Facebook has signed what it describes as a ‘holistic’ licensing agreement with Warner Music Group today as it looks to continue its expansion into the world of music, pitting itself directly against YouTube.

The new deal will allow Facebook and Instagram users to post videos or send messages with a soundtrack provided by Warner Music artists, such as Prince, Phil Collins and Cardi B, and covers both recorded music and songwriting.

Since the end of 2017, Facebook has secured similar deals with Universal Music, Sony/ATV, and several other groups, with Warner being the last big hold-out.

“When Facebook and music come together, we have the power to bring people closer together,” said Tamara Hrivnak, head of music business development and partnerships at Facebook.

Hrivnak joined Facebook from YouTube a little over a year ago in a move that signalled the intent of the social media giant.

“Music brings to life the happy, the sad, the throwback and the funny in all the moments and messages we share with friends. We are delighted to partner with Warner, its artists and songwriters, and welcome them to our platforms.”

“The team at Facebook is creating a truly innovative product and is showing real commitment to its participation in the growth of the music business,” said Eric Mackay, executive vice president of global digital strategy at Warner/Chappell.

“We’ve taken our time to arrive at the best possible deal, one that recognises the value that music creates on social networks while empowering our songwriters to reach audiences around the world, in a way that will spark creativity and conversation among their fans. Our incredible catalogue of songs will be represented throughout Facebook’s platforms and we’re excited to work together to create new opportunities for both our songwriters and Facebook’s users,” he added.

Facebook will now start paying royalties for all music posted on Facebook and Instagram, including fan covers and wedding dance videos.

The number of videos posted on both Facebook and Instagram has rocketed over the last few years, however, all music included in the posts was, until recently, unlicensed, leading major record labels to retaliate by slapping Facebook with cease and desist notices for their content.

We will also be on the ground next week reporting on the Irish presence at SXSW, South by South West, one of the biggest entertainment industry events in the world.