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Snapchat Adds Music - It's A Big Deal, But Will Artists And Songwriters Get Paid?

Snapchat now allows you to add music tracks to your snap videos on iPhones, taking songs from Spotify, iTunes and other music services. You can simultaneously run audio apps, like Soundcloud and Spotify, while taping a Snapchat video at the same time. It will then add that as a soundtrack when the snap is uploaded or sent to friends. The update is yet to run on Android devices and also explains why Snapchat recently banned Mindie, an app that allows you to make mini music videos by adding audio to video.

The update is a minor feature change but its implications are bigger than they may seem. Snapchat has been very public about its music ambitions, including rumoured talks to start a label or to buy Taylor Swift’s Big Machine records, and now those plans became a little bit more concrete with the addition of music to the popular messaging app. The addition of music to the messaging app follows Madonna’s debut of her new music video on Snapchat (a first for the company) and partnership with Warner Music Group and others to provide content for Discover, a curated news feed, earlier this month.

So, what does this update mean for artists and songwriters? According to Billboard, this could have a serious impact on licensing and artists compensation, as it’s doubtful that anyone thought of this use when they signed their original deal with Spotify or iTunes. NMPA (trade association for the American music publishing industry) president David Israelite says:

"Anytime a commercial application wants to use music in its for-profit operations there is a concern that the music is properly licensed and that songwriters are properly compensated. We are looking at this new Snapchat functionality to determine if it is properly licensed."

Music has come to Snapchat, and it will give the company an advantage over Vine, which still doesn’t have this functionality, but what is means for marketing and monetization remains to be seen. 


Adenike Gboyega