December 21, 2017 / 4:48 PM / 9 months ago

Facebook, Universal Music strike multi-year licensing deal

(Reuters) - Facebook Inc and Universal Music Group on Thursday announced a global agreement that will enable users to upload videos featuring music from Universal’s library across the social media network as well as Instagram and Oculus.

FILE PHOTO: The Facebook application is seen on a phone screen August 3, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/File Photo

Through the agreement, which is Facebook’s first with a major record label, the social media company will no longer have to require users to take down videos featuring music from Universal’s catalog due to copyright infringement. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Facebook’s deal with Universal Music Group comes as the world’s largest social media site is making a big push into video to keep users on its site and attract advertisers.

Earlier this year it launched its Watch video service, which features shows from the likes of Buzzfeed, Discovery Communications as well as some sports like Major League Baseball.

The partnership comes days after Bloomberg reported that YouTube had signed a long-term agreement with Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment. (bloom.bg/2yYCYPs)

The licensing deal could help Facebook better compete with Alphabet Inc’s YouTube since music videos are the most popular category on the site, said Brian Wieser, an analyst at Pivotal Research.

“With this deal, Facebook has licensed content from the biggest player in the biggest genre of video on YouTube,” he said.

The multi-year agreement with Universal will be expanded to include Facebook Messenger, Universal said.

Reporting by Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru and Jessica Toonkel in New York; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and James Dalgleish

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