PRS For Music likes to think of itself as being at the cutting-edge of technology, so it’s understandably proud of its new deal with Swedish metadata platform Auddly.
As revealed in the latest issue of Music Week, the partnership will give PRS members free access to the platform, which enables writers and producers to record song data from composition in order to secure transparent and accurate credits.
Metadata may not be sexy – although a member of ABBA always helps raise its profile – but with PRS processing 6.6 trillion music uses last year, its accuracy is essential for the health of the biz. Here, PRS director of innovation and partnerships Paul Dilorito sets out his vision for the future of the streaming business…
Are you happy that metadata is now being discussed with more urgency?
Yes, it is absolutely a hot issue for the industry. With the growth of streaming, the demands for data grew exponentially not only because the consumers demanded more but also because the licensing models around that changed dramatically. The data issue suddenly became a hot topic mainly because the flow of revenue was so intrinsically linked to it.
How will PRS members benefit from this deal with Auddly?
The most accurate and reliable data is the data that is closest to the original source and the source of creation. The creators themselves are the most authoritative places for reliable data to come from. Those creators haven’t necessarily been part of that workflow. They are focused on creating music, as they should be, and not necessarily on the administration of the data behind it. But the digital world, the lower transactional revenues that are flowing and the bigger long tail have all created an awareness [about metadata]. Auddly has identified that actually if we can engage that community better, and the players around that community like publishers and labels, then we can improve the data flow.
Will that bring better and more accurate royalties?
Absolutely, the more that writers and the owners of copyright are engaged in the workflow, and the faster they respond and complete the data elements and resolve any conflicts they may have around ownership and shares and metadata, it will absolutely unlock more revenues and have more revenues flowing more accurately. It will unlock the money that is sitting in buckets around different countries that isn’t allocated accurately because the ownership is unknown at the time. It will definitely unlock that long tail of residual income that isn’t necessarily flowing as accurately as it should be.
It will absolutely unlock more revenues and have more revenues flowing
We hope that by sharing this data more widely with digital platforms and other third parties, that actually it will enable a whole new experience for consumers to discover music, and hence they will consume more music, which will in turn raise more revenues. If the metadata is strong, you’re going to discover a much broader catalogue that you may not have discovered before.
What role will publishers have here if artists are tracking their own data?
Publishers will still do a lot of this work – they serve an important role within the industry. Publishers are the consolidator of their writers’ data. We want to be able to route some of this data back to publishers to enable them to be more efficient and more effective at the role that they play, we certainly don’t want to remove them from the workflow or remove their authority.
How important are metadata measures like this to the future of the biz?
Solving a data problem can help create industry growth. Björn [Ulvaeus, Auddly co-founder] is a strong advocate of solving a data problem to genuinely help the industry grow, which is why philosophically we feel very aligned to what they are doing. If we can create collaborative spaces, if we can get the metadata sooner and consolidate the way we are capturing the metadata, all of that together should provide opportunities for growth.