Report: EU may issue pan-European music licenses to Yahoo, Amazon, RealNetworks

“Yahoo Inc., Inc., and RealNetworks Inc. may obtain pan-European licenses to sell music over the Internet under European Union plans to regulate royalty collection companies, according to a EU draft proposal,” Matthew Newman reports for Bloomberg News.

“Online music sellers currently must negotiate separate license agreements in each of the 15 EU member states with companies that collect and distribute musicians’ royalty payments. That system harms the bloc’s competitiveness, the European Commission said in the draft,” Newman reports. “New rules may help Europe catch up with the U.S., where Apple Computer Inc.’s iTunes Music Store’s online music service enabled users to legally download 50 million tracks last year. The European launch for iTunes has been delayed as Apple seeks license agreements across the EU, said Lucy Cronin, spokeswoman for the London-based European Digital Media Association, whose members include, RealNetworks Europe and Yahoo Europe.”

“‘Royalty collecting societies have hindered the takeoff of legitimate online music services,’ said Thomas Vinje, a lawyer at Clifford Chance LLP who has done work for Yahoo,” Newman reports.

Full article here.


  1. Which specifically backs up what I’ve been saying on this forum and many others!

    It’s not Apple and it’s not even the record companies that are holding up iTMS Europe, it’s having to draw up a contract for four or five royalty collection bodies in each country.

    Bear in mind that there are over 30 countries in Europe, and you can see why this is a problem.

    Still, an EU-wide approach will – with the new accession countries coming on board – take in nearly all of the countries you would care about, excluding Norway and Switzerland.

    Good to see the EU consistently taking on vested interests: doubt we’ll hear from American legislators on this subject seeing as it suits their paymasters.

  2. An EU approach to paying royalties is fine, but each of those 30 plus countries have mostly their own language and more importantly their own artists. (We in the U.S. sometimes think only North American artists are what people want in other countries). I believe Apple will have at least 6 different stores with each one geared to the specific countries tastes. It means separate download facilities as well. Hopefully this will occur by this summer.

  3. pkradd:

    As a Brit living in Surrey, I’m only too aware of having 50 Cent rammed down my throat as opposed to what should happen, which is Bryan Ferry being rammed down yours.

    I think there’s a difference between the national royalty collection interests, who will do whatever they can to feather their own nests, and the need to set up as many ‘locally-aware’ versions of iTMS as are required.

  4. I want one worldwide iTMS myself. I listen to a lot of South American music which is really hard to get in the UK. A UK-focussed iTMS is likely to only offer Gareth Gates or any other number of the artists of limited appeal that litter our singles chart. Anyone who wants that can buy it in Tescos.

  5. I think it likely that ITMS will be divided into “zones” or something. A level of classification higher than “genre”. Or maybe the same level. In any case, I don’t see why all music couldn’t be sold anywhere, as long as the contracts permit international sales.

  6. BTW, has anyone noticed how the internet has started knitting the world together? I was skeptical of the “global village” concept that was touted ten years ago, but there is some tangible evidence of it now. Capitalists are becoming a culture that crosses national boundaries. Porn, viagra, music…how long before all government bureaucrats meld into a single, non-national, marketable product?

    Perhaps we should start planning Steve’s run for world president ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  7. Im sure each country in Europe will have its own “home” page on the iTMS, the question is reclassification of the “World” section of the iTMS. will they devide it by country? Is it already like that?

  8. I love the rich diversity of cultures of the EU. Personally, I hate the screamingly conservative, corporate-owned media, monoculture of the United States. The US doesn’t offer 1% of the personal day-to-day freedoms that our European cousins enjoy. I fail to see how a pair of breasts/testicles or saying “phuk” is pornographic while watching someone’s head explode is “cool”. A program called “Real TV” actually showed a 15 year old boy’s arm breaking during a skateboard mishap as entertainment. The real shocker was the recent and extremely cold-hearted decision for ALL media sources to show the chard and abused remains of American citizens. I met someone that was close friends of one of those victims. THAT was how he learn of his friend’s death. THAT IS AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT!?!?!?!

    The US society raises their children to have mini-Hitler attitudes; everyone tries to force everyone else to to their own beliefs and thinking. And whoever gets into power, creates a bunch of non-sensical rules to make it happen during their term in office. Taken from a distance over a period of time, the US government acts like a psychotic megalomaniac. Just ask anyone NOT living under the US media’s brainwashing machine (reporting just US casualties in Iran, not total casualties, as if the souls of others don’t matter). While in Europe, their attitude is more live and let live, and ENHANCE the quality of life with laws, not restrict it. Because of these differing view points,Bill Gates is seen as a hero in the US and a villain in the EU.

    Why do I stay in the US? Because I fight to change things, not hide and remain quiet when things get rough (like MOST Americans do who never vote in the dual-dictatorship they created and too cowardice to change it). The US needs to join the world, not the other way around. “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” ONLY if you are a caucasian, heterosexual, Christian, male.

    With today’s technology, our world could easily be a single village, but there are too many small minded, ego-driven, mini-Hitlers running around to make it happen, with the US having most of them, preventing it from happening.

  9. I wouldn’t worry on that score Joe. If I come to a sticky end, it’s far more likely to be under the wheels of a London bendy-bus, because they are driven by sociopathic maniacs who don’t care if they kill the odd motorcyclist or two.

    Which gives you an idea of how my journey home went. Have a good Easter.

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