Digital and Mobile

Triller Signs Deal With European Licensing Hub ICE, Plans to Streamline Data

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Triller has taken its music licensing negotiations across the Atlantic, announcing a multi-territory licensing deal with European licensing hub ICE, the video-sharing app announced today (Oct. 2).

The deal covers Triller in more than 160 territories for musical works represented by collection societies PRS for Music (U.K.), GEMA (Germany), STIM (Sweden) and IMRO (Ireland); along with music publishers Concord, Downtown, Songtrust and Peermusic; all of which are members of what is known as the "ICE Core." The deal reflects "the essential value that songwriters bring" to digital platforms like Triller, a press release states, and also includes a partnership to develop "data reporting" to ensure that royalties are distributed quickly and accurately to rights owners.

"We found this to be a really smooth process, reflecting both ICE’s experience in licensing a wide range of digital services and our own approach in seeking fair deals with rightsholders," Triller CEO Mike Lu said. "Together the shared knowledge proved invaluable in both addressing a range of challenges, agreeing the present and mapping out how this could develop in the future. We look forward to offering our users an unparalleled experience on the Triller app."

Lu's emphasis on the "smooth" dealmaking process is a direct contrast to rival app TikTok's own relationship with ICE: Last summer, TikTok asked the U.K. Copyright Tribunal to intervene in its ongoing dispute over deal terms with the licensing hub. TikTok's road to securing broad music licensing deals has been bumpy at best, and Triller -- which, like TikTok, now has deals in place with Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and Sony Music Group -- has sought to set itself apart by emphasizing a commitment to paying artists for their work when used in videos on the app, even bringing the likes of Snoop Dogg and The Weeknd on board as strategic investors.

Triller's deal is also notable because digital platforms tend to prioritize licenses for the rights to use recordings over publishing rights, which are just as important, much to the ire of figures like National Music Publishers' Association CEO/president David Israelite.

"This deal is a good example of forward thinking," ICE vp commercial Ben McEwen added. "In addition to agreeing [to] commercial terms, we’ve been able to explore collaboration in areas of data flows and reporting. Working together, this reflects a digital service pioneering new ways of utilizing music, and doing so on a basis that recognizes the vital contribution songwriters make to their service. Triller has displayed a positive approach to our dealings to date, and there’s a strong foundation for future development."

Created by PRS for Music, STIM and GEMA and based accordingly in the U.K., Sweden and Germany, ICE offers publishers, collective management organizations and other rightsholders a suite of services including copyright administration  and online processing for multi-territorial licenses. It represents more than 330,000 rights holders, to whom it has paid out upwards of €1 billion ($1.17 billion) since 2016, the year the ICE Core was created.

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