Facebook Finalizes Licensing Deals With GMR, Kobalt & SESAC

Facebook has just concluded licensing agreements with a string major rights owners.  Get ready for Facebook Music!

Facebook is obviously serious about licensing music with major rights owners.  The only question now is what they plan to do with all these newfound rights.

Earlier this week, the company finalized major licensing pact with Global Music Rights, or GMR.  That’s a recently-created PRO (or performance rights organization) founded by longtime industry manager and executive Irving Azf.

But that’s not all: the social network has also signed licensing agreements with Kobalt and SESAC.  All the deals appear to cover Facebook, Instagram, Oculus, and related services like Facebook Messenger.

The deals were confirmed early this morning to Digital Music News by Tamara Hrivnak, Head Music Business Development and Partnerships at the social network.  “Facebook have entered into Global Music Rights’ first-ever user generated content deal,” Hrivnak opened, before discussing the other deals.

We didn’t talk to Irving Azf about the deal.  Though we overheard this: “Our partnership with Facebook reflects that when music is valued properly, it’s easy for both sides to view it as a win-win,” Azf remarked.  

On the SESAC side, the dealmaking took an interesting turn.  SESAC owns HFA/Rumblefish, an acquisition sandwich that involves content recognition solutions.  “The program will enable users to upload and share videos with music on Facebook, Instagram and Oculus and allows publishers to be compensated for the use their music,” said Scott Sellwood, Head Commercial Music Publishing Partnerships at Facebook.

“Rumblefish will also help Facebook optimize the identification and clearance musical works through an innovative sharing agreement.”

The HFA/Rumblefish pact is an ‘opt-in for independent publishers,’ effective immediately, according to Sellwood.

The latest string deals adds to groundbreaking pacts involving Universal Music Group and Sony/ATV.

Those were the behemoths that undoubtedly paved the way for the latest agreements.  Accordingly, the social network is expected to sign a range licensing deals with remaining rights holders, including majors Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group.

No word yet on the ‘twin tower’ PROs, namely ASCAP and BMI.  Collectively, the pair controls north 90% public performance licenses, but that’s a rough estimate*.

More as this develops!


*btw: we’re preparing a major breakdown all 5 PROs in the United States: ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, GMR, plus SoundExchange on the digital recording non-interactive side.  Hopefully it will clear up the 10,000 questions you might have about which PRO is best for your catalog.  Stay tuned for that.