'It came out of nowhere': Martin Bandier takes us inside Sony/ATV's Facebook deal

Martin Bandier

Sony/ATV chairman/CEO Martin Bandier has given Music Week an insight into the music publishing giant’s groundbreaking deal with social media behemoth Facebook.

The multi-territory, multi-year deal – announced in January – gives Sony/ATV’s stellar stable of songwriters the opportunity to earn royalties from the use of their music on Facebook, Instagram and Oculus for the first time.

“It’s pretty terrific that they recognise they needed to make a deal,” said Bandier, in an exclusive interview in the current print edition of Music Week. “That’s one I’m happy with, because it came out of nowhere. You’re talking about starting from zero so, if we got a dollar, it’s a dollar more than you ever got before. But believe me we got more than a dollar! You can rely on that!”

Bandier said the sheer scale of Facebook’s reach means that monetising music on its site could have a transformative effect on the biz.

“It’s terrific,” he said. “Because music is part of the fabric of people’s lives and, when you have two billion users every month, my God. The reach of music just continues to grow. It’s part of everything we do.”

In line with Music Week’s recent revelations that most deals with Facebook – as also struck by the likes of Universal Music, Kobalt, HFA/Rumblefish and Global Music Rights – are structured like settlements, with lump sum payments designed to allow the social media site to experiment, Bandier said he expected the deal to change as Facebook’s music strategy becomes more defined.

“We made a short term deal so that they can figure out their music strategy and we can better price the deal [in future],” he said.

Facebook does not yet have a PRS For Music licence, but PRS/ICE CEO Robert Ashcroft recently told Music Week that negotiations between the pan-European licensing body and Facebook were under way.

“I don’t think that there’s any difference in principle,” Ashcroft told Music Week. “So I’m sure that will be concluded in the near future. It’s not as if they’re not trying, it’s not as if we’re not trying, there’s just a lot of discussions to go through.”

To read Music Week’s Sony/ATV cover story, featuring the full interview with Bandier, Guy Moot and Brian Monaco, see the current print edition of Music Week or click here. To subscribe and never miss a vital music biz story, click here.

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