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Facebook's New Policy Update For Music

  • Damian Keyes
    Damian Keyes
  • Sep 15th 2020

Facebook have just announced changes to their music policy to take effect from October 1st. Fail to follow their new rules and your music and your page will be permanently BANNED.

Well, that’s what I’ve been reading all over the internet since they announced the changes. Whilst the statements that Facebook have not been particularly clear or helpful, the mass fear and panic I am seeing online from musicians just isn’t warranted. So, before you start worrying Zuckerburg’s legal team are going to start banging on your door, let’s look at what these changes ACTUALLY mean for you!

👉 What’s new?

Nothing. These rules have actually been in place since October 2018, but as of October 1st they will just be stricter when enforcing them.

👉 What have they said?

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

Reading that you would assume that it means you cannot add any music to Facebook’s products. That’s it for your music then, right? Before you get into a spin, that’s not what this actually means – let’s dissect this.

👉 What did they mean?

What Facebook is really saying is that you cannot use someone else’s material for your own gain. This isn’t a new concept and as an artist this is something you are already fully aware of. But, there has been a grey area of ‘fair use’, which has made it difficult to fully understand exactly what you can and can’t do. Facebook are now saying that it’s not actually a grey area, you have never be able to rip off another artist, you have never been able to do a cover without the correct licensing, they just haven’t policed it enough.

As technology develops and it becomes easier to police this rule, coupled with copyrighting laws getting clamped down on, Facebook have to ensure that they are policing this issue in a much more focused way. This allows them to prosecute when necessary.

👉 Why now?

We have to consider what has been happening in the world around us. Basically the whole world has gone into lockdown and the events side of the music industry has been shattered. As musicians adapted to this and moved everything online, platforms evolved to accommodate this through additions such as Tip Jar and Facebook Donations. But, what happens when another musician is playing your songs in a live session to make money? It’s wrong and Facebook is acknowledging that. They are plainly saying that this isn’t right. It’s not their own original material and they shouldn’t make money off of it, it goes against music copyright law and it is not allowed.

👉 What you’re not allowed to do:

Without the artist’s permission you cannot:

  • Play the master of someone else’s song
  • Play a cover of someone else’s song
  • Make reference to someone else’s music – i.e. using the same chords and lyrics as another artist
  • Playing a video of another artist’s gig or performance

Facebook also doesn’t want you to put your album online in audio with a static image like you often see on YouTube. Firstly, why would you actually want to do this? No one goes to Facebook to listen to music. And at the moment, (until they inevitably launch Facebook Music), Facebook also agrees with this and will remove videos of this type. It’s simply not what they want on the platform. They’re telling you that if that’s what you want to post, you’ll need to do this via Spotify or YouTube Music.

👉 What you can do:

Pretty much everything you were doing before! As long as the music is yours: play it, perform it, live stream it. Use this time whilst you can’t play your music at a physical event to build an audience online and turn them into fans. Because, when you can get back out there, you are going to need that audience and they are going to need you.

Watch the full video here: