Press release / 24 July 2023

GEMA acquires a majority stake in the SoundAware Group, adding digital music recognition to its portfolio

GEMA has acquired a majority stake in the SoundAware Group, an established provider of digital services for recognizing music, events and media content, with its own leading music recognition technology (MRT). Based in Hilversum in the Netherlands, the SoundAware Group will continue to operate independently under the GEMA umbrella.

Identification of music usage is a central part of GEMA's business. High quality in usage recognition is crucial for correct usage-based licensing and royalty distribution. GEMA already uses music recognition technology in areas such as TV, discotheques, radio and online. With SoundAware's MRT, GEMA will be able to further enhance its licensing and distribution processes and expand its service offering.

“The investment in a future-oriented technology is a decisive step for GEMA on the way to becom-ing a powerful digital collecting society.” – Dr. Harald Heker

Following the establishment of the international joint venture ICE, the acquisition of a majority shareholding in digital music distributor Zebralution, and the foundation of MusicHub, GEMA is continuing to pursue its growth and digitization strategy. “By investing in a music identification pioneer, we are adding an important key competence to our portfolio: digital music identification,” explains Harald Heker, CEO of GEMA. “The investment in a future-oriented technology is a decisive step for GEMA on the way to becoming a powerful digital collecting society.”

“We are convinced that the potential of our monitoring technology is far from exhausted. With GEMA as a strong partner, we want to develop new digital services for the music industry based on this technology and distribute them internationally.” – Harold de Groot

Harold de Groot, founder of SoundAware, says, “GEMA is a global pioneer in the field of copyright management. With our technology, we want to contribute to extending this lead. We are convinced that the potential of our monitoring technology is far from exhausted. With GEMA as a strong partner, we want to develop new digital services for the music industry based on this technology and distribute them internationally.”

SoundAware's MRT delivers reliable results even under demanding conditions

For GEMA as a collecting society, quality music recognition is crucial to ensure correct usage-based licensing and royalty distribution to its approximately 90,000 members and its more than two million rights owners worldwide. SoundAware's technology, already well established in the market, delivers reliable results even on the basis of very short music fragments.

Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Dr. Ralf Weigand comments, “With the SoundAware Group, we welcome another strong partner from the music industry under the GEMA umbrella. I am firmly convinced that investments such as this mark the way to GEMA's continuing success and future positioning. For our members and customers, the investment is good news, because the MRT system enables qualitative and process-related improvements in one of GEMA's core areas, the monitoring and tracking of music use. This increases the accuracy of distributions to our members, which is becoming an immense challenge for collecting societies, especially with the increasing fragmentation and small-scale nature of music use.”

“The MRT system enables qualitative and process-related improvements in one of GEMA's core are-as, the monitoring and tracking of music use.“ – Dr. Ralf Weigand

SoundAware Group will operate independently under the GEMA umbrella

Harold de Groot will continue to serve the SoundAware Group as managing director, steering the group's management tasks after GEMA's acquisition. Harald Heker says, “GEMA has full confidence in the experienced and professional team that has developed SoundAware into an internationally operating MRT provider. We are looking forward to a good and successful cooperation.”

The SoundAware Group, based in Hilversum, currently employs around 50 people. The customer base includes international collecting societies such as Buma/Stemra (Netherlands) and Sabam (Belgium) as well as market research companies, music and media companies, TV and radio broadcasters and event organizers. The group will continue to be headquartered in Hilversum, near Amsterdam.

In Germany, GEMA represents the copyrights of approximately 90,000 members (composers, lyricists, music publishers) and of more than two million rights owners from all over the world. It is one of the largest authors' societies for musical works in the world.

FAQs about GEMA's acquisition of the SoundAware Group

Donload press photos and logos

Dr. Harald Heker, GEMA CEO (JPG | c. Sebastian Linder)
Harold de Groot, founder of SoundAware (JPG | c. SoundAware)
Dr. Ralf Weigand, Chairman of the GEMA Supervisory Board (JPG | c. Florian Jaenicke)
Logos of SoundAware Group and GEMA (ZIP-Download)

 

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Ein Portrait von Ursule Goebel, Pressekontakt der GEMA.
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