“It is the first time that players from various parts of the market have agreed on a common roadmap,” Kroes said, after her latest Online Roundtable on Music sessions resulted in the signing of an agreement setting out the general principles for the online distribution of music.

Those attending the Roundtable meeting in Brussels Oct. 19 included Amazon, iTunes, Nokia, EMI Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group, PRS for Music and European consumers organization BEUC.

“European consumers want and deserve better online music offerings,” Kroes said in a statement. “The agreement by the Roundtable on core principles represents real progress in this direction.”

Earlier she told the meeting that the current licensing mechanisms are too complex and burdensome, and that stakeholders are missing out on opportunities in the digital world.
She said simpler and more transparent licensing solutions had the potential to expand the market and bring new and more innovative online music offerings to a broader range of European consumers, whilst at the same time protecting cultural diversity and the interests of authors.

The Oct. 19 meeting agreed to pursue new EU licensing platforms comprising the repertoires of several collecting societies, consolidating the widest possible repertoire in their catalogues and based on voluntary cooperation among rights owners.

It also decided collective rights managers should adhere to certain objective, transparent and non-discriminatory criteria to allow other entities to deliver multi-territorial licenses.

It also set out to establish a working group to create a common framework for the identification and exchange of rights ownership information, in order to make it easier for commercial users to identify the relevant right owners and secure the necessary rights.