Top tips for managing your metadata in 2021
In 2020, PPL paid out more than £260 million in royalties to performers and recording rightsholders for the use of their recorded music in the UK and around the world. With more than 16 million recordings registered with PPL dating back to the 1930s, we are reliant on the information provided to us by you, our members, to ensure we are paying the correct owners of and performers on any given recording. It’s all about metadata – your metadata.
We have set out some top tips below to help you manage your metadata and – in turn – help to ensure you get paid when your recorded music is played. Use these as a trusted guide now and throughout the year to ensure your recording information is all in order with PPL.
Track your credits to get the credit
The best time to capture the data relating to a sound recording is during the recording process. When working on a recording, be sure to collect and document all the details about who contributed to the recording, where and when they made their contribution, and the role they played. This credit data is vital information for ensuring accurate and speedy payment when the recording is released and gets played.
Technology can really help here. A range of software apps already exist to make capturing this data easier than by using traditional pen and paper. At PPL, we already work with three app providers to help PPL members to capture their data more easily at the point of recording music – Session (formerly known as Auddly), Creative Passport and Sound Credit. If a PPL member registers with and logs into any of these apps, they can verify their PPL membership, retrieve their unique International Performer Number (IPN) and store it in their app profile.
This IPN is the code that collective management organisations (CMOs) around the world like PPL use to uniquely identify a musical contributor, which can then help to speed up the flow of money. Getting your IPN embedded into the data relating to a sound recording and having it flow into record companies, streaming services and ultimately to CMOs makes the whole process much more efficient and accurate. You can read more about credits here.
Without standards, there can be no improvement
It’s not just a clever saying; it’s vital when it comes to music metadata. Every minute of every day, large volumes of data are being shared across the music industry. Without standards, that data exchange would be inefficient and would leave the data open to misinterpretation. In the days of vinyl and cassettes, the need for data exchange between parties was limited. However, the rise of digital music, and streaming in particular, has triggered a need for a range of standards to allow recordings to be delivered to the streaming platforms, for their use to be reported and for the rich detail of who performed on them and who owns the rights to be shared.
Digital Data Exchange (DDEX for short) – an organisation dedicated to standardising the music metadata language we all speak – has been leading the way on addressing this. Much of the exchange of information between CMOs, record labels, and digital music companies is now done using DDEX standard message formats. Most recently, the Recording Information Notification (RIN) message has been created to allow the information captured in the studio to flow into record companies.
PPL is a charter member of DDEX and sits both on the DDEX board, and on various working groups. We play an active role in ensuring that the standards are developed in ways that benefit the fast and accurate flow of money to our members. Ask your record label or business manager if they are using, or have plans to use DDEX data standards for their main data exchanges. Doing so will make data flow more easily and will help to get you paid faster and more accurately.
Encourage your label to join RDx
Whilst speaking to your record label about standards, ask them if they are using, or have plans to use, the Repertoire Data Exchange (RDx) service. RDx is a new service that provides an easy way for record labels to get the data about their sound recordings out to CMOs. Using DDEX message standards, it acts as a hub for distributing data about recordings, the people that perform on them and who owns the rights in each territory. Commissioned by IFPI and WIN and built by PPL – RDx brings benefits to rightsholders and to performers. It supports the exchange of information about performers and their contributions to sound recordings.
On initial receipt of data from record labels, RDx looks for and highlights any conflicting data on rights ownership of each recording. It also applies a range of data quality checks and automatically notifies record companies of potential issues, such as where performer line-up information has not been provided, or where key details such as contribution categories or performer roles have been omitted. RDx is already being used by the major record labels. Make sure your label has plans to on-board.
Check, check, and check again
With so much music out there and an ever-increasing amount of metadata to manage, PPL has an expert in-house Repertoire Team to work with members to help ensure metadata is up to date. All members can use the PPL repertoire search functionality freely available on myPPL to find the recordings to which they have contributed and to check on the completeness of the line-up information. Take a look on myPPL – and remember, we can only pay you for the use of your recorded music if we have the data about the tracks on which you performed and the nature of your contribution.
Entering your metadata correctly into the PPL Repertoire Database does not just benefit your collections in the UK – we work globally. We are playing a leading role in the roll out of the Virtual Recordings Database (VRDB), which allows us to share your performer metadata, including your role or contribution on any given recording, with other CMOs representing performers around the world. This efficient exchange of information goes a long way in ensuring that you are fairly paid when your recorded music is played outside of the UK. Make sure you are signed up to benefit from PPL’s international collections service too.
Make sure the data about your musical contributions is being captured in the studio, make sure that data is being sent to your record label using the DDEX RIN standard, ask your label to on-board to RDx so that this data then flows to the CMOs, check that your data for past recordings is complete by reviewing the PPL Repertoire Database and we will take it from there!
You can find out more about PPL’s data and technology work on the PPL website