Pan-European Licensing Hub ICE Introduced, Simplifying Process for Digital Services

The task of licensing will be eased for digital services on the continent.

A pan-European online music rights licensing and processing hub formed by three of Europe's biggest collection societies, PRS for Music, STIM and GEMA, will launch next year under the ICE brand.

The new one-stop service received clearance from the European Commission in June and is intended to enable faster and simplified rights negotiations for digital music services operating in Europe. Its three main partners, PRS for Music (U.K.), STIM (Sweden) and GEMA (Germany), collectively represent over 250,000 songwriters.

The International Copyright Enterprise (ICE) brand has operated since 2010 when it was launched as a joint copyright database with STIM. In its new extended function, the service has been split into three divisions (complete with separate logos) to effectively drive the pan-European hub.

ICE Operations will provide online matching and processing services, together with authoritative multi-territorial copyright services. ICE Services delivers a suite of middle-office services including invoicing, legal support and business intelligence analysis. The third component, ICE Licensing, provides consolidated licensing of PRS for Music, GEMA and STIM's multi-territory online rights and options for other rights holders to join the same core license.

Ahead of the service's planned 2016 launch, PRS for Music's head of online Ben McEwen has been appointed commercial director of ICE Licensing. Neil Jones has also been seconded from PRS for Music as services director for ICE Services.

"The DNA of this hub has been forged from the same qualities as the ICE copyright database, which was in itself born of collaboration and a strong will to solve big problems in the market place," said Robert Ashcroft, who was appointed CEO of the ICE Licensing and ICE Services arm earlier this year -- a role that he holds in addition to his continuing post as PRS for Music chief executive.

Karsten Dyhrberg Nielsen, CEO of STIM was equally effusive, calling the hub "a unique offering that combines the expertise of the three owners within copyright administration and multi-territory online licensing and processing."

He went on to say that ICE had been "developed to deliver quality solutions to an increasingly international and borderless market" and that the hub would set "new benchmarks for the services rights holders and music users."