In the US we have three main music collection societies for performance rights (ASCAP, BMI and SESAC), and then SoundExchange for satellite/online streaming. However, many other countries just have a single collection society, with somewhat monopolistic tendencies. There have been efforts (mostly failed) to create more competition in Europe, mainly by encouraging the organizations to leave their local country and work across Europe. There have been precious few new entrants, however. At least one group is trying to change that -- and they're doing so by embracing the internet and the concepts of free culture. C3S, or the Cultural Commons Collecting Society
is trying to enter the market in Europe in a much more culture-friendly manner:
C3S is a collaborative effort to found a new and ground-breaking European collecting society for musical creators to register their works outside of traditional schemes, released under free licences for commercial exploitation. More than just for works published under Creative Commons Licences, C3S is open for other free licences as well.
The new operation wants to encourage free distribution for non-commercial use, and a much more reasonable (and appealing) deal for both musicians and consumers. Just the fact that the organization has to make it clear that members are encouraged to make use of free licensing is an amazing step forward. Compare that to organizations like GEMA that have tried refusing to recognize
Creative Commons licenses, and operations like ASCAP, who insist that Creative Commons is threat
to musicians, rather than a useful tool. Who knows if C3S will go anywhere, but it's nice to see that it's at least being tried.