Here’s what you need to know about Facebook’s new music guideline changes

It's about to get a lot harder for artists to live stream content

If you, like thousands of other musicians or performers during the ongoing pandemic, have turned to posting or live-streaming your craft on Facebook to keep up audience engagement, you’ll want to know about this.

From October 1, Facebook is introducing a range of new guidelines for those posting or sharing musical content across their primary platforms - including Instagram - and it looks like they’ve got independent DJs and musicians right in the crosshairs. 

 

In a recent statement explaining the policy changes, the social media giants underlined the nature of their ‘Products’ as being platforms for people to ‘share content with their family and friends’, expressing that the use of music ‘for commercial or non-personal purposes’ is prohibited unless artists or performers have obtained appropriate licences. 

 

Facebook have further underlined their stance against streamed music content on their channels by explicitly warning users of the consequences for sharing musical content, saying that ‘You may not use videos on our Products to create a music listening experience. We want you to be able to enjoy videos posted by family and friends. 

 

‘However, if you use videos on our Products to create a music listening experience for yourself or for others, your videos will be blocked and your page, profile or group may be deleted. This includes Live.’

 

While the jury is still out on those live-streaming original works, these new regulations will make it practically impossible for bands to share their music videos or videos containing their own music across Facebook and Instagram, unless they’ve partnered with Facebook in one way or another - which assumably, will only apply to larger record labels and publishers. 

 

These new regulations also spell bad news for those who stream their DJ sets across Facebook or Instagram, which has already proven to be a contentious area for live streaming and licensing issues.

 

So, what’s next for streaming? It seems that these new terms are quite harsh on smaller performers or bands who’ve turned to Facebook for streaming in lieu of live performance, and it’s certainly a bit of an eyebrow raising decision to flag musical content as not being ‘family friendly’ given the exorbitant amount of advertising and other mind-numbing content published across Facebook. 

 

The good news is that there’s now plenty of dedicated streaming alternatives that don’t fall under the Facebook bracket. YouTube is still the most effective way to publish a live-streamed set onto, and you’re far more unlikely to get pulled down for copyright for sharing your own music on it unless you’re spinning a DJ set full of other people’s material.

 

For DJs, there’s also platforms like Mixcloud, who offer a live streaming service for DJs without any room for copyright takedowns or audio muting. Meanwhile, Twitch - a streaming platform often associated with gamers - is beginning to pick up some serious traction with musicians, with UK dance duo Disclosure recently joining the site to give their fans a behind-the-scenes look at their creative process.

 

Given the size of the market out there, we can certainly expect to see more services like these popping up in the near future too, particularly if Facebook are as militant with policing their regulations as they're making it out to be in their guidelines.

 

 

Head here to find out more about the changes to Facebook's music guidelines.

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