Virtual reality music content creator EVRHoldings announced on Thursday that its subsidiary MelodyVR had entered into five music licensing, collection and distribution agreements with European rights holders.
The AIM-traded firm said it believed the agreements were the first deals to license a virtual reality music service, and covered rights in Germany, the UK, Ireland, Sweden, Greece, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
It said the agreements were with International Copyright Enterprise Services, covering the Society for musical performing and mechanical reproduction rights, the Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society Limited, the Performing Right Society, and the Swedish Songwriters International Music bureau.
Agreements were also made with the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Intellectual Property, the Buma Association and the Stemra Foundation, the Belgian Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers, and the Cooperative Society of Music Authors and Publishers.
In advance of the launch of the MelodyVR platform, EVR said the multi-year agreements licensed the distribution of virtual reality content and enhanced MelodyVR's capabilities with respect to the exploitation of its “extensive library of content” across “strategically important” European territories.
“Over the last eight months MelodyVR has signed global partnerships with Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group and Sony Music which position MelodyVR as the only VR music platform to be licensed by all three of the world's major record labels, which is a significant achievement,” said EVR CEO Anthony Matchett.
“Alongside these label agreements - that represent the artists and their music directly - agreements with publishers and collection societies are necessary for the exploitation of the underlying music works - for example, songwriter copyrights - featured throughout our substantial content library.”
Matchett said that, although the music licensing landscape was a “particularly complex” environment, maintaining all of the necessary rights required for content distribution and monetisation ensured that the company was “uniquely positioned” to benefit from the increasing consumer demand for VR entertainment content.
It was a position that EVR considered to be “highly” enviable, considering the projected adoption rate of VR devices, he added.
“At present, there are approximately 12 million VR devices in circulation, an increase of 1,000% since August last year.
“By Christmas 2017 we expect between 20-30 million devices in consumer hands and by the end of 2020, as device prices continue to fall and device quality continues to increase, we expect over 220 million devices to have reached consumers,” Matchett explained.
“It is our goal to demonstrate that virtual reality content can provide a new and sizeable revenue stream for the music industry, generating billions of dollars in revenue for labels, artists, songwriters, event promoters and hardware manufacturers alike.”