Kobalt has become the first international publisher to sign with The Indian Performing Right Society (IPRS) since its re-induction into the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) in 2016.
IPRS was temporarily excluded from the world’s largest international network of authors’ societies, CISAC, after an agreement review by CISAC. That decision, taken by CISAC’s Board of Directors and General Assembly, has now been reversed following the improvements made in the society’s governance.
Speaking on the development, Atul Churamani, Managing Director, Turnkey Music & Publishing Pvt. Ltd. which represents Kobalt’s catalogue in India said,
“This has taken a long time coming and we are delighted that finally the IPRS is administering the international works we represent for India. You can’t be a publisher of foreign works in any county and not be a part of the performing rights society. This association will open up revenue streams for the Kobalt, Fairwood and other catalogues that we represent.”
Three standalone international music publishers, Kobalt Music Publishing Limited, Fairwood Music Group, and Konic Records entered the Indian market via sub-publishing agreements with Turnkey Music & Publishing Pvt. Ltd. In 2020.
IPRS will administer both the performing and mechanical rights of the international catalogues signed to it, which means that all rights licensed to audio streaming services, FM and AM radio and public performance can be licensed in totality.
For synchronization licenses to television and OTT audio-visual platforms, the publishers will continue to issue licenses while the users will get the mechanical and performing licenses from IPRS.
“We are glad to have an international publisher like Kobalt onboard. With international publishers joining, it would help us enhance the valuation for all the stakeholders. The streaming platforms have witnessed an upsurge in the consumption of international content. With associations similar to the one we have entered into with Kobalt, IPRS will now be able to derive the desired value for the international works in India as so far we haven’t been licensed to do so,” emphasized Rakesh Nigam, CEO, IPRS.
Once the other international publishers are on board, IPRS can close deals with platforms that have been unable to license international publishing so far. It’s a great benefit to the user to be able to come under a single license instead of having to approach multiple publishers for licenses and possibly having to negotiate rates each time.
Dwelling on the development’s implications on the Indian music industry, Churamani stressed,
“I have personally always believed in consolidation of the industry, arming the collectives with mandates that ensure the best rates for the smallest creators and copyright owners and provide ease of licensing as well as uniform rates to users. That’s the only way to bring about compliance too, which otherwise hits an obstacle due to fragmentation of rights owners.”
“I have great faith in IPRS and look forward to the society continuing its fabulous growth story, armed with international publishing licenses. Our principals, viz. Kobalt Music and the others have been fantastic while we were finalising our agreement with IPRS so one has to thank them for their unconditional support, particularly Scott Farant and Simon Moor. I would also like to express our gratitude to the entire staff at IPRS, led by Rakesh Nigam and Sheetal Madnani who made this happen in the quickest possible time.”
The fact that international music was not represented by IPRS hampered the society’s ability to negotiate comprehensive music industry deals. The recent signing up of the T Series catalogue and now a large share of international works gives greater strength to IPRS.
“We are open for negotiations with publishers to suit the needs. IPRS would like to sit across the table, come to an agreement and then make the necessary adjustments or changes as required. All the stakeholders have to stand together. Being fragmented will only fuel the negative voices and decrease the overall valuation. By being united we can utilise the Copyright Act to gain maximum valuation for the content. This will be beneficial to the entire industry,” said Nigam.
Kobalt represents over 25,000 songwriters, 600 publishers, and 20,000 independent artists like Dua Lipa, The Weeknd, Marshmello, Diplo, Childish Gambino, Dave Grohl, the Foo Fighters, Enrique Iglesias, Lauv, Pitbull and Lewis Capaldi as well as legends like Paul McCartney, Elvis Presley, Bob Marley, Stevie Nicks, and Max Martin.