Twitter’s Discussions Over Licensing Music Said to Stall Under Elon Musk

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Technology|Twitter’s Discussions Over Licensing Music Said to Stall Under Elon Musk

Twitter didn’t determination guardant with the euphony licensing deals due to the fact that of costs, radical with cognition of the substance said.

Elon Musk, successful  a suit   and tie, speaks into a hand-held microphone successful  beforehand   of a bluish  backdrop.
Twitter, led by Elon Musk, is 1 of the past large societal media platforms without euphony licensing deals.Credit...Ntb, via Reuters

March 17, 2023, 11:15 a.m. ET

Twitter explored the licensing of euphony rights from 3 large labels earlier negotiations stalled aft Elon Musk’s takeover of the company, said 8 radical with cognition of the discussions, who were not authorized to talk publicly.

Twitter is 1 of the past large societal media platforms without euphony licensing deals successful place, which allows the sites to big virtually each commercially disposable audio contented without fearfulness of takedowns oregon ineligible reprisal. Facebook, Instagram and TikTok person each made agreements for euphony rights.

Twitter had avoided signing deals for euphony rights, which necessitate societal media companies to compensate rights holders erstwhile users station oregon play contented with song. The costs of the licenses tin vary, but tin beryllium good implicit $100 cardinal a twelvemonth for established social-media platforms. Twitter has forgone the licensing deals due to the fact that of the costs, 5 erstwhile employees said.

Twitter and Mr. Musk did not respond to an email petition for comment.

Twitter began negotiations with the 3 large euphony conglomerates — Universal, Sony and Warner — successful the autumn of 2021, according to six radical adjacent to the talks. When Mr. Musk announced his intent to bargain the institution past April, immoderate euphony manufacture leaders saw his engagement arsenic an accidental to yet get the deals done.

“Twitter uses a important magnitude of euphony but dissimilar each different mainstream societal media platforms has refused to licence that euphony oregon compensate songwriters,” David Israelite, the main enforcement of the National Music Publishers’ Association, a commercialized group, tweeted astatine Mr. Musk that month. “Please help.”

For the euphony companies, licensing agreements with Twitter would correspond not lone an further root of gross but would besides resoluteness longstanding problems of copyright infringement on the platform.

After Mr. Musk bought Twitter successful October for $44 billion, talks continued arsenic helium flirted with the thought of challenging TikTok and resurrecting Vine, a once-popular abbreviated video app that Twitter had bought successful 2012 but unopen down successful 2016.

Mr. Musk’s squad was intrigued by the thought of adding euphony to the platform, and his idiosyncratic lawyer, Alex Spiro, who has besides represented artists including Jay-Z and Megan Thee Stallion, held meetings to recognize the presumption of the statement negotiations and measure the costs, 4 radical acquainted with the interior discussions said.

Mr. Spiro, who oversaw Twitter’s ineligible portfolio during Mr. Musk’s acquisition, departed the company successful December. He successfully defended Mr. Musk successful a Tesla shareholder suit this year.

The internal chaos astatine Twitter pursuing Mr. Musk’s takeover disrupted the negotiations, six radical said. The institution eliminated immoderate of the radical liable for the euphony rights talks successful respective rounds of layoffs, leaving the labels with fewer remaining Twitter contacts, said 4 radical astatine the large euphony companies who were briefed connected the discussions.

Mr. Musk’s squad has besides chopped hundreds of millions of dollars successful expenditures astatine Twitter — missing bureau rent payments, shortchanging bundle vendors and eliminating a information center — portion requiring that each fiscal outlay beryllium justified nether caller budgets. With those mandates, 2 radical said, the institution had small means to warrant paying tens of millions of dollars to euphony rights holders.

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