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Snap is looking into licensing music for users to embed in posts

The Verge logo The Verge 25/05/2019 Dami Lee
a screenshot of a cell phone © Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Snap is in talks with Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group to license songs for users to embed in posts, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The deal would give users access to a broad catalog of songs to post on Snapchat, much like the features available for Instagram Stories and TikTok.

The licensing deal would come at a time when tech companies are increasingly leaning into music features as a core part of their offerings. The popularity of these videos has allowed social media platforms to launch hit songs — Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road,” which has been the number one song on the Billboard Top 100 for several weeks, first gained popularity through TikTok as a meme.

Facebook secured a licensing deal with the three major record labels back in 2018, allowing users to put licensed music in their videos across all of its platforms, including Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and Oculus. The company has used the license to roll out features like Lip Sync Live, an obvious copycat of Musical.ly, which was acquired by Chinese giant ByteDance and folded into TikTok last year.

TikTok’s parent company ByteDance is now working on securing more licensing deals as it gears up to launch a music streaming service. Snap’s licensing deal won’t be quite at that scale, but it will be a step toward keeping the app competitive against Facebook and TikTok. As music copyright issues have been a point of contention between record labels and companies like YouTube and Peloton in recent months, it’ll be in Snap’s best interest to secure licenses quickly.

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