Kobalt’s AMRA signs its first global collection deal… with Apple

Kobalt’s very own collection society, AMRA, has signed its first global digital licensing deal and it’s a biggy – Apple Music.

The agreement, which covers the globe outside the US and Canada, will see AMRA collect royalties for songwriters and publishers direct from Apple for usage around the world.

AMRA represents Kobalt and its clients, including over 500 independent publishing companies such as B*Unique, Communion, Polar Patrol and Chris Blackwell’s recently-signed Blue Mountain Music.

Traditionally, digital music services like Apple Music have required separate deals with numerous CMOs on a territory-by-territory basis to license repertoire worldwide.

Kobalt told MBW that its licence agreement with Apple Music was “the first of a set of new global deals concluded by AMRA”.

You can bet Spotify, and very possibly YouTube, are also on that shopping list…

Kobalt has invited other publishing rights-holders – including the majors – to join AMRA, arguing that it can do a more cost-efficient job of collection that non-for-profit territory-specific societies.

“I am thrilled by AMRA’s unique ability to make direct streaming deals with the leading streaming players.”

Willard Ahdritz, Kobalt

Digital platforms can currently obtain a Europe-wide license for repertoire through the likes of as Solar and ARESA – a process which is set to become even easier with the new PRS/STIM/GEMA hub launching next year.

However, licensing the rest of the world usually requires a vast number of agreements with organisations in a string of individual countries.

In some of these territories, particularly within Latin America and Africa, obtaining all due royalties has proven no easy task for songwriters and publishers in the past.

[READ: ‘Kobalt: Major publishers should come and join our collection society’]

Powered by its KORE collection technology, Kobalt claims that ‘AMRA is uniquely able to process the billions of micro-payments generated from major streaming services such as Apple Music on a global basis, resulting in higher and faster payments to its artist and songwriter clients’.

Willard Ahdritz, Founder and CEO of Kobalt, said: “Both AMRA and Kobalt’s interests are aligned: we want artists and songwriters to get paid for all their music uses around the world.

“But to get there, applying the standard local licensing structure to today’s streaming world no longer makes sense, leaving too many countries and regions untapped.

“I’m thrilled that AMRA’s unique ability to make direct deals with the leading streaming players who have a true global reach will allow Kobalt to deliver unparalleled speed, efficiency and transparency to our clients, as well as help grow the music industry as a whole.”

Kenth Muldin, Chairman of the Board of AMRA, added: “This is a landmark deal for AMRA and the music industry as a whole, representing our vision and ability to offer a music rights solution on a global scale.

“And with Apple Music’s rollout to over 100 countries, we expect to see a significant impact for our clients’ bottom-line.”

Tomas Ericsson, CEO of AMRA, said: “AMRA was uniquely designed for this exact situation – a direct global deal with a major DSP to ensure rights-holders are fairly, accurately and transparently compensated for the use of their music globally.

“It’s the perfect example of how a new structure and innovative technology will significantly improve returns and transparency for songwriters, artists and publishers.”Music Business Worldwide

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