Various online music services and broadcasting organisations should find it easier from today to gain licenses to stream music across several territories, thanks to an arrangement put in place between IFPI – which represents the recording industry worldwide – and record company collecting societies. Two new licensing agreements will create the framework for collective licensing of producers’ rights for certain streaming and podcast services across several markets.
In practice, the participating collecting societies will be able to license rights in each others’ territories and repertoire for certain internet and mobile streaming services and for the making available of previously broadcast programmes such as streams or podcasts. Broadcasters and online music services will also continue to be able to approach the record companies directly for a license for these uses.
Until now, obtaining cross-border online rights licenses for these services has involved dealing with each territory separately or approaching the right holders directly. This new framework will offer users the alternative to obtain a license for broad repertoire and for all the participating territories from a single collecting society. Online music services and broadcasters established within the European Economic Area will be able to approach any European society for a license, which will enable them to approach and choose the society they consider provides the best service for their needs. It is expected that more than 40 collecting societies, covering most of the key music markets worldwide, will sign up to these two agreements.
This arrangement comes at a time when the different European bodies are struggling to get to grips with collective cross-border online music licensing in Europe. The European Commission competition authorities recently rejected and issued an official statement of objections against the authors’ societies’ reciprocal online rights licensing arrangement. Meanwhile, the European Commission’s Internal Market Directorate issued a recommendation urging the right holders to streamline the collective licensing of online music rights.
These two new agreements follow the two groundbreaking reciprocal licensing agreements – the so-called Simulcasting and Webcasting Agreements – the recording industry had set up in 2001 and 2004 for the licensing of music streaming services.