Business News Deals Labels & Publishers

IMPEL outlines partnership in North America with CMRRA and SX Works

By | Published on Thursday 8 September 2022


IMPEL – which helps independent music publishers to license and administrate their digital rights – has announced one of those good old strategic partnerships with CMRRA and SX Works which will provide new support for the organisation’s member publishers in North America.

Lots of publishers now license their Anglo-American and possibly other repertories to streaming services directly, as opposed to via the collective licensing system. That approach began in Europe, although has since expanded to plenty of other markets too.

Technically the publishers can only directly license the mechanical rights in the songs they control because the performing rights, which are also exploited when music is streamed, are usually controlled by collecting societies. However, in some countries, publishers are able to include the performing rights in their licences by forming joint ventures with the societies.

The big publishers have done all this on their own, but many smaller indies have gone the direct licensing route by working with IMPEL, which also began with a European focus, but has been expanding its services into the Americas in more recent years.

CMRRA is the Canadian mechanical rights collecting society which, since 2017, has been owned by US recording rights collecting society Sound Exchange. Meanwhile, SX Works is a rights admin agency also owned by Sound Exchange that “provides administration solutions to music publishers and self-published songwriters”.

Under this new partnership, IMPEL members will be able to manage their digital rights in Canada via CMRRA and in the US via SX Works. In some cases that means participating in digital licences negotiated by those entities. Or – with audio streaming services in the US, where a compulsory licence exists for mechanical rights – SX Works will manage each publisher’s relationship with the society that now administrates said compulsory licence, that being the MLC.

It’s also a two way alliance, in that CMRRA’s music publisher members will now be able to participate in IMPEL’s multi-territory licences with streaming services in Europe and elsewhere.

Confirming the partnership, IMPEL CEO Sarah Williams says: “This is an important step for IMPEL. First and foremost, it is about giving valuable options to independent music publishers that did not previously exist. We believe that this new strategic partnership is just the start of a collaboration that will bring real value to our members and the songwriters they represent. Whether this involves licensing opportunities, problem solving or any other innovation, in our universe co-operation is the key to unlocking opportunity”.

And the President of CMRRA and SX Works, Paul Shaver, adds: “CMRRA and SX Works are extremely proud of this partnership with IMPEL as we have a shared vision to ensure rights owners are accurately compensated for usage of their works. CMRRA’s long-standing foundational expertise in work-by-work, share-by-share administration will drive positive results for IMPEL members and their writers”.