Video-making app Canva launches library of licensed music from Warner, Merlin and other rightsholders

The opening of the London office of Canva.

As of Thursday (November 9), users of automated video creation app Canva have been able to soundtrack their videos with music licensed from Warner Music Group, indie digital music licensing org Merlin, and other major labels and publishers.

Users of the drag-and-drop-style video creation tool will have access to more than “half a million songs” from artists in a wide range of genres, including Michael Buble, Vance Joy, Kenya Grace and Curtis Mayfield – while music rights holders gain a new source of revenue.

The move marks a significant improvement in the world of video-making apps, where creators have thus far had to manage with public-domain or low-quality tracks to add audio to their visual presentations.

Sydney, Australia-headquartered Canva says the new feature makes its tool “the first visual communication platform to add commercially released music at the point of creation, for content that can be shared across multiple platforms.”

Canva is often used to quickly produce videos for TikTok, YouTube or other video services. It’s also commonly used for businesses’ training videos, slideshows and other presentations.

There are, however, some limits to the new licensed music library: Only users of Canva’s paid Pro service, as well as teachers using Canva Education, will be able to add licensed tracks to their videos, slideshows and other visual presentations. The company plans to expand the library to users of Canva for Teams and Canva for Nonprofit at some point in the future.

Users of its free tier will be able to browse the music catalog, but will have to upgrade their account if they want to add licensed tracks to their content. And the tracks will only be available for non-commercial purposes, regardless of the account type.

The licensed music library will be available to users in the US, UK, Australia, Canada and 19 European countries, including France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain.

Rights holders will earn royalties when clips of their songs appear in published videos made with Canva.

When Canva initially announced its plans to bring copyrighted music to the platform, it mentioned deals only with WMG (which includes Warner Recorded Music and publisher Warner Chappell) and Merlin. However, the company says its licensing deals have now expanded to include “over a dozen” other labels and publishers – though it hasn’t revealed them by name.

Founded by Melanie Perkins, Cliff Obrecht and Cameron Adams in 2013, Canva’s user base has grown to 135 million, including 16 million paying subscribers and 50 million Canva for Education users. In all, 66 million users will have access to the licensed music library.

The company’s essential value proposition was making visual presentations fast and easy. The app features a simple drag-and-drop interface and numerous templates for videos, slideshows, presentations, documents, websites, posters and social media graphics. Users have access to a large library of stock photos, illustrations and video footage, as well as fonts.

Canva says it has seen “exponential” growth in recent years, driven by the social media revolution that has turned millions of people worldwide into video creators. The number of Canva designs using TikTok templates has grown tenfold in just the past year, the company said. The company has previously said its users create 250 new designs every second.

“As more people create videos in Canva, audio searches for specific artists and songs have also increased,” Canva said in a statement.

“Since the initial announcement of our partnership, we’ve been eagerly awaiting this launch. We’re excited for Canva users to connect with Merlin member music, which features the most dynamic independent music from around the world.”

Charlie Lexton, Merlin

The company has rolled out a number of AI-powered tools, including Beat Sync, which helps users match their video to the beat of a selected song, as well as a text-to-image tool that enables users to describe the graphic they want to an AI engine that then generates the image.

The company has said it plans to compete directly with Google and Microsoft in the office software space. It launched Magic Write, an AI-powered copywriting assistant, last year.

“Like visual communication, music is a universal language that serves as a powerful tool for self-expression,” Canva’s Head of Content, Discovery and Print, Silvia Oviedo, said in a statement.

“Adding popular music to Canva is a natural evolution of our vision to put the entire visual communication ecosystem under one simple platform.  We’re thrilled to give users a unique starting point, and make it easy for them to add great music into their work.”

Merlin Chief Operating Officer Charlie Lexton commented: “Merlin members are enthusiastic to see their artists’ music made available to Canva users – a platform that’s at the forefront of visual communication and creator tools. Since the initial announcement of our partnership, we’ve been eagerly awaiting this launch. We’re excited for Canva users to connect with Merlin member music, which features the most dynamic independent music from around the world.”Music Business Worldwide

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