Soundreef is a European copyright collection society that is shaking up the way that royalties are collected in the European Union. They are an English company founded by Italian entrepreneur Davide d’Atri, and competes with National collecting societies / PROs across the European Union. They manage music copyrights on behalf of music authors, editors and labels from all over the world – mainly from US and Europe.
Their entry to the market is exciting because, up until their launch, the royalty collection industry throughout Europe has been under monopolistic control by national collection societies. This decades-long reign over artists’ rights led to the acceptance of a status quo generated by outdated and costly processes that rarely brought forth any value-added service to musicians or businesses.
But more than that – they are actually passionate about their work, their musicians and the industry – using technology to create a system where right-holders can be in control over their compensation information (amount earned, where the music is played and when they’ll receive their respective payment, etc.), and businesses can find the music that bests suits their target market.
It seems like your organization is very passionate about its work, why was it so important to create an organization like Soundreef?
In Europe, copyright management has traditionally been a monopoly. This well-intentioned initiative has atrophied any significant advancement and innovation in the industry – leaving all players in a stale and outdated system.
Almost all industries around us – communication, education, healthcare, etc. – adopt and customize new technologies in order to make their business interactions more resourceful and efficient – why haven’t we? We’re supposed to be a young, fresh, creative industry and yet we are still using the same processes we used 50 years ago.
Other than that, it also stems from the observation that too often one hears user dissatisfaction with the service options currently available. And the perception that business establishments hold that payments to collection societies are almost a tax rather than a just remuneration for the rightful creators of music. And it shouldn’t be this way.
We are passionate and deem ourselves capable of revolutionizing the way in which copyright royalties are intermediated so that all parties involved can benefit
Why do you think songwriter royalties in Europe have been controlled by national monopolistic societies for so many decades?
The origins of this decision had a reason: a collective agreement, the detailed control of territories and economies of scale. Unfortunately though, the lack of competition produced a lackluster service, and left people to stomach the situation and accept the present circumstances. Thankfully, after analyzing the situation, the EU commission passed an antitrust decision in 2008 that abolished territorial restrictions and constringing member clauses for musicians – thus opening the market.
The impression that there is a monopolistic control of copyrights is still widely diffused though, and discovering that there is now an alternative boggles the mind of almost everyone who hears about us. Some people even think that collective societies are a governmental entity – that’s also why so many wrongfully assume that the money collected is a tax instead of compensation.
I noticed that you said your technology allows the right-holders to be in control over their compensation stats. Can you speak about that a little more?
The major difference between Soundreef and other collection societies is that with us, you always know where your music is playing, how much you are earning and when you will get paid. The right-holder can see all of their analytics, in real time, by logging into their online dashboard.
The dashboard gives you an analytical view of information regarding the use of your music (typology of in-store radios, location’s address, scheduling days, number of plays, percentage of plays in total, royalties earned). For even more detail, our Radio Channel Locator enables you to visualize, on a Google map, exactly where your music is played and the relative earnings per radio channel. Oh! And your information is exportable to an Excel file.
How has the response for Soundreef been from the recording industry so far?
The industry seems to be in favor of what we are doing – giving them a fresh alternative in a previously take-it-or-leave-it environment. In fact, our music catalog is growing every day, and we continuously receive information requests and positive feedback from artists and labels from all over the world.
What are some of the biggest challenges that your organization is currently facing?
Being as open as possible in regards to our funding sources. We are a venture funded company so we need to respect the privacy of our investors but at the same time we like to share as many details as possible with our copyright holders. We think that our commitment to transparency and establishing an open conversation with copyright holders is crucial to our sustainability, acceptability and fast growth.
In a perfect world situation, what would the future hold for Soundreef?
We are eager to expand our services to include the collection of other types of royalties – mainly digital royalties from online sales, on-demand video, user generated content websites and webradios. We are already laying the groundwork to do so, but we want to make sure that the platform developed is tested to perfection, allowing us to launch the best service possible.