The future of rights management: data, data and more data

We echo the report just published by Synchtank, which offers valuable and illustrative information that we believe may help to decipher some clues about the future of rights management.

We have seen on countless occasions (social networks, presentations, press, etc.) the graphs of the Goldman Sachs forecasts on the spectacular growth predicted for the volume of business in the music industry over the next decade. However, little is said about the technological and data management implications of this: the lines of information in royalty payments to artists, authors and publishers are multiplying exponentially, with millions of micro-acts of exploitation that must be managed and paid to rights holders. In this regard, the study highlights that, as a consequence of the growing importance of the digital business, the growth rates of the volume of data are higher than those of the market itself (20-30% vs. 5-10%), which represents a real technological and information management challenge. In other words, in order to capture the expected growth of the music industry in the next decade, market players managing rightspublishers, collecting societies and independent management operatorswill have to adapt technologically to this new scenario and manage huge amounts of data efficiently and on a global scale, as a substantial part of this growth will come from the so-called emerging territories.

Another challenge that Synchtank’s report points to is the fragmentation of rights, the atomisation of revenue streams and the scalability needed to meet the immense data processing challenge that comes with this anticipated growth in the digital landscape. The report points to the shortcomings of current data standards in the music industry and the shortcomings of the duality of ISRC and ISWC coding systems as other areas for improvement, as they lead to duplication and inconsistencies in data. About this, the report points to our partner Verify Media as one of the operators whose value proposition can make a significant contribution to solving the problems described above. At the same time, artists, authors, composers and their management teams are demanding more access to information and greater transparency and accuracy about what happens to their rightswhere they have been exploited, what revenues they have generated and how long they have been paid forin order to maximise the exploitation of their intellectual property and make the right business decisions.

Finally, of course, the report echoes the growing number of financial transactions on music rights catalogues, highlighting that it will be the operators with the most developed and modern royalty and data management systems who will be in the best position to provide reliable information on the past performance of a catalogue; and, with that, more robust financial projections of future catalogue revenues.

In short, an inspiring and thought-provoking document; many of the concepts described are part of our DNAfragmentation of catalogues and rights, linking ISWC codes to ISRCs, multi-territorial or global licensing, granular information, focus on digital, finding innovative solutions for data management, etc.and we at Unison humbly aspire to contribute to the solution of some of the problems highlighted in the report.

Eric JordiBusiness & Legal Affairs of Unison

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