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Sony/ATV extends GEMA/PRS alliance on digital licensing

By | Published on Wednesday 31 October 2018


Following the news last week that BMG had extended and expanded its alliance with German collecting society GEMA on digital licensing, Sony/ATV yesterday announced it was likewise extending its partnership – with both GEMA and UK society PRS – for the direct licensing of its Anglo-American repertoire to digital services.

The big publishers – and an increasing number of indie publishers too – often license their Anglo-American repertoires to multi-territory streaming services via direct deals, rather than relying on deals negotiated by the collecting societies, as is the norm elsewhere.

However, somewhat confusingly, publishers negotiate and administrate these direct deals in partnership with the collecting societies. Partly because of the complexities of processing digital royalties on the songs side of the business. And partly because, even when direct deals are done, some of the money said deals generate – that allocated to the ‘performing rights’ of the songs – still needs to flow through each songwriter’s collecting society of choice.

Sony/ATV has an alliance with both GEMA and PRS which covers both its own catalogue of Anglo-American songs and the Anglo-American works in the EMI Music Publishing catalogue it co-owns and controls (and which it is in the process of buying outright). The deals are handled via a GEMA/PRS joint venture called SOLAR, with copyright hub ICE – co-owned by GEMA, PRS and Swedish society STIM – doing a bulk of the day-to-day admin.

That’s all been going on for many years now and will continue to do so following yesterday’s announcement, which confirmed that “in a multi-year deal SOLAR will continue to provide administration services in connection with licences that cover the exploitation of the combined Anglo-American catalogues of Sony/ATV and EMI Music Publishing for digital services across Europe and other territories”.

Sony/ATV’s boss man Marty Bandier added: “I am excited that we have extended our successful relationship with PRS For Music and GEMA and with their SOLAR joint venture. This will continue to make the licensing of our Anglo-American catalogue across Europe as efficient as possible while ensuring that our songwriters receive first-class administration services in the European digital market”.

Meanwhile Dr Till Evert, MD of SOLAR, said: “Long-term and stable partnerships such as this are rare and of great value in today’s complex and highly dynamic music market. Sony/ATV Music Publishing is an ambitious partner who has time and time again set standards for the music market with its innovative technical solutions. Together with our strong partner ICE, we are ideally positioned to meet the challenges of digital use and licensing of music for the next three years”.