If you’ve ever tried dealing with ‘neighboring rights,’ we feel sorry for you. Especially if you’re dealing with Europe. Now, Kobalt is aiming to improve a messy arena and growing the neighboring rights pot with the acquisition of Fintage House.
The complex and oftentimes frustrating area known as ‘neighboring rights’ may soon become streamlined. And, a lot more lucrative. Just this morning, Kobalt Music Group announced its acquisition of Fintage House, a successful rival in the growing neighboring rights space.
Essentially, neighboring rights refer to rights from foreign countries. Traditionally, a patchwork of different copyright laws, collection societies, and databases made it extremely difficult to account and collect these royalties properly. That challenge is starting to become better addressed, with Kobalt aiming to both consolidate and reinvest in neighboring rights technologies.
Willard Ahdritz, CEO of Kobalt, spoke of the consolidated gains ahead. “This deal strengthens our ability to collect more income for more creators from more places around the world,” Ahdritz noted. “With a larger roster, we’re also excited to put more technology investment into neighboring rights global collections.”
Kobalt has been criticized as a superstar-heavy platform, one that doesn’t quite scale to the broader industry. That opens opportunities for smart, compact operations like Rebeat’s MES, which promise platform solutions instead of white glove solutions.
That said, the superstar tier is incredibly lucrative, and Fintage House also has its share of superstars. In terms of this acquisition, that spells a bigger pool of royalties to oversee. Kobalt brings neighboring rights administration for mega-artists like Sam Smith, Ariana Grande, and Paul McCartney, while Fintage has been serving that niche for artists like Katy Perry, Britney, and Bruce.
The bigger question is whether these combined catalogs and technologies can further streamline neighboring collections, a processed regarded as broken in the past. Part of the problem is collection societies, which often shave a big percentage for overlapping administration and bloated overhead. But those old-line, purposefully inefficient operations may become harder to maintain as technology improves data collection and remuneration.