Sony/ATV Music Publishing and German authors rights society GEMA have entered into an agreement to establish a "one-stop" Pan-European licensing framework for mobile and online digital rights.

With effect from July 1, the three-year agreement, unveiled today, sees the creation of a single, pan-European license covering the Anglo-American repertoire owned, controlled or administered by Sony ATV.

Both parties heralded the accord as an important development which simplifies and improves the system of licensing content for new-media platforms across Europe, and one which will result in greater choice for the consumer.

In a joint statement, Sony/ATV Music Publishing chairman/CEO Martin Bandier, comments, "Our goal is to help speed the development of new on-line and mobile services across Europe - ensuring that the needs of consumers, regardless of where they may live, will have greater access to our music, sooner. And as these services become durable, legitimate businesses, they will benefit our writers and composers, as well."

Dr. Harald Heker, CEO of GEMA, adds, "The cooperation with Sony/ATV Music Publishing is a great enhancement for GEMA, as it enables us to continue to license the Anglo-American repertoire further."

The online licensing space in Europe has undergone a period of massive change, led by a recommendation adopted by the European Commission in October 2005. One of the EC's ultimate goals was to make available a single license that would permit online use of a song across the 27 markets which constitute the European Union.

GEMA, which represents some 60,000 composer, lyricist and music publisher members, has been particularly proactive in breaking down the pan-European barriers which so-far have slowed growth in digital music revenue across the Continent.

In early 2006, GEMA announced at Midem a groundbreaking online licensing solution forged with the U.K.'s MCPS-PRS Alliance and publishing giant EMI Music Publishing, the aim of which was to exclusively administer pan-European online and mobile licenses for certain repertoire of EMI Publishing.