Business News Labels & Publishers

IMPEL sees income from digital platforms rise by 60% in 2016

By | Published on Monday 27 February 2017

MPA Group

IMPEL – which represents 46 independent music publishers in the digital licensing domain – says that royalties paid out to its members by digital platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes and YouTube rose by 60% last year.

IMPEL specifically represents the mechanical rights in the Anglo-American repertoires of its member publishers in the digital domain.

It was set up after the big five publishers – Sony/ATV, Universal, Warner/Chappell, BMG and Kobalt – decided to license their Anglo-American catalogues directly in the digital domain. This is done in partnership with the Anglo-American collecting societies like PRS, which control the accompanying performing rights – streaming services needing to exploit both the mechanical and performing rights in songs.

In some ways there are parallels between IMPEL and the indie labels’ digital licensing entity Merlin on the recordings side, in that it gives indie publishers more parity with the majors where they have decided to license digital services directly rather than collectively.

As on the labels side, publishers have seen their income from download stores like iTunes slide in recent years, but revenues generated by streaming services are booming.

This trend is more impactful for publishers, because digital income on the songs side is split between the mechanical rights – where all the money goes to the publisher, which then pays the songwriter subject to contract – and the performing rights – where 50% always goes direct to the songwriter via PRS. With downloads, more income is allocated to the mechanical rights, and the opposite is true with streams.

IMPEL is part of the group of companies run by the UK Music Publishers’ Association, whose CEO Jane Dyball says: “IMPEL is a major player now in the digital space. By uniting their repertoire and pro-actively engaging with the digital community the independent publishers are operating on a par with the majors. With repertoire spanning decades, genres and which has been recorded by iconic artists from Elvis to Bowie to Drake, the IMPEL repertoire has become an essential repertoire for digital services. IMPEL is growing in all directions and 2017 is going to be a groundbreaking year for us”.