Music companies launch lyrics education programme

BELEM, a Creative Europe EU-funded co-operation project, has launched an educational programme to build capacity for publishers, labels and artists to better monetise lyrics. Led by Unison, the education programme was launched at the Westway Lab event in Guimarães, Portugal. 

The BELEM education programme will consist of twelve individual webinars, each one covering different topics, and that will be available online for free consumption but will also be delivered live, in more than 40 different venues, starting with Guimarães as the 1st one. The webinars will be followed by mentoring sessions. The programme can be consumed together or separately, and features both live seminars and online webinars, which can be accessed on the BELEM website. Participants in the programme will be able to participate in Q&A sessions in each webinar to understand more about the lyrics licensing landscape, tools, rights thereto related potential for greater monetisation of lyrics and the immense impact of translation for meaning, and join remote mentoring sessions with Unison to receive more bespoke advice.

The 12 webinars will follow a structured parth to provide participants with a strong grounding in all aspects of understanding how to better monetise lyrics. This includes: defining the types of rights involved with lyrics, their place in the current publishing landscape, legal frameworks, understanding the major licensing players, and how to increase monetisation opportunities. The webinars will also contain practical sessions on translations, controlling lyrics, and documentation and distribution. The first live seminar took place on April 13th, with subsequent webinars to be announced, the next ones already in May, June and September.

“Lyrics have huge potential across the entire value chain — and naturally for publishing rights’ rightholders, as songwriters and music publishers. But they often remain an untapped opportunity and the understanding of the involved legal landscape is still scarce,” said David Serras Pereira, our Licensing & International Manager at Unison. “BELEM was created to promote the role of lyrics in music, to help find new revenue possibilities for all, and break down cultural barriers to help songs to become more widely understood. Crucially, it is also about building capacity to help the entire music industry to maximise opportunities. This education programme has been designed to do exactly that — to build in greater understanding and create resources to help the industry and rightholders alike to truly take advantage of their entire work.”

With €2 million of funding from the Creative Europe Programme (CREA), BELEM is a partnership of several major players in the music industry and beyond. Publicly launched in 2022, the project’s objective is to promote European lyrics and their translations, while facilitating their monetisation. By encouraging the co-creation and co-production of European lyrics, the project aims to generate new revenue streams for key players in the music industry and add economic value to the European musical and linguistic heritage.

“To achieve our mission to increase the potential for and awareness of the role of lyrics, education is a key pillar,,” said Florian von Hoyer, COO at MusicHub and BELEM Lead on behalf of Zebralution. “This programme is purpose-built to ensure publishers can build the right toolkit to begin using lyrics to generate more revenue from their repertoire — from understanding the legal technicalities to how to distribute via platforms. We aim to give the industry the right technical knowledge and bespoke advice, so that they can help create more opportunities.” 

Alongside Unison and Zebralution, the partnership includes a further 14 companies across publishing, technology, distribution, music trade associations and academia. Each company — including LyricFind, Deezer and .MUSIC — is responsible for delivering a key aspect of the programme. Through Lusitanian Music Publishing, the project recently ran an Open Call to the industry to fund translation projects to help publishers increase revenue from lyrics. 

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