Why is Facebook Limiting the Live-Streaming of Music?

The social media leviathan is taking vast steps to limit users from live-streaming their musical performances. Are they trying to control bandwidth or the landscape of live-streaming?

By Roland T. Flackfizer

Photo by Veeterzy

Starting October 1st, Facebook will be limiting the ability of musical acts to promote videos that will “create a music listening experience for yourself or for others.” This limitation includes an outlet widely used by artists during the pandemic: Facebook Live. It makes us wonder, what does Facebook see as its role in the currently imploding yet transforming music business? This past April, Facebook went on a hiring spree of music business executives. Sure, everyone is getting into the streaming game yet Facebook taking a pivotal role could throw a monkey wrench in Live Nation’s current consolidation plan for the industry. Either way, smaller artists are losing a critical avenue for exposure and impressions.

The vague text of the new set of live-streaming rules further complicates things. The hamstringing of entertainment based videos is ostensibly to free bandwidth for Facebooks renewed focus on interpersonal dialogue with family and friends.  “We want you to be able to enjoy videos posted by family and friends” states the social media platform’s new guidelines.

The repercussions for violating the new rules come off as rather harsh. Facebook’s Music Guidelines states that accounts caught breaking this rule are at risk of having their videos blocked and or even have the page, profile or group hosting it all together deleted. The new guidelines read as such:

You may not use videos on our Products to create a music listening experience.

We want you to be able to enjoy videos posted by family and friends. However, if you use videos on our Products to create a music listening experience for yourself or for others, your videos will be blocked and your page, profile or group may be deleted. This includes Live.

Since releasing this news last week, Facebook has made a series of clarifications as users have been widely up in arms.

“We want to encourage musical expression on our platforms while also ensuring that we uphold our agreements with rights holders. These agreements help protect the artists, songwriters, and partners who are the cornerstone of the music community — and we’re grateful for how they’ve enabled the amazing creativity we’ve seen in this time.

Our partnerships with rights holders have brought people together around music on our platforms. As part of our licensing agreements, there are limitations around the amount of recorded music that can be included in Live broadcasts or videos. While the specifics of our licensing agreements are confidential, today we’re sharing some general guidelines to help you plan your videos better:

Music in stories and traditional live music performances (e.g., filming an artist or band performing live) are permitted.

The greater the number of full-length recorded tracks in a video, the more likely it may be limited (more below on what we mean by “limited”).

Shorter clips of music are recommended.

There should always be a visual component to your video; recorded audio should not be the primary purpose of the video.

These guidelines are consistent across live and recorded video on both Facebook and Instagram, and for all types of accounts — i.e. pages, profiles, verified and unverified accounts. And although music is launched on our platforms in more than 90 countries, there are places where it is not yet available. So if your video includes recorded music, it may not be available for use in those locations. “

There is no telling how this will affect artists’ use of the Facebook platforms available for music promotion. Facebook owns Instagram though now new limitations have been announced for that platform. Yet. 

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