Licensed music is coming to Snapchat, as parent strikes deals with Warner, UMPG and more

Credit: Thought Catalog

Snap Inc, the parent of social media platform Snapchat, is set to launch a new music video feature which has been licensed by some of the industry’s biggest companies.

So far, the only major music company to license the service for both recorded music and publishing is Warner Music Group. (Interesting to note that Snap’s Chairman, Michael Lynton, has since last year also been non-exec Chairman of WMG’s Board of Directors.)

Other deals have been struck by Snap with the likes of Universal Music Publishing Group and indie recorded music body Merlin. A further deal has been reached with the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), into which the body’s members can choose to opt-in.

Yet the recorded music arm of Universal Music Group and Sony‘s music companies are reportedly yet to reach a deal with Snap.

“We’re excited to be the first major partnering with Snap on this new feature.”

Oana Ruxandra, Warner Music Group

According to Bloomberg, which broke the news earlier today (August 3), the new feature lets customers add music to their posts within Snapchat, and will be trialled in New Zealand and Australia this week ahead of a planned global roll-out.

The new feature is believed to be an attempt by Snap to better compete with rivals including TikTok and Triller – as well as Instagram, which is set to expand its short-video feature Reels into over 50 markets in the weeks ahead.

According to Snap’s latest financial announcement, Snapchat counted 238m Daily Active Users (DAU) worldwide in Q2 2020, up 17% year-on-year, with some 90m in North America alone.

Oana Ruxandra, Chief Digital Officer and EVP, Business Development, Warner Music Group, said: “We’re excited to be the first major partnering with Snap on this new feature. Both Warner Music and Snap have long track records of embracing innovation and experimentation, and working closely together, our goal is to enable cutting edge social tools to bring our artists’ music to Snap’s highly engaged userbase.”

Merlin CEO Jeremy Sirota added: “Merlin is excited to partner with Snap given the unique role they can play in the evolution of social music. Merlin’s members have always been early adopters of innovation in the ever-changing digital ecosystem.

“We look forward to a productive relationship that offers users new ways to express themselves, enables artists to build new audiences, and provides value to our members.”

“Snap is doing it the right way – licensing the music it needs before launching to the public.”

David Israelite, NMPA

And NMPA CEO and President David Israelite commented: “We are pleased to partner with Snap to ensure great music can be used on its new service. Our agreement will bring an important new revenue stream to publishers and songwriters and improve the overall quality of the app for users. Snap is doing it the right way – licensing the music it needs before launching [this feature] to the public.”

Snap said in a statement: “We’re always looking for new ways to give Snapchatters creative tools to express themselves. Music is a new dimension they can add to their Snaps that help capture feelings and moments they want to share with their real friends.”

Snap says it has a bigger audience in the US than TikTok – although TikTok, currently the focus of multiple news reports regarding its fate in the market – says it has over 100m Stateside users.

Last month, the NMPA signed a global deal with TikTok, following months of criticism over the app’s use of unlicensed music.

According to the NMPA – whose members include all three major music publishers, plus the world’s biggest indies – the deal “accounts for TikTok’s past use of musical works” as well as setting up a “forward-looking partnership”.Music Business Worldwide

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