Royalty Collection Organizations: Private Interest Enterprises or Social Purpose Organisations?

Jim Rogers, Sergio Sparviero, Patrik Wikström


This article presents the preliminary work carried out for a study designed to assess and explain the extent and form of the competition between performing rights royalty collection organisations (RCOs) in the music industry. Performing rights function as a key aspect of copyright law allowing creators and publishers to be compensated when their works are broadcast or performed. Such rights generate approximately $10bn annual in revenue for the music industry. RCOs effectively operate as enforcement agents sanctioned by law to requisition and gather payment on behalf of their members. However, they are also organisations with social goals that act as intermediaries between music users (the customers) and music rights holders (the beneficiaries). RCOs come in a variety of forms: large, small, for-profit, non-profit, national, international. Yet, notwithstanding the variety of their organisational designs and their crucial role in developing the music industry, they are an under-researched aspect in regard to music and intellectual property rights. In order to establish a more comprehensive understanding of the form and nature of these royalty collection societies, and the competition between them and the social impacts, we compare the Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) with the UK’s Performing Rights Society. Employed for this purpose is the Social Enterprise Model Canvas, the frame used to analyse the business model of organisations that prioritise social goals financed from market revenues.

Full Text: