Canadian Musician


SoundExchange Acquires CMRRA

May 15th, 2017
CMRRA President Caroline Rioux

CMRRA President Caroline Rioux

SoundExchange today announced that it has acquired the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency (CMRRA), the music licensing collective that represents the majority of songs recorded, sold, and broadcast in Canada on behalf of music publishers. The move is a dramatic development for the Canadian music industry and represents SoundExchange’s first expansion into the collective management of music publishing rights.

This transaction will allow the expanded organization to service an enormous cross section of Anglo-American sound recordings and music publishing repertoire. SoundExchange says the acquisition will provide it with a unique opportunity to offer a broad and comprehensive range of services to rights holders in both sound recordings and music publishing and music users alike across North America.

U.S.-based SoundExchange  collects and distributes digital performance royalties on behalf of more than 130,000 recording artists and master rights owners accounts and administers direct agreements on behalf of rights owners and licensees. To date, SoundExchange says it has paid out more than $4.5 billion in royalties.

The breakthrough transaction will mark the first time that a U.S. collective for sound recordings and the music publishing sector have come together under common management. Together the two agencies will integrate and streamline the administration and distribution of sound recording and music publishing royalties.

“We are proud to join forces with CMRRA. We have a simple, yet ambitious goal: to maximize the value of music for all creators – for musical works and recordings alike – wherever their work is used. The acquisition of CMRRA helps us increase efficiencies while also extending service to the publishing sector,” SoundExchange President and CEO Michael Huppe says. “This exciting partnership builds on CMRRA’s great relationships with music publishers and licensees, its long record of accomplishment, and its stellar reputation.”

CMRRA, founded in 1975, will continue to operate out of its Toronto headquarters.

SoundExchange and CMRRA will continue to work independently and serve their current customers while also exploring collaborative opportunities such as sharing core services.

CMRRA President Caroline Rioux and her senior management team will remain with the operation, reporting to the board of directors of SXWorks, a new subsidiary of SoundExchange. Huppe will lead SXWorks as chairman of the new company.

“The board initiated its search for a strategic partner for CMRRA nearly a year ago,” says Gary Furniss, chair of the current CMRRA Board of Directors and president of Sony/ATV Music Publishing Canada. “The board was committed to finding a firm with the right mix of music industry know-how and a culture of digital entrepreneurship. SoundExchange fit the bill. Additionally, the opportunity for data collaboration will inevitably increase the speed, efficiency, and accuracy of royalty payments for everyone.”

“We were looking for a partner that shares our vision and philosophy of service to the music publishing community,” Rioux adds. “With SoundExchange, we will not only continue to deliver on our mission to maximize the value of the reproduction right in Canada and meet our clients’ needs to quality and low service fees, we will also be able to develop new services domestically and beyond.”

Importantly, SoundExchange and CMRRA each have expertise in their respective fields with a keen focus on digital music.

SoundExchange administers sound recording public performance rights for more than 3,000 digital radio services covered under U.S. statutory licenses and administers many royalties for direct agreements on behalf of rights owners and digital service providers. The company paid nearly $884 million in royalties to artists and rights owners in 2016. CMRRA represents the vast majority of musical works licensed in Canada and has assembled a large and comprehensive database that associates musical works to sound recordings. The agency provides services for numerous markets including streaming services, physical products, satellite and terrestrial broadcast mechanicals and more.

Details of the transaction are confidential.

SoundExchange has a posted a FAQ here to answer questions about the acquisition.


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