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Digital Media

Facebook puts toe in music streaming with UMG deal

A multiyear deal lets people use songs from Universal Music Group's vast music library in videos on Facebook, Instagram and Oculus.

Facebook social network on digital devices
NurPhoto/Getty

Facebook on Thursday signed a multiyear licensing deal that lets its users post videos containing songs from the world's biggest record label, Universal Music Group. The agreement works across all of Facebook's platforms, including its news feeds, Instagram and Oculus, according to a joint press release

"Under this partnership, users will be able to upload videos that contain licensed music and personalize their music experiences on Facebook, Instagram and Oculus, while sharing videos with friends and family," the companies said in a statement. "In time, functionality will expand to enable access to a vast library of music across a series of social features."

Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

For years, artists have complained that streaming services don't adequately pay them for their music. Under the deal, Facebook has agreed to compensate Universal and musicians when users post videos that include copyrighted material. Until now, Facebook removed any user-posted videos containing copyright music. Videos now can stay -- that is, as long as the songs are from the UMG label. 

UMG becomes the first major music company to license its recorded music and publishing catalogs for video and other social experiences across Facebook, Instagram and Oculus, according to a report from Variety

The deal comes just two days after Universal signed a similar partnership with YouTube. That deal promised to give "recording artists songwriters improved content flexibility and growing compensation from YouTube's ad-supported and paid-subscription tiers, while also furthering YouTube's commitment to manage music rights on its platform."

UMG didn't immediately respond to a request for further comment. Facebook declined to comment beyond the press release.