Facebook unveiled new music features that build on licensing deals it struck earlier this year the major music labels, as it look to give users — especially teens — another reason to spend time on the platform.
The social network today introduced a feature called Lip Sync Live, which lets users share their lip sync performances of such popular songs as Camila Cabello’s Havana, Drake’s God’s Plan or Ed Sheeran’s Happier.
Users can choose the new Lip Sync Live option when starting a Facebook Live video, which will prompt them to select a song from a list of options and add masks or a background before broadcasting to friends.
Forrester Research analyst James McQuivey says the lip sync targets younger users who are passionate about live streaming and music — and, not coincidentally, have begun to leave Facebook for other platforms, like Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube.
“It is a pretty good stroke strategically,” said McQuivey, noting that Facebook will need to find a way to differentiate its lip sync feature from what’s already available on a platform like, say, musical.ly. “Your average teenager or twenty-something already has 50 ways that they an do that now.”
Mark Mulligan of MIDiA Research said the the rise in popularity of musical.ly caught the larger platforms by surprise. Adding music as an extension of social activity is the right approach for Facebook, rather than attempting to replicate a subscription streaming service like Spotify.
“What musical.ly did is show that music is still super-relevant to audiences,” said Mulligan. “There’s no reason why that can’t happen on Facebook or Snapchat. What’s held them back so far is it’s an absolute nightmare to get the licensing in place.”
Facebook users also will be able to add music to the personal videos they share with friends and family. The social network licensed millions of songs from major music companies, including Universal Music Group, Sony Music Group and Warner Music, to make this feature possible.
Users who upload a video with an unlicensed track will receive a notification from Facebook, allowing them to post the video without music or engage directly with the rights holder and request a review.
McQuivey said the ease of adding a music bed to Facebook videos comes with some risk for the music industry, which has spent nearly two decades sending out notifications about the unauthorized use of licensed recordings.
“For people in the media business, this continues to erode the perception with users that copyright is not an issue,” McQuivey said.