A unique platform for the use of music in Belgium

June 4 2019

From January 1st, 2020, enterprises, restaurants and bars, and event organisers will be able to pay both copyrights and equitable remuneration through a unique platform, called Unisono. Collecting societies PlayRight, Sabam and SIMIM have joined forces to make this a reality. The purpose of this joint investment: administrative simplification, increased transparency and more efficient services.

Music, the case of everybody.

The enormous economic and social added value of music is beyond question. A study by Profacts in collaboration with Ghent University on the value of music, for instance, shows that music benefits human well-being. Music has an influence on customers’ happiness with their purchases and increases the staff’s productivity. In fact, companies and businesses that play music also benefit from this.

Of course, this comes with a remuneration for the authors, composers, publishers, performers and producers of this music. To settle this, companies and government services can already turn to Unisono today. Via a single declaration, they now easily control the use of music in the workplace, on companies’ websites and even the hold music on the phone.

Nevertheless, businesses, catering establishments (restaurants, bars…) and event organisers must still turn to two separate organisations: Sabam and the Equitable Remuneration (PlayRight & SIMIM). But that will soon change!

One platform for administrative simplification and transparency

The collecting societies involved have been consulting with each other and with the government for quite some time. And with results! On May 29th, 2019, the Belgian Official Journal published the legal framework for the unique platform. From January 1st, 2020, every music user can turn to Unisono. Using this platform, he can easily and quickly apply for his license, for which he will also receive only one single invoice. This way, there will no longer be any confusion or uncertainty.

Investing in efficient services for customers and rights holders

With the creation of the unique music platform, PlayRight, Sabam and SIMIM not only address a need that has existed for a long time amongst music users, they are also convinced that this investment is a good thing for the local cultural economy. Indeed, the easier it is for the user to remunerate rightsholders, the higher the chance that the latter will actually receive what they are entitled to. Customers who wish to use music in their business can benefit from a simplified application procedure and transparent services.

persconferentie

Christophe Van Vaerenbergh, CEO PlayRight:

“Collective management takes an important step towards modernisation and greater efficiency today. With the creation of a unique platform for paying for the use of music, PlayRight, SIMIM and Sabam are heavily investing in developing a customer-friendly solution for the users of our repertoire, a repertoire that contributes to their turnover and customer satisfaction. This is a win-win situation for rightsholders and users.”

Carine Libert, CEO Sabam:

“This platform gives the collecting societies involved the opportunity to work together constructively, in the interest of all stakeholders. In addition to administrative simplification for its customers, the platform guarantees correct remuneration for all rightsholders. Sabam is proud to contribute positively and constructively to the launch of a unique platform, relying on our know-how and expertise.

Jasper Verdin, CEO SIMIM:

“The unique platform is above all unique because it unites all rightsholders, authors, composers, artists and producers in a one-stop shop for music users. One point of contact for anyone who wants to offer music and wants al rightsholders to be properly compensated for this.”

“UNIZO has been advocating for this unification for many years. This unique platform must make an end to the current confusion and misunderstandings, and it means administrative simplification. UNIZO is therefore very satisfied and hopes that the efficiency gain thanks to this streamlined collecting method will also translate into lower collecting costs, for the benefit of both the paying entrepreneurs and the authors and performers of the music,” says Frank Socquet (UNIZO, association of independent entrepreneurs).

“GALM has always been a requesting party for a single invoice and a unique platform. Away with the lack of clarity and red tape. Good news for customers and musicians. We congratulate Sabam, PlayRight and SIMIM. Unisono really is a historic step forward,” concludes Tom Kestens, Chairman of GALM (Professional federation for Flemish musicians).

“A unique platform for a unique collaboration between customers and collecting societies from which everyone will bear the fruits. The public use of music can and will be this simple,” states Patrick Mortier, Chairman of BMPA (Belgian Music Publishers Association).

Also Dominique Michel, CEO of Comeos, the Federation for Trade and Services, is satisfied:

“Traders will no longer have to turn to different services to pay for the rights to play music, but instead they’ll only have to consult one place. The unique platform ensures considerable administrative simplification for all traders.”

“Until now, the shopkeeper who plays music in his or her store, received two invoices. This led to many misunderstandings and confusion. From 2020 onwards, however, this will no longer be the case! The NSZ hopes that a better perception of rights will, consequently, reduce the final bill for enterprises,” says Christine Mattheeuws, Chairwoman of NSZ (Neutral Syndicate for Independents).

“FACIR is incredibly happy with the implementation of this unique platform. It’s good news for the entire music sector. Increased transparency and simpler working methods will benefit all levels within the sector and ensure a more effective collection of rights for the makers and performers, who are the first links,” says Fabian Hidalgo, coordinator of FACIR (Federation of Authors, Composers and Actors United).

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