ASCAP, BMI Reveal Comprehensive Musical Works Database

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• July 26, 2017

Performing rights organizations ASCAP and BMI have joined forces to create a single, comprehensive database of musical works from their combined repertories that will deliver an authoritative view of ownership shares in the vast majority of music licensed in the United States.

Elizabeth Matthews, CEO, ASCAP and Mike O’Neill, President and CEO, BMI announced the database, which will feature aggregated song ownership data from both PROs and offer greater transparency in song ownership. ASCAP’s and BMI’s respective databases will continue to be available on each organization’s respective website during the creation and initial launch of the joint database.

The joint database will roll out in phases with Phase One expected to launch by the end of 2018, and include the majority of ASCAP and BMI registered songs. Future phases will explore customizable, interactive API solutions and the potential inclusion of other databases.

A cross functional team of copyright, technical and data experts from BMI and ASCAP began working on the project over one year ago, in anticipation of the demand from licensees and the industry for more clarity around ownership shares. The database, which will be publicly available initially via ASCAP and BMI websites, will feature aggregated information from BMI’s and ASCAP’s repertories and will indicate where other performing rights organizations may have an interest in a musical work.

ASCAP and BMI have long had their respective online, searchable repertory databases – ASCAP’s ACE Repertory and BMI’s Repertoire Search. Both PRO public databases already include the following information, which will be combined in the joint database: song and composition titles, performing artist information, aggregated shares by society for ASCAP & BMI, international Standard Work Codes (ISWC) and other unique identifiers, as well as IP names and numbers.

The respective teams are analyzing, testing and reconciling the data from each organization, addressing incomplete and/or incorrect registrations, share splits, U.S. representation of international works and complicated ownership disputes, among other things. They are now testing the combined data sets in a cloud platform, and the results of that analysis will serve as the foundation for the joint database.

Matthews commented, “ASCAP and BMI are proactively and voluntarily moving the entire industry a step forward to more accurate, reliable and user-friendly data. We believe in a free market with more industry cooperation and alignment on data issues. Together, ASCAP and BMI have the most expertise in building and managing complex copyright ownership databases. With our combined experience, we are best positioned to make faster headway in creating a robust, cost effective market solution to meet the needs of the licensing marketplace.”

O’Neill added, “This is an important solution for the marketplace created by the experts who know their data best. We have always advocated for data transparency and supported the need for a user-friendly and comprehensive solution that would benefit music users and music creators alike. While BMI and ASCAP remain fierce competitors in all other regards, we recognize that our combined expertise allows us to create the best solution for our members and the marketplace. We’re excited by our momentum and the promise of what this database can become in the future.”

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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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