A global initiative has launched to drive fairer, more accurate royalty payments for artists and songwriters from public performance, while removing manual effort for venues and premises, following years of time-consuming manual reporting.
Recognise the Music, which is partnered with the Music Venue Trust (MVT), British tech start-up Audoo, the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC), the Association of Independent Music (AIM) and the Music Managers Forum (MMF), is the first step in helping venues and premises across the UK check that their performing rights organisation licence fees are being distributed to artists and songwriters with the highest level of accuracy while saving venues significant time and effort.
Unidentifiable and inaccurate royalty payments is one of the music industry’s biggest challenges, with over £2 billion ($3 billion) in global revenue allocated without the capacity to track where it should really go, leading to many songwriters, composers and publishers undeservedly missing out due to lack of accurate data collection methods and technology, relying instead on estimations and radio plays.
Recognise the Music believes that in order for all artists and songwriters to get paid with greater accuracy, first it needs to be possible to recognise what music is being played, consistently. In the UK alone, there are circa 400,000 venues already holding a performing rights organisation license, indicating the sheer scale of the initiative’s potential impact.
Selected early adopters will be some of the first to receive an ‘Audio Meter’, developed by British start-up Audoo, which is fitted with a discrete plug that easily slots into a standard electrical socket. It recognises what music is playing and securely fingerprints it, with no audio ever being stored or sent from the device. Providing this new, real-world data means artists and songwriters will receive the correct royalties they are owed for the broadcasting of their work.
Venues and premises across the UK are being encouraged to sign up as early adopters at www.recognisethemusic.com, which is welcoming registrations from today.
Major industry players are involved in the initiative. The Music Venue Trust (MVT) is a UK registered charity created in 2014 to protect, secure and improve grassroots music venues. To date, MVT has secured the long-term future of iconic grassroots music venues which have played a crucial role in the development of British music over the last 40 years, including Hull Adelphi, Exeter Cavern, Southampton Joiners, The 100 Club, Band on the Wall, and Tunbridge Wells Forum. Also part of the initiative are the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC), the UK trade body and not-for-profit organisation representing the specific rights and interests of music artists, the Association of Independent Music (AIM) which is the not-for-profit trade body exclusively representing the UK’s independent music sector which makes up around a quarter of the recorded music market, and the Music Managers Forum (MMF) which is the world’s largest professional community of music managers.
Mark Davyd, CEO of Music Venue Trust: “When I walk into a club or a bar and I know they have a blanket licence and I know that no one has any idea what’s being played, it’s quite irritating for me on a personal level to hear a band that I really like being played and not being recognised.
“The system for too long has been quite vague. Money seems to flow into pots where we don’t really know where it is and we don’t really know who it belongs to. This is a great way of really understanding and recognising music in a way that we can use that data to make sure the right people are getting paid for the right pays.
“A lot of the burden falls on venues and they don’t know the answer, they don’t know the name of the track. They need better data that’s more automatically recognised. Anything that we can do to reduce the burden on venues and increase the information going to artists is definitely going to help.”
Gee Davy, COO of Association of Independent Music: “For all of our members it’s absolutely vital that the data flows through correctly, that the right people are recognised for the music that is played publicly so that the right artists are paid at the end of the day.”
“There is a lot of data out there in the world. It’s really useful for artists and everyone that works with them; their labels, distributors, managers. For them to be able to see that their efforts are paying off.
Lara Coker-Hutchins Commercial Director, Bush Hall: “You know that what you’re doing as an independent venue is actually supporting an individual artist and that’s what it’s all about.
“There are so many different elements to any live show that you go to as an audience member. Particularly in an underground, grass-roots venue. Independent artists, independent venues and correct payments and royalties all go hand in hand.
“It’s going to make our lives so much easier. We are all working towards the same aim. If we can make a small step and a small change in what we’re doing, then in the grand scheme of things means the right people are getting the right recognition then I can’t see a negative.”
Ryan Edwards, CEO, Audoo: “Recognise the Music is really special to us because it does exactly what it says it will. It recognises music to ensure that all artists of all shapes and sizes have their music recognised and that they’re paid equally and correctly”
“This helps the industry across the whole board. From the venues right to the artists; the biggest artists in the world to the new artists that are starting out. Venues don’t need to report, everything is automated. The music fees they have to pay flows straight throw to the artists. It’s important because everyone is paid accurately and correctly.
“Recognise the Music is going to deliver a new way for venues, artists, publishers, labels, song funds, booking agents, the whole music industry to understand the ways music is consumed and then distributed. It’s about enabling the entire industry to understand how, why and where music is played.”
Stuart Ellerker, Operations Manager, 229: “From my point of view of running a venue, the admin side of things is just intense. The amount of work we have to do in order to pay the royalties is a stretch on resources and it’s something we don’t have time for”
“Recognise the Music is a system that can help this situation. A system like Recognise the Music, using modern technology will make life easier for everyone. All we want to do is get licence fees into the right hands.”
David Martin, CEO, Featured Artists Coalition: “The FAC represents over 4000 artists and most of them are song writers. We provide a collective voice for those artists. The core of what we do is to aim to create fairness and transparency for those artists. This initiative completely aligns with our aim
From our perspective, fairness and accuracy sees our members getting paid properly for their work. We have members right across the spectrum and quite often they’re not global, house-hold names and quite often they’re not paid properly. Hopefully this initiative will help to overcome this problem and see artists being paid when they’re played.”