Snap Inc. is reportedly in discussions with major record labels to add more music to Snapchat, as the company looks to better compete against rivals such as massively popular TikTok.
The Wall Street Journal, citing sources familiar with the matter, reported that Snap is seeking broad rights to the music catalogs of Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group. This will be a departure from the music licenses that Snap currently holds, as they are on a case-by-case basis.
Snap wants to “expand the ways users can include music in posts,” and securing licenses from the major labels will allow Snapchat users to enjoy musical features similar to the ones offered by TikTok, as well as Instagram Stories. The two apps offer features to add short clips from popular songs to posts, and it appears that the plan is to enable the capability on Snapchat as well.
Snap rolled out lip syncing to Snapchat’s Lens Challenges in December last year, which combined lip sync videos with augmented reality effects. However, the music, such as Gwen Stefani’s Jingle Bells, were locked within the Lenses. A broader licensing deal will presumably allow music to be added to any video recorded and posted on the app.
TikTok in particular has drawn people away from Snapchat, as the Wall Street Journal said that the app has taken advantage of low-cost licensing deals that were worked out with Musical.ly, which parent company ByteDance acquired in 2017. Musical.ly was merged with TikTok last August, pushing the app to its status as the most downloaded iOS app for the last five quarters.
It remains unclear how long Snapchat users will have to wait before they get to enjoy new music features. While Snap’s talks with the record labels are not yet final, they have “intensified in recent weeks.”
Snap, which has been looking to attract new users to Snapchat, announced a series of partnerships in April, including with Tinder and Houseparty. The first original game for Snapchat, Bitmoji Party, was also revealed, alongside new functions to the app’s AR Bar. Snap also rolled out a revamped Snapchat for Android, to address the app’s slow and buggy performance on the mobile operating system.