What is IMPEL?
IMPEL (Independent Music Publishers’ E-Licensing) is a collective of independent music publishers that have appointed MCPS (the Mechanical Copyright-Protection Society) to license and administer the online mechanical rights in their Anglo-American repertoire on their behalf. IMPEL became a limited company in January 2015 and is owned by the MPA (Music Publishers’ Association).
Why choose IMPEL?
IMPEL offers the benefits of collective rights management to independent publishers: the ability to combine their repertoire and offer it on a multi-territory basis to major digital music service providers through a single rights manager. Enjoy increased transparency, a single commission fee, faster transfer of payments and direct input on licensing terms.
What is IMPEL's relationship with PRS for Music?
PRS for Music is a trading name for Performing Right Society Limited (PRS). As IMPEL’s online agent, MCPS employs PRS for Music to deliver first-class licensing expertise, processing power and back office administration through its partnership with ICE Services.
PRS is able to match the performing rights to the mechanical rights in the Anglo-American repertoire brought by IMPEL; this enables a ‘one-stop shop’ for the licensing of independent publishers’ repertoire across the world.
Which publishers' repertoire is already included in IMPEL?
- ABKCO Music Inc
- Accorder Music Publishing
- Ameritz Music Ltd
- Beggars Music Limited
- Bucks Music Corporation
- Carlin Music Corporation*
- Carthage Music Limited
- Conexion Music Limited
- Cooking Vinyl Publishing Limited
- Defensive Music Ltd
- Downtown Music Publishing
- Faber Music Limited
- Fairwood Music (UK) Limited
- Fintage Music Group
- Gear Publishing Company
- Hornall Brothers Music Limited
- Imagem Music*
- Kassner Associated Publishers
- Manners McDade Music Publishing
- Memory Lane Music Limited
- Minds on Fire
- Moncur Street Music
- Mute Song Limited
- Nettwerk One Music Limited
- New Songs Administration Limited
- Oyez! UK
- Paul Rodriguez Music
- Peer Group*
- Phoenix Music International
- Pink Floyd Music Publishers Ltd
- Proof Songs Limited
- Raleigh Music Publishing
- Red Ink Music Limited
- Reservoir Media Management
- Reverb Music Limited
- RZO Music Ltd
- S2K Music Ltd
- Shapiro Bernstein & Co Ltd
- Some Velvet Morning
- Songs Music Publishing
- Spirit Music Publishing
- The Music Sales Group
- Truelove Music
- Warp Music Limited
- Westbury Music Limited
- Wixen Music UK Limited
- Wonderlous LLC
*PRS for Music also manages the Anglo-American mechanical digital rights of Carlin Music Corporations, peermusic and Imagem Music alongside the IMPEL rights.
Without being party to the individual relationships between publishers and their European sub-publishers/other societies, PRS for Music are not in a position to advise on how to alter the agreements. Independent publishers are advised to seek independent legal advice to make sure that they are taking the correct action.
The Music Publishers Association (MPA) has made some example documents available to its members via its website.
PRS for Music licenses the matching Anglo-American performing rights to match IMPEL's mechanical rights, so licensees receive the complete rights package in a one-stop shop.
It is intended that the BIEM reciprocal agreements between MCPS and other European societies will be modified so that the withdrawn rights do not flow back into the society network. Rather, the publishers' withdrawn mechanical rights for digital exploitation will remain solely with MCPS for multi-territory licensing.
By licensing the multi-territory services directly via ICE Services independent publishers can directly influence the way in which the majority of their online and mobile royalties are generated. Previously, licences were issued by the local societies in each local territory, with monies flowing back through the sub-publishers, so independent publishers were sometimes two stages removed from the process.
By forming IMPEL and nominating PRS for Music as their service provider, the independent publishers are acting as the Commission suggested. This is also in line with the action that the majors have already taken.
The level of detail in statements accompanying royalties distributed from multi-territory services is significant. PRS for Music is leading the way in providing greater transparency for publishers regarding the source of their royalties. Often, monies flowing through the society network may only provide headline digital figures, with no further detail. IMPEL statements are broken down:
- line by line
- territory by territory
- licensee by licensee
- separate mechanical and performance figures
ICE processes the reporting and provides licensees with a claim report which includes all the IMPEL works, along with the invoice. PRS for Music has worked with other leading societies to standardise the claim report information.
- Publishers must withdraw the digital mechanical rights in their Anglo-American repertoire (as defined above) from their European sub-publishers or direct society membership to enable IMPEL to license the repertoire in those territories.
- Publishers must sign an agency agreement with MCPS.
- The preparatory copyright mandate work needs to be completed as detailed above.
MCPS has agreements to plug the IMPEL publishers' digital mechanical rights back into the local societies to enable the societies to continue to offer blanket licences for this segment of the market. PRS for Music has also concluded bilateral agreements with other European societies to ensure that the matching performing rights are also available for blanket licensing of national services where scheme consent has been granted. Licensing of local services by the local societies makes sense from both a cost and monitoring perspective.
'Anglo-American repertoire' was historically a reference to the nationality of the composer and their local society. However, today's music creators can join any society they like - PRS for Music has many Bollywood songwriters and composers in its membership. Anglo-American, when related to repertoire, now simply means that one of the people who wrote or produced that body of music is a member of one of the societies below:
- or is not a member of any society
The writer's affiliation must be with an Anglo-American society (as listed above), but the works themselves do not have to be English language.
ICE systems are able to handle works where only part of the work falls under this definition and so is able to collect royalties for the Anglo-American share of works that also have non-Anglo-American writers (i.e. BIEM repertoire)
PRS for Music continues to license a wide range of repertoire for exploitation in the UK. The licensing of specific repertoire for Europe can be added to PRS for Music’s existing UK licences, as the pan-European element of the licence has been aligned with existing UK operations.
Once a pan-European licence is in place, additional repertoire will be added to the licensing as more publishers sign up to IMPEL.
Publishers cannot unilaterally withdraw mechanical rights from the other societies if they do not have the consent of the writer. Their mechanical rights will remain with their local society and the local society will continue to license exploitation of these works for all categories of licensees, including multi-territory digital music services. Royalties for these non-Anglo-American writers will continue to flow through the existing sub-publisher network/direct membership.
Such services can offer consumers in different countries access to the same exciting music services, potentially rolling out across the single market. As a result, the majority of European digital royalties are generated by these multi-territory service providers.
In order for ICE Services to be able to accurately administer the licences, all of the works an independent publisher brings into IMPEL must be compliant with the transactional licensing process. This means that each publisher, in conjunction with PRS for Music, must review their sub-publishing agreements, administered catalogues and specific exceptions to their standard arrangements. This generates an IMPEL mandate which then enables the systems to claim for royalties on the required share of work basis.
Any multi-territory digital music service operating in Europe...
- What is a multi-territory service?
- Who administers the multi-territory licences?
This is a digital service whose activity spans more than one country. The service could be a single service operated by one entity, but also where the service is operated in local versions and/or by local subsidiaries under the auspices of a single entity. General Entertainment, on-demand video, catch-up TV, simulcast or broadcaster-based services are excluded from this definition. However, on-demand video services are included if they are music based. PRS for Music maintains a list of specific multi-territory services requiring a multi-territory licence including iTunes, YouTube, Amazon, Spotify and many others.
IMPEL, via its nominated agent MCPS, employs PRS for Music as its service provider. IMPEL repertoire is therefore included in the core multi-territory licence offered and administered by ICE Services, the joint venture between PRS for Music, GEMA and STIM.