BMG Extends Its Digital Licensing Deal with German Heavyweight GEMA

BMG’s new deal with GEMA will ensure songwriters get paid in the streaming music era.

BMG has announced a new long-term deal extension with GEMA, a German collecting society. The move extends BMG’s digital service licensing to 48 more territories.

BMG already licenses its Anglo-American repertoire to digital services through ARESA, a GEMA subsidiary, across 38 countries in Europe.

Today’s deal will extend the licensing footprint to other countries around the world, including Turkey, Russia, and Africa.  Countries within the Middle East will also be included.  Revealing its plans, the company aims to reach out to a growing music population in these countries, currently totaling 1.3 billion.

The deal also extends BMG’s relationship with GEMA to license through ARESA.  This agreement, first started in 2012, will now run to 2021.

According to deal details disclosed today (October 25th), ARESA’s structure is designed to optimize payments to BMG writers.  It also simplifies licensing for music users.  Licensees include major streaming music services – Apple, Spotify, Amazon, Deezer, YouTube – and social media platforms – Facebook.

ICE – a joint venture by collecting societies GEMA, PRS, and STIM – takes over processing of usage notifications and work documentation in the ICE database.

ARESA currently represents 1.6 million songwriters’ rights.  Bruno Mars, Roger Waters, Mick Jagger and Keith Jones, Quincy Jones, and John Legend are among those represented.  Recent and current hits represented by ARESA include (BMG clients) Bebe Rexha’s ‘Meant to Be’ and Post Malone’s ‘Rockstar,’ written by 21 Savage.

Speaking about how the new long-term deal will help songwriters get paid, Hartwig Masuch, BMG’s CEO, explained,

Ensuring songwriters get the money they deserve in the streaming age is a simple concept but an incredibly complicated process.  We are delighted to extend our relationship with GEMA through ARESA to make sure BMG’s writers continue to receive a world-class service.  Under our previous deal, BMG already reached a potential 531 million music fans through ARESA, but this new extension of our relationship takes that to more than 1.8 billion.”

Ama Walton, BMG’s General Counsel, added,

Licensing digital services with GEMA through ARESA benefits our writers in terms of speed, efficiency and transparency.  It also makes life easier for music users by providing a one-stop-shop for the mechanical rights of our Anglo-American writers.