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Facebook launches hardware portals, partners music services

Posted on: Thursday 11th of October 2018

In March, Resolution V17.2, we highlighted publishing deals Facebook was signing, and we suggested rumours from Taiwan indicated the social media titan would launch a hardware product. Here it is! Facebook’s new ‘video communication’ devices are called the Portal and Portal+, and feature widescreen displays, hands-free voice control and AI-powered cameras and sound. The $199 Portal and $399 Portal+ are currently only available for pre-order in the US and will begin shipping in November.

Smart speakers are going to be a winner, Facebook are emphasising  “shared activities like listening to music together”, and have already partnered with three music services: Pandora, Spotify and iHeartRadio. Facebook plug the “connect with friends and family” aspects, and the prospect of younger listeners introducing older family members to music services is a realistic expectation, given Facebook’s 2.23 billion active users.

Portal offers hands-free voice control. You can start a video call simply by saying “Hey Portal” and indicating who you’d like to call. Portal also has Amazon Alexa built in, giving access to a voice experience for sports, the control of smart home devices, groceries, and more. The smart speaker boom is continuing: half of all US consumers will own a smart speaker after the 2018 holiday season, according to a new study by Adobe. Smart speaker owners also increasingly access an expanded set of voice activities, and 32% of US consumers now own a smart speaker, according to Adobe’s new State of Voice Assistants report, up 14% since January.

In June 2018, Facebook announced that its users can now legally upload and share UGC [User Generated Content] videos which feature licensed music in selected markets. Facebook has signed various multi-territory licensing deals, with Warner Music Group, French PRO [Performing Rights Organisation] SACEM, Canadian PRO SOCAN, indie publisher Wixen, Beggars Group, Ingrooves, [PIAS] and Merlin [the commercial agency which represents more than 20,000 independent record labels and distributors].

 



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