Streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music have become incredibly popular in recent years, due in part to their vast libraries of commercial music. But how do these streaming services get the rights to stream all that music? And what happens when a song is played on these services?
In order to stream music on services such as Spotify and Apple Music, the streaming service must first obtain a licence from the copyright owner(s) of those song libraries. This process can be quite complex and lengthy, as the terms of the licence need to be negotiated between the copyright holder and the streaming service. Some of the things that may be included in a music licensing agreement include the length of the licence (term), the territories (single or multi-territories) in which the music will be streamed, and the amount of royalties that the streaming service will pay to the copyright holder(s).
For a music streaming service, there are usually 3 main sets of rights obtained:
- Master Rights (Record Labels)
- Publishing Rights (Song composers, writer contributors etc)
- PRO Rights (Performance Rights Organisations (public broadcasting))