Music Streaming At Hotels

Earlier this year LIME announced that it had signed “a unique partnership agreement with one of the world’s leading music streaming operators, Deezer, to deliver “yet another innovative offering to Caribbean subscribers” including Saint Lucia. Deezer reportedly has the largest digital music library in the Caribbean and Latin America, (over 35 million songs) and its streaming service is now available in more than 35 local markets.

It is available on LIME subscribers’ smartphones and other devices. The Deezer standalone service called Deezer Premium+ allows customers access to music tracks and albums, as well as 30 radio channels. While this spells good news for music lovers, it poses new challenges for artists and songwriters from the region and their Collective Management Organizations (CMOs) including the Eastern Caribbean Collective Organization for Music Rights (ECCO) Inc.

There is some misunderstanding by some subscribers over the service being offered. Case in point: one hotel in Saint Lucia which now uses the Deezer service has informed ECCO that it will no longer require a license since all “music rights” have been cleared by Deezer as written in the service agreement that Deezer offers .

This is inaccurate on several counts advised Mr. Etienne. “First of all the individual rights bundled together under copyright cannot be assigned to more than one party at a time. Therefore all the rights assigned to ECCO by its individual members and through reciprocal agreements with the US, UK and other CMOs across the world are held by ECCO for the entire OECS and cannot be given to a third party such as Deezer. Rather, Deezer requires a license to make the music available (in other words, to distribute it) but they and other Digital service providers are not licensed for the public performance of that music.

“Secondly the source of the music acquired by a hotelier is a matter of choice by the hotelier and is of no concern to ECCO. What ECCO is responsible for is the licensing of all public use of music that occurs at the hotel, be it sourced from any of a multitude of streaming services, the output from a radio station, background music via a record or CD player, live performances or cable TV service.

“We intend to assist the hoteliers and other music users in understanding the new paradigm before they become problematic and our members lose out as a result of protracted negotiations and/or litigation.

“It is important to inform music users and the general public that all streaming services require a licence to communicate copyright works to the public via the internet and ECCO is responsible for granting a licence for the OECS ‘space’. It must be noted that Deezer is yet to be licensed by ECCO” explained Etienne.

ECCO members, licence holders and potential licence holders should avail themselves of all the information and realize that they are just as much a part of building a real music industry, a major sub-sector of the creative industries that benefit the GDP of countries in the OECS in much the same way tourism does.

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