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BMG renews GEMA partnership for pan-European licensing

By | Published on Wednesday 10 June 2015


BMG has renewed its partnership with German collecting society GEMA to provide one-stop multi-territory licenses for its publishing repertoire to digital services operating in Europe. GEMA subsidiary ARESA is able to offer digital services access to BMG’s songs catalogue in 38 European markets via one license.

As previously noted, the five big music publishers in Europe – so Sony/ATV, Universal, Warner/Chappell and Kobalt as well as BMG – all set up joint venture partnerships with one or more of the European collecting societies so to licence multi-territory digital services directly.

These arrangements allow the big publishers to licence digital services direct, meaning they can negotiate away from collective licensing regulation. But the collecting societies are still involved, partly because they have existing frameworks for distributing royalties to songwriters, and partly because in Europe the societies rather than the publishers control certain elements of song copyrights.

Confirming that he was renewing his company’s partnership with GEMA on digital licensing, BMG boss Hartwig Masuch told reporters: “BMG is determined to ensure songwriters are able to make the most of the revenue opportunities of the digital age. That means having a lean and efficient licensing operation and a state-of-the art administrative back-end. The combination of ARESA’s nimble licensing team and GEMA’s significant infrastructure is a significant benefit to our writers, and the ability to license access to more than half a billion people in a single deal is a big plus for licensees”.

GEMA Chair Harald Heker added: “The combination of BMG, one of the world’s fastest-growing international music publishers, and GEMA, one of the world’s most successful collection societies in terms of per capita collections, is a powerful one. We are able to offer a level of speed, transparency and efficiency which would otherwise simply be impossible”.

As previously reported, Kobalt has recently wound up its similar arrangement with Swedish society STIM, having bought its own collecting society – AMRA – which will provide a similar service for the Kobalt repertoire (and for other publishers who sign up) but on a global rather than pan-European basis.