PRS for Music (UK), STIM (Sweden) and GEMA (Germany) have announced a major collaboration that the three music collection societies say will simplify both national and pan-European music rights licensing and processing. As part of the initiative, GEMA will become a shareholder and customer in International Copyright Enterprise AB (ICE), the company founded by PRS for Music and STIM in 2007. ICE will extend its current copyright repertoire management services to include the processing of transactional licences to Digital Music Services, both for its shareholder societies and for other society customers. In due course ICE will also create a state of the art audio visual database for film and television music processing.
PRS for Music, STIM and GEMA will in parallel establish a licensing hub that will combine the national repertoires of all three collecting societies as well as providing licensing services to other holders of multi-territorial European online rights, both publishers and societies. The combined repertoire available to license through the new hub will be amongst the largest of its kind in Europe, providing access to millions of works for download, subscription and streaming services.
Slated for delivery in 2014, the proposed joint venture will use the copyright and online processing services from ICE, who in turn will work in tandem with the planned Global Repertoire Database (GRD) and the partners say that the new venture will deliver benefits that include:
• Faster and more accurate invoicing and royalty payments, aiding both creators and music users
• Significantly fewer licensing negotiations for digital music services operating and launching across Europe
• A reduction in processing costs and an increase in accuracy as duplicate systems and processes are combined
• The ability to include other societies repertoires on an equal basis expanding licensing capability and bringing cultural diversity to European digital music services
Commenting on the announcement PRS for Music Chief Executive Robert Ashcroft said: “This partnership will enable dramatic improvements in licensing and rights management across Europe by reducing complexity and increasing efficiency. It will accelerate the growth and development of the digital music market, while ensuring that songwriters, composers and music publishers are paid the right amount of money, faster, more accurately and at lower cost. This is good news for everyone involved, from our members to the digital music service providers” and "Kenth Muldinm, Chief Executive of STIM, commented: “I am confident that our partnership will create a modern and more cost-efficient management of music rights in Europe. This initiative is simply a response to market demand – music needs to be distributed anywhere, anytime and on any device, to the benefit of both consumers and creators. Our joint aim is to make music licensing and royalty payments more efficiently– in short to encourage market entry for legal services and allow music lovers to enjoy music” with Carsten Drachmann, Chief Executive of ICE, saying: "The is a great step forward for the "one stop shop" of online licensing in Europe, and ICE is proud to deliver the back office services, technology and solutions that enables this joint venture and helps reduce complexity and cost, and secures a fast and accurate return to rights holders."
The collaboration is subject to approval by competition regulators.