|Posted on 2 November, 2016 at 9:05|
Have you recently had one of your covers taken down from Facebook? You're not alone! Many artists have had their covers taken down recently, leaving them worried about infringements and having to start again to build popularity on their posts.
For those that don't understand why this is an issue, in a nutshell - thanks to the algorithms of facebook, it means less exposure of your artist/band page, and somehow trying to claw back the audience lost through the deletion of that video. For some, this will mean the loss of hundreds and perhaps even thousands of likes/shares/comments that helped put the artist/band in a potential fan's newsfeed, perhaps even losing the proof of notoriety that high profile agents are looking for when booking an act for gigs/tours.
So why is it happening?
I decided to contact Universal Music Publishing Group (the ones doing the majority of reporting and taking down of videos on Facebook) directly to find out, and it turns out that it is in fact for a worthy cause - the protection of copyright for songwriters, and ensuring the receipt of payment for their works. A worthy cause indeed.
Universal has a licensing agreement with many social media platforms, but for some reason, Facebook, one of the biggest platforms of all, are dragging their feet on the issue. Refusing to negotiate an agreement that will ensure songwriters recieve payment for their works.
David Benjamin from 'Universal Music Publishing Group' continues:
"this is an important and necessary action to assure that artists and music creators are fairly compensated for their hard work, we regret that this action, and the reasons why it happened, surprised you. We appreciate the opportunity to explain.
Recording artists and songwriters earn their living from their music. Our role is to connect them with fans in ways that are entertaining and convenient and accessible, so that everyone can enjoy the music in a mutually beneficial way. For example, we have licensed more than 400 digital music services. As a result, last year music fans enjoyed more music than ever before in history.
The issue here is that Facebook, Inc. – unlike our hundreds of other partners – has generally decided not to obtain licenses or pay for the use of our music on its platform, including cover versions of songs. This has become particularly problematic since Facebook launched its native video player, which increasingly makes our music content available in a manner that deprives artists and songwriters of fair compensation and unfairly competes with licensed services that pay for music consumption.
We hope that you share our goal to assure our music creators are compensated fairly, and that you understand why we need to take these actions on their behalf. We certainly understand any frustration you might have, but remain hopeful that Facebook, Inc. will license music so we can all enjoy the platform without these types of issues. Of course, in the meantime, we encourage you to post on licensed platforms."
So all is not lost! There is a way to share covers on Social Media, without the issue of copyright infringement. Universal has confirmed that Youtube has negotiated a licensing agreement and is therefore the best platform to share covers with your audience, especially to count traffic numbers and guage success of a particular song.
This means uploading your cover to Youtube, and then sharing the link on Facebook. Thereby ensuring the writer gets the royalties they deserve for their hard work!
Interesting times for the Music Industry ahead. It is most definitely a positive way forward for our writers, and a small bump in the road for performers. Here's hoping Facebook decides to negotiate an agreement in the near future!
- Written by Gemma Luxton
Gemma Luxton is a multi-award winning, Top 30 Charting Singer/Songwriter/Vocal Coach at Gemstar Academy of Voice & Music, where students gain invaluable experience in a model music industry environment, learning to sing in a recording studio, recording their finished songs (originals and covers) and putting them to a music video to share with fans, friends and family. As well as learning the ins and outs of social media, entertainment agencies and general industry knowledge, thereby gaining the experience required to be an artist in today's music industry.