Virtual world-building platform Roblox has settled a lawsuit with the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) and is negotiating potential deals with individual music publishers. Roblox announced the news this morning, saying it was “committed to partnering with the music industry.”
The NMPA sued Roblox in June for letting users upload copyrighted songs into its shared library of game-building assets. Roblox quickly signed individual deals with BMG and Sony, but the new agreement settles all claims involving NMPA members. According to a press release and the NMPA, Roblox and the organization have agreed to the terms of an industry-wide settlement that individual music publishers can decide whether to opt in to, and the agreement also “opens a negotiation period for members to engage individually in new go-forward licensing deals” with the platform.
Music is a major element of Roblox. The platform has hosted concerts by artists like Lil Nas X, and last week, it launched “listening parties” where artists premiere an album by streaming it across a variety of individual Roblox worlds. But the NMPA accused Roblox of deliberately overlooking or obscuring the range of pirated music on the platform.
Roblox has yet to sign broad-ranging deals that cover users legally adding songs to their experiences — something platforms like YouTube have done — although it offers access to some tracks through a licensing agreement with APM Music. While this settlement news doesn’t explicitly discuss those kinds of deals, it seemingly opens the door to them.
“Roblox will work closely with the global music publishing industry to help them unlock new ways for music to be more meaningfully integrated into the global Roblox community of more than 48 million daily active users. The deal paves the way for innovative partnerships between Roblox and publishers that will offer songwriters new ways to monetize their songs and catalogues,” a press release says.
This settlement follows a separate NMPA agreement with Amazon-owned broadcast platform Twitch. That deal was similarly open-ended, but it included an explicit change to how Twitch handles copyright violations, something Roblox and the NMPA’s announcement doesn’t mention.