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Warner/Chappell Strikes Multi-Territory Deal With France’s Sacem

French authors' rights society Sacem has been appointed by Warner/Chappell to look after its online repertoire on a pan-European basis.

The deal specifically covers the administration and licensing of mechanical rights to YouTube, Deezer and French streaming service Qobuz, with Eric Mackay, Warner/Chappell VP Digital EMEA and Asia-Pacific telling Billboard that the partnership continues the publisher's commitment to "put songwriters first in every decision we make."

"In this instance, we chose SACEM because we believe they will help us to ensure our songwriters are paid as quickly and accurately as possible," said Mackay, citing Sacem's "forward-thinking attitude and investments in new technology" as determining factors in the deal.

Previously, Warner/Chappell's online rights for YouTube, Deezer and Qubuz in Europe had been looked after by pan-European online rights hub ICE, which was officially formed in 2015 by three of Europe's biggest collection societies — PRS for Music (United Kingdom), STIM (Sweden) and GEMA (Germany).


Earlier this year, the publisher struck a deal with the newly-formed Mint Digital Services – a joint venture between SESAC and the Swiss authors' rights society SUISA – for the administration and invoicing of Warner/Chappell's online licensing business for iTunes.

"We are very proud to announce that Warner/Chappell Music is the latest major publisher to entrust us with their repertoire," said Sacem's CEO Jean-Noël Tronc, in a statement announcing today's deal.

Calling the partnership "vindication of our strategic investment in a future-proof" copyright management system, Tronc, said Sacem — which has similar pan-European deals in place with Universal Music Publishing International, Wixen Music and Canadian society SOCAN — was committed to "using digital innovation" to "unlock more value for creators and rights-holders."

Last month, the authors' rights society reported record annual revenues of €1.37 billion ($1.5 billion), with royalty income rising 3.9 percent in 2016. After costs and deductions, €1.2 billion ($1.3 billion) was paid out to members and affiliate neighbouring rights organizations.  

2017 has also seen the organization strike a number of strategic deals to further grow its business, including a cross-sector partnership with collection societies ASCAP and PRS for Music to use blockchain technology to speed up licensing, eradicate reporting errors and reduce costs for members. 

The start of the year also saw SACEM partner with IBM to develop a new open source copyright platform, URights, to better track, analyze and match music and audio visual content across streaming digital services.

"We believe it could also be a major leverage for the industry to share costs and innovation," Tronc told Billboard earlier this year, eying a full service launch late 2017.