New department in Koda: International & Publisher Relations

The overall focus of the new department is to attract and retain repertoire. At the helm of the new department we find Jakob Hüttel, who previously held the position as Koda’s Director of  Legal & International.

Jakob Hüttel took over as head of the new department on 1 May 2019. Prior to this, he has long been responsible for international cooperation with Koda’s affiliates as regards reciprocal representation agreements and has also been involved in many dialogues with major publishers. Jakob Hüttel has a strong network within both areas, while also having great insight into the complexities of the flow of money and rights. In what follows, Jakob Hüttel speaks about the background for the merger of two major areas – International and Music Publishers:

"We have already embarked on the task of bringing about the potential synergy effects we saw in combining the two fields, i.e. international relations and the large music publishers. The overarching business perspective in merging the two units rests on the fact than in future, we will consider our repertoire from fellow societies abroad and music publishers as a single flow of repertoire from a number of our largest stakeholders. We believe that many benefits can be had by merging the two departments. We will be able to transfer lessons learned from communicating with the music publishers, based on their needs and desires, into the international field. For example, we can help some of our big foreign affiliates understand Koda better. Similarly, there may also be certain routines or best practices that can be transferred from the international aspect of our activities to the publishing side."

The new department

Besides Jakob Hüttel, the International & Publisher Relations department features Peter Griffin and Aleksandra Paciulian, both of whom used to work in the International department. The new department will also include Andreas Rasmus Nielsen and Zofie Winther, previously from the Publishing & Member Services (now Member Service, ed.), department:

‘Andreas and Zofie will handle all matters specifically relating to music publishers, while Peter and Aleksandra will take care of international activities. We will see a synergy effect when the department’s store of knowledge about international matters is shared with the music publishers. We take a shortcut by having two departments in one, enabling us to efficiently communicate important and relevant knowledge about activities abroad to the music publishers. As we learn more about the practices of collective rights management societies abroad, we face the task of aligning expectations regarding revenues from abroad, speaking to the rightsholders we represent and to the music publishers about what to expect. Of course, we have no influence on which of the works we represent will be hits abroad, but we can focus on identifying hits and following up on them.  And of course, we can make sure that our affiliates abroad send us the money owed for the use of works in their territories," explains Jakob Hüttel and continues:

"We need to establish fundamental insights into what is going on abroad : when do the other collective rights management societies charge and receive revenues, when do they distribute them, and – not least – when do they collect revenues without sending them on in the system? Knowing about this will give us an improved understanding of the mechanisms involved. Instead of always being reactive in our approach, which can create frustrations among the rightsholders concerned, the right knowledge and a proactive approach to the area will enable us to more efficiently align expectations for distributions from abroad within a given area. We have documented knowledge in many areas, but I will continue to work on systematising that knowledge and communicating it, because that is also part of giving our rightsholders a good experience. This follows up on work that is already taking place, and we expect to generate greater knowledge and awareness by being proactive."

Handling music publishers

The work pertaining to music publishers continues largely as before:

"Of course, we will explore any synergies that may be useful and benefit our relationship with the music publishers. Right now, we are not planning any major changes in terms of our services to music publishers. The changes primarily involve an internal reorganisation; for example, Member Services will still be in charge of answering questions from music publishers. Externally, we will not change any of our interfaces, so the music publishers will essentially just do what they usually do. What I bring to the new department are the two members of staff from the music publishing side, as well as half of the old ‘International’ department, specifically the ones who interact directly with our partners and stakeholders abroad – a kind of front office function. The two employees who have worked with the back office aspects of the former International department are now part of our overall back office department. I am very happy with this approach, as it supports the overall back office functions of Koda. Of course, this involves slightly greater demands in terms of our inter-departmental co-operation, but I think it’s only natural that our international efforts should rely on the back office functions we already have. So I have very high expectations of being able to draw on the resources and functions provided by those departments," explains Jakob Hüttel.

New department: Legal

Concurrently with the new department for ‘International & Publisher Relations’, Koda also sets up another new department: 'Legal'.

"The department of which I was previously director is now called 'Legal' ('Jura' in Danish), so I basically take the ‘International’ aspects with me to the new  department. All the legal work that used to be carried out in my old department remains there, making it Koda’s overall legal department. This doesn’t mean that Legal won’t deal with international matters, but the ‘ownership’ of such work will reside with my new department. Of course, we will continue to see a number of intersecting cases that cut across our various departments, just as usual. In my former department I interacted with CISAC, and I was responsible for the relationship with the affiliates as regards our repertoire flow, that is, for the reciprocal representation agreements. I’ll take those assignments with me in my new department. Similarly, I was also responsible for repertoire flows for the large publishers in my old position, and I will continue to be so in my new department. What is new for me is the work associated with the Foreign Collections department, where the issue is not about repertoire flow but about money from abroad. When repertoire flows abroad from Koda, money should also flow in from abroad, and in my new role I am responsible for ensuring that this is so," concludes Jakob Hüttel.

A couple of quick questions for Jakob Hüttel:

What is your basis for taking over as head of International & Publisher Relations?

I started working for Koda in May of 2005, so I’ve been here for fourteen years. I started out as a legal consultant, and in September 2007 I became Head of International Legal Affairs. In May of 2011 I was made Director of Legal and International. So after eight years as head of that department, I felt ready to accept the challenge of becoming head of International & Publisher Relations, beginning this May. 

What sort of music do you listen to?

I’m essentially an alt-rock guy. So I listen to artists such as Muse, Radiohead, Beck and Bowie, and I’ve just heard the new album by Billie Eilish – I like that too. If we’re looking at Danish artists, it’s a bit more of a mixed bag; I like Nelson Can, TV-2, C.V. Jørgensen, Pernille Rosendahl, Claus Hempler and I Got You On Tape. Oh, and I’ve really enjoyed Prince’s music through the years!