BMG, GEMA Ink New Pan-European Digital Licensing Deal

Bruno Mars at Wireless Festival 2014
Joseph Okpako/Redferns via Getty Images

Bruno Mars performs at Wireless Festival at Finsbury Park on July 6, 2014 in London, United Kingdom. 

BMG has struck a new deal with German collective society GEMA “to maximize income” for its U.S. and U.K. songwriters from digital services in Europe.
Through the new agreement, announced Wednesday, BMG will continue to license its Anglo-American repertoire to digital services across Europe through GEMA subsidiary ARESA. The pact simplifies the licensing and administration of online rights for BMG's Anglo-American repertoire across 38 countries.

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Since it began licensing European rights through ARESA in July 2012, BMG says it has licensed more than 40 "significant" digital services across Europe, including iTunes, Spotify and YouTube.

Both parties had forged an earlier agreement which began July 1, 2012.

ARESA currently represents rights in more than 900,000 songs by Anglo-American writers, including such hits as   "All Of Me" co-written and performed by BMG writer John Legend, and "Locked Out Of Heaven," which was co-written and performed by BMG writer Bruno Mars.

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“BMG is determined to ensure songwriters are able to make the most of the revenue opportunities of the digital age,” comments BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch in a statement. “That means having a lean and efficient licensing operation and a state-of-the art administrative back-end. The combination of ARESA’s nimble licensing team and GEMA’s significant infrastructure is a significant benefit to our writers, and the ability to license access to more than half a billion people in a single deal is a big plus for licensees.”

In the joint statement, Harald Heker, chairman of GEMA's executive board, said, “The combination of BMG, one of the world’s fastest-growing international music publishers, and GEMA, one of the world’s most successful collection societies in terms of per capita collections, is a powerful one. We are able to offer a level of speed, transparency and efficiency which would otherwise simply be impossible.”

The German collection society recently reported solid growth as total worldwide revenues earned reached €893.6 million euros (about $950 million) in 2014, an increase of 4.8 percent over the previous year. GEMA represents the copyrights of about 69,000 members (composers, lyricists and publishers) as well as about 2 million rights-owners all over the world.