Kobalt Music Removes All Music from Facebook, Instagram — And the Standoff Begins

Kobalt Music removes music from Facebook
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Kobalt Music removes music from Facebook
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Photo Credit: Kobalt Music

Kobalt Music is removing its 700,000-song catalog from Instagram and Facebook due to license expiry.

The company says its music licensing agreement with Meta expired and the two parties have failed to reach a favorable agreement to renew. Kobalt Music administers songs for artists such as Childish Gambino, Foo Fighters, Billie Eilish co-writer FINNEAS, Beck, and many others.

Kobalt Music sent an email to its songwriters informing them of the situation. “Over the course of several months, we’ve worked diligently and in good faith to come to an agreement covering a new license for Kobalt’s repertoire.”

“Unfortunately, fundamental differences remained that we were not able to resolve in your best interests, and as a result Kobalt’s repertoire is in the process of being removed from Meta’s services, including Facebook and Instagram.”

“We’ve always stood for songwriters first, and we’re proud to continue to do so,” the letter continues. “We remain fully committed to reaching an agreement with Meta.” Kobalt is one of the top five music publishers in the world, with an estimated 40% of the top 100 tracks and albums in an average week in the U.S. and U.K.

It’s worth noting that this move comes just days after Epidemic Sound launched an aggressive lawsuit against Meta in the United States. That lawsuit claims that the ‘unauthorized’ use of its works across Facebook and Instagram is rampant.

“Meta has refused to enter into a license with Epidemic, even though Meta has done so with many other rights holders,” Epidemic Sound noted in its lawsuit. “Perhaps Meta is hoping to get away with it for as long as possible.” That lawsuit alleges that more than 80,000 instances of theft of Epidemic’s works occur per day on the platform.

“The company itself has been storing, curating, reproducing, performing, distributing, and otherwise exploiting Epidemic’s music on a daily basis, without a license,” the lawsuit reads. “Meta has created a curated library of music that Meta accumulates, stores, and organizers by genre and that it makes available to the users of its social media platform.”

Meta could be facing increasing scrutiny as it seeks to buff up its Reels product on Instagram. The Epidemic lawsuit notes specific instances in which users’ Reels contain music that’s not a part of Meta’s licensed song library.