PPL and PRS for Music have piloted a first-of-its-kind initiative to link each other’s data sets, jointly creating a prototype search tool to improve identification of sound recordings and musical works and the links between them.
The prototype search tool was developed for demonstration and discussion purposes, and represents a significant step forward in the creation of a ‘backbone’ of links between PPL’s sound recordings and PRS for Music’s musical works, with over 2.5 million recordings already linked to over 1.2 million works and available to search.
The two membership-owned companies piloted this initiative in response to a growing data problem. The link between a sound recording and a constituent musical work is critical for effective and accurate remuneration of creators and publishers. Today, these links are created by multiple parties in multiple places, leading to duplication and a potential for error and conflict. As the volume of data and the number of data sources continue to increase, the need for a definitive solution to the problem grows; over the past year, PRS for Music has processed over 4 trillion music uses and on average, 35,000 new recordings are registered with PPL each week.
The ultimate aim is to establish and promote a set of consistent and authoritative links between recordings and works that can be gathered from and shared across multiple parties. Several international societies have already expressed their desire to learn more about the “work-in-progress” initiative, including APRA AMCOS in Australia, who have welcomed the move and confirmed their interest in participating. This three-way collaboration has the potential to link in excess of 18 million musical works with in excess of 10 million recordings.
Commenting on the initiative, Paul Dilorito, Director of Operations, PRS for Music said:
“One of the biggest challenges we all face is how we create industry-wide access to authoritative data. Effective linking of works to recordings is the first step and this prototype has enabled us to deliver a successful proof of concept that we are delighted to have brought to fruition in partnership with PPL. Collaboration is key to the successful resolution of the data challenge across the industry, and as industry-leading authoritative sources of metadata we are both very well placed to facilitate a solution.”
Mark Douglas, Chief Technology Officer, PPL added:
"For an initiative like this to have value to the industry, it has to be based on authoritative data about sound recordings and musical works. PPL invests significant effort and resources into managing its repertoire database and is rightly recognised as a world-leader, making PPL a natural partner to work with PRS for Music. We are excited about extending beyond this pilot to draw in other CMOs and PROs to progress the initiative even further.
Alan Balchin, Head of Business Systems & Development, APRA AMCOS in Australia said:
"The need for an authoritative link between a work and its many recordings is a 'no brainer' from our perspective, to ensure rightsholders get acknowledged, recognised and paid in a timely fashion. We look forward to engaging with our colleagues in the UK on this exciting initiative as it develops".
While conceptually possible, the linked data set does not incorporate full ownership information for recordings or works. This will continue to be managed by each society, but the prototype search tool 'signposts' a user to the most authoritative available source of ownership information for each recording and work, which can be displayed directly from a society database when possible.
It is intended that the prototype search tool will act as a springboard for discussion with a wider set of recording, publishing and rightsholder organisations around the world. The end goal is to extend the sharing of consistent, authoritative data in order to benefit those who create, perform, and invest in music.