There is a widespread view that the current music licensing system and absence of multi-repertoire licensing in Europe is wasteful. On October 20, 2009, participants in the Online Roundtable on Music signed a Joint Statement setting out the general principles for the future online distribution of music, and agreed to set up a working group in order to create a common framework for rights ownership information.

The release of this Joint Statement is the latest development in a series of communications, statements, and decisions in Europe which have highlighted the need for reform of the online retailing of music in the EU.

EU Competition Commissioner Kroes expressed her satisfaction about the outcome of the Roundtable discussions. She stated that "European consumers want and deserve better online music offerings. Today's agreement by the Roundtable on core principles represents real progress in this direction. It is the first time that players from various parts of the market have agreed on a common roadmap." However, a question remains as to whether development will be fast enough.

Read the Hogan & Hartson Update "Online Music Retailing: Towards Borderless Business?" here.