Mo Data, Mo Problems (but Mo Performance Royalties)

mo data mo probs

ISRC, UPC, Song Title, Version, Artist, Composer, Release Name, Duration, Label, Imprint. These are just a few of the pieces of data that identify your songs. How about Country of Recording? Nationality of First Producer? Gender of drummer’s first born?!! Ok, I made that one up… but it probably couldn’t hurt to include it.

In the world of collecting performance royalties on master or neighboring rights, data is EVERYTHING. And the better your data, the better chance a collection society has of matching money to you. So clean it up people!

Now, you might be thinking “But Mr. McBloggerson, I already provide very clean data.” Good. Give yourself a high five. But you’re not done yet. In an effort to build more robust databases and improve the accuracy of matching, collection societies are starting to ask for even more data. Here are a few that they are asking for:

Master Rights. It’s super simple, but super important. Do you have the rights to collect performance income on the master recording? Can you prove it? As in, you have signed contracts that prove it? It’s not difficult, but many societies won’t pay out if you can’t provide this info.

Country of Recording. Where was the recording made? Not sure if I can make this any clearer. Note: If your album has the words “Live in Berlin,” you better not put Spain, or USA, or anything other than Germany. Don’t do it. I will hunt you down and make you change it.

Nationality of First Producer. This is a strange one. It’s usually the country of the record label that first produced the recording. But not always, you may have to do some research. The French society SCPP requires this one.

Performers. Some collection societies are now asking for the names of performers on the recordings.

Oh, and if you consistently provide incorrect metadata for your catalogue, societies might just block you from registering your recordings. This is an extreme case, but it could happen.

Researching and keeping track of all this data can be a nuisance, and if you’re an Orchard client I’m sure you groan every time we show up in your email inbox with another spreadsheet to fill out (teaser — we’re working on a better solution to this process… more to come soon). But understand that this data will ultimately ensure that you, the legal master rightsholder, will get paid on the performance royalties you are rightly owed.

And finally, this business of performance collections on master rights is still very young. The technology used to collect, process, and distribute collections varies by territory across the globe. But rest assured, progress is being made, the data is improving, the dollars are growing, and more rules around data requirements are coming.

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