German collection society GEMA has acquired a majority stake in music recognition technology (MRT) firm SoundAware Group.
Based in Hilversum in the Netherlands, the SoundAware Group says it “will continue to operate independently” under the GEMA umbrella.
The SoundAware Group’s clients include collecting societies such as Buma/Stemra (Netherlands) and Sabam (Belgium) as well as market research companies, music and media companies, TV and radio broadcasters and event organizers. The group will continue to be headquartered in Hilversum, near Amsterdam.
In Germany, GEMA represents the copyrights of approximately 90,000 members (composers, lyricists, music publishers) and of more than two million rights owners from all over the world. It is one of the largest authors’ societies for musical works in the world.
With SoundAware’s MRT, GEMA says it will be able to “further enhance” its licensing and distribution processes and expand its service offering.
GEMA says that “identification of music usage is a central part” of its business. The company adds in press statement: “High quality in usage recognition is crucial for correct usage-based licensing and royalty distribution”.
GEMA says it already uses music recognition technology in areas such as TV, music clubs, radio and online.
SoundAware Group’s Harold de Groot will continue to serve as managing director following the acquisition.
Today’s news marks GEMA’s latest acquisition, after buying a majority stake in digital music distributor Zebralution in 2019.
In June, GEMA announced that Dr. Harald Heker will retire as chief executive officer after 17 years, on September 30, with Dr. Tobias Holzmüller set to succeed him on October 1.
“By investing in a music identification pioneer, we are adding an important key competence to our portfolio: digital music identification.”
Harald Heker, GEMA
“By investing in a music identification pioneer, we are adding an important key competence to our portfolio: digital music identification,” said Harald Heker, CEO of GEMA.
“The investment in a future-oriented technology is a decisive step for GEMA on the way to becoming a powerful digital collecting society.”
“We are convinced that the potential of our monitoring technology is far from exhausted.”
Harold de Groot, SoundAware
Harold de Groot, founder of SoundAware, added: “GEMA is a global pioneer in the field of copyright management. With our technology, we want to contribute to extending this lead. We are convinced that the potential of our monitoring technology is far from exhausted. With GEMA as a strong partner, we want to develop new digital services for the music industry based on this technology and distribute them internationally.”
Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Dr. Ralf Weigand said: “With the SoundAware Group, we welcome another strong partner from the music industry under the GEMA umbrella.
“I am firmly convinced that investments such as this mark the way to GEMA’s continuing success and future positioning. For our members and customers, the investment is good news, because the MRT system enables qualitative and process-related improvements in one of GEMA’s core areas, the monitoring and tracking of music use. This increases the accuracy of distributions to our members, which is becoming an immense challenge for collecting societies, especially with the increasing fragmentation and small-scale nature of music use.”
Harald Heker said: “GEMA has full confidence in the experienced and professional team that has developed SoundAware into an internationally operating MRT provider. We are looking forward to a good and successful cooperation.”
Music Business Worldwide