In an email sent to YouTube Music partners this week, YouTube announced that it will change the way it handles publishing.
Currently, YouTube allows rights holders to submit metadata and ownership information to a single global composition record. If there are multiple rights holders, their information is aggregated and rolled up into the “global” composition asset. Then various owners of sound recordings can create relationships (matches) between the “global” composition and their sound recordings. For example, 3 cover song recordings matched to a single “global” composition. However, YouTube is changing this process.
YouTube is doing away with a “global” composition and Composition Asset ID, which all rights holders on the composition would share, and now requiring that rights holders submit a “Composition Share” asset (think of it in relationship to a Split Sheet, the writer/publisher share) and provide their own unique Custom ID to YouTube, which associates back to the composition in the rights holder’s own database (e.g. a catalog number).
Notably, YouTube will no longer create composition to sound recording relationships on behalf of rights holders. It will become more important than ever for right holders to stay on top of their ownership splits and submissions. Furthermore, because YouTube will now rely on rights holders own Custom IDs, it will be important to implement and maintain a clean unique ID database. This could be the catalog number or the same unique ID the publishers use when registering works to PROs via CWR.
Read the full email below…
Dear YouTube Music Publishing Partner,
We are launching a new publishing data model to give you more transparency into and control over how your rights are associated with sound recording assets. In this new model, we will no longer have one “global” composition asset with metadata, ownership, and embedded relationships provided by various owners. Instead, each owner will have their own “Composition Share” assets. These “Composition Share” assets represent only the metadata and ownership information provided by a single owner. Your provided embedded relationships between “Composition Share” assets and sound recording assets will always be applied.
Our current planned launch date for this change is four weeks from now, on Monday, April 3.
This new model will require one major change on your side. Because we will be deprecating our historical Composition Assets and replacing them with a new asset type, today’s Composition Asset IDs will no longer be used. In most cases where you now use Composition Asset ID (including delivery and reporting), you should transition to using the Custom ID field. We recommend that the data you provide in this field always mirror the proprietary work codes that you use in your own database. In order for your Custom IDs to behave in a sensical and deterministic manner, it is critically important that your Custom IDs function as a primary key. That is, every Composition Share must have a Custom ID, and each Custom ID must refer to one and only one Composition Share. We strongly urge you to examine your Custom ID data now and confirm that your Custom IDs refer to only a single work each. If you suspect that this is not the case, please reach out to [omitted] for assistance. We would be happy to send you reports of how you are currently using Custom ID and where any gaps in your data may exist. If your Custom IDs do not function as a primary key in our new model, you may experience errors and ingestion failures.
Because this is a major change, this may require some workflow adjustments on your side. A few important things you should be aware of:
You will have greater control of embedded relationships between Sound Recordings and “Composition Shares.” Any embedded relationships delivered by any publishing partner will always be applied. If partners deliver conflicting data, these conflicts will immediately manifest in the YouTube Content Manager. By the same token, if you do not deliver us a Composition-Share-to-Sound-Recording relationship, we will not create one for you based on other partners’ data. You can continue to create these relationships through CSV ingestions, and we will be adding the ability to delete these relationships in bulk via CSV ingestions. We are also adding functionality to the Content Manager to allow you to edit these relationships directly in the user interface.
Conflicts now exist at the Sound Recording level, rather than at the Composition level. This means that you will see a larger number of conflicts in your conflicts queue. This increase in the number of assets in conflict does not necessarily represent a larger number of views in conflict; conflicts are merely being reported to you on a more granular level. Given that you will now have greater control over embedded relationships, conflicts caused by bad data should be much easier to resolve. When communicating about conflicts with other partners, you should now use Sound Recording Asset IDs instead of Composition Asset IDs.
Asset revenue will be reported at the Sound Recording level, rather than at the Composition level. This means that your asset revenue reports will grow (they will have more lines). To see revenue reported to you at the Composition level, simply pivot the asset revenue report on Custom ID. If you need assistance processing these larger reports, please reach out to your technical account manager or send an email to [omitted].
We recognize that this is a major change that may result in substantial changes to your current workflows. We want to make this change as easy as possible for you and we are here to help and to listen to your feedback. If you have any questions not addressed in this email or on the Help Center, please contact your regular YouTube representatives. To submit feedback directly to our product specialists, please hit the “Help & Feedback” button in CMS. For operational or technical support, please reach out to [omitted]. We will also be hosting office hours and workshops at our New York City office, at our Los Angeles office, and in Nashville in the weeks after the new model is launched. If you are interested in attending, please reach out to your regular YouTube contacts.
YouTube Music Publishing Team
Here we go again. Music Business Worldwide reports that “The RIAA — on behalf of UMG, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Bros. Records, Atlantic and Capitol Records — has today filed a lawsuit against Aurous and its founder Andrew Sampson for what it calls ‘willful and egregious copyright infringement’.”
The music app, being called the “the new Grooveshark” (Grooveshark shut down earlier this year after similar lawsuits was filed against the company), just launched in public Alpha this week.
Aurous’ founder, Andrew Sampson, maintains that the website is a search engine that enables Internet users to search BitTorrent networks to find and stream content. However, the RIAA argues that the website directly targets recorded music from overseas pirate sites, effectively enabling consumers to infringe on the copyrights of record labels.
Whether Sampson intended on his platform to illegally access and stream recorded music or if he truly believed he built a legitimate consumer app detached from piracy, like many other uninformed tech developers out there, he has been caught in what could be a very expensive and crushing legal battle informed by copyright law.
I spend a great deal of time consulting with entrepreneurs who have cool ideas to develop new music apps, services, and platforms. However, the challenge that many of them face is having a limited understanding of the music publishing and recording landscape, from the perspective of a music tech startup. With the help of a music industry professional, founders gain insight on where products and services may infringe on the intellectual property rights of others. I’ve helped numerous startup entrepreneurs create products, formulate business models, and deliver value, all while respecting and complying with the intellectual property rights of third-party rights owners.
Read more about this story at Music Business Worldwide.
On behalf of my client, I spent the week conducting conference calls and long email exchanges with ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, The Harry Fox Agency, National Music Publishers Association, Association of Independent Music Publishers, Crunch Digital, We Are The Hits, Tresona Music, and Audible Magic securing public performance licenses, obtaining synchronization licensing information, obtaining copyright identification service & royalty administration information for their UGC video hosting platform.
What I learned (or confirmed, rather) is that there is a HUGE need to streamline and make efficient the process of securing synch licenses, a HUGE need to standardized/equalize deal structures between labels and digital service providers vs. publishers and digital service providers, and a HUGE opportunity for a collective-bargaining startup to secure pass-through licenses on behalf of many music tech startups, and we should consider making some forms of synch licensing compulsory.
Nevertheless, as long as the music industry is slow to innovate in how it deals with digital startups, there will continue to be confusion and frustration among all stakeholders and work for me to do as a consultant.