Q & A: Media Licensing with Janet O'Connell

Monday, 2 November 2020 11:13 AM

Janet O'Connell is the Manager, Recorded Licensing in the Media Licensing department. You may have seen her present at last year's Publisher Pulse on Media Licensing, and with all that is happening in recent months with live streaming, we asked her a few questions about licensing in that space.

Tell us a bit about your role and media licensing at APRA AMCOS.

I am in the Recorded Licensing team and our main agreements are with labels, production companies, artists and essentially anyone seeking a reproduction licence so it can have a customer service focus. Lately I have been working with other areas of the business to simplify existing licences and create communications that are easily digested by customers, with the aim that they will be more likely to take out a licence they understand.
COVID-19 is obviously affecting all aspects of the music industry, but especially live streaming. What is changing in terms of live stream licences and growth in that space?

COVID-19 has impacted all areas of our business, but we have seen an increase in requests for artists and organisations to live stream and pick up on some missing revenue. From a business perspective we need to find the balance between allowing artists to reach their fanbase and ensuring commercial live streams are complying, so it’s an interesting and ever evolving space. We are starting to see artists create the live stream as an addition to a live event which is exciting and could mean greater reach and revenue for members.
To follow up, what are some of the challenges coming from those changes and is there anything Publishers should be aware of in that space?  

The challenge is working out how to best deal with these requests quickly so that we don’t lose an opportunity. The rights matrix can be complicated and is often misunderstood so we definitely found ourselves playing an educational role during this period.
Can you tell us about any new developments around blanket licences?

The landscape for blankets has continued to evolve – we’re constantly looking at where it makes sense for AMCOS to act on behalf of publishers and where it doesn’t, and look to Publishers and the AMCOS board to provide guidance in that regard. During COVID we’ve seen the emergence of new blankets outside of the traditional TV blankets – for example with Sounds Australia to assist with showcasing Australian writers and artists internationally.
What other kind of trends or services in the media licensing space are you seeing emerge?

Media is changing and content creators are utilising all platforms to engage with audiences. This means continually looking at the licences we offer and we have been working on this with the legends in our Legal team. It’s essentially the same rights, just repackaged in a more user-friendly way.

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