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Facebook Clarifies How Music Guidelines Affect Churches

By Joel Lombardo

Earlier this month, many churches became worried and confused regarding a perceived change in Facebook’s Terms of Service on October 1st which appeared to restrict live music performances being streamed on the platform. Under Music Guidelines, the rules state that “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.”

At first glance, this seemed to imply that streaming any live music performance would be restricted, causing difficulty for churches to broadcast a significant portion of their services. After further clarification from Facebook, this was found to be false. In fact, nothing within the Music Guidelines of Facebook’s terms of service have changed for at least 2 years. An archive of the page from May of 2018 contains the same text verbatim.

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Facebook’s Response

Facebook has recently responded to the controversy, clarifying the music guidelines for the service further explaining that live music is permitted on the platform, and that “music in stories and traditional live music performances (e.g., filming an artist or band performing live) are permitted.” According to an official Facebook spokesperson, “The music guidelines in Facebook’s Terms of Service have been in place since 2018 and we haven’t made any updates since. They were written to balance our commitment to supporting expression on our platforms with also ensuring we uphold our agreements with rights holders, which remains unchanged.”

What Does This Mean for Churches?

To put it simply, nothing is changing. Churches may continue to broadcast their services through Facebook including musical performances (assuming that they are using proper musical licensing through CCLI or other services) as they have been. However, it’s important to note that these broadcasts may still be “limited” on Facebook, due to copyright claims or other restrictions at their discretion. Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done to prevent this on Facebook’s platform.

This is why in order to have full control of your content, displaying your stream (with proper musical license) through embed codes on your website using a CDN provider such as Resi’s Livestream Platform is the best way to make sure that your audience can view your services in their entirety without interruptions, muted audio, or takedowns. Viewers on embedded web streams also engage longer, with an average of 30-55 minute watch times on embedded platforms, as opposed to 2-3 minutes on social platforms such as Facebook and YouTube.

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We’d love to help you with your church stream and make sure that your audience sees and hears your services exactly as you intend—while also ensuring a perfect, buffer-free experience that only Resi can provide.

Book a free demo with Resi to learn more.

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Joel Lombardo

Joel is an Online Pastor, Web Developer, and Digital Marketer. Joel has been helping churches and organizations livestream important moments for almost 10 years.

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