Try the new FT.com

Last updated: January 23, 2006 10:15 pm

Shake-up for online music rights licences

  • Share
  • Print
  • Clip
  • Gift Article
  • Comments

The prospect of a pan-European one-stop shop for licensing online music rights came a step closer on Monday when EMI’s music publishing arm agreed that the collecting societies for the UK and Germany could manage the online and mobile rights for its UK and US catalogue.

The move by the UK-listed music company is the first such agreement since an initiative by the European Commission three months ago aimed to introduce competition between collecting societies – typically national monopolies – while catering for the borderless environment of the internet.

Collecting societies monitor when and where songs are played and oversee the process by which composers receive royalties.

Although online rights account for a small portion of the industry’s revenues, hundreds of millions of euros are at stake, given the market’s rapid growth. The IFPI, the music industry’s global trade body, estimated last week digitally distributed music sales had tripled to $1.1bn (€900m, £600m) around the world. Smaller collecting societies fear that the EMI initiative, and any similar moves by rival music companies, could concentrate power in the hands of the larger markets’ societies.

The Commission’s non-binding recommendation, which will be reviewed once there is more evidence of its impact on the market, has been challenged by some who doubt a British or German collecting society’s ability to monitor behaviour in Spain or Greece.

The music industry is separately challenging the tariffs charged for collecting rights online, roughly double the rate charged for physical rights.

Adam Singer, chief executive of the MCPS-PRS Alliance, the collecting society for the UK, which will administer EMI’s rights in a joint venture with the German equivalent GEMA, said a pan-European system would accelerate development of legal music services.

“Nobody knows the impact of online on any of the rights aggregators. t’s inevitable you will get a race for scale,” he said.

Other large music companies were in discussions with the MCPS-PRS Alliance to follow EMI’s example, he said, stressing national societies would retain an important role. “There will still be a physical product, and there will still be bars, clubs and hairdressers [playing music],” he said.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. You may share using our article tools.
Please don't cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.

  • Share
  • Print
  • Clip
  • Gift Article
  • Comments

NEWS BY EMAIL

Sign up for email briefings to stay up to date on topics you are interested in

SHARE THIS QUOTE