Facebook inked a deal with Universal Music in 2017 to license songs for use across its social media platforms, allowing users to post copyrighted content without facing lawsuits. Now, the company appears to be getting ready to launch licensed music videos on its platform next month in the U.S.
Marketing materials seen by TechCrunch reveal that Facebook is adding the ability for admins of artists' Pages to turn on a feature that will allow the service to add officially licensed music videos to their timeline. These videos will be visible to fans through the Page's Videos tab. Content will include materials like the artists' official music videos or those that feature them.
The music video library will also be updated regularly as new music videos become available to Facebook, and artists can choose to have these music videos automatically shared to their timeline. Of course, there's an option to turn that off as well as remove specific videos or an entire library from an artist's Page. By opting in to this feature, artists are also giving Facebook the permission to share engagement data such as likes, shares, comments, and views with rightsholders.
Page admins must toggle on this feature before August 1. Otherwise, Facebook will automatically create separate Pages showing official music videos if artists take no action prior to that deadline. These videos will then be available to watch on Facebook's Watch tab and a new music video destination, all handled by Facebook itself instead of the artists.
The move is seen as a direct challenge to YouTube. However, only time will tell whether this feature will give Facebook more appeal as a destination for videos.