EMI Takes Charge Of Its Digital Music Licensing

EMI Music Publishing is pulling in-house from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) how some of its songs are licensed to digital music services in the North America.

ASCAP had been responsible for licensing EMI’s April Music catalog of 200,000 songs, one of EMI’s two catalogs. But now EMI’s own music publishing division will control licensing to what it calls “an array of audio streaming music services, streaming music video services, so-called ‘cloud’ music services and other similar services”.

Several new such services are being planned, with actors like Google (NSDQ: GOOG) negotiating with labels for music rights.

EMI Music Publishing CEO Roger Faxon (via release): “The digital world demands a new way of licensing rights in musical compositions … We are reunifying the rights in many of the songs that we represent.

“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. That absolutely has to be in the interest of everybody involved in the process – songwriters, licensees and consumers alike.”

Hypebot: “Without ASCAP taking a cut, EMI Music Publishing could also see a net revenue increase.” The move takes place with EMI and Warner Music Group (NYSE: WMG) on the block for a sell-off.

It means further fracturing of the royalties landscape. In Europe in 2006, EMI Music Publishing established the CELAS JV with the PRS and GEMA collecting societies to exert more control over its Anglo-American repertoire on a pan-European basis. ASCAP will continue to license EMI’s performing rights to music users in all traditional media.