Spanish collecting society SGAE is facing a big problem in early 2019: the potential for some of the world’s biggest publishers to take their catalogues elsewhere.

Warner/Chappell, Peermusic, Sony/ATV, Universal Publishing and BMG have given SGAE six months’ notice of their intention to not renew their contracts with the society, according to reports in the Spanish media. At a stroke, that could remove catalogue that generated 60% of SGAE’s collections in 2017.

The publishers have been tangling with SGAE over the removal of some of their representatives from its board of directors last year, while SGAE also took heavy criticism early this year over a system called La Rueda (‘the wheel’) that involved TV stations playing specific music overnight, bumping up its publishing royalties.

In February, the International Confederation of Music Publishers (ICMP) called on global collecting-societies body CISAC to suspend SGAE’s membership, after the global publishers’ representatives were replaced on SGAE’s board by local publishers who “might have relationships with the anomalous night music distribution”.

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