Business News Digital Labels & Publishers

AMRA now directly licensing streaming services in Canada

By | Published on Friday 22 July 2022


Kobalt-owned collecting society AMRA this week confirmed it is now directly licensing the mechanical rights of its clients’ songs to streaming services in Canada.

A key aim of the current iteration of AMRA, ever since it was launched by Kobalt in 2015, has been to make the licensing of the songs rights of the music publishers and songwriters it represents in the digital domain as global as possible.

Music publishing – and especially collective licensing – has traditionally been very territorial, meaning that song rights would often be represented by different sub-publishers and collecting societies in different markets.

This territorial approach has proven challenging in the digital domain, however, because so many digital music services aim to be pretty much global, and inserting all the local sub-publishers and partner collecting societies makes licensing and royalty processing complicated and inefficient.

Many publishers and societies have started directly licensing their rights to streaming services in multiple markets – for example, across the whole of Europe – thus removing some of the territorial complexities. However, for various reasons, local publishers and societies still get involved in plenty of countries.

But some licensing entities have got further in their mission to ultimately achieve truly global licensing. Setting out its mission on its website, AMRA says that the traditional territorial approach to licensing “creates glaring inefficiencies for all sides: the digital platforms are challenged to clear licences locally, while the rightsholders face an increasingly complex and fragmented collections process, causing needless delays and often inaccurate reporting”.

“AMRA, on the other hand”, it goes on, “takes a global, direct approach to digital licensing, collection and administration, all driven by the most advanced rights management platform, KTech. This streamlined model allows AMRA to increase efficiencies, combating the large margin of uncertainty, delay and error that exists in the current fractured system”.

However, there are a small number of countries where there are specific challenges that AMRA is still to tackle in order to get direct licensing underway, and until recently that included Canada. However, the society confirmed this week that, as of April this year, it has been licensing the mechanical rights of its members songs directly to streaming services in that market. Previously that licensing would have been handled by the national mechanical rights society in Canada, CMRRA.

Confirming the latest change, AMRA CEO Tomas Ericsson says: “As music continues its breakneck speed to penetrate every corner of the earth, and streaming continues to be consumers’ preferred form of listening, it is our obligation to ensure songwriters and our publishing clients capture that value”.

“This is why AMRA already licenses digital rights on behalf of our publisher clients directly in over 212 territories outside the US”, he adds. “The addition of Canada makes perfect sense and adds to AMRA’s ability to deliver added value and services to our clients”.

The streaming of music actually exploits both the so called mechanical rights and performing rights of songs. These are sometimes licensed together and sometimes licensed separately. To that end, the Canadian performing rights society SOCAN will continue to license the performing rights of AMRA clients to streaming services in Canada.