UC Reacts to Facebook Music Policy Updates


Photo: SoundGuys

Rebekah Hedeen, Assistant Features Editor

It’s said that music is for the soul. A well-known phrase among musicians and connoisseurs of the art. Due to recent changes in social media publishing rights regarding how artists display their music, the future of music seems to be in dispute. 

Facebook made changes likely to protect itself from copyright infringement, according to an article by AltPress. However, many say musicians will probably find a way to continue sharing music.

WPNR Chief Operator and Station Manager Doug Croft is aware of the recent changes to Facebook’s music publishing services. These restrictions are primarily due to a large majority of artists playing covers from other artists. 

“There are federally enforced rules about streaming music held or owned by copyright holders that require royalty distribution for the play of their artist content on any medium,” Croft said.  “Broadcasters that stream their content and music streaming services have to pay small dividends for the use of copyrighted material all the time, including our own college radio station, WPNR-FM.”

The Facebook policy change broadly indicates that anyone who creates a listening experience for viewers will be strictly disciplined. 

“The large labels have a lot of legal resources to ensure the protection of their copyrighted material, which should lead to a higher level of compliance,” Marketing and Research Professor Chris Tingley said. “As far as smaller artists, my guess is that many will ignore the policies until they are forced to follow them.”

While Facebook is certainly limiting their users ability to post music specific videos, they are not prohibited. What they are striving for is to remove the possible blame from the media company themselves and onto the user so they are not held responsible for it.

“We want to encourage musical expression on our platforms while also ensuring that we uphold our agreements with rights holders,” a statement from Facebook officials said.

Tingley mentioned that in the current climate it is difficult to make a living in the music industry and the enforcement of these policies will help artists with copyrights earn that with less of a challenge than those who do not have one.

“It is going to make it more difficult for independent artists to promote their music,” Tingley said. “For now, the right answer would be to use other platforms, such as YouTube, but to be warned that these regulations will likely snowball into other platforms as well.”

The question of how these new changes will impact artists and their ability to share music is quite prominent. However, some believe that the reality is that creative individuals will prevail.

“This is certainly a punch to the gut with a good amount of force to the collective creative communities; particularly up and coming music artists hoping to leverage these platforms to build popularity,” Croft said. “But, this is not a knock-out punch. Creative people will adapt and find new outlets.”

According to Tingley, the end of music is a question that remains but is likely to never happen regardless of whether there is a global pandemic or media platforms are revising their policies.

“I have spent most of my life attending as many live concerts as possible, as well as I spent years as a live performer who wrote and recorded multiple albums,” Tingley said. “In my experience, artists have always found a way to bring their music to their audience. With the current restrictions, artists will just have to be creative and use other platforms.”

In an age of technological advancements and an abundance of creativity, this media-based limitation will not stop artists from creating and sharing music and nor will it halt listeners from finding it.

“There was music before social media and there will be music after it,” Tingley said. “If the music is good enough, fans will hear it.”