Music Industry

Published on December 16th, 2017 | by Larry Lootsteen


More On Metadata

Last week we heard about a new collaboration between Bell, Re:Sound and Music Canada to improve the quality of the data across Bell’s media platforms, specifically in radio. As you can imagine, gathering data from hundreds of stations across all sorts of markets can be daunting.

The music industry has been struggling for over a decade to create uniform databases that can correctly identify songs and the performers with the many stakeholders who are eligible to earn royalty income from terrestrial and satellite radio, public performance and streaming services for the public performance of music.

Billions of data points are generated from music performances. Having all the information about who and what is necessary to correctly I.D who rights payments go to, and equally important is having a standard protocol for Re:Sound and the songwriter/music publisher agency, SOCAN, to interpret.

The muddle of knowing who owes what to who blew up when the music industry morphed from LPs, with detailed liner notes, to digital files that in early days failed to embed the relevant information that could help identify the rights owners. The industry now realizes that millions of dollars sit unclaimed because the agencies that collect the monies don’t have enough information to determine who gets the payments.

And there is more to the difficulties around metadata and the payments:

This is the broad brushstroke. It gets a lot more complicated when one understands that there are a lot of songwriters and groups with similar or identical names in different jurisdictions. There is also the fact that the US doesn’t collect performance royalties (we call it a ‘neighbouring right’ in Canada) from terrestrial broadcasters, whereas most top line music countries, including Canada, do. Simply put, if the US doesn’t collect for performances of Canadian artists in the US, we don’t pay for the performance royalties collected in Canada to them. The money is divided up between those countries Canada has reciprocal agreements with, and our homegrown artists.

This is an ongoing discussion. Read more on it here, here, here and here.

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About the Author

Music is life and I love to write about all things music. Independent music blogger. Writer in general. I am a big fan of alternative and indie music but there's no genre I haven't found something to like.

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