Musicians, artists, bands, please read:
There is so much misinformation and misleading headlines about Facebook’s change to “listening experiences” happening on October 1st, so I wanted to help clarify.
In short: If you’re doing a concert from your living room, singing your own songs, you have nothing to worry about.
Keep going live!
What’s the difference between a “listening experience” and a normal live-streamed concert on Facebook?
I’ve been asked many times about the Facebook Terms of Service and how it specifically calls out “listening experiences” as something Facebook will now block or remove. Lots of artists assume “listening experience” is synonymous with live streams. NO!
These policies have actually been in place since 2018, but what Facebook is trying to do is clarify what they mean by a “listening experience.” Basically, Facebook does not want users turning the platform into Spotify or YouTube Music, where you open it up and push play, and then go about your business. They want content where people are actively engaged, watching, commenting, and sharing.
Facebook clearly states that they don’t want you taking copyrighted material like music OR podcasts and using them to create a “listening experience.” That means if you want to be a playlist curator, go to Spotify; this platform is not for you. If you want to be a podcast curator, this platform is not for you.
Again, Facebook is not a platform you have running in the background to listen to stuff while you work or clean the house. That’s a “listening experience” according to Facebook.
An artist’s livestream concert is NOT a “listening experience” (according to Facebook), it’s an interactive social event.
If you want to make content people enjoy and engage with on platform (like your livestream to your fans), Facebook is a great spot to do it!
Here are some examples of things you can NOT do on Facebook Live:
1. You cannot post an art-track video of your song (album art image with music playing).
2. You cannot post a video with a static image and the music playing (like a peaceful nature image with music). It’s the same concept as an art-track, but worth clarifying.
So, your video MUST have visual motion like your official music video.
3. You cannot string multiple music videos together (even if they have motion) to create a playlist type experience.
4. You cannot start a Facebook livestream and just stream your music through it like it’s Spotify.
Facebook Live is not intended to be a tool for passive listening.
It’s a social platform and they want to keep it social.
This does NOT impact you going live to play music to your fans. Facebook has been launching new tools (like Facebook Stars) to make the experience of live-streaming concerts even more beneficial to artists (your fans can tip you during a live stream). They’ve also made some great improvements to the comment section during a live stream that make it more fun and interactive for your fans/viewers.
What about copyrighted content on Facebook Live?
With all that said, Facebook’s copyright system doesn’t work the same way as YouTube’s Content ID system, and that’s where more confusion has been happening when artists discuss Facebook’s rules. If you have a livestream and you use recorded music you don’t have rights to, your stream may get pulled from Facebook.
This can impact DJs who are often using samples and recordings that they don’t have clearance to use. This can happen on YouTube as well, but their systems are very different, and many artists are assuming what works on YouTube will work on Facebook — and that’s just false.
I hope that helps. If you’re experiencing something different, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.