SoundCloud agrees legal settlement with PRS in time for Christmas

SoundCloud and PRS For Music have signed a settlement, bringing to an end their legal battle in time for Christmas – and even agreed a new multi-territory licence.

The licence covers the use of PRS for Music repertoire since SoundCloud’s launch and further supports SoundCloud in its plans to introduce subscription and advertising across Europe in 2016, meaning that creators can start to make money from their tracks.

The news comes four months after UK CMO PRS announced it was suing SoundCloud following years of unsuccessful negotiations over a European license.

Today’s announcement throws up some big questions, including but not limited to:

  • How much has SoundCloud agreed to pay for past usage of music as part of the settlement?
  • How will this money be divided amongst publishers and songwriters? Some have suggested that a market share-based allocation won’t go down well amongst smaller players – especially those in the world of dance music, who have been particularly regular users of SoundCloud;
  • What are the terms of the new multi-territory licence?

Robert Ashcroft, Chief Executive of PRS for Music said: “On behalf of our members, I am pleased that we have been able to reach a settlement with SoundCloud without extended legal proceedings. This ends over five years of discussions on the licensing requirements for the platform, resulting in a licence under which our members are fairly rewarded for the use of their music.

“The safe harbours in current legislation still present ambiguity, and obstruct the efficient licensing of online services, but our agreement with SoundCloud is a step in the right direction towards a more level playing field for the online marketplace.”

He added: “Many of our members love the SoundCloud service and I greatly appreciate their management’s willingness to work with us in the way they have”.

Alexander Ljung, founder and CEO of SoundCloud, said: “SoundCloud is a platform by creators, for creators; we’re working hard to create a platform where all creators can be paid for their work, and already have deals in place with thousands of copyright owners.

“PRS for Music is also fully committed to creators, and we’re pleased to have reached an agreement that will expand revenue opportunities, improve the accuracy of royalty distributions, and launch new services for our 175 million monthly active listeners on SoundCloud in 2016.”Music Business Worldwide

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