CMU Trends In Ten Music Copyright Library

CMU Trends In Ten: Music Rights Data

By | Last Updated: August 2020

This is a ten step guide to music rights data, introducing the key data standards and databases of the music rights industry, and explaining why bad data can be such a big problem for artists and songwriters.

#01: It’s useful to distinguish between the different kinds of music data
There is a plethora of data that the music industry now routinely creates and utilises. So much data, in fact, that it is useful to group it all into categories, and to then be specific about which of those categories we are talking about at any one time.

For starters there is all the data that comes into the music industry that tells us what music has been consumed and what royalties are due to be paid to artists, songwriters and copyright owners. This is consumption data and financial data.

Then there is fan data. This is the data that helps artists and their business partners better understand who is consuming their music, and how those fans interact and behave.

There is a crossover with consumption data here, but fan data also includes the information that artists gather from things like social media, email communications, direct-to-fan transactions, smart links, affiliate links, online advertising platforms and re-targeting tools.

Next there is market data. This is data about trends in the wider marketplace rather than data linked to specific tracks or artists. It tells us more about the kinds of music and music services that are exciting different kinds of consumers at different times.

And finally there is track data and rights data, which is what we are interested in here in this guide. Unlike consumption, financial, fan and market data – which comes into the music industry – this is the data that starts with the industry and is pushed out.

Track data is the descriptive information that the music industry attaches to each recording as it is released into the world, including title, version, genre, mood, release data, and the names and IDs of everyone involved in creating both the song and the track.

Rights data relates to copyright and royalties. It tells us who owns the copyright, both in the recording itself and also in the song that is contained in that recording. Because, remember, as far as copyright law is concerned, songs and recordings are separate.

It also tells us who the creators and beneficiaries of the copyright are. Which means the people who wrote the song and the performers who appear on the recording.