Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Labels and publishers join scheme to simplify licensing for app developers | UNLIMITED | CMU


Warner Music, Sony/ATV, Beggars and Bucks have all signed up to a new service which aims to make it easier for app developers to legally access music while developing and testing their products.

The new service is called Totem and comes from London-based company OCL. The aim is to overcome licensing issues faced by many app developers, many of which are put off developing music products because of the complexities and costs of music licensing, even in the development stage. Others may just go into development with unlicensed music or fudge things by pulling in tunes off user-upload platforms online, both of which can cause legal issues down the line.

There have been initiatives before to try and make it easier for start-ups to access music while developing products. OCL reckons that its service is particularly helpful because it pulls in repertoire from multiple rights owners, including both labels and publishers.

Of course complexities will remain because of the need to have both song and recording rights licensed in any one track, which is further complicated by song rights often being co-owned, and some elements of the song rights actually being controlled by the songwriter’s collecting society rather than the publisher.

However, the more rights owners come on board, the more crossover of rights there will be, and talks are ongoing with other labels, publishers and societies about them participating in the project.

OCL’s SVP Music PJ Dulay says: “We are confident that our approach and technology will open up significant new revenue for the music industry. We’ve listened to rights holders and licensees and developed a licensing solution that addresses both their needs. Simplicity is the hardest thing to design and we’re delighted that many rights holders have faith in us”.

Talking up the venture on the label side, Warner Music’s VP of Digital Strategy & Business Development John Rees said: “Warner Music is excited to work with OCL’s rights transaction solution, to help facilitate music licensing within the app developer community. The partnership aims to bring innovation and development around music, delivering great new consumer experiences, whilst ensuring rights holders and artists are equitably compensated”.

Meanwhile Simon Wheeler, Director Digital at Beggars Group, added: “We love the idea that we can accelerate the use of high quality licensed music within the app ecosystem via OCL technology. Enabling the massive developer community to use, report and pay for music rights as simply as they buy in servers or bandwidth will be a new area of growth for the music industry and finally remove any arguments for ‘launch first and pay for forgiveness later'”.

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