EU Seeking Pan-European Licensing for Digital Music

The European Union has proposed changes in licensing rules for digital music that would allow music to be sold across all 27 EU countries. This would allow Internet music services such as iTunes to have one European store rather than a separate store in each of the 27 individual countries.

iTunes in the EU


The EU is seeking changes in music licensing

Currently, music licensing is handled on a country-by-country basis and iTunes users can only view and download music licensed in their own country. Some countries, such as France, Germany, and the UK, have had iTunes stores for years. But other EU countries, such as Poland and Hungary, have only been able to buy music through iTunes since last year.

EU Internal Market Commissioner Michael Barnier said, European’s “have less access to innovative services. It’s not surprising that young consumers look elsewhere than the legal [options].”

According to Bloomberg, under the proposed rules, royalty-collecting societies could forfeit their revenue collecting ability and have to transfer it to counterparts if they are unable to handle the technicalities of licensing music in multiple countries. These societies would also face closer scrutiny of the revenues they collect and how quickly they are paid out to musicians. The national societies were hit with an antitrust decision by the EU Commission in 2008.

These proposed changes still need the support of the EU countries and politicians before becoming law.