Snap makes a deal with Universal Music Group, adding its catalog to Sounds

Snap today announced a multi-year deal with Universal Music Group, one of the largest music companies in the world. From Queen to Justin Bieber, users can clip songs from the expansive UMG catalog to use in their Snaps and on Spotlight, the app’s TikTok competitor.

This announcement comes after Snapchat added its Sounds feature in October, which lets users enhance their Snaps with music that Snap has licensed. Snap says that since then, over 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 “Rumours” re-entered the Billboard charts after “Dreams,” a song on the record, went viral on TikTok. Dance trends also often go viral on TikTok, which can correlate with a boost in sales for the artist whose song is featured. So, the more music that’s licensed by apps like TikTok and Snapchat, the more opportunity there is for another Nathan Apodaca moment, which means free publicity for the platform.

Already, gen Z artists like Olivia Rodrigo have leveraged these social platforms to promote their new music. On Snap, over 10 million videos were created using her song “Driver’s License,” Snap reports. Rodrigo was also the first artist to use AR Lenses on Snapchat to promote her record-breaking debut “Sour,” but to be fair, she also shared AR effects on Instagram.

Olivia Rodrigo sings about “deja vu” on her new album, and you might also be getting deja vu from Snap’s announcement. TikTok also struck a deal with UMG in February. And before that, in November, TikTok announced a new licensing agreement with Sony. Meanwhile, Snap’s portfolio of music partners include Warner Music Group, Sony Music Publishing, and more.

These deals aren’t exclusive — you can make a video with “deja vu” on Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram alike. When it comes to deals like these, it’s a constant battle of reactionary one-upmanship. If TikTok makes a deal with UMG, Snapchat needs to strike a deal with UMG as well to remain competitive, which is what we’re seeing today. As our friend Olivia would say, it’s brutal out here.