Brussels, 20th October 2009
Competition: Commission's Online Roundtable on Music opens way to improved online music opportunities for European consumers
A joint statement setting out general principles that would underpin the online distribution of music in the future and so lead to improved online music opportunities for European consumers was signed by participants at the fourth meeting of the Roundtable on the Online Distribution of Music, chaired by European Commissioner for Competition Neelie Kroes on 19th October 2009. The participants at the Roundtable were Amazon, BEUC, EMI, iTunes, Nokia, PRS for Music, SACEM, STIM and Universal. Following the Roundtable, a number of participants announced concrete steps and commitments that should result in improved access of European consumers to music online.
Commissioner Kroes stated: "European consumers want and deserve better online music offerings. Today's agreement by the Roundtable on core principles represents real progress in this direction. It is the first time that players from various parts of the market have agreed on a common roadmap. I also welcome the concrete steps and commitments that have been made and which should improve the availability of online music for consumers."
Commissioner Kroes opened the meeting by recalling that the need to improve the licensing of music for online use had been recognised. Because current licensing mechanisms are too complex and burdensome, stakeholders are missing out on opportunities in the digital world. 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 Roundtable participants signed up to a joint statement in which:
These core principles are open to other industry stakeholders. They should facilitate the way in which music for online use is licensed such that the market grows and consumers benefit.
Following the Roundtable:
Commissioner Kroes welcomed that concrete steps to improve consumer access to online music were being made following the Roundtable. Further steps should now be possible in light of the principles that were agreed by the Roundtable members. The Commission remains committed to work with the market in order to bring real benefits to consumers.
The joint statement from the Roundtable participants of 19 October 2009 on "general principles for the online distribution of music" can be consulted at:
The joint statement from EMI, PRS for Music, SACEM, STIM and Universal Music Publishing on a "Working Group on a Common Framework for Rights Ownership Information" can be consulted at:
The first meeting of the Online Commerce roundtable (17 September 2008 – see ) was attended by EMI Music Publishing, Fiat, eBay, Apple/iTunes, Alcatel-Lucent, LVMH, Which? (UK consumers organization), SACEM (French collecting society for authors and composers) and Sir Mick Jagger and concerned both goods and services online, while the second (16 December 2008) focused on the online distribution of music and was limited to participants of the Roundtable concerned with this issue.
The proceedings resulted in the Online Commerce Roundtable Report on Opportunities and barriers to online retailing. The report is available at:
The Report was open to public consultation; related submissions can be consulted at:
The third meeting (8 September 2009) was enlarged to other key players in the online music industry i.e. Amazon, Nokia, PRS for Music (UK collecting society), STIM (Swedish collecting society), Universal Music Publishing and the representatives of European consumers (BEUC - the European Consumers' Organisation).