Facebook secures major label and publisher rights for its Twitch-rivalling Gaming platform

Remember when we told you that, back in July, Jeff Bezos had admitted that he didn’t know whether Amazon live-streaming platform Twitch paid royalties to artists?

You get the impression one might have more luck asking this question to Mark Zuckerberg.

Twitch remains without live-stream music licenses from major and indie labels and publishers alike… but it’s a different story over at Facebook Gaming, the video game-leaning live stream platform with over 200 million monthly viewers.

Today (September 14), Facebook has announced that it has secured music licensing deals with a string of labels, publishers and collection societies so that Facebook Gaming content creators can have legal music in their live streams.

According to a Facebook blog post, the company has struck applicable licensing deals with the likes of Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Kobalt Music Group, BMG publishing and Merlin.

These deals, it says, cover Facebook Gaming for licensed music in over 90 territories.

Explaining how licensed music will work on the platform, Facbook’s Global Director of Games Partnerships, Leo Olebe, said in the blog post: “Music played during a gaming broadcast must be a background element, not be the primary focus of the stream.

“For example, a streamer’s voice and/or gameplay audio should be in the foreground. This also applies to clips made from a livestream, and the VOD version of livestreams, but does not extend to separately edited and uploaded VOD content.”

He added: “[Y]our stream should be about gaming, not music. In other words, you’re okay to stream music as long as it’s in the background, with game sound effects and your voice (and anything else) over the top.

“Playing DJ without gaming is a no-no.”

“Your stream should be about gaming, not music… Playing DJ without gaming is a no-no.”

Leo Olebe, Facebook

Some tracks will still be restricted from being played by streamers, says Facebook, if it hasn’t been able to secure all the rights for a track in certain territories.

When this happens, a user’s video upload might be muted or blocked – but Facebook Gaming will then “notify you of the section of your video that’s matching a song to make it clear what actions you can take to avoid interruptions during future streams”.

The broad goal, it seems, is to keep as many live stream videos online as possible, without an avalanche of takedown requests coming from copyright holders in the music industry.

In June, the Recording Industry Academy of America (RIAA) sent more than 2,500 copyright takedown requests to Twitch users over unlicensed music.

Twitch does have licensing deals in place with PROs such as ASCAP, BMI and SESAC, but is yet to agree music licensing for streams on its platforms with entities like the three major music companies and the US-based National Music Publishing Association (NMPA).Music Business Worldwide

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