U.K. collecting society PRS for Music has signed a pan-European performing rights licensing deal with iTunes.

Effective immediately, the deal gives iTunes pan-European access to the repertoire of all PRS members for whom it handles performing rights; it also incorporates a mechanical and performing rights license for content from independent publishers Peer Music and Chrysalis Music, both of whom have pan-European rights deals in place with the U.K. collecting society.

According to a PRS for Music statement, the deal also provides a licensing framework for rights from other leading independent publishers, including those signed up to the recently launched Independent Music Publishers' European Licensing (IMPEL) scheme -- the initiative designed to license Anglo-American online and mobile mechanical rights for publishers to a range of new and existing digital services (Billboard.biz, Jan. 25).

PRS for Music, which represents 65,000 U.K. songwriters, composers and music publishers, originally signed an exclusive U.K. license with iTunes in 2004. The new deal enables iTunes to expand into new European countries offering the musical repertoire that PRS for Music represents.

Commenting on the deal, Andrew Shaw, PRS for Music's managing director broadcast, online and recorded media, said in a statement that the new deal “demonstrates that PRS for Music provides a compelling pan-European offering and leads the market in enabling digital music growth, whilst delivering vital royalties to our members."