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Sony Music rebrands the neighbouring rights agency it bought from Kobalt

By | Published on Wednesday 14 September 2022

Kollective Neighbouring Rights

The neighbouring rights agency formerly known as Kobalt Neighbouring Rights is now called Kollective Neighbouring Rights. You know, because it’s no longer owned by Kobalt.

The agency was acquired by Sony Music last year as part of the same deal that got the major the AWAL distribution and artist services business. And, like AWAL, it now sits alongside Sony’s existing distribution and artist services business The Orchard.

When we talk about neighbouring rights in this way, we mean the money generated from the broadcast and public performance of sound recordings. And neighbouring rights agencies help labels and artists manage that revenue stream.

The broadcast and public performance of recorded music is usually licensed via the collective licensing system, so the licences are issued and money collected by collecting societies like PPL.

Each society only issues licences and collects money in its home country, though societies around the world are connected through reciprocal agreements. This means each society can issue licences covering something nearing a global catalogue of music, plus artists and labels can simply join their local society and access all the income collected by societies in other markets.

Or at least in theory. Neighbouring rights agencies have relationships with societies all over the place and argue that – by better managing each artist or label’s rights and data – they can ensure more accurate and rapid payments of this money than if the artist or label just joined their local society and relied on the global collecting society network.

The record industry at large generally started taking its broadcast and public performance revenue streams much more seriously in the 2000s as CD income slumped, making the management of these specific rights seem more important, creating a role for neighbouring rights agencies. Kobalt entered this domain back in 2012.

As well as the rebrand that allows the now Sony-owned agency to keep its ‘K’ without using the ‘Kobalt’ name, Kollective Neighbouring Rights has also announced it is launching a new platform powered by the good old Orchard.

Confirming the rebrand and platform revamp, KNR CEO Ann Tausis says: “Today marks the start of a new era for KNR. We are excited to build on our relationship with The Orchard to unveil an upgraded custom-built system that will help serve our global clients in enhanced, more streamlined ways, while continuing to provide best-in-class service”.

“There are still untapped markets in neighbouring rights”, she goes on, “and we’re looking forward to utilising the global footprint of The Orchard to initiate collections for our clients in additional territories. I’m very excited about the rebrand and our new identity”.

Meanwhile, Orchard boss Brad Navin adds: “The Orchard provides first-class solutions, cutting edge technology, expert guidance and brand transparency to our clients. Expanding these services to KNR’s roster will further empower performers to maximise their neighbouring rights collections as they navigate a global web of complex and evolving revenue streams”.