Music database for net services to launch in UK

A NEW music industry body designed to make it easier to launch digital music services has chosen to set up in London.

The Global Repertoire Database (GRD) is being set up in an effort to untangle the murky world of online music rights, which has been made more complicated in recent years by the advent of new download services as well as internet streaming products such as Spotify.

Complex negotiations over rights and royalties are believed to have delayed the launch of Apple and Google’s forthcoming streaming services, and the GRD’s backers believe a new system would make setting up online offerings easier.

The body is backed by around 30 companies, including the major music publishers, artist representation bodies such as the UK’s PRS for Music, and Apple and Google.

“The GRD is necessary for the effective functioning of the rights licensing, management and royalty payment systems of musical works in the 21st century,” said Kenth Muldin, who chairs the international music copyright management body, CISAC.

“A single, authoritative global view of music ownership in real time will mean that anyone wanting to set up a music service can do so more quickly,” he added.

The body’s backers, which have been working with Deloitte to set the GRD up, have chosen London for its headquarters out of a shortlist of international cities, and will have a secondary office in Berlin.

Andrew Jenkins, who chairs music publishing body ICMP, said London had been picked due to its intellectual property protection laws, as well as the “availability of suitably skilled staff [and] accessibility for global industry participants”.

A host of new internet-based music services have been set up in recent years, as shoppers abandon CDs in favour of digital offerings that allow them to listen to find and listen to music when on their mobiles and tablet computers.

The GRD will create a comprehensive database of who has authored and who owns the rights to the world’s music, which will make it quicker and easier for new media businesses to negotiate royalty agreements with song owners.

The first release of the database was scheduled for next year, but has been pushed back to 2015.