Citing people familiar with the matter, the Journal said that while Snap over time has secured case-by-case licenses to use individual artists' music on the platform, it is now seeking broad rights to the catalogs of Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group.
The licences wouldn't let Snap create on-demand music service like Spotify or Apple Music. Instead, they could let the company offer users ways to incorporate music in its disappearing message and other social-media applications.
The deals are not in place, the Journal reported, and talks might not lead to agreements. But the discussions have intensified in recent weeks.
Facebook secured broad licenses from major music companies at the end of 2017, the Journal said, allowing their songs to be used in the background of videos and other "social experiences" across its Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and Oculus apps.
It has since rolled out different ways of adding music to posts on Facebook and Instagram, as well as a "Lip Sync Live" feature that allows users to broadcast video of themselves singing along to a track.
Shares of Snap were up 4.1% to $11.58.