The world’s first integrated licensing and processing hub


PRS for Music's collaboration and partnership with STIM and GEMA has resulted in the development of the world’s first integrated licensing and processing hub, encouraging both the aggregation of repertoires for pan-European licences and the elimination of parallel processing against incompatible works databases. 

Launched in 2016, the hub brings a unique offering to customers, not currently met elsewhere.  It offers a flexible suite of services and has been developed from best-in-class technologies that will deliver unparalleled economies of scale, speed, efficiency, accuracy and business intelligence reporting.  It is the fruition of a partnership that harnesses years of combined experience in collective management, servicing and which has shaped the digital market from the outset.

The benefits will be wide reaching, offering solutions to all European rightsholders. The economies of scale and increased efficiencies will deliver cost saving benefits to all. The hub offers a potential transformative benefit to new and smaller music repertoires as inclusion into the core licence enables the potential for greater access to DSPs.

The ICE brand will expand to include the new services of the joint venture hub. The ICE copyright database - which has operated since 2010 - powers the heart of the new venture in addition to giving its name to the entire hub operation.

The existing ICE branding refreshes with a new master logo and an additional set of service descriptor logos.

ICE is evolving in the most exciting way. It will continue to be a world-class authoritative copyright database, with the addition of new systems and services that enable it to expand to offer the world’s first integrated licensing and processing hub.

There are a number of ways in which ICE offers unparalleled transparency, accuracy and accessibility of data. The authoritative database powering it ensures that we offer a complete picture of rights ownership for the repertoires managed by the hub, resulting in a reduction across split-copyright processing throughout Europe. This means that ICE reports will be authoritative and complete. ICE Services will offer business intelligence reports, ensuring that the data can provide clients with a powerful business tool to assist them in growing their businesses.

The launch of ICE’s new services is a defining moment for the music industry. We had a vision five years ago to support the fragmented music market by developing a hub that would encourage the aggregation of music repertoires and offer state-of-the art rights management systems run from a single, authoritative database. With the re-launch of ICE we are bringing that vision to life with the provision of this brand new expanded suite of services.

ICE is unique – there is nothing else that offers access to a vast repertoire of European music and with the efficiency and power of new technology. We set about building a solution for the fragmented music market, and we have drawn from our vast experience over the years of collective music rights management to build a multi-territory licensing and processing hub that will serve rightsholders and their digital customers very well.

We have designed a transformative and very flexible service offering to fit the needs of different rightsholders and DSPs. The integrated systems have been built from the ground up to provide unparalleled speed, accuracy and economies of scale. This hub will scale up and handle huge data volumes.

We’ve been in this business a long time and been servicing and shaping the digital market from the outset. This expertise has enabled us to develop an innovative and outstanding pan-European online music rights licensing and processing hub.

ICE indirectly represents over 250,000 composers, songwriters and publishers. This comprises of current PRS for Music, STIM and GEMA members. Other third party rightsholders will be welcomed as customers.

The benefits for The Hub include:

  • ICE has sound credentials and the backing of parent organisations representing significant European repertoire with years of combined experience of back office processing and music licensing.
  • ICE will make it simpler for DSPs to obtain some of the multi-territory online licences they need for Europe.
  • In addition to having one licence, they will receive one invoice for PRS for Music, STIM and GEMA repertoire, instead of three.
  • That invoice will be produced from one data source ensuring that the number of copyright pictures used throughout the industry is reduced, enabling greater invoicing accuracy.
  • ICE will enable simplified licensing negotiations for digital music services operating across Europe, reducing barriers for innovative new online services.
  • Rightsholders will benefit from faster and more accurate invoicing at a time when the usage data from online services is growing from billions to trillions annually.
  • ICE will make a major contribution to online cultural diversity as it brings multi-territory licensing within reach of smaller repertoires.
  • ICE will reduce processing costs because of its unparalleled economies of scale.
  • Rightsholder customers will benefit from competitive administration fees with a stepped reduction over time as the model scales.
  • ICE’s authoritative multi-territory copyright service enables full transparency for all rightsholders, with confidence inspired by collective ownership.

ICE is designed to provide solutions to the problems of the multi-territory online music market. It will enable simpler access to music licences and swifter and more accurate money flows from DSPs to rightsholders. It has been designed to assist the growth of the digital music market to the benefit of all players.

Our vision is that ICE will provide the industry with the benchmark for great solutions and service in the multi-territory licensing.

PRS for Music, STIM and GEMA are parent organisations and ICE is a set of separate legal entities.

They have collaboratively built a hub that builds on the very best technologies in the field and their collective and extensive experience in multi-territory online licensing, data matching and processing, and copyright services.

Robert Ashcroft will, in addition to his role as Chief Executive of PRS for Music, oversee the establishment of the joint venture as the first CEO for the licensing and professional services arm of the joint venture.

International Copyright Enterprise Services has relaunched as ICE Operations and acquires GEMA as a shareholder alongside PRS for Music and STIM.

ICE offers the following services:

  • ICE Operations – providing state of the art online matching and processing services, together with authoritative multi-territorial copyright services.
  • ICE Services – providing business enhancing middle-office services including invoicing, legal support and business intelligence analysis to both Ice Licensing customers and those offering bespoke services, such as Solar, Aresa and PEDL.
  • ICE Licensing – providing consolidated licensing of PRS for Music, GEMA and STIM’s multi-territory online rights and options for other rights holders to join the same core licence.

New and enhanced ICE is the world's first integrated licensing and processing hub, offering state-of-the-art services to support over 250,000 rightsholders and multi-territory digital music companies.

The music industry has been transformed by the evolution of the digital market and the birth of cross-border music services. Following the European Commission’s recommendation in 2005, rightsholders have been able to withdraw their online rights from collecting societies to license them on a pan-European basis through the collective management organisation of their choice.

While this initiative - known as the ‘Option 3’ market – has enabled the development of a single European market in digital music services, it resulted initially in a fragmentation of repertoires and difficulties in back-office processing due to different collective management organisations working off separate copyright databases, which led to delays in payment, inaccurate invoices and disputed claims.

The new hub reduces these problems by bringing repertoires together, enabling licensees to obtain one licence for those repertoires and ensuring that the works are recorded on a single, authoritative database.

ICE offers a complete and flexible suite of services:

  • State of the art data processing and matching
  • Authoritative copyright and audio-visual database
  • Business enhancing middle-office services - invoicing, legal support and business intelligence;
  • Consolidated licensing of PRS for Music, GEMA and STIM’s multi-territory online rights and options for other rights holders to join the same core licence or to operate separate solutions, such as Solar and ARESA.

ICE will cover multi-territory licensing in Europe.

ICE is for music rightsholders and digital service providers (DSPs).

DSP customers will obtain a single, consolidated multi-territory licence for Europe for PRS for Music, STIM and GEMA and other repertoires to be represented by ICE in the future. ICE will make it simpler for DSPs to obtain some of the multi-territory online licences they need for Europe. In addition to having one licence, they will receive one invoice for PRS for Music, STIM and GEMA repertoire, instead of three. That invoice will be produced from one data source and because of that it will eliminate invoice disputes that would arise due to using difference copyright pictures.

Publishers and additional collection societies will be welcomed as ICE customers and can select options from a flexible suite of services. ICE Licensing will include interested customers in a core licence for Europe. ICE Services will provide customers with core services which include DSP invoicing, legal support services and it will also offer business intelligence reports and analysis. ICE Operations will provide customers with processing, matching and distributions and copyright registration, management and database services.

The suite is flexible to meet the changing and particular needs of different customers, and this choice will enable the widest cross section of customers to benefit.

The aggregated repertoires will be processed and matched on one system, whereas in the past processes were duplicated across societies. Customers will benefit from the increased speed and efficiencies enabled by the increased processing power of new systems and increased economies of scale.

The doors of ICE are open to all DSPs operating on a multi-territory basis, and all publishers and collection societies.

PRS for Music, STIM and GEMA related repertoire will be on-boarded to the powerful new processing system later this year and will include SPVs Solar and ARESA. The core licence will be available from 2016 onwards and will include the repertoires of the three societies. Solar and ARESA will continue to license their own repertoires independently.

PRS for Music, STIM and GEMA will continue to license single territory digital music services on a national basis.