Who said major labels were the only established music entities buying into the digital distribution market? German collecting society GEMA is joining the fun. It has taken a majority stake in Berlin-based distributor Zebralution, which it says makes it one of the first collecting societies in the world to ‘secure commercial participation’ in that market. Zebralution will continue to operate as a standalone business, working with more than 1,000 label and audio-book publisher clients.
GEMA CEO Dr Harald Heker described the deal as one that “secures its future viability” (‘it’ being GEMA), adding: “Through Zebralution, we will also be able to support our members in the digital distribution of their musical works.
GEMA’s relevance in the digital music market will thus be significantly increased… “In future, musicians will be able to release their music to a wide range of digital music providers through GEMA and Zebralution.”
The ramifications of such a deal will be interesting, however: for example, if GEMA finds itself at loggerheads with a digital service (as it has done in the past) will Zebralution’s catalogue be pulled in to these disputes too?