Facebook Launches Music Videos to Eat into YouTube’s Market

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With the launch of Music Videos, Facebook has made another competitive move against its biggest opponent, Google.

In a blog-post released on Friday, the Facebook VP of Music Business Development and Entertainment announced that the social networking site will host a wide range of licensed music videos starting Saturday, 1st August 2020. This move is very evidently meant to expand Facebook’s market presence in the online ad-revenue based video streaming sphere, currently dominated by YouTube.

To create as much hype as possible, the company will break in the new feature by premiering a new music video by Lele Pons, an internet celebrity who had her first strokes with fame on YouTube. As a promotional move, Pons will also be interacting with the fans via Facebook Live before the music video officially drops.

Another musician Facebook has got on board to promote the new feature is Sech, a Hispanic R&B artist. He will also orient users to various other features being released as add ons to Facebook Music, such as countdown stickers and fandom group chats for artists’ supporters to connect through.

These social features make it clear that Facebook’s strategy in giving itself an edge over Google’s YouTube is to create more meaningful engagement among users. This is Facebook’s classic blueprint for many products it develops specifically to compete against the search engine.

Apart from the premieres, Facebook has signed licensing deals with various corporate and independent music labels such as Sony Music Group, Warner Music Group, Kobalt, BMG, Merlin, and Universal Music Group. It has also reached out to specific music communities and societies which don’t necessarily have affiliations with labels.

As of now the feature will only be available to users in the US, but Facebook shared that they worked with Indian and Thai partners to make the feature a reality.

Better User Engagement than YouTube

Given Facebook’s focus on promoting social connection and discourse among users, consumers will be able to share music videos on their news feed or stories for their friends to see and interact with. The videos will have all the engagement options of regular posts such as reacting, commenting, and sharing via Messenger.

Furthermore, the videos will be found under Facebook Watch, where users will be able to listen to specially curated genre/mood specific playlists like “Popular This Week” and “New This Week”. Once the program’s algorithm successfully gauges the user’s preferences, recommendations will become more personalized.

This is another feature very similar to YouTube and just as recommendations will be tailored to each user, so will ads. With Facebook Music, then, Facebook’s ad revenue will grow tremendously.

A Well-Though Out System

Facebook was very clever in picking music videos as their weapon of choice to increase its footing in the video streaming market to strengthen its ad revenue.

Many applications like Spotify and iTunes provide ad-free audio streaming, but short video streaming has usually been an ad-based venture. Had Facebook considered something like audio streaming, the chances of failure would’ve been high.

But given the volume of video consumption on the site, expanding this particular aspect is a fool-proof ploy. Additionally, music video streaming accounts for 46% of total music streaming, surpassing Spotify. When this kind of highly consumed media is combined with a site that has over 2.7 billion monthly active users, it is bound to increase a company’s income.

Going forward, the question is whether Facebook will also dabble in audio streaming, with features similar to YouTube Music, Spotify, Google Play Music, and iTunes, or whether it will continue to expand it’s footing in the video streaming realm.

At the same time, Facebook is also moving out of the ad-revenue bubble and considering to strengthen its online shopping component. Apart from this, a subscription-based model could also be a reality soon. More recently, Facebook, along with other Big Tech, has been put to rigorous trial by American and European regulatory bodies.


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