10 Years Later, EMI Wants to ‘Reduce the Burden of Licensing…’

Whenever a major label executive waxes about simplified licensing and greater transparency, it’s difficult to keep a straight face.

After all, dozens of startups have perished in a quagmire of licensing complications and lawsuits – even while playing it legit. Which is why a move towards licensing simplification by EMI Music Publishing this week is best treated with some cautious optimism.

But there’s definitely something happening here.  The publishing group has now decided to consolidate digital rights on a substantive portion of its catalog, particularly digital performance rights as currently handled by ASCAP.  Specifically, this involves the 200,000-strong EMI April Music catalog, which EMI has now assumed exclusive performance rights jurisdication on a global basis.  Non-digital outlets will still be handled by ASCAP.

That creates a bundled licensing opportunity for synch, performance, and mechanical rights.  “By bringing these rights back together our aim is to reduce the burden of licensing, to create greater efficiency and importantly to reduce the barriers to the development of innovative new services,” EMI Music Publishing Chairman & CEO Roger Faxon relayed.  “That absolutely has to be in the interest of everybody involved in the process – songwriters, licensees and consumers alike.”

So, let’s toast to simpler licensing times ahead?  Perhaps, though this would have to be the first of many similar moves.  And, the extreme instability of EMI – publishing or otherwise – puts this initiative into question.   Let’s see.

10 Responses

  1. @gpierson

    gary pierson

    Definitely a wait and see attitude on this one!

  2. lifer

    Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

    Or the top of the funnel?

    Is the clothed emporer about to undress?

    Promising development nonetheless.

  3. @MarloweChris

    Chris Marlowe

    Let’s not rush into anything.

  4. @SynchTank

    Interesting shift in approach to sync

    • Lewis

      this is from a company that removed drm.

      emi is just dumb and the fact that it is now owned by citibank proves it.

      short-term bumps mean nothing, emi.

      sell your company to hollywood. they know how to run things.

      • lifer

        Yeah, right. Hollywood knows how to “run things” into the ground after certain people jump ship with golden parachutes. #mixed metaphor

  5. Some Guy In LA

    Sounds to me like they are just trying to cut ASCAP out of the picture, thus not lose a % of their money due to “administrative costs” that are pulled from the pie before ASCAP distributes.

    The problem in licensing never really lied with the PRO’s (although they have fought for their share at times), but with the labels and publishers being stubborn and overly-reaching.

    Might be a good thing, might just be penny-wise and pound foolish.

    • Maxwellian

      Agreeing with you Some Guy. Yeah, eh, cut ASCAP out of the picture and call it “streamlining” and “progressive,” it’s actually more administrative and structural than earth-shattering. that is, unless Faxon and Co. decide to make many more moves like this – ie a wholesale change