Facebook signs music licensing deals with Merlin, Beggars Group, [PIAS] and Ingrooves

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Facebook has announced new multi-territory licensing deals with some of the most influential independent companies in the music industry.

The key agreement, naturally, is with Merlin – the commercial agency which represents more than 20,000 independent record labels and distributors, and says this membership commands over 12% of the global digital recorded music market.

Earlier this week, Midia Research calculated that independent labels collectively generated $4.8bn in trade revenues in 2017, with self-releasing artists generating a further $472m.

Like other recent deals announced by Facebook with Universal Music Group, Sony/ATV and Warner Music Group, the Merlin deal covers use of music across the main Facebook platform, in addition to Instagram, Oculus and Messenger.

MBW understands that Facebook’s current music deals involve ‘blind’ advances being paid to rights-holders, and as such are not tied to music usage data.

However, Facebook is believed to have committed to building a royalty tracking platform which will launch in the future.

Charles Caldas, Merlin CEO, commented: “Merlin’s global membership is at the heart of the evolution of the global digital market, in which digital innovation is delivering previously untapped value. This exciting new partnership ensures that the world’s leading independents are set to benefit from Facebook’s multi-platform music strategy, both now and into the future.”

Jeremy Sirota, Independent Label BD Lead, Facebook, said: “We are excited to partner with the thousands of global labels represented by Merlin, Beggars, [PIAS] and Ingrooves. We value their history and artists, and we’re thrilled that they’re supportive of Facebook’s vision of what music can bring to people on our platforms. This is just the beginning – we look forward to continuing to expand opportunities for the independent community to empower their voices.”

“Our partnerships with Merlin, Beggars, [PIAS] and Ingrooves will provide people with access to music from a significant number of independent artists.”

Tamara Hrivnak, Facebook (pictured)

Writing in a blog online, Tamara Hrivnak, Head of Music Business Development and Partnerships, Facebook, said: “Independent artists and labels are an important part of a rich music tapestry. Each of their voices and sounds matter to people. And people matter to Facebook. We are excited to continue partnering with the independent community to build more ways to bring people together through music in user videos and new social features on Facebook, Instagram, Oculus and Messenger.”

She added: “Our partnerships with Merlin, Beggars, [PIAS] and Ingrooves will provide people with access to music from a significant number of independent artists – music as diverse and unique as they are. We’re thrilled that independents are joining Facebook on our journey to build community together with music.”

Simon Wheeler, Director of Digital and Strategy, Beggars Group, said: “We’re happy to be working with Facebook to enable the billions of Facebook and Instagram users to enrich their posts with licensed music from their favourite artists for the first time. Together we’re aiming to redefine how music is used within UGC to generate new and truly incremental revenue streams for our artists.”

Adrian Pope, Chief Digital Officer, [PIAS], said: “[PIAS] has always worked with the world’s most creative and inspirational independent artists and labels and has a firm belief that music makes the world a better place.

“Facebook’s ongoing commitment to such repertoire and recognition of its value is highly encouraging. We’re pleased that Facebook is fairly compensating rightsholders, and we look forward to working closely with them to help artists and labels develop exciting new ways to engage with global audiences,”

And Bob Roback, CEO of Ingrooves, said: “We are excited to partner with Facebook to allow access to our incredible catalog of independent label content. This deal both fairly compensates our labels and expands their opportunities to cultivate deeper engagement with their fans across the dynamic Facebook platforms.”

Beggars Group, [PIAS] and Ingrooves are all members of Merlin.Music Business Worldwide

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