Sorting Out Live Streaming On Facebook With Ban On "Music Listening Experiences"

"Music listening experiences" have been banned on Facebook as part of their T&S.
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UPDATE: A Facebook spokesperson has pointed out the music guidelines have been in effect since 2018. There were some updates on limitations for those music listening experience, which still leave quite a bit to interpretation. The exact length and amount of tracks are not being revealed and they aren't discussing the licensing agreements. It leaves a grey room.

"Our partnerships with rights holders have brought people together around music on our platforms. As part of our licensing agreements, there are limitations around the amount of recorded music that can be included in Live broadcasts or videos. While the specifics of our licensing agreements are confidential, today we’re sharing some general guidelines to help you plan your videos better:

  • Music in stories and traditional live music performances (e.g., filming an artist or band performing live) are permitted.
  • The greater the number of full-length recorded tracks in a video, the more likely it may be limited (more below on what we mean by “limited”).
  • Shorter clips of music are recommended.
  • There should always be a visual component to your video; recorded audio should not be the primary purpose of the video."

Facebook could start cracking down on live streams in earnest. You may be rolling your eyes since they have been doing spotty enforcement on streams for years. There was confusion over a new terms and conditions update, but it brought to light music guidelines that leave live streaming in a very precious place on the platform. 

Snuck into their T&C in a link under music guidelines, they have the following rules:

You may not use videos on our Products to create a music listening experience

We want you to be able to enjoy videos posted by family and friends. However, if you use videos on our Products to create a music listening experience for yourself or for others, your videos will be blocked and your page, profile or group may be deleted. This includes Live.

Unauthorized content may be removed

If you post content that contains music owned by someone else, your content may be blocked, or may be reviewed by the applicable rights owner and removed if your use of that music is not properly authorized.

What Does This Mean?

This would seem to mean that all streams that are focused on music will be blocked. The idea of a “music listening experience” seems vague, but live sets would likely fall into that category. However, if a DJ owns all of that music (which rarely happens), would that change Facebook’s attitude? Either way, this does not bode well for live streams on Facebook if they do enforce this.

Facebook does already have in writing a somewhat strict T&C about streaming content you don’t have the license for. However, DJs have been streaming music they don’t have the explicit license to use for years.

This could be a disaster for streams where all live streams with music played for a certain amount of time are shut down and it kills an entire ecosystem on the platform. Or it could be something that is spottily enforced without much rhyme or reason based on AI and the copyright system often dictated by major labels. 

Alternatives?

Mixcloud Live is a good one, but there are still some kinks to be worked out and the user base isn’t there organically. Djs would still promote on Facebook to those streams. Twitch is starting to crack down on licensing with its own streams. The landscape is not perfect and it will be tough for DJs to consistently stream each week with clubs closed in most places around the world. 

The lack of imagination between rights organizations, tech companies and labels is pretty infuriating to find a solution here, but the current system keeps the big wigs rich and in power so they don't want change. Allowing more and varied licenses with varied lengths of deals could help sort out these types of situations, but they don't want that. 

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