Event bans and travel restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic have prompted artists from across the electronic music spectrum to live stream more of their sets. Facebook, where a large number of them take place, has announced monetization functions in a seeming effort to help content creators shore up losses from the crisis.
Some suspect that DJs may get the raw end of the deal, however.
The new Facebook Live features were outlined in a Friday, April 24th update obtained by Music Business Worldwide. The platform shared that “to support creators and small businesses,” admins of pages will be allowed “to charge for access to events with Live videos on Facebook – anything from online performances to classes to professional conferences.” The social media giant will also expand its “Stars” donation credits feature as well as its “Live With” guest speaker function.
Disc jockeys displaced by novel coronavirus concerns have largely met the news with excitement, but they should perhaps tread with caution. As we’ve been over recently, Facebook’s Community Guidelines expressly forbid any of its products from being used to create a “music listening experience,” including performances.
Some have speculated that admins allow such use of Facebook Live to go on anyways in the interest of avoiding PR backlash in times of crisis. “The fact remains, though, that getting away with something does not change whether its permissible, just like going 20 over the speed limit without getting a ticket doesn’t change the speed limit,” intellectual property lawyer Davey Jay told Selector in an email.
Perhaps more telling of how Facebook will adapt to the copyright landscape around DJ sets is an apparent change in how it penalizes infractions. According to Digital DJ Tips, artists who stream copyrighted content have reported being temporarily blocked from the Facebook Live feature. Previously, the platform would merely stop the stream or mute portions of the recording.
Twitch and Mixcloud remain the most favorable options for DJs looking to live stream their sets. The latter platform recently announced a feature called Mixcloud Live that will utilize a different license than most social media sites to ensure its live streams are 100% legal. YouTube is also relatively lenient, notifying copyright holders but leaving up to them whether the live stream remains online.
Facebook has yet to provide a specific date when its live stream monetization function will be available to business page admins.