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GEMA acquires a majority stake in SoundAware Group and adds digital music recognition to its portfolio

- Press release -

GEMA has acquired a majority stake in the SoundAware Group, an established provider of digital services for recognizing music, events, and media content, with its own industry-leading music recognition technology (MRT). The companies in SoundAware Group will continue to operate independently under the umbrella of GEMA.

Identification of music use is central to GEMA's activities, crucial for proper usage-related licensing and royalty distribution. GEMA is already using music recognition technology (MRT) in areas such as TV, discotheques, radio and online. SoundAware's MRT enables GEMA to optimize its licensing and distribution processes and expand its service offering.

After establishing the international joint venture ICE, acquiring a majority stake in digital music distributor Zebralution and establishing MusicHub, GEMA has consistently pursued growth and digitization. “By investing in a music identification pioneer, we are adding an important core competency to our portfolio: digital music identification,” explains Harald Heker, Chairman of the Board of Directors of GEMA. “The investment in a future-oriented technology is a decisive step for GEMA towards a powerful digital copyright organization.”

Harold de Groot, founder of SoundAware, says: “GEMA is a global pioneer in copyright management for the music industry. With our technology we want to contribute to increasing this lead. We are convinced that the potential of our monitoring technology is far from exhausted. With GEMA as a strong partner, we want to develop and internationally distribute new digital services for the music industry and media based on this technology.”

SoundAware's MRT delivers reliable results even under demanding conditions

For collecting societies like GEMA, music quality recognition is crucial to ensure proper, usage-based licensing and revenue distribution to their approximately 90,000 members. SoundAware's technology, already established in the market, delivers reliable results, even based on very short music fragments.

Dr. Ralf Weigand, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, comments: “With SoundAware Group, we welcome another strong music industry partner to the GEMA umbrella. I firmly believe that such investments pave the way for GEMA's continued success and future orientation. The participation is good news for our members and customers, because the MRT system enables quality and process improvements in one of GEMA's core areas, the monitoring and tracking of music use. This increases the accuracy of distributions to our members, which becomes a huge challenge for collecting societies, especially with the increasing fragmentation and small scale of music use.”

The companies in SoundAware Group will operate independently under the umbrella of GEMA

De Groot will continue to be SoundAware Group's general manager and direct the group's management duties following the acquisition of GEMA. Heker: “GEMA has full confidence in the experienced and professional team that has developed SoundAware into an internationally operating MRT provider. We look forward to a good and successful cooperation.”

In addition to the MRT division, the SoundAware Group includes three other companies, in which GEMA also has a majority interest:

  • TRCKTrace searches the internet for events using event crawlers, supplemented by an audio crawler for finding music on the internet.
  • Adfact is a cross-media monitoring service for measuring advertising (paid media) in mass media such as radio, TV, online, cinema, outdoor advertising, and print.
  • RTV Monitor registers earned media via speech and image recognition in radio, TV and podcasts.


The company's clientele includes international copyright organizations such as Buma/Stemra (the Netherlands) and Sabam (Belgium), as well as market research agencies, music and media companies, TV and radio stations and event organizers. The group's head office will remain in Hilversum, even after GEMA has acquired the interest.

In Germany, GEMA represents the copyrights of nearly 90,000 members (composers, lyricists, music publishers) and more than two million rights holders from all over the world. It is one of the largest musical authors associations in the world.

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