2019 American Music Awards

MIDEM Panel Encourages Publishers To Work Together

The international publishing summit at the MIDEM convention in Cannes, France, kicked off with ways that publishers, labels and societies can easily and more cost effectively work together.

Such a move would not only benefit the music companies, panelist noted, but the digital music service providers and ultimately the consumer.

Notably, it was pointed out that the industry already has an example right in front of it. Since the late 1940s, Denmark’s music publishers and record labels have done co-licensing deals together when reaching out to places that rely on public performances, including stores and sports arenas, reported KODA head of international legal affairs Jacob Huttel.

In markets where co-licensing occur, store owners will have the publishers coming in and looking for money for the songwriters. Then a couple of days later, the record label representatives come in with their hands held out for the artist performance rights, according to IFPC chairman/CEO John Kennedy.

Moreover, considering the industry is going through so much pain, Universal Music Publishing Group executive VP Andrew Jenkins said companies should look for the simple wins to achieve efficiencies.

So in Denmark, one person representing both the artist and songwriter performance rights sends a bill out to stores licensing music. Those customers in return get one sheet of paper with two lines on it, Huttel said.

The IFPI’s Kennedy would like to see the industry stop going down two separate roads. Nevertheless, he admitted that co-licensing is not fully developed yet. Such a development would result in a smoother experience at the consumer level, Jenkins said. Kennedy added, “IFPI would like to achieve that goal and is still working toward it.”

One of the things that would help facilitate the move would be a global song database, which is something that IFPI hopes to build, Kennedy said. But he acknowledged it would be a hard road to traverse considering how in the old days a new employee would get a book with every album the label had issued.

Nowadays, with many more records coming out, it’s harder to keep track of all the new albums. The industry has somehow become less sophisticated in tracking data, he added.

Yet co-licensing in Denmark makes for an environment whereby the built-up long-standing relationships between the two camps makes it easier to create new products, Huttell said.

“We have to get over the territorial fighting [between publishers and labels] and now we need a benevolent dictator to make it happen,” Kennedy said.

The MIDEM conference in Cannes concludes tomorrow (Jan. 21).

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