A “Big Data” Problem Could Be Starving Artists of Revenue

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  • #5726
    bigg rome

    Tune Sat vs. The P.R.O

    For nearly 100 years, performing rights organizations have tracked the music played on the radio, then the television, and now the internet. Their goal: to figure out who should get paid.

    These organizations – ASCAP and BMI are the big ones – have traditionally relied on the radio, television, and internet music companies they monitor to report what they played, and to how many people, then they cross-reference that with random sampling.

    In 2012, there is no longer a need for either of those ancient approaches. Back when I did college radio, we used to write down each song we played to submit them to these PROs, and to a great extent, that is still how they work. To borrow a phrase from the old Six Million Dollar Man television show, “we have the technology” to fix this: audio fingerprinting, which can identify every song and snippet of a song that plays on every radio station, television channel, and streaming radio company. Why guess when you can know?



    That’s an interesting article…especially the quote from the ASCAP VP:

    “ASCAP has been utilizing audio fingerprinting technology for over 15 years, as well as pursuing and utilizing technology solutions from various sources to track performances of our members’ works.”

    So when you register a song with ASCAP, do you also send in a copy of said song for them to fingerprint? I’m Canadian and my PRO is SOCAN…all they ask from me is the title, artist, and length of the track…never have I been asked to send in a digital or physical copy of a cue. I’ve never heard of a PRO using any fingerprinting technology to track song usages….am I missing something?


    I believe ascap uses this type of tech for promos. I had a couple promos and I researched how they work on ascap’s site. If I understand correctly, you need to submit a claim if you have a promo or commercial. Part of that submission is to submit and audio file. I think they then search their tunestat like service competitrack to figure out what, where, when and how many.



    Seems bass-ackwards that composers need to detect their music being used in a commercial or promo first, then submit an audio file so ascap can work their magic.


    Audio fingerprinting has been discussed here a lot. What this article doesn’t really cover is the elephant in the room – re-titling.

    Non exclusive libraries, even ones that use prefixes instead of a full re-title (like Jingle Punks, Audiosocket, Getty etc), will still have issues if their tracks are in libraries that show up with a service like Tunesat.

    Audio recognition could be the end of re-titling libraries (which I’m sure the major buy out libraries would be happy about), but I can’t imagine the big re-titlers like Getty going down without a fight. Or maybe there’s some kind of deal made in a few years where re-titled / non-exclusive tracks can’t make any performance royalties (I hope not).

    Also, I wonder how much the PROs would have to lower their rates if they actually paid for every second of music aired on TV and radio.


    Ignoring for a moment, the debate over whether or not one should have their tracks in multiple re-title libraries…

    If there is technology whereby info can be embedded in a watermark or fingerprint, why can’t the composer and publisher ID info also be in there? Naive question…

    It’s interesting that TuneSat has this technology which appears to work very well but the PRO’s are so far behind in adpoting fingerprinting or watermarking for all music monitoring.


    I personally think that it would be fantastic if the composer and/or publisher had the technology in their own hands to watermark their own tracks. This would eliminate the need to re-title at all! The data could be tracked by Tunesat and reported to all involved, including the PRO’s. Just like Advice says, embed the composer, publisher, and PRO ID’s directly in the track, and done. I’m not sure why a company, even Tunesat themselves, would not create and sell such a software package directly to composers/publishers? I’m certain it would be beneficial to all.

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