Facebook’s [not new] Music Guidelines – What You Need to Know

Facebook Music Guidelines – What You Need to Know


Countless articles have been published across the web leading us to believe that Facebook has “new” music guidelines going into effect on Oct. 1st. These reports claim that — among other things — Facebook will start “banning music in livestreams.”

As someone who’s seen and personally visited Facebook jail before, let me assure you – these updates are. not. new. 

Facebook music guidelines have not changed; nor will they on October 1st.

This article will take a deep dive into the updates and help you determine if your content strategy may need to change.

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A Quick Music Guideline Timeline for Facebook

facebook music

Here’s a timeline of Facebook’s Music Guidelines and what you need to know.

2018 – United States legislation signed into law The Music Modernization Act aimed to modernize copyright-related issues for music and audio recordings due to new forms of technology like digital streaming.

2018 – Facebook publishes its Music Guidelines in an effort to balance its commitment to supporting musical expression also ensuring they stick to their agreements with rights holders.

2020 (March) – The pandemic shuts down entire industries, including the music business, forcing artists and musicians to turn to livestreaming and online concerts for connection and income.

2020 (May) –  Facebook publishes an Updates and Guidelines for Including Music In Video article that breaks down exactly what can be used in recordings and livestreams.

2020 (September) – Facebook announces new Terms of Service (TOS) that has ONE line change that discusses their ability to remove content: 

“We also can remove or restrict access to your content, services or information if we determine that doing so is reasonably necessary to avoid or mitigate adverse legal or regulatory impacts to Facebook.”

This is the only sentence that will be different come October 1st, but it happened to be the first time a lot of musicians saw the 2018 guidelines.

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How Are Artists and Musicians Impacted? 

facebook music guidelines

2018 Music Guidelines

In the 2018 guidelines, it has some very ambiguous threatening phrases that, if read the correct way (or the wrong way), sound very ominous for independent musicians.

For example: 

“Use of music for commercial or non-personal purposes, in particular, is prohibited unless you have obtained appropriate licenses.”

In plain English, it sounds like, “don’t use other people’s pre-recorded music,” but it’s never spelled out like that. And by the way, this is not legal advice (I’m required to say that, correct?)

The very next section though is what’s been quoted in many articles…

You may not use videos on our Products to create a music listening experience

We want you to be able to enjoy videos posted by family and friends. However, if you use videos on our Products to create a music listening experience for yourself or for others, your videos will be blocked and your page, profile or group may be deleted. This includes Live.

Understandably, that whole section sounds very restricting. Especially not being able to use videos to “create music listening experiences” and “this includes Live.” 

But it’s actually not all that confusing once you consider the timeline.

The reason we didn’t get all shaken up about the guidelines in 2018 is twofold — (1) we didn’t (as a whole) actually see them and (2) we still had venues, clubs, and festivals and weren’t depending solely on livestreams.

May 2020 Clarification

Facebook’s clarification in May 2020 was the very plain language explanation we needed and came on the heels of 2 months of 1000’s of livestream concerts, festivals, and events.

In this post, what we can and cannot do is spelled out a little more clearly…

While the specifics of our licensing agreements are confidential, today we’re sharing some general guidelines to help you plan your videos better:

  • Music in stories and traditional live music performances (e.g., filming an artist or band performing live) are permitted.
  • The greater the number of full-length recorded tracks in a video, the more likely it may be limited (more below on what we mean by “limited”).
  • Shorter clips of music are recommended.
  • There should always be a visual component to your video; recorded audio should not be the primary purpose of the video.

So for the most part, Facebook isn’t going to ban your livestreams but you still might have some desicions to make. Here’s the bottom line for using music in video…

  • Using anyone else’s PRE-RECORDED MUSIC in your video or livestream is prohibited. This is one of the main reasons the Music Modernization Act exists.

However, according to Facebook music streaming guidelines (which are somewhat in line with sites like Twitch and YouTube)…

  • PERFORMING A COVER of someone else’s music is permitted as long as you or someone is playing the instrument.

What Does That Mean for Your Streams?

Anyone using pre-recorded tracks or songs in their recordings or livestreams are running the risk of being muted (in whole or in part) or possibly having the content deleted.

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Here’s an example of a message on a livestream that was broadcast in April.

The notification which appeared after the livestream had ended goes on to provide two options:

Post partially muted – This is the option you’d choose if you do not have permission to use the music. The video will remain published but will be muted during any segments that contain the song in question.

Restore audio – Choose this option if this was truly a mistake and you have permission to use the music. Your video will be posted without anything muted.

This has probably impacted you in some way if you are in any of the following categories…

  • DJs streaming their live sets from various artists
  • Singers performing to recorded tracks to cover songs
    • Note – purchasing karaoke or instrumental tracks will not protect you from these guidelines.
  • Musicians playing along to instrumental tracks of cover songs is still pre-recorded music and not allowed.

Facebook is also taking strides to notify artists during a broadcast if a livestream will be removed. 

This will allow musicians time to adjust or end their livestreams. Plus, Facebook also claims they’ll make it more clear what actions you can take to prevent the interruption. 

facebook music

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Figuring Out Your Livestream Strategy

Live video is still the BEST way to reach your fans, regardless of how your livestreaming or content plans are affected.

Here are a few reasons why:

  • 82% of people prefer live video from a brand over standard social media posts. (Livestream)
  • 70% of consumers who live stream do so at least once per day. (IAB)

Going live is only one type of content, but it will help you connect with your fans the quickest. Don’t get caught thinking that 2020 is a wash. Obviously a LOT is going on, but this is just the beginning…

  • By the end of 2020, live streaming is expected to account for 82% of all internet traffic. (Go-Global)

With the launch of new features like charging for livestreams via paid online events, the ability to stream up to 50-person messenger rooms, and a wider rollout of Twitch-like monetization with Facebook Stars, it’s obvious to me they are well aware of the need for musicians to express themselves and make a living in the process.

If you’re just getting started with your livestreams or want to get creative with your current process, grab my free Livestream Checklist.

It is a step-by-step guide that walks you through what to do before, during, and after your livestreams. Head over to ArtistCollect.com/GoLive and download yours today.


Leonard Patterson is a former front-man for a 6-figure party band, a booking agent with 1000’s of shows under his belt, and a certified digital marketer. As the Head of Content Marketing at The Artist Collective, his mission is to help indie artists and bands create, curate, and automate their social success. 

Subscribe to the Artist Collective YouTube Channel for time-saving tips and livestream strategies so you can get back to the music.

instagram stories music

How To Add Music To Your Instagram Story

How to Add Music to Your Instagram Story       

Here is a simple guide to easily join the millions of people getting creative by adding music to their Instagram Stories. 

What is now known as the Instagram “music sticker” works for photos and videos posted onto ones Instagram story. All you have to do is pick the perfect tune out of a selection of thousands to fit your video or pic. 

  1. First, make sure that the latest version of the Instagram app is downloaded on your phone either on Android of your iOS device. 
  1. Open the Instagram app hit the home page button as shown below. Then hit the camera icon in the top left corner to open Instagram Stories. 
  1. Once here select the media on your phone that you want to post by tapping on the bottom left hand corner. 
how to add music to instagram story
  1. Then select the stickers icon that look like a squared smiley face. 
how to add music to instagram story
  1. Select the icon that says “Music” 

5 ways to take the guesswork out of your social media strategy

how to add music to instagram story
  1. Pick whatever song you want to add to your media. 
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  1. Slide the multicolored bar to select what part of the song you want to play while displaying your media. 
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  1. Tap the logo of the song to either display the logo as is or display the lyrics of the song. There are various options: one can display different version of the album cover or display the lyrics of the song in different fonts by continuing to tap on the icon of the song that appears. 
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  1. Position the lyrics or image wherever you want and the portion of the song you selected will play with the media you selected. Then hit the “Your Story” icon to post your masterpiece to your Instagram story.
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Hope this helped you learn how to add music to your Instagram story. Feel free to leave comments below. Also make sure to add hashtags and tag your friends by using the text feature that is in the upper right-hand corner of the story feature while editing. Also, you can tap on the sticker icon once more and add fun GIFs to the media you are creating. 

Now go crazy and add some fun tunes to whatever you are posting. Or even just take a video of yourself dancing and add a fun song to it. The world is yours so start putting some stories out there have fun.  

live streaming musicians

Live Streaming for Musicians

Live streaming for musicians

It’s been a long few months…Live music is still on pause and live streaming isn’t going anywhere. We’ve been live streaming with Gigmor musicians since the very start and we’ve learned a lot in the process. We decided to put together a Live Streaming for Musicians primer for anyone looking to get started. It’s a great way to reconnect with your fans if your gigs got canceled and also a great way to start performing live for the first time.

What platform is best for musicians?

There are now several live streaming platforms to choose from. Some are completely free for the audience and others offer ticketing services. Most offer at least some way to collect tips from your fans via a virtual tip jar. The big names should be familiar at this point: Twitch, YouTube and Instagram Live. Which platform you choose should depend on how you plan to perform and where you are in your career. If you’re able to sell 50+ tickets IRL, you should check out some of the ticket based services. For this guide we’re going to focus on the more open platforms. There are also services that allow for multi-streaming (streaming to more than one platform at once) like Restream but depending on your needs, it may cost $$$.


musicians live streaming

Gigmor Live, our own live streaming show for musicians, is broadcasted on Twitch so that should tell you a little bit about how we feel about the platform. Twitch has a huge built-in audience of gamers and it was one of the first live streaming platforms that musicians started gravitating towards once quarantine went into effect. It’s completely free to use for the audience but there are several ways to collect tips and monetize your streams.

The primary way that streamers monetize their streams on Twitch is through fan subscriptions. When someone subscribes to your channel they are paying $4.99/month and you split that revenue with Twitch. The exact revenue split is determined by your tenure on Twitch as well as some gamified stats on your channel’s performance. For their $4.99/month, the subscriber gets ad-free viewing on your channel, custom channel emojis and a few other perks. Your viewers can also ‘tip’ you using Twitch currency called ‘bits’.

Twitch is a great all around choice to start streaming because it is default free to use for your fans but there are options to monetize without paywalling. On the technical side, you will need to use broadcasting software like OBS or Streamlabs to stream. Twitch works with Restream and other multi-streaming services so streaming on Twitch is not an all-or-nothing proposition. The Twitch mobile app is excellent and also allows you to go live from your phone, albeit in a much more basic format. 


If you already have a presence on YouTube, this is the no-brainer choice. There are some other, very obvious reasons why YouTube is a good choice for anyone: it’s one of the most visited sites in the world, there is a huge built-in audience, it requires no sign-up to watch videos or streams etc.

That being said, YouTube has not put a lot of effort behind streaming. In fact, it’s not totally obvious where to watch live streams on YouTube if you were just browsing the site. It lacks some of the categorization that Twitch has which makes it very simple to find what you’re looking for. YouTube studio has an in-browser tool to help you go live with your webcam but if you’re using a more complicated setup with multiple cameras, microphones or you’re using backing tracks, you will need broadcasting software like OBS. YouTube is compatible with Restream and other multi-streaming services, as well. 

Instagram Live

The biggest advantage that Instagram has as a live streaming platform is that it is very simple to go live. You can go live straight from your phone (which has technical advantages as a streaming device) on an app that you’re probably already used to. Your followers, which you’ve probably been accumulating for the past few years, will receive a notification immediately. Phones are excellent streaming devices because they are designed to send and receive real-time video and audio over occasionally unstable wireless networks. Even phones that are a few years old would have no problem meeting the technical demands of a live stream.

The only disadvantage is also how simple it is. You can ONLY go live from your phone, meaning that the only camera and microphone you can use are your phone’s. You can forget about having several different camera angles, microphones, graphics, backing tracks etc. It’s just you and your phone. For some musicians, this is all you need. Playing an acoustic set? Instagram is perfectly suited for that. Anything more ambitious and you’ll have problems. As far as monetization goes, there isn’t much here, so if you’re looking to earn even a little money, you’ll need to go elsewhere. 

Broadcasting software

Whichever platform you decide is best for you, you will likely need broadcasting software to send your stream to that platform. We’ve mentioned Streamlabs and OBS a few times. OBS is an open source broadcasting software and Streamlabs is a ‘fork’ of OBS. Streamlabs is based on OBS code but with several bells and whistles added with advanced functionality for streamers. Streamlabs, subjectively, has a nicer UI and includes many useful features that OBS does not such as a chat moderation bot and support for ‘widgets’ (animated gifs and sound effects that play when someone subscribes to your channel or during other similar actions). Both are excellent choices however. Try both and see which you prefer and which your computer runs better. 


Speaking of your computer, you’ll need a good one. Streaming high definition video and audio simultaneously is very taxing on your computer and particularly on your graphics card. If you’ve watched live streamers before you might have noticed the flashy PC’s that many have with the latest and greatest graphics cards, hundreds of gigs of RAM, liquid cooling etc. etc. Not to worry, you don’t need anything quite that extravagant. A somewhat new machine (2016 and later) with at least 8GB of ram will likely be just fine. There are many settings that can be changed within your broadcasting software to improve the performance of your machine, take a look at some of them here. 


We’ve had great luck with webcams and laptop microphones but if you have better equipment on hand, why not use it? The best way to incorporate more microphones or to use backing tracks, effects and more advanced audio processing is to use a DAW like Ableton Live or Apple’s Logic Pro. In order to route the audio from your DAW into your broadcasting software, you’ll need to use Soundflower, VB audio cable or something similar. These pieces of software will allow you to route audio in your computer from any program into another so they are perfect to route your master output from your DAW into Streamlabs or OBS. 

As far as cameras go, webcams are designed explicitly for live streaming. They are excellent at sending a real-time high definition video feed and typically require little to no setup at all. They plug straight into a USB port and that’s it. Most webcams will be automatically detected by your broadcasting software. On the other hand, DSLR’s or even your iPhone camera can be used to stream video. However, the amount of setup required is substantially more than webcams. Different makes and models of DSLR’s will require different software packages and some will just not be able to send real-time video no matter what. iPhone cameras have excellent quality and can easily broadcast real-time video but getting them to communicate with your broadcasting software requires additional software. 


The final technical ingredient is, of course, your Wifi! You need a somewhat fast connection and stability of that connection is essential. Your upload speed is the more important number here. It’s best to have at least 10mbps upload speed to ensure your ability to stream audio and video to your platform of choice. Be on your 5ghz wifi network because this will have faster performance than 2.4ghz but ethernet is strongly preferred if available. 

If anything can be taken by the volume of new streaming platforms coming online as well as the huge amount of interest in streaming by musicians these past few months, it’s that streaming isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The above is meant to give you a jumping off point to learn more about streaming. The sooner you dive in, the better you’ll be able to figure out what works for you and what you like. The easiest way to get started is to do a stream with Gigmor! We guide you through the technical process and help promote your show to music fans everywhere. Click here to learn more and apply for free!