GEMA Acquires Majority Stake in Song-Play Monitor SoundAware and Aims to “Become a Powerful Digital Collecting Society”

  • Save on computer

egg yolk

  • Save on computer

GEMA Managing Director Harald Heker. Photo credit: Sebastian Linder

A little less than four months after reporting record circulation in 2022, GEMA has acquired a majority stake in Dutch SoundAware Group – including song usage monitor SoundAware.

The Berlin-based collecting society informed Digital Music News via email today about the acquisition, the financial details of which have not yet been publicly announced. But SoundAware Group not only runs the eponymous song play monitor, they also run an AI-powered media mention monitor called RTV Monitor, the advertising intelligence-focused AdFact, and TRCKTrace, to name a few.

The latter offers screens “social media and (online) music platforms” to determine “where all live music events are happening and where your music is being played,” according to the relevant website. Then the technology should “track and identify” usage before “reporting back with metadata”.

Meanwhile, SoundAware (whose clients include Sabam and Buma/Stemra, among others) specifically offers “analysis and tracking capabilities for broadcast content on radio, television and mobile devices,” according to its website.

Going forward, the SoundAware Group (and its team of around 50) will continue to operate independently as a subsidiary of GEMA, with founder Harold de Groot remaining on board as Managing Director.

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

For its part, GEMA emphasized the perceived potential of the acquisition to “further improve its licensing and distribution processes and broaden its range of services” – steps that CEO Harald Heker described as part of a broader strategy to transform GEMA “into a powerful digital collecting society”.

“By investing in a pioneer of music identification,” said the 16-year-old GEMA boss Heker, “we are expanding our portfolio with an important key competence: digital music identification.” For GEMA, investing in forward-looking technology is a decisive step on the way to becoming a powerful digital collecting society.”

Of course, against the backdrop of a rapidly evolving AI landscape, it’s worth keeping an eye out for the widespread implementation of other song recognition and usage analytics technologies in the coming months and years. On the creative side, however, several industry companies and organizations are pushing for stricter regulations and disclosures in the artificial intelligence space.

Companies like Audoo are currently using proprietary song recognition tools to monitor usage in public venues like bars and restaurants, as part of a broader drive for clear numbers and accurate data.