Experts Offer Music Royalties Innovation as EU demands Tech giants protect content
A recent deal between UK online music-rights management specialist SoundVault and music giant Sony/ATV Music Publishing comes just as European regulators demand tech behemoths do more to protect copyrighted works on their platforms.
SoundVault, which uses proprietary tech to help rights owners control the fate of their content on digital platforms like YouTube, has nabbed a global partnership deal with EMI Production Music, a Sony/ATV subsidiary.
The agreement sees EMI Production Music’s entire catalog of 200,000-plus songs (including those made into major hits by Blur, Lana Del Rey, Flo Rida and Dame Shirley Bassey) represented on SoundVault’s platform, Chief Commercial Officer Nathan Graves (pictured, below) says.
This automates the required sync licenses that legitimize the music’s use on YouTube. It also gives YouTubers and the platform’s other user-generated content (UGC) creators immediate access to hundreds of thousands of already licensed tunes, ensuring the soundtracks to their videos are legal and consequently create more royalties for rights owners and composers.
“The EMI Production deal is currently for YouTube. Online is the fastest growing sync market globally and offers an exciting new revenue stream to rights holders, if managed properly,” Graves adds.
“Online music-rights management and ensuring that rights are cleared and monies shared correctly is what SoundVault cares about and has been created to deliver.”
That application of technology should go hand-in-hand with the EU’s European Parliament approving plans to amend the region’s copyright directive in March (endorsed by the European Council this month).
The regulators want Internet distribution platforms to be liable for the content users upload, including videos that feature unauthorized music tracks.
“Frankly, our timing couldn’t be better. SoundVault is positioned to help manage the EU Copyright Directive’s requirements and expectations immediately,” Graves explains.
Critics fear the EU’s reformed copyright law might end up hurting UGC producers as it forces major tech platforms, including Facebook and Snapchat, to over-police what gets uploaded. But SoundVault’s founders point out rights-management tools are still essential.
“SoundVault is built upon the most advanced metadata framework providing usage monitoring, scanning and reporting, thereby enabling rights holders to control their assets and claim more revenue than has previously been possible.”
He continues: “SoundVault’s Sync Licensing Platform and Unique Cue Sheets Management System can track and scan streaming platforms, including YouTube, and all across the Internet to ensure no sync usage is missed online and every individual rights holder in the value chain is paid fairly and accurately.”
The content creators who want to use pre-licensed sync tracks at SoundVault can search and discover music under various categories, such as genres, moods and keywords.
The technology also enables music supervisors searching for tracks to use in movies, TV shows and TV commercials to select the licenses that are relevant to them.
Supervising the different rights is made possible by the company’s use of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning. Future plans include applying blockchain technology that will also ensure greater transparency of what gets paid to whom, for what and when.
In addition to the Sony/ATV’s EMI Production Music tunes, SoundVault oversees the accounts of more than 1,300 rights owners from numerous countries worldwide.
Another UK music-rights venture called Curve Royalty Systems launched this month in response to rights owners and artists’ demands for the quick processing of royalties earned from digitally distributed music.
Curve says its software is able to manage the requirements for all kinds of music contracts, from collating the necessary data from the different distribution platforms, the different income sources, including music-sales and sync royalties, to issuing statements indicating income earned in quick time.
Curve is the brainchild of three highly experienced recorded-music and music-tech executives: General Manager Richard Leach, Finance Director Ray Bush and Technology Director Tom Allen (pictured, below).
They’ve gained their expertise at high-level independent music companies, including acclaimed indie label Cooking Vinyl, Warner Music Group’s distribution subsidiary ADA, and artist-services group Essential Music & Marketing, which was later bought by Sony Music Entertainment.
In response to how they can support rights owners in light of the recent overhaul of EU copyright legislation, Leach says: “Royalty processing can be complex and time-consuming, especially when a rights holder works with different labels or distributors in different territories. We’ve built Curve to reduce the time needed to consolidate this data from days to hours, so that songwriters and composers both keep track of what they’re owed and get paid without added delay.”