| 22 May 2024
PRS for Music, STIM and GEMA establish the world's first integrated licensing and processing hub

MUMBAI: PRS for Music, STIM and GEMA have signed completion documents announcing the launch of the world’s first fully integrated multi-territory music licensing and processing hub covering European territories. Designed to drive growth in the digital music market, the hub will assist both, music rightsholders and digital service providers (DSPs) in maximising value by providing incomparable customer service through state-of-the-art technology. The hub, powered by the authoritative copyright database, ICE, and new processing, finance and business intelligence systems, will increase the speed, accuracy and efficiency of music matching and invoicing to ensure that rightsholders are paid more quickly and transparently than ever before while making it easier for music services to secure multi-territory licences.

DSPs will obtain a single, consolidated multi-territory licence for Europe for PRS for Music, STIM and GEMA and other repertoires represented by the hub. They will receive one invoice produced from one data source, which will improve efficiency by removing the need to analyse and resolve conflicts between, multiple invoices issued on the basis of potentially conflicting copyright databases.

The increased efficiencies, speed and accuracy of the hub will flow directly to rightsholders, with a reduction in commission rates planned over time.

All DSPs operating on a multi-territory basis will be welcomed as licensing customers, and publishers and collection societies will be welcomed as customers for either the full suite of services including licensing, or a selection of back office services to fit their individual needs.
PRS for Music, STIM and GEMA related repertoire will be on-boarded to the powerful new processing system later this year and will include SPVs Solar and ARESA. The core licence will be available from 2016 onwards and will include the repertoires of the three societies. Solar and ARESA will continue to license their own repertoires independently.

PRS for Music, STIM and GEMA will continue to license single territory digital music services on a national basis.

The joint venture partners announced that Robert Ashcroft will, in addition to his role as Chief Executive of PRS for Music, oversee the establishment of the joint venture as the first CEO for the licensing and professional services arm of the joint venture.

GEMA becomes a shareholder of ICE alongside PRS for Music and STIM from today.

The music industry has been transformed by the evolution of the digital market and the birth of cross-border music services. Following the European Commission’s recommendation in 2005, rightsholders have been able to withdraw their online rights from collecting societies to license them on a pan-European basis through the collective management organisation of their choice. While this initiative - known as the ‘Option 3’ market – has enabled the development of a single European market in digital music services, it resulted initially in a fragmentation of repertoires and difficulties in back-office processing due to different collective management organisations working off separate copyright databases, which led to delays in payment, inaccurate invoices and disputed claims. The new hub reduces these problems by bringing repertoires together, enabling licensees to obtain one licence and ensuring that the works are recorded on a single, authoritative database.

PRS for Music Chief Executive and CEO of the licensing and professional services arm of the hub, Robert Ashcroft said, “We are immensely proud to announce the completion of PRS for Music, STIM and GEMA’s agreement to launch the first integrated music licensing and processing hub. This follows the European Commission’s competition clearance in June, following an exhaustive investigation of the European online music market. We had a vision five years ago to support the fragmented music market by developing a hub that would encourage the aggregation of music repertoires and offer state-of-the art rights management systems run from a single, authoritative database. Today we are bringing that vision to life with the launch of this brand new company. It’s a defining moment for the music industry.”

Dr Harald Heker, CEO GEMA said, “We have designed a transformative and very flexible service offering to fit the needs of different rightsholders and DSPs. The integrated systems have been built from the ground up to provide unparalleled speed, accuracy and economies of scale. This hub will scale up and handle huge data volumes. We’ve been in this business a long time and been servicing and shaping the digital market from the outset. This expertise has enabled us to develop an innovative and outstanding pan-European online music rights licensing and processing hub.”