Facebook just took a big step in its attempt to be a more complete music platform. The company just signed a multi-year licensing deal with Universal Music – its first with any record label.
The deal will allow Facebook to license Universal’s recorded music and catalogs for video across Facebook, Instagram and Oculus. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
The deal will give Facebook a platform to start to compete with YouTube. It has allowed users to upload content with music pretty freely for years, but recently that has started to change. It is courting content creators and rights holders in an attempt to have them host more content on the service and has touted a content ID system that would identify infringing material.
With the labels now getting involved, this could mean increased pressure on Facebook to police its content and issue takedowns. It will likely mean that songs can monetized as well, which is a boon for artists who have found that the only way to get any engagement is to upload directly to Facebook, though that gets you no money directly in return.
Though Universal is only one label, it is the largest of the labels and usually the others follow suit. This will put pressure on YouTube when it unveils its new paid streaming service in March.