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CISAC provides updates on ISWC developments in its annual report

By | Published on Friday 26 May 2023


CISAC – the global grouping of song right collecting societies – has published its annual report. Among other things, it includes updates on developments around the ISWC identifier for songs and the organisation’s work addressing issues with the collective licensing system in certain markets, in particular Greece.

The ISWC is the code that allows the music industry to uniquely identify every individual song and is a key part of the music industry’s rights metadata set. It’s no secret that the music industry’s management of its rights metadata is far from perfect, and in the streaming domain that is having a big impact on how songwriters get paid.

There are various things the industry needs to do to start addressing those problems, which includes the full adoption of the ISWC, and ensuring that codes are created and distributed for each new song as quickly as possible.

The ultimate aim is that the ISWC is included alongside every recording that is delivered to a streaming service, so that both the service and the industry knows what songs are contained in every track.

As the overseer of the ISWC, CISAC has a role to play in helping the industry to achieve all this. And to that end it has made a number of changes to its ISWC systems in recent years, in an effort to speed up the process of issuing codes, and to ensure more people have access to the data.

“The global music identifier ISWC, administered by CISAC, was comprehensively upgraded in 2020 to be faster, more accurate and more efficient”, the new annual report states. “In the last year, work has been stepped up to get the new system implemented across the whole music value chain and produce fairer remuneration for creators”.

“Use of the ISWC among societies and publishers has been steadily increasing”, it adds, “helped by educational efforts led by CISAC to help all stakeholders understand the benefits. The key objective now is that the ISWC is uploaded with songs to digital service providers, together with the recording information identified by its ISRC, the recording industry’s identifier”.

Regarding its work to address specific problems facing songwriters in Greece – which resulted from the collapse of the old collecting society in the country – the CISAC report states: “Responding to many calls for help from both within and outside Greece, in 2018 CISAC launched a project to support AUTODIA, a small [collecting society] set up by a group of creators who left the former for-profit society AEPI in the face of its collapse”.

The aim, it adds, was to “restore stability to the Greek market and establish a well-functioning entity compliant with CISAC’s professional standards. The ultimate objective was to revive the flow of royalty income to creators and publishers”.

“Five years later, AUTODIA has shown remarkable progress in reviving the market in Greece”, it goes on. “Helped by a memorandum of understanding signed [with CISAC] in June 2018, [AUTODIA] is now a well-functioning society that has weathered the impact of COVID and is seeing strong collections growth”.

You can download the full annual report here.