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SACEM and Universal Music Publishing confirm SoundCloud licensing deal

By | Published on Thursday 2 June 2016


Now everyone wants to do deals with SoundCloud. Remember the days when it was all “fucking SoundCloud, with their flim and their flam and their ‘we’re just a platform for creators’ nonsense”? They were happy days.

So, French collecting society SACEM has followed the lead of the UK’s PRS and done a licensing deal with small bad SoundCloud (it’s YouTube that’s “big bad” remember). And this isn’t just about French songs – oh no – because this deal was done by DEAL, a venture that also represents the Anglo-American repertoire of Universal Music Publishing (including the performing rights in those songs that are ultimately controlled by PRS – complicated innit?)

The new European agreement, which covers 33 territories, means that songs repped by SACEM and Universal can now happily stream on SoundCloud’s platform – both the now-ad-funded-in-some-territories freemium service and the fledgling premium set-up – without it getting any stern looks and angry cusses from the SACEM/Universal songwriter community. Well, no legal papers anyway. The stern looks and angry cusses may continue once royalty statements land.

Says SACEM CEO Jean-Noël Tronc: “This first agreement with SoundCloud, which we have signed before SoundCloud’s launch of a new French consumer subscription service, demonstrates SACEM’s commitment to be highly reactive and to provide the proper remuneration of the creators in the digital environment. We are proud to further develop DEAL, our strategic partnership with Universal Music Publishing International. This agreement now allows authors, composers and publishers a better exposure of their works in all type of music”.

For Universal Music Publishing, top chief Jody Gerson added: “Universal Music Publishing International is delighted to have worked with our partner SACEM to conclude this deal, which makes our music widely accessible to European consumers and allows for our songwriters to be properly compensated through SoundCloud’s platform. It is another example of our commitment to facilitate licensing while protecting the rights of our songwriters and delivering the greatest value”.

Which is all well and good, but why’s no one THRILLED about this thrilling new development? “We’re THRILLED to have reached yet another agreement” says SoundCloud big cheese Alexander Ljung. Phew, that was close.

“This will allow us to further our mission to strengthen and grow our unique community of more than twelve million creators – established and emerging – heard each month on SoundCloud” he went on. “Our agreement with SACEM and UMPI, which we can add to a growing number of significant arrangements we have completed, allows us to continue to create a place where all creativity can live, while simultaneously ensuring rightsholders’ work is rewarded and respected”.