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PRS For Music and PPL pilot linked database search tool

By | Published on Friday 24 March 2017


The UK music industry’s two performing rights organisations – PRS For Music on the songs side and PPL on the recordings side – have announced that they are piloting a new system to link their respective databases, a move that will help meet one of the music industry’s key data challenges: reliably identifying which song is contained within each recording. The next stage of the project will see Australian collecting society APRA-AMCOS also involved.

The data initiative comes as PRS and PPL prepare to launch their joint venture providing those seeking licences for the public performance of sound recordings in the UK with a one-stop-shop licence. The new joint data platform lets users identify both track and song information, including label, publisher, writers and performers. So far, about 2.5 million recordings have been linked to about 1.2 million compositions.

At this stage the data link tool is more a proof of concept, aimed at instigating discussions with other music rights organisations. There are already plenty of data-sharing initiatives between collecting societies around the world, but they tend to focus on either recordings data or songs data, rather than linking the two key sets of music data together.

“One of the biggest challenges we all face is how we create industry-wide access to authoritative data”, says PRS Director Of Operations Paul Dilorito. “Effective linking of works to recordings is the first step and this prototype has enabled us to deliver a successful proof of concept that we are delighted to have brought to fruition in partnership with PPL. Collaboration is key to the successful resolution of the data challenge across the industry, and as industry-leading authoritative sources of metadata we are both very well placed to facilitate a solution”.

PPL’s CTO Mark Douglas adds: “For an initiative like this to have value to the industry, it has to be based on authoritative data about sound recordings and musical works. PPL invests significant effort and resources into managing its repertoire database and is rightly recognised as a world-leader, making PPL a natural partner to work with PRS For Music. We are excited about extending beyond this pilot to draw in other collective management organisations to progress the initiative even further”.

Meanwhile, Alan Balchin, Head Of Business Systems & Development at APRA-AMCOS says: “The need for an authoritative link between a work and its many recordings is a ‘no brainer’ from our perspective, to ensure rightsholders get acknowledged, recognised and paid in a timely fashion. We look forward to engaging with our colleagues in the UK on this exciting initiative as it develops”.