HomeInsightsIntellectual Property Office publishes report: “Music 2025 The Music Data Dilemma: issues facing the music industry in improving data management”

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The report, commissioned by the IPO and carried out by Ulster University with the support of PRS for Music and PPL, notes that the advent of streaming and online distribution has posed a significant challenge for the management of repertoire and content attribution. This is due to unprecedented volumes of data being generated, divergent velocities across the data flow, exponential increases in the variety of data sources, a lack of confidence in the veracity of the information, and difficulties with access. This has led to difficulties in artists gaining attribution for their works and appropriate remuneration.

The report says that data can be defined as a collection of facts such as numbers, words, measurements and observations that has been translated into a form that computers can process. It can also simply be information. In the music industry, this data, specifically clean data, is central to the function of any remuneration/reward system that is built upon content attribution.

The prime objective of the research is “to highlight infrastructure issues that appear to hamper the fair and timely distribution of revenue from digital music platforms”.

The report makes various recommendations, including:

  • industry, academia and education providers should collaborate to develop, promote and deliver educational opportunities with accredited levels of proficiency around data management;
  • all content uploaded to a commercial digital platform should be identified and attributed using internationally recognised, publicly accessible, linked identifiers, i.e. there should be no entity without identity;
  • mandatory procedures of International Standard Recording Code (ISRC) assignment upon upload to a digital service provider should also include an International Standard Musical Work Code (ISWC), i.e. no ISRC should be allocated without a linked ISWC;
  • research into standardized processes and interoperable data gateway systems should be prioritised for support and investment. The development of a registry focused on the wider attribution of content contributors is also recommended as a subject of further research;
  • funding for research should be directed towards academic, governmental and industry partnerships appropriate for the management of data as a proprietary asset, acknowledging the status of data as a public good;
  • a networked system of data governance which takes into account requirements across the ecosystem should be the subject of adequately funded research and development. A working group should be established to look at the issue of data governance across the industry as a priority; and
  • to improve collaboration and inform any potential or future governance framework, bespoke forums should be established to facilitate multi-layered collaboration and communication that engage a greater number and wider range of stakeholders on a more frequent and regular basis than at present.

To access the report, click here.