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EU collection societies join forces to sign Google Play deal

Tim Ingham
EU collection societies join forces to sign Google Play deal

Some of Europe’s most prominent music licensing societies have come together to sign a deal with Google Play that grants the digital service access to 5.5 million musical works.

Armonia is a rights ‘hub’ initiative from SACEM (France), SGAE (Spain; also representing Sony Latin, Peer Latin and SPA) and SIAE (Italy) - plus Universal Music Publishing International - to facilitate pan-European licensing.

It offers a single point of entry for the use of repertoires that these groups represent, in line with the objectives of transparency and efficiency of the recent draft Directive of the European Commission.

The societies have reached an agreement with Google to license their repertoire to customers across all of European and for certain repertoires, Eurasiannations, the Middle-East and Arabian peninsula, Africa and the Indian Sub-Continent.

This hub gathers the works, the rights of which are managed by SACEM, SGAE, SIAE and UMPI. Users are thus offered the facility to obtain more easily multi-territory licences to use an essential repertoire. This one-stop shop addresses online exploitation and/or mobile uses over a territory of 31 countries.

Sami Valkonen, head of music licensing at Google, said: " We're thrilled to have reached an agreement with the Armonia societies. Licenses such as this are important in ensuring that artists and rights-holders are rewarded fairly for their creative endeavours, and digital service providers are able to bring innovative services to market for the benefit of European consumers.

“Armonia is a welcome development in the on-going reform of pan-territorial licensing in Europe in helping simplify and speed-up the music-licensing process, which is crucial in fostering ongoing rapid innovation by digital music service providers"

SACEM CEO Jean-Noël Tronc, said: "This signature is a symbol of the willingness of creators and publishers to contribute to the evolution of the licensing business models that requires, today, more cooperation between rights holders and their representatives."

Chairman of SGAE’s Board of Directors, Antón Reixa,commented: "This agreement means a wonderful opportunity for our songwriters and publishers to promote their creations. Music users all around the world will be able to access their songs in a quicker and easier way. Online and mobile services are currently the future of music. We are going in the right direction."

Manlio Mallia, Vice Director general of SIAE said: "SIAE welcomes the introduction of this new service in Italy, which is going to improve the music offer in the Cloud. The Armonia licensing hub operates for the benefit of the rightowners and of the Digital Service providers. It is therefore a step in the direction indicated by the European commission and anticipates what is aimed at in the proposal of Directive on collective management on the reaggregation of repertoires.  It can be seen as a step for the implementation of the European digital agenda."

Andrew Jenkins, EVP, Asia Pacific Region and Industry Affairs at Universal Music Publishing added: "UMPG is proud to be part of the first joint publisher and multi-society licensing hub in Europe. While others seek to license single company or single society repertoires on a multi-territory basis in the digital space, Armonia is the only significant, operational multi-repertoire digital licensing hub in Europe and is a natural extension to SACEM and Universal’s dual repertoire licensing hub deal.

“I am delighted that we have been able to conclude this ground-breaking deal with Google Music. SACEM, SGAE and SIAE are to be congratulated on their forward-thinking approach and other societies and publishers should consider bringing their repertoires into the Armonia hub. This is the future and Universal Music Publishing, SACEM SGAE and SIAE are leading the way.”

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Tags: Universal Music Publishing, Armonia, SGAE, SIAE, SACEM

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