Business News Deals Digital Labels & Publishers

BMG extends alliance with GEMA on digital licensing

By | Published on Friday 26 October 2018


BMG has announced that it is extending its long-term partnership with German collecting society GEMA for the digital licensing of its Anglo-American repertoire.

The bigger music publishers, including the majors, Kobalt and BMG, have long licensed their Anglo-American repertoires to multi-territory digital platforms on a direct basis in many countries, especially across Europe. Other indie publishers subsequently followed suit, initially via the IMPEL venture, and more recently – in some cases – through alliances with French society SACEM and copyright hub ICE.

Publishers work with collecting societies or similar organisations on these direct licensing deals, partly to tap those organisations’ data and royalty processing platforms, and partly because of the complexities around song rights.

The publishers want to provide licences that cover both the performing rights and the mechanical rights in the songs they publish – digital services exploiting both elements – but collecting societies rather than publishers often control the former. By being linked into the collective licensing system, the publisher is often able to bundle performing rights into their deals by ensuring that the resulting royalties still flow through the relevant societies.

BMG’s alliance with GEMA on all this – via a subsidiary of the society called ARESA – dates back to 2012. So far that entity has been licensing digital services in 38 European countries. Under the extended partnership, ARESA will now be able to license in 48 more territories. Companies ARESA already handles deals with include Apple, Spotify, Amazon, Deezer, YouTube and Facebook.

Confirming the expansion of his company’s alliance with GEMA, BMG top man Hartwig Masuch said: “Ensuring songwriters get the money they deserve in the streaming age is a simple concept but an incredibly complicated process. We are delighted to extend our relationship with GEMA through ARESA to make sure BMG’s writers continue to receive a world-class service”.

Boss of GEMA, Dr Harald Heker added: “For six years, GEMA has, together with BMG, been facilitating a transparent and efficient licensing process for Anglo-American music all over Europe. I am pleased that we continue this successful cooperation and now also expand it far beyond Europe’s borders. We have a strong partner in BMG in order to meet the challenges of digital music licensing and to develop up to date licensing models”.

GEMA is a shareholder in the aforementioned ICE – alongside UK society PRS and Swedish society STIM – and that joint venture also provides data services as part of BMG’s partnership with GEMA and ARESA.