The notoriously complex music licensing market in Europe could be on the road to reform, following a joint statement issued by the European Commission’s Online Roundtable on Music. Signatories include Amazon, iTunes, Nokia, EMI Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group, PRS for Music, SACEM and STIM, and their aim is to accelerate moves to simpler, more transparent pan-European licensing. 

Apple has already said that it is optimistic of launching iTunes in more European countries if progress continues on this front. “European consumers want and deserve better online music offerings,” said competition commissioner Neelie Kroes in a statement. “It is the first time that players from various parts of the market have agreed on a common roadmap. I also welcome the concrete steps and commitments that have been made and which should improve the availability of online music for consumers.” 

In separate news, Warner/Chappell Music has announced that Belgian collecting society SABAM has joined its Pan-European Digital Licensing (PEDL) initiative, meaning SABAM is now authorised to offer pan-European digital licences for Warner/Chappell’s Anglo-American repertoire. Yet neither Warner/Chappell nor SABAM are signatories to the EC roundtable statement as far as we can tell – what that means in terms of momentum for the EC’s efforts remains to be seen.

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