What is Multi-Territory Online Licensing (MTOL)?

Multi-Territory Online Licensing, or MTOL, makes international licensing simpler and allows members to be paid faster and with fewer deductions.

MTOL is for online services that offer music streaming across multiple countries e.g. Spotify, Apple Music and Facebook. It’s common for societies to do multi-territory online licensing for their members’ repertoire.

What makes MTOL different?

Before, societies would negotiate a blanket licence with the online service, but only for their own country. This meant the online service had to approach every society to license the same songs in each different country, a lengthy and time-consuming process.

The EU Commission’s Online Music Recommendation in 2005 made it possible for societies to license their repertoire directly to online services for multiple territories under a single deal. This is done on a transactional basis (I.e. work by work).

To enable MTOL, PRS partnered with the Swedish and German collecting societies STIM and GEMA and invested in the technology needed to add online licensing and processing services to the already established ICE copyright database. ICE is now a leading MTOL service provider representing many different societies and rightsholders.

PRS and the ICE Core Licence

PRS’ repertoire is included in the ICE Core Licence. ICE Core covers millions of musical works in 195+ countries representing several society and publisher repertoires.

Even though ICE is our MTOL partner, PRS is still responsible for distributing the online royalties to its members. Your MTOL royalties are easily identifiable on your PRS/MCPS statement by DSP (for example Spotify, YouTube or TikTok), and territory.

I am a

As an unpublished PRS writer, your performing rights will automatically be included in the ICE Core Licence, and you will receive online royalties from all ICE-licensed DSPs/countries directly from PRS.

As an unpublished PRS & MCPSwriter, both your performing rights and mechanical rights will automatically be included in the ICE Core Licence, and you will receive the online royalties from all ICE licensed DSPs /countries directly from PRS.

As a published PRS writer, your rights may be in a different multi-territory online deal and your publisher may receive their share of performing and mechanical royalties from another society or multi-territory online organisation. You will receive your online royalties from all licensed DSPs/countries directly from PRS irrespective of which society or organisation has licensed your rights.

As a PRS publisher, your performing rights are included in the ICE Core Licence for all ICE-licensed territories under your PRS membership. Your mechanical rights, however, are in ICE Core only for MCPS ‘home territories’, namely:

United Kingdom, Akrotiri and Dhekelia, Anguilla, Ascension Island, Bahamas, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, Brunei, Cayman Island, Cyprus, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Malta, Montserrat, Pitcairn Islands, South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands, St. Helena, Tristan da Cunha, Turks and Caicos Islands, Guyana, Mauritius, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, and Sri Lanka.

This means you receive your online performing royalties from different countries directly from PRS and receive your online mechanical royalties separately via your sub-publishers in each country. If you don’t have sub-publishers, MCPS can still collect your international online mechanical royalties, but they do so indirectly, via the local mechanical societies in that country who they have agreements with.

If you’re an MCPS publisher, you can choose to put your Anglo-American (‘A-A’) online mechanical rights into ICE Core by signing up to our Core Collective service. This means ICE can license and collect your A-A mechanicals alongside your A-A performing rights in multiple countries, directly.

You can also choose to withdraw your A-A online mechanical rights from MCPS and make your own arrangements for MTOL.

Major publishers negotiate their own MTOL deals so the mechanical and performing rights are licensed directly to DSPs.

What’s the difference between Anglo-American (‘A-A’) and BIEM repertoire, and why does it matter?

The standard definition of ‘A-A repertoire’ means the shares of works where the writer/creator is:

  • A member of one of the following performing right societies: PRS, AMRA, APRA, ASCAP, BMI, IMRO, SAMRO, SESAC, SOCAN
  • Or not a member of any performing right society
  • A member of one of the following mechanical right societies: MCPS, AMCOS, CAPASSO, FOX or CMRRA
  • Or not a member of any mechanical right society

BIEM societies often control both the mechanical and the performing rights whereas A-A societies control only the performing rights. A-A mechanical rights are controlled by the publisher.

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