SoundExchange today announced that it has acquired the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency Ltd. (CMRRA), a music licensing collective representing the vast majority of songs recorded, sold and broadcast in Canada on behalf of music publishers. The move is a dramatic development for the global music industry and represents SoundExchange’s first expansion into the collective management of music publishing rights.
This transaction will allow the expanded organization to service an enormous cross section of Anglo-American sound recordings and music publishing repertoire. The acquisition will provide SoundExchange a unique opportunity to offer a broad and comprehensive range of services to rights holders in both sound recordings and music publishing and music users alike across North America.
The breakthrough transaction will mark the first time that a U.S. collective for sound recordings and the music publishing sector have come together under common management. Together the two agencies will integrate and streamline the administration and distribution of sound recording and music publishing royalties.
“We are proud to join forces with CMRRA. We have a simple, yet ambitious goal: to maximize the value of music for all creators – for musical works and recordings alike – wherever their work is used. The acquisition of CMRRA helps us increase efficiencies while also extending service to the publishing sector,” SoundExchange President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Huppe said. “This exciting partnership builds on CMRRA’s great relationships with music publishers and licensees, its long record of accomplishment and its stellar reputation.”
CMRRA, founded in 1975, will continue to operate out of its Toronto headquarters.
SoundExchange and CMRRA will continue to work independently and serve their current customers while also exploring collaborative opportunities such as sharing core services.
CMRRA President Caroline Rioux and her senior management team will remain with the operation, reporting to the board of directors of SXWorks, a new subsidiary of SoundExchange. Huppe will lead SXWorks as Chairman of the new company.
“The board initiated its search for a strategic partner for CMRRA nearly a year ago,” said Gary Furniss, chair of the current CMRRA Board of Directors and president of Sony/ATV Music Publishing Canada. “The board was committed to finding a firm with the right mix of music industry know-how and a culture of digital entrepreneurship. SoundExchange fit the bill. Additionally, the opportunity for data collaboration will inevitably increase the speed, efficiency and accuracy of royalty payments for everyone.”
“We were looking for a partner that shares our vision and philosophy of service to the music publishing community,” Rioux said. “With SoundExchange, we will not only continue to deliver on our mission to maximize the value of the reproduction right in Canada and meet our clients’ needs to quality and low service fees, we will also be able to develop new services domestically and beyond.”
Importantly, SoundExchange and CMRRA each have proven expertise in their respective fields with a keen focus on digital music.
SoundExchange administers sound recording public performance rights for more than 3,000 digital radio services covered under U.S. statutory licenses and administers many royalties for direct agreements on behalf of rights owners and digital service providers. The company paid nearly $884 million in royalties to artists and rights owners in 2016. CMRRA represents the vast majority of musical works licensed in Canada and has assembled a large and comprehensive database that associates musical works to sound recordings. The agency provides services for numerous markets including streaming services, physical products, satellite and terrestrial broadcast mechanicals and more.