Industry Org

Dr. Harald Heker is CEO of GEMA, which saw its operating expenses grow to 14.9% of revenues in pandemic-hit 2020.

GEMA is a German performing rights collection society and licensing body, and one of the largest rights bodies in the world.

The org represents the copyright of more than 70,000 members (composers, lyricists and music publishers) in the German market, and more than two million copyright owners globally. Its members include all three major music publishers and a raft of other rightsholders.

In 2019, GEMA generated revenues of €1.069bn ($1.2bn), an increase of €50.2m (5%) compared to 2018.

Of this amount, €905.6m ($1.02bn) was distributed to members and rights-holders worldwide, according to GEMA.

GEMA’s Acquisition of Zebralution

In December 2019 GEMA confirmed that it has bought a majority stake in Zebralution – the Berlin-based distributor that works with over 1,000 record labels and audio book publishers from around the world.

Dr Harald Heker, GEMA’s CEO, said at the time: “By taking a stake in Zebralution, GEMA has made a targeted investment that secures its future viability,” says

“Through Zebralution, we will also be able to support our members in the digital distribution of their musical works. GEMA’s relevance in the digital music market will thus be significantly increased.”

Zebralution was previously owned by Warner Music Group, before WMG agreed to sell the company in 2017 to an independent consortium as part of its post-Parlophone disposals.

GEMA’s licensing Battle with YouTube

YouTube stopped showing official music videos in Germany in April 2009 after its 17-month licensing deal with GEMA came to a close.

Under this prior deal, Google paid GEMA a set per-stream fee for its licensed videos.

Negotiations on a new deal collapsed after GEMA attempted to raise this fee to 1 Euro Cent per stream.

Seven years later, GEMA and YouTube finally reached an agreement, which means that all previously unlicensed – and therefore previously unavailable – music videos became playable on YouTube in Germany.

Music Business Worldwide

GEMA In The News

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