Facebook hopes to distract users from fake news and hate speech with flashy music videos. The social network is reportedly prepping for an August launch of officially licensed music videos from artists across the platform.
According to TechCrunch, performers are encouraged to toggle on a new setting that auto-generates music videos on their Page, where they may get discovered by fans. By enabling the feature, artists give Facebook permission to collect and disclose aggregate performance insights (likes, shares, comments, views, etc.).
For anyone who chooses not to participate (or misses the Aug. 1 deadline), Facebook will instead create a separate “[Artist Name] Official Music” library, accessible via the Facebook Watch tab and a dedicated music video venue. There does not appear to be any way to completely opt out. “In August, your music videos will begin appearing on the Videos tab on your Page,” according to Facebook screenshots published by TechCrunch. “As new music videos are released, they will automatically be shared to your Page’s timeline and can be seen by your followers in their News Feed.”
There is no need to manually upload or provide links. Whenever the social network receives a new release from a music label, the video is automatically added to that artist’s Page, where they can remove or edit posts—including changing titles, descriptions, tags, and thumbnails. In an email leaked to Twitter, the company also confirmed that auto-sharing can be turned on or off “as desired.”
Facebook has dabbled in music before, albeit unsuccessfully. Remember the Shazam-esque feature that let users identify IRL songs and add them as status updates? Or Musical.ly rival Lip Sync Live? Me, neither. This time, though, the company is setting its sights on a much more formidable foe: YouTube.
Based on estimates by the IFPI, Google-owned YouTube accounted for 46 percent of global music streaming (outside of China) in 2017. Record labels, however, are reportedly shopping for an alternative; last year, Bloomberg tipped negotiations between Facebook and the three largest record companies—Universal Media Group, Sony Music, and Warner Music Group. Facebook did not immediately respond to PCMag’s request for comment.