European Regulators Approve Music Licensing Partnership

Three major European performance rights organizations received approval Tuesday for a joint venture designed to simplify the copyrighting process. The UK’s PRS for Music Limited, Sweden’s STIM and Germany’s GEMA did agree to several concessions to their original proposal after smaller rivals complained that the original would impact their ability to compete. Approved by the European Commission, the final partnership will allow the companies to grant licenses for their combined catalogs, allowing music services like iTunes and Spotify to obtain one license rather than having to obtain licenses for each of the PROs. Concessions made by the three companies include a provision allowing artists to switch PROs and a measure designed to make room in the market for smaller rivals. These concessions, an EU spokesman noted, would prevent the companies from building a monopoly on European performance rights and raising prices unchecked.