Meta launched a new feature on Monday that allows creators to monetize Facebook videos that feature music from major artists like Post Malone and Tove Lo. By incentivizing creators to stay within the legal bounds of music use on its platforms, Meta may be able to reassure the music industry that it takes copyright infringement seriously.
Creators will have access to a library of music licensed by Meta and can monetize videos that feature licensed music with ads. Those creators will then get a 20 percent cut of the ad revenue, while Meta and the music rights holders split the rest. But the new system has ground rules: eligible videos must be at least one minute long, and the music cannot be the primary purpose of the video. It also does not apply to Reels.
YouTube also gives users access to a licensed music library, but you won’t find any chart toppers — it’s mostly background music. While some of those who use music without permission have to attend “Copyright School” or get their channels terminated, others can leave their videos up with the stipulation that the copyright holder gets the ad revenue. In that case, it does not appear that the creator gets a cut.
Meta’s announcement comes on the heels of two developments that reveal the company’s tension with the music industry. Over the weekend, music publisher Kobalt informed its writers and partners that its licensing deal with Meta expired and that it is in the process of taking 700,000 songs off Facebook and Instagram by the likes of The Weeknd and Paul McCartney. In a memo obtained by Music Business Worldwide, Kobalt did not cite any specific reason but did say that “fundamental differences remained that we were not able to resolve in your best interests.”
Last week, Meta was sued by Swedish music company Epidemic Sound, which licenses background music and sound effects for creator content. Epidemic Sound claims that 1,000 of its works have been uploaded to and used across Meta’s platforms without a license. “Meta has created tools—Original Audio and Reels Remix—which encourage and allow its users to steal Epidemic’s music from another user’s posted video content and use in their own subsequent videos, resulting in exponential infringements on Meta’s platform, at Meta’s hands,” the complaint says. Meta declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Meta’s new tool for monetizing videos with music does not address music usage in Reels, but it could potentially lure creators away from copyright infringement by giving them a slice of the pie. Videos that use unlicensed music can be muted or blocked, and repeat offenders can have their accounts disabled.
Whether or not it works (which is a big “if”), Meta and the giants of the music industry are going to need to figure something out. As Billboard notes, Facebook and Instagram are too big for the industry to ignore, but Meta needs to keep access to chart toppers if it is going to compete with TikTok and YouTube.