Launched in 2010, copyright hub ICE offers a range of services for Publishers, Collective Management Organisations (CMOs) and rightsholders. In this Q&A, CEO Thorsten Sauer explains how the organisation is tackling data challenges in the digital era and helping creators get paid.
What is ICE?
ICE is the world’s first and largest integrated music copyright, licensing and processing hub. It was set up by PRS for Music, STIM and GEMA to improve copyright data accuracy, aggregate repertoire for multi-territory licensing and tackle the data issues raised by parallel processing against incompatible works databases.
We provide three main services for societies and publishers:
- A unique multi-territory copyright (performing and mechanical rights) administration service which consolidates copyright information across multiple countries
- A cost-effective end to end online processing service which processes the majority of repertoire in Europe in a highly accurate fashion
- A multi-territory licensing solution that streamlines the process for DSPs and covers the largest aggregated repertoire in Europe;
ICE leverages best-in-class technology solutions to deliver economies of scale, speed and accuracy for rightsholders. It is our combination of deep experience in collective rights management and technological expertise, which has shaped the digital market from the outset.
Where does ICE fit into the society model?
ICE was created by collecting societies to address the data challenges presented by the digital era and we provide a vital role in supporting their member offering.
We complement the society model by leveraging common technology platforms and operations to help our customers ensure that their members are accurately and efficiently paid for the use of their copyright work. World class systems are required to do the job that we do, and it makes sense for them to be built once, for the benefit of many.
“World class systems are required to do the job that we do, and it makes sense for them to be built once, for the benefit of many.”
By representing a collective of rightsholders we benefit from economies of scale. This offers customers access to more services, at a lower cost, than would be possible by managing licensing in-house. The Core Licence is managed by a professional specialist team with industry leading experience in online markets, constantly working on our rightsholder customers’ behalf.
How is ICE different?
ICE has always been first to market with all of our services and we pride ourselves on being pioneers in the industry. Quality and accuracy are at the heart of what we do and we continue to lead on doing things the right way, whether that is driving the adoption of industry wide clean claiming processes for Online or establishing common Copyright Data and Counterclaims policies.
The fact that ICE is owned by not-for-profit collecting societies means that the cost savings we generate find their way back into the pockets of creators, rather than into the hands of private investors.
We are here to support the collective and are continually striving to provide flexible solutions for customers of different sizes.
The industry continues to grapple with the exponentially increasing volumes of usage data from digital services, which have required us to successfully increase the scalability of our systems. Since the launch of our online offering in 2016, we have processed trillions of streams and already have been able to pay out €1bn in digital royalties.
“Since the launch of our online offering in 2016, we have processed trillions of streams and already have been able to pay out €1bn in digital royalties.”
On the copyright side, we have seen a dramatic increase in data complexity in recent years, with an average of 5+ writers on top-10 works. Those writers have a number of different publishers and sub-publishers around the world, meaning it’s not uncommon for ICE to receive 30+ registrations for the same musical work. There will always be conflicts, so it’s like piecing together a puzzle, that’s why the pioneering ICE Data Policy is so important, it provides rightsholders with confidence over how that data will be processed through a clear and transparent rule set.
What’s coming for ICE in 2020?
2020 will see the launch of our next generation Copyright platform – Cube. It combines years of copyright expertise with cutting-edge technology and can drive an industry shift in the way in which we manage copyright data globally. It provides a scalable, rules-based automation of ICE Data Policy and enables rightsholders to actively participate in the resolution of genuine conflicts. It makes customer onboarding quicker and easier and enables us to provide more flexible services for societies of all different sizes, so Cube will be the catalyst for ICE’s next phase of growth.
In addition, we will offer a consolidated data base for AV productions to ensure consistent data in this important part of the market.
We’re excited to share these with the world…