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Europe seeks harmonized music royalties

Public consultation imminent, reports claim

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The European Union is planning to create a new Europe-wide licensing scheme for music royalty collection and airplay compensation. Reuters reported this week that it could be ready to go to public consultation as early as this month.

At the moment royalties are collected by a different agency for each country, and in some countries there are multiple agencies. This makes creating a Europe wide online music store something of a nightmare.

A study has been conducted by the European Commission on how to streamline this process, which would entail allowing all collections organizations to work across the entire European Union. The Commission is expected to start a public consultation which would lead to a set of formal proposals later in the year, a European Commission source told Reuters.

This issue is that most of the 100 or so collections agencies have grown fat and rich off their collections process, with each one taking their little piece of the action from each artist in each country. Collections contracts usually demand that an artist leaves the collection in the hands of one agency and they in turn offer the collections contract out in other countries where they cannot operate.

The European Union re-organization would be aimed at reducing the 100 or so organizations into a handful of European wide services and allowing the artist the right to choose which one they work with. It is hoped in this way it would mean that royalties could be collected more efficiently with less deductions, and that they would act as a counterbalance to the big media empires which control most music.

Copyright © 2005, Faultline

Faultline is published by Rethink Research, a London-based publishing and consulting firm. This weekly newsletter is an assessment of the impact of the week's events in the world of digital media. Faultline is where media meets technology. Subscription details here.

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