Licensing music for inflight entertainment – current market guidelines

Licensing the use of music content for IFE has always been challenging for the IFE industry and this became more so as services developed from analogue to digital, from linear to interactive, from physical media to multiple digital platforms and for a production process which became increasingly multi-territory.

Since late 2013 and continuing over recent years, the major record labels and some prominent independent labels have taken action against content service providers (CSPs) and airlines for the unlicensed use of their music. There have been law suites, take-down notices, substantial settlements and new licensing arrangements as the music industry strongly challenged and disrupted the use and availability of music content in IFE.

Despite this period of turmoil there does not appear to have been any substantive published material produced since Michael Childers’ great article ‘A Tutorial On Music Royalties in IFE’ in the ‘Avion’ magazine back in Q2 2010. Childers’ article provides a comprehensive review of music copyright, it’s purpose and how it is managed.

‘Licensing music for inflight entertainment – current market guidelines’ is a new document which looks to develop from that article and explain, highlight and provide guidance on the new licensing landscape.

And why is this important for the IFE industry?

Music content remains a key part of IFE and music is omnipresent in all our lives and much loved and highly valued.

Music Matters is a collective of artists, retailers, songwriters, labels and managers formed to remind listeners of the significance and value of music and they have produced some excellent short videos to highlight this:

There is a legal requirement to license the use of music and the licence fees paid help support the creative music industries to continue to produce great new music and provide income to the creators (the artists, composers, producers), their labels and publishers.

When the necessary licences are not in place, there is disruption and limitations on the music which can be provided to passengers, there is an exposure to legal action, the need to pay settlements and the concern of reputational damage.

Many CSPs and airlines now operate under the new licensing arrangements but not all and licensing gaps and issues continue to exist, which need to be looked at and resolved.

Please see the PDF document to learn more.

It would be great to get feedback to it, to be challenged, to learn new things or thinking – nothing stands still!

Licensing music for inflight entertainment




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