During the last week or so, musicians all over the internet have been in a panic when news got around that Facebook’s music guidelines were changing on October 1st, and nobody would be allowed to live stream their shows or post music videos without risking their videos being removed or their accounts being deleted.. Thankfully, this has turned out to be untrue.
The wording of the current music guidelines sounds scary:
“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.”
According to nme.com, a spokesperson for Facebook stated that “Although there are new guidelines that will come into effect across the site in October, the music guidelines for Facebook’s Terms of Service have been in place since 2018, and the updates will not affect artists using the site to livestream gigs or share their music.”
What seems to have happened this past week is that the music guidelines that already exist saw the light of day…and since most people don’t read the terms of service for anything, it appeared to be something new. This, along with the fact that there is an update scheduled for October 1st caused the information to be blurred. You remember the telephone game? It’s like that.
There was also an unannounced update on September 11th on the Facebook for Media blog where the site clarifies the guidelines for using music in video. One section reads:
“Music in stories and traditional live music performances (e.g., filming an artist or band performing live) are permitted.”
This is all good news for musicians who have been relying on live streaming to keep in touch with fans and make a few bucks. However, those who use recorded tracks still need to watch their backs.
The update states: “Our partnerships with rights holders have brought people together around music on our platforms. As part of our licensing agreements, there are limitations around the amount of recorded music that can be included in Live broadcasts or videos.”
So if you’re singing along to pre-recorded karaoke tracks, you still do run the risk of getting your videos muted or deleted, and your account being cancelled. But so far this hasn’t seemed to be a widespread issue, and since these guidelines have been in place for two years already, you should be good.
But just so we’re clear—Facebook will not be shutting down live streams of your music performances starting October 1st, so there’s nothing to worry about if you are a musician who likes to perform in front of a virtual audience. Keep doing what you’re doing.