Business News Labels & Publishers

Record industry collecting societies offer pan-European licence for online background music

By | Published on Thursday 14 November 2013


The International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry has announced that 20 European record industry collecting societies are collaborating on a new pan-European licence for individuals and small businesses which want to have “background music” playing on their websites.

It means that eligible licensees can gain one licence to cover the sound recording copyrights in the recorded music they use on their sites in 20 countries. Each of the participating societies will offer the pan-European licence, which will operate similar to the multi-territory licences the record industry already offers broadcasters who simulcast their FM or DAB services online. Obviously separate licences would still be required to cover the separate copyrights in the lyrics and musical compositions.

The European Commission has been putting pressure on the music rights industry to offer more multi-territory licences in Europe for some time, especially in those scenarios where rights owners licence collectively (through collecting societies) rather than directly with licensees. That said, most of that pressure has been put on the music publishing industry’s societies, who generally wield more power, simply because collective licensing is bigger in the publishing sector than the record industry.

The new recorded music licence is relatively limited in reach, given that it is only available to individuals and SMEs, and only covers “background music” on websites. Though the labels presumably hope that it will encourage people currently using background music without licence to go legit, motivate others not currently using background music to consider adding it to their sites, and convince European politicians that the industry is moving in the right direction.

Commenting on the new pan-European licence on the recorded music side, IFPI boss Frances Moore told CMU: “This is an important initiative that will make licensing simpler for small users by offering a one-stop shop pan-European licence. The discussions held recently with the European Commission as part of their Licences For Europe initiative show how far our industry has come, and how much we have achieved. And the market will continue to develop”.

The participating countries/societies are as follows: Austria (LSG), Belgium (SIMIM), Bulgaria (PROPHON), Czech Republic (INTERGRAM), Denmark (GRAMEX), Finland (GRAMEX), Germany (GVL), Greece (GRAMMO), Hungary (MAHASZ), Ireland (PPI), Italy (SCF), Latvia (LaIPA), Lithuania (AGATA), Netherlands (SENA), Poland (ZPAV), Portugal (AUDIOGEST), Romania (UPFR), Spain (AGEDI), Sweden (IFPI Sweden), UK (PPL).