Questions After Canva Lands Deal with Major Label and Indies Collective

Variety is first to announce that design software company Canva has licensed catalogs from major label Warner Music Group and indie labels under Merlin are now available within its design tool!

🤔 I have tons of questions swirling in my head…

❓ Historically, these types of deals at the platform level don’t cover commercial use. However, this sounds like commercial use is built into the terms, which is super interesting.

I’m also curious as to how this would impact the licensing teams within the labels with which this type of offering would directly compete.

Also, do the licenses cover publishing rights? Labels typically only cover the sound recording rights, but references to publishers are missing from the announcement.

❓What are limitations, if any, on the platforms or uses? Is uploading to YouTube or Twitter or any content sharing platform acceptable? Can a creator use the track in a brand deal they’re working on?

❓ Does use of a track trigger rev share on the platforms? It’s common for some stock library sites to utilize the revenue cut on the back end as a way to cheaply offer synch and master use licenses. Creators often end up splitting royalties (or losing ad revenue) due to automated content recognition systems, like Content ID. Is that going to happen here? If so, that’s a big win for the labels! But what about the publishers and creators?

Would use of tracks from Canva be subject to rev share, or can creators and brands use tracks and get white labeled on sites (for both publishing and sound recording)?

❓ How easily are licenses documented when teams use music? Often, infringement claims years later turn on whether someone properly documented, and retained, the license. Record keeping is going to be a key component here, especially if companies have wide user provisioning for this plan.

I’ll be curious to learn more about the actual license terms, which are typically presented to end users within the mobile app or web app experience. I’ll be checking to see if they’re available publicly!