Robert Ashcroft named CEO of PRS, STIM and GEMA’s joint EU licensing hub

Robert Ashcroft has been named CEO of the new pan-EU licensing hub jointly run by PRS For Music (UK), GEMA (Germany) and STIM (Sweden).

Ashcroft takes the role in addition to his work as CEO of PRS For Music.

PRS for Music, STIM and GEMA have now signed completion documents for the hub, which will be available from 2016 onwards and include the repertoires of the three societies.

Powered by copyright database ICE, it promises to increase the speed, accuracy and efficiency of music matching. Crucially, it will also make it easier for digital music services to secure multi-territory licences.

GEMA has this week become a shareholder of ICE alongside PRS for Music and STIM – one month after the EC’s competition watchers approved the joint licensing venture.

Licensed DSPs will receive one invoice produced from one data source, which will improve efficiency by removing the need to analyse and resolve conflicts. This, say the collection societies, will benefit rightsholders by reducing commission costs over time.

Solar and ARESA will continue to license their own repertoires independently – while PRS for Music, STIM and GEMA will also continue to license single territory digital music services on a national basis.

Robert Ashcroft said: “We are immensely proud to announce the completion of PRS for Music, STIM and GEMA’s agreement to launch the first integrated music licensing and processing hub.  This follows the European Commission’s competition clearance in June, following an exhaustive investigation of the European online music market.

“We had a vision five years ago to support the fragmented music market by developing a hub that would encourage the aggregation of music repertoires and offer state-of-the art rights management systems run from a single, authoritative database.

“Today we are bringing that vision to life with the launch of this brand new company.  It’s a defining moment for the music industry.”

Karsten Dyhrberg Nielsen CEO STIM added: “The hub is unique – there is nothing else that offers access to a vast repertoire of European music and with the efficiency and power of new technology.

“We set about building a solution for the fragmented music market, and we have drawn from our vast experience over the years of collective music rights management to build a multi-territory licensing and processing hub that will serve rightsholders and their digital customers very well”.

Dr Harald Heker, CEO GEMA said: “We have designed a transformative and very flexible service offering to fit the needs of different rightsholders and DSPs.  The integrated systems have been built from the ground up to provide unparalleled speed, accuracy and economies of scale.

“This hub will scale up and handle huge data volumes.  We’ve been in this business a long time and been servicing and shaping the digital market from the outset. This expertise has enabled us to develop an innovative and outstanding pan-European online music rights licensing and processing hub.”

 Music Business Worldwide

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