Earlier this year, licensing and processing hub ICE launched Licensr, a self-service portal, where start-up music services can secure (mechanical & performing) publishing rights for multi-territory coverage in minutes by answering a few questions, even paying by credit card.
Additionally, if their service utilises visual media or lyrics, they can then do a straightforward add-on order for the sync/lyric rights too.
All-in-all this reflects a greatly streamlined process for a range of service developers in acquiring key rights for the extensive ICE Core repertoire.
Ben McEwen, VP – Commercial at ICE, shares his thoughts on this evolving part of the market and ICE’s role in fostering innovation.
ICE licenses DSPs of all sizes, from the huge industry household name services to the specialists and new start-up services.
We’re constantly reviewing how we can best service the market; what’s going to be the most effective and efficient approach and ultimately what’s going to benefit rightsholders in the ICE Core licence.
In structuring ourselves around the market, we’ve a team of category specialists, each expert in the different forms of service that utilise music. We’ve also a dedicated data analysis function, our unique BI tool and we run Quarterly Business Reviews to keep our rightsholders immersed in the market we represent them in.
As part of our ongoing assessment of the market, we identified opportunity to better serve new and smaller services, representing both additional rightsholder income and a growth path for new entrants. We’ve worked hard on this over time, demonstrating commitment to helping address these smaller players and have continued to evolve the solution from online applications up to a fully functional self-service portal.
This is where Licensr comes in, as a new proposition to meet the needs of these services. (under €250k revenue)
Simplicity & Agility
The central premise of Licensr is simplifying the licensing process. In doing that we’re helping to reduce the barriers in rapidly bringing new ideas to use music to market, as less resources are required to quickly establish your service.
“The central premise of Licensr is simplifying the licensing process. In doing that we’re helping to reduce the barriers in rapidly bringing new ideas to use music to market.”
This also offers more agility to entrepreneurs, and we’ve already seen that reflected with the portal being used by those actively responding to the pandemic to move previously ‘in-person’ live experiences online.
At this point, I’d add that we’re realistic that even an extensive repertoire of publishing rights will, depending on the service type, need to be accompanied by other rights (be it master rights or those from other publishing rightsholders) so it’s not the complete solution.
But every step of the process that becomes more straightforward represents less time and resources required by the innovative services we are supporting and a lower cost of administration for our rightsholders.
Another way Licensr supports new services is by its multi-territory nature. Licensr supports more than 70 territories, so service developers can leverage their platform to audiences in multiple countries, with opportunity to rapidly extend reach from the beginning. Being able to monetise your service more widely offers a greater return and you can target like-segments in different territories.
Supporting a variety of service models
Whilst the standard mainstream streaming market is heavily weighted to some large players, there’s a vibrant field of alternative music services springing up (as mentioned, some even in response to the pandemic) and Licensr supports a variety of models from on-demand and interactive streaming to download stores. If you look at the scope from Licensr + sync/lyric orders, it’s even broader. Supporting a wider range of approaches enables more innovative service models.
In simplifying this process there are multiple benefits for rightsholders.
First there is the smoother flow of royalties from new services, at a time when every cent/penny counts.
“In simplifying this process there are multiple benefits for rightsholders. First there is the smoother flow of royalties from new services, at a time when every cent/penny counts.”
Then, longer term, the new innovative music start-ups of today could become the industry cornerstones of tomorrow. Their development is supported as they get there sustainably, demonstrating to investors that they have the rights to do what they need to do for their service, in turn bringing even more breadth and stability to music rights royalty streams.
The efficiency of using a tool like Licensr is also important – both to rightsholders and the music services.
Rightsholders are represented to the whole breadth of the market in a resource-efficient way (we’re always conscious that ultimately rightsholders fund their representation and hence even with an effective pooling of resources that comes with the ICE Core, serving the market in a cost-effective manner is still important).
And on the other side, it enables services without dedicated resources to manage music rights, and to clear them simply and speedily.
Licensr is in its initial phase, and although the initial results have been excellent, bringing in royalties from the moment the platform was launched, and with a range of more than 20+ different services already using it to take out licences, we’ve plans to develop it further.
The vision is to constantly review the profile of licensees it does and does not service in the market and to assess where we need to enhance its functionality.
ICE also have a guide to getting licensed for smaller services on its blog here.
Enjoyed this article? Why not check out:
- ICE CEO Thorsten Sauer on Tackling Data Challenges in the Digital Era, Paying Out First €1bn in Digital Royalties
- “This is Going to Have a Significant Impact on Rights Holders’ Revenues” – Bob Barbiere on Pex’s Dubset Acquisition
- David Israelite: “The Future is Very Bright for Publishing and Songwriting”