content from big publishers, it can draw in even more users for longer periods of time and effectively rival every other form of online media on the web.
The company is already planning to produce original television shows in partnership with media companies and news organizations. If it secures rights from music publishers for user-generated content, it could also then do the same for premium content. Part of that process could involve landing a deal with Vevo, the rights holder to more than 200,000 music videos from top artists and labels around the world. Vevo’s exclusivity deal with YouTube ends this year, giving Facebook an opportunity to negotiate its own deal with the company.