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Snapchat's new music features could create another marketing opportunity for artists and record labels that are looking to move beyond TikTok

  • Snapchat is introducing new music features that allow users to add songs to Snaps with friends.
  • Recipients of a Snap can swipe up to view a song, artist name, and album art, and click a link to listen to the track on streaming apps like Apple Music, Spotify, and SoundCloud. 
  • The company's push into music comes a week after competitor Instagram added new song discoverability features to its short-form video product Reels.
  • Both Snapchat and Instagram are playing catch up as TikTok's music-friendly features have taken off among Gen-Zers who now view music as a core part of the social-media experience.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Snapchat users can now add songs to Snaps as the social-media app makes moves to draw in Gen-Z users who have grown accustomed to joining dance challenges and discovering new tracks on TikTok.

The new features, which first rolled out in August in Australia and New Zealand, allow Snap's iOS users to embed a short clip of a song in a photo or video message. Recipients of the Snap can swipe up to view the song, artist name, and album art, and click a link to listen on streaming apps like Apple Music, Spotify, and SoundCloud. Snapchat users aren't allowed to use Sounds in political and religious speech to protect an artist's "right to determine when and how their works are used in political and religious statements," the company said in its user guidelines.

The company's push into music a week after Instagram introduced new trending song features for its short-form video product Reels shows how important music has become for social-media platforms this year. TikTok in particular has become a go-to tool for the music industry as popular songs have taken off organically or through paid song integrations with influencers on the app.

Snap said it's signed multi-year licensing agreements with Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner Music Group, Kobalt, Merlin, NMPA, Warner Chappell Music, and BMG Music Publishing to fill its music catalog. But access to the various labels' songs is currently limited. Unlike TikTok and Instagram Reels where users can search for their favorite tracks, Snapchatters are restricted to choosing from a set of 20 "Featured Sounds" for each Snap. A Snap spokesperson said the selection of "Featured Sounds" will rotate throughout the week. 

By focusing on a set of 20 tracks for all users, Snap is creating a potential marketing opportunity for artists and record labels to promote new releases. With today's launch, the company featured Justin Bieber's new song "Lonely" with Benny Blanco, which Snap said is an exclusive preview ahead of the song's full release.

While Snapchat's current music features aren't comparable to TikTok's or Reels' — its Sounds product is designed for one-to-one messaging rather than consuming or "dueting" songs via a content discovery page — the company's investment in multi-year licensing agreements and its link-outs to digital streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music are another sign of how important social media has become as a promotional tool for the music industry. 

For more stories on how social-media apps are leaning into music, check out these other Business Insider posts:

  • How Instagram Reels' new audio features will help it compete with TikTok for marketing dollars: Instagram introduced a series of product updates last week to make trending songs on its short-form video feature Reels more discoverable.
  • The 24 power players using TikTok to transform the music industry, from marketers and record execs to artists: Business Insider compiled a list of the music marketers, artists, digital creators, and record labels that are using TikTok to reshape popular music.
  • A Sony Music exec explains the label's TikTok strategy and how it responds when a song like 'Break My Stride' catches fire: Business Insider spoke with the marketing team at Sony Music's Legacy Recordings to learn about its strategy for promoting trending songs on TikTok.
  • The agency behind one of TikTok's top ad campaigns says brands can build a massive audience through original music and dance trends but the 'window is closing quickly': Business Insider spoke with the cofounders of Movers and Shakers to learn more about their TikTok strategy and how brands fit into the app's future.

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