Snap, whose features have been copied directly by Facebook, is now borrowing a concept popularized by short-form lip-sync app TikTok: It’s going to let Snapchat users add officially licensed music tracks to videos.
Snap plans to launch the music feature widely in the fall of 2020 for English users. For now, Snapchat has kicked off a test of the music-video feature in Australia and New Zealand (starting Aug. 3).
“We’re always looking for new ways to give Snapchatters creative tools to express themselves. Music is a new dimension they can add to their Snaps that helps capture feelings and moments they want to share with their real friends,” a Snap spokeswoman said.
Snap has secured licensing deals with partners including Warner Music Group, Warner Chappell, Universal Music Publishing Group, the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), and Merlin.
Word that Snap was in talks with music companies emerged over a year ago. The social media and messaging app still doesn’t have deals with Sony Music Entertainment or Universal Music’s recorded music side of the house, two of the industry’s biggest players.
“We’re constantly building on our relationships within the music industry, and making sure the entire music ecosystem (artists, labels, songwriters, publishers and streaming services) are seeing value in our partnerships,” the Snap rep said.
TikTok, meanwhile, will face new competition from Instagram, which is expected to soon roll out a short-form video feature called “Reels.” (Separately, Facebook has launched official music videos, to take on YouTube in that area.) In recent weeks, TikTok has become a geopolitical football: Microsoft is in talks to buy the Chinese-owned app, after Donald Trump late last week threatened to ban TikTok over national-security concerns given the app’s ties to China.
According to Snap, Snapchat users will be able to add music to Snaps (pre- or post-capture) from a catalog of music. The feature will give Snapchatters a new way to discover music from both emerging and established artists.
“Both Warner Music and Snap have long track records of embracing innovation and experimentation, and working closely together, our goal is to enable cutting edge social tools to bring our artists’ music to Snap’s highly engaged user base,” Oana Ruxandra, WMG’s chief digital officer and EVP of business development, said in a statement.
When a friend sends a Snap with music, you swipe up to view the album art, song title, and name of the artist. A “Play This Song” link will open a page with links to listen to the full song on streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and SoundCloud.
In the U.S., Snap claims that Snapchat reaches 90% of all people between 13-24 — more than Facebook, Instagram and Messenger combined. The company also says Snapchat reaches more people in the U.S. (more than 100 million per month) than Twitter and TikTok combined.
NMPA CEO David Israelite said the org’s deal with Snap “will bring an important new revenue stream to publishers and songwriters and improve the overall quality of the app for users. Snap is doing it the right way — licensing the music it needs before launching to the public.”