Belgian author's rights assn. Sabam has signed a central licensing agreement with Universal Music International (UMI) covering mechanical reproduction rights.

Belgian author's rights assn. Sabam has signed a central licensing agreement with Universal Music International (UMI) covering mechanical reproduction rights.

The three-year agreement, effective July 1, will succeed the existing pan-European central licensing deal UMI has with London-based collecting body Mechanical Copyright-Protection Society (MCPS). That deal expires at the end of June after eight years.

Sabam's arrangement covers all audio and audiovisual products sold by Universal Music in 18 European markets. Countries included in the deal are 14 of the 15 European Economic Area (EEA) member states (excluding France), Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia. A spokesperson for UMI confirmed the new deal but declined to comment.

The partnership will bring in an estimated €100 million ($121 million) each year, reflecting collections on roughly 100 million sound and audiovisual products.

The deal was inked Friday (April 30) in Brussels by Sabam's director general Jacques Lion and several signatories, including representatives from UMI.

Lion says the partnership reflects Sabam's decision to invest heavily into its infrastructure over the last couple of years. "I'm happy to see that the development of our data platform has not been left unnoticed by Universal's technical staff, who ... acknowledge the potential and know-how displayed by our modest group," comments Lion. "This current agreement is the result of the goals pointed out by Sabam's board of directors four years ago," he adds.

Founded in 1922, Sabam last year posted a 5.87% year-on-year boost in distributions to about €99 million ($120 million), from revenues of €126.8 million ($154 million).