Business News Labels & Publishers

MCPS begins IMPEL spin-off

By | Published on Wednesday 27 December 2017

The UK’s Music Publishers Association has formally begun the process of spinning off its digital licensing entity IMPEL into a standalone business, with the formal name IMPEL Collective Management Limited.

IMPEL, which licenses digital rights across Europe on behalf of a number of independent music publishers, has to date operated as part of MCPS, the mechanical rights licensing body owned by the MPA.

The IMPEL scheme was created after the big five music publishers pulled their digital rights out of the collective licensing system so they could do direct multi-territory deals with download and streaming platforms. IMPEL allows the indies to license streaming services in a similar way.

As with the big five, IMPEL licenses these streaming services in partnership with PRS, because streaming platforms exploit both the mechanical and performing rights in songs, and while the publishers control the former, PRS actually controls the latter.

MPA chief Jane Dyball confirmed that IMPEL would become its own standalone entity earlier this year, stating that: “It is now no longer appropriate for a business which operates for a section of the MCPS membership – and, for that matter, MPA membership – and which has its own ambitions, to be part of the MPA group of companies. We are therefore undertaking a business separation process”.

Confirming last week that the digital rights of IMPEL-allied publishers would now be transferred to the new entity, the MPA said that, “the decision to separate the MCPS and IMPEL companies has been made to ensure that both companies can operate in a way that allows their separate strategies to become fully realised”.

MPA also confirmed that “under this new structure, IMPEL will become a collection society, subject to the requirements of transparency and efficiency set by the [European Union’s] Collective Rights Management directive”.

Commenting on this development, IMPEL Chair Simon Platz noted that, by representing music publishers in the digital domain on a multi-territory basis, IMPEL has become something of a song rights equivalent of the indie labels’ global digital rights agency Merlin.

Platz told reporters: “It is no secret that IMPEL has aspirations towards the success of Merlin and this is the next step on that mission. IMPEL is owned only by independent music publishers. We are a group of publishers totally wedded to independence and totally wedded to being stronger together”.