Will Facebook finally license music and pay artists their fair share for music streaming on the site?
Facebook kicked off 2017 with promising news. Ad revenue shares went up 53%. Then, the company hired a former YouTube music executive to lead the company’s charge against the music industry. Yet, in order to charge against the music industry, it would need one very important thing: music licenses.
Funny how that works.
Facebook, like YouTube, currently hosts hundreds of thousands of music videos. Yet, as the social media giant lacks licenses, artists may not receive any payouts at all from video views. However, a new job posting points to the company aiming to rectify that problem.
The job posting reads:
“Legal Director, Music Licensing
(Menlo Park, CA)”
“Facebook seeks an experienced music licensing lawyer with a penchant for teamwork and technology to lead its music licensing efforts within Legal. This position will partner closely with internal business counterparts in driving licensing negotiations, as well as coordinating with product, engineering, operations, finance and legal teams in support of the company’s evolving music licensing needs.
“In this role, you will be responsible for solving cutting-edge licensing issues on a global scale, with an opportunity to help shape the future of music use on Facebook.”
Per the job post, the successful candidate will “support Facebook’s biz dev team in developing our music licensing strategy.” legal director will also lead the company’s negotiations across labels, publishers, and collecting societies globally. In addition, the director will also “lead and grow Facebook’s nascent music licensing legal team.” He or she will also direct outside licensing counsel around the world.”
To apply, the company requests JD or foreign equivalent, along with 8+ years of relevant music licensing experience. This includes extensive hands-on experience negotiating label, publisher, and society licenses globally.
Facebook prefers to hire someone with in-house experience, specifically those who have worked with digital music distribution. The successful candidate must also express a willingness to travel.
The job posting shows Facebook’s interest in tackling top streamers like YouTube, Spotify, and Apple Music. The social media giant has yet to announce plans to go streaming, which it will likely not pursue. Yet, in December, the company posted a job ad for a Product Manager to lead their YouTube-equivalent Rights Manager. This move shows the company’s desire to go all-in on video streaming.
Legal Director candidates can apply at Facebook’s webpage here.
This is a very insightful article related to Facebook and music publishing licenses. I didn’t know they didn’t have any over a decade ago when third party distributors and publishers ie ‘ I Like ‘ were turning assets into ‘ Facebook ‘ software applications as an offering to their back then–50 million first users ? Maybe it fell into the personal label negotiation clause. . .
Like any business, shouldn’t a lawyer be involved from the start?
Ideally, but the Internet is still the wild west in many ways, and tech companies have ALWAYS done things this way… innovate first, apologize later, or become so big that you don’t have to apologize, and continue doing whatever you want (see also: Uber). Facebook created a way to add video to your timeline, but like everything else, has no way to regulate it beyond the copyright holder having the burden of requesting a takedown. But eventually the labels will get involved and say “hey, this system allows people to play music videos, we want our licensing fees for that”, and fighting with them is a little more difficult.
Prolly the last lawyer who tried this went crazy.