PRS for Music Inks ‘Groundbreaking’ Africa-Centered Partnership Agreement With Rob Wells’ Orfium

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PRS for Music chief international business officer Sami Valkonen (left) and Orfium CEO Rob Wells. Photo Credit: PRS for Music

PRS for Music and Rob Wells’ Orfium have finalized a “groundbreaking partnership” agreement that’s expected to “dramatically” expand the former entity’s licensing reach throughout Africa.

London-based PRS for Music and Malibu-headquartered Orfium unveiled their tie-up today, via a formal release that was emailed to DMN. Now billing itself as “the leading music rights and metadata management software platform,” eight-year-old Orfium kicked off 2023 with the acquisition of cue sheet management business Soundmouse.

And under its just-detailed pact, Orfium is poised to provide “comprehensive” licensing coverage for PRS in Africa, extending to the continent’s public performances (live shows among them), radio, cable television, and “local and certain multinational online services,” the involved parties disclosed. Similarly, PRS’ Major Live Concert Service (MLCS) is set to become “available for events held across Africa.”

Utilizing its self-described “proprietary software platform,” Orfium will specifically “license the PRS repertoire and provide the underlying technology infrastructure used to serve these markets in a highly efficient manner,” according to higher-ups, who noted also that the partnership “will sit alongside” PRS’ existing deal with South Africa’s SAMRO.

Addressing the union in a statement, both PRS for Music and Orfium execs acknowledged the rapid music industry growth that Africa’s experiencing. (Though MENA’s ongoing recorded music expansion has for some time been making headlines, sub-Saharan Africa quietly saw its own music market revenue increase by 34.7 percent last year, according to the IFPI.)

“The African music market is rapidly progressive, driven by a burgeoning homegrown music scene and a new generation of talented music creators,” PRS for Music chief international business officer (and former YouTube international-licensing director) Sami Valkonen said in part. “This agreement was designed to be flexible, ensuring it can adapt and offer innovative solutions in markets where we are experiencing considerable change and growth.”

In comments of his own, Orfium head Rob Wells communicated in part: “Over the last three years, we have invested heavily in building a state-of-the-art rights management platform to support our partners in the licensing and remuneration of music rights in the entertainment industry.

“Orfium looks forward to working with PRS as their trusted partner to support this incredible region and contributing to Africa’s future as a high-growth music market,” finished the former Universal Music Group president of global digital business Wells.

Back in December, African streaming service Boomplay scored a partnership with telecom giant MTN Ghana, which reportedly boasts north of 22 million customers in the nation of about 32 million residents. Meanwhile, February saw Mdundo, another of Africa’s foremost music streaming platforms, reveal that its active users had topped 23.4 million.