Snap today announced a multi-year agreement with Universal Music Group, one of the world’s largest music companies. From Queen to Justin Bieber, users can pull songs from the vast UMG catalog to use in their Snaps and on Spotlight, the app’s TikTok competitor. The announcement comes after Snapchat added its Sounds feature in October, which allows users to enhance their Snaps with Snap-licensed music. Snap says that since then, more than 521 million videos have been created using Sounds, which have been viewed over 31 billion times.
Of course, Snapchat’s investment in music is a direct response to the growth of music on TikTok. Last year, Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 album “Rumors” returned to the Billboard charts after “Dreams,” a song on the record, went viral on TikTok. Dance trends also often go viral on TikTok, which may correlate with increased sales for the artist whose song is featured. So, the more music licensed by apps like TikTok and Snapchat, the more opportunities there are for another Nathan Apodaca moment, which means free publicity for the platform.
Already, Gen Z artists like Olivia Rodrigo have taken advantage of these social platforms to promote their new music. On Snap, more than 10 million videos have been created using his song “Driver’s License,” Snap reports. Rodrigo was also the first artist to use AR lenses on Snapchat to promote her first record “Sour,” but to be fair, she also shared AR effects on Instagram.
Olivia Rodrigo sings “déjà vu” on her new album, and you might also have déjà vu from Snap’s announcement. TikTok also struck a deal with UMG in February. And before that, in November, TikTok announced a new licensing deal with Sony. Meanwhile, Snap’s portfolio of music partners includes Warner Music Group, Sony Music Publishing, and more. These offers are not exclusive – you can make a video with “déjà vu” on Snapchat, TikTok and Instagram. When it comes to deals like these, it’s a constant battle of reactionary one-upmanship. If TikTok makes a deal with UMG, Snapchat also needs to make a deal with UMG to stay competitive, which we see today. As our friend Olivia would say, it’s brutal here.