In a groundbreaking show of unity, ASCAP and BMI, the country’s two leading performing rights associations, announced today that they’ll produce a single, comprehensive database of musical works out of their combined repertories that will deliver an authoritative view of ownership shares from the vast majority of music licensed from the United States.
Expected to start in the fourth quarter of 2018, the database will feature aggregated song-ownership info from ASCAP and BMI and offer increased transparency to audio consumers and the industry.
As per a launch, the staff of correspondence, technical and information specialists from both organizations started working on the project over one year ago in anticipation of their requirement from licensees and the industry for more clarity around ownership shares. The database, which is publicly available initially via the two associations’ searchable repertory databases — ASCAP’s ACE Repertory along with BMI’s Repertoire Search — will comprise aggregated info from these repertories and will indicate in which additional performing rights associations might have an interest in a musical work. The combined database will function as a foundation that may evolve to include a wider variety of music data across the whole industry.
The two associations will continue to keep their own websites, but users will see the combined database when they search for information about names. The move would be a welcome one to virtually anyone searching songwriting and publishing information, which for decades has entailed often-laborious digging and combining of information from different sources.
While ASCAP and BMI work together regularly on common-interest issues like the continuing struggle with the Department of Justice over tune licensing, both associations are traditionally rivals and often-fierce rivals. Thus, this database initiative is unprecedented in its degree of scale and collaboration. The two associations are also both greatest entities to host it — that the U.S. Copyright Office was likewise believed — since they’re constantly upgrading and refining their information for accuracy and have strong market-driven motives to do so.
ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews stated: mentioned, “ASCAP and BMI are proactively and voluntarily moving the whole industry a step forward to more accurate, reliable and user-friendly information. We believe in a free marketplace with more industry collaboration and alignment on information issues. Collectively, ASCAP and BMI have the most experience in building and managing complex copyright ownership databases. With our combined expertise, we’re best positioned to make faster headway in making a strong, cost effective market solution to satisfy the requirements of their licensing marketplace.”
BMI president/CEO Mike O’Neill, included, “That really is an important solution for the marketplace created by the specialists who understand their information best. We have consistently urged for information transparency and supported the demand for a user-friendly and detailed solution that could benefit music customers and audio creators alike. While BMI and ASCAP remain fierce competitors in most other respects, we realize that our combined experience allows us to create the optimal solution for our associates and the marketplace. We are excited by our momentum along with the promise of what this database can become later on.”
Congressman Doug Collins (R-Ga.) , a champion of creators’ rights along with an original sponsor of the Songwriter Equity Act, issued the following statement in response:
“Today’s statement from ASCAP and BMI is a substantive step forward in helping update the audio industry. ASCAP and BMI are working together to better serve songwriters, publishers, licensees, and the whole music community through a free-market solution that leverages industry expertise and efficiencies. ASCAP and BMI signify 90% of American tunes and have assembled this database together with the capability to include an even wider variety of data across the audio industry. I have been working to protect the constitutional rights of America’s songwriters for years, which is a fantastic day for music creators and music fans.”
The respective teams are examining, analyzing and reconciling the information from each business, addressing incomplete or erroneous registrations, share splits, U.S. representation of global works and complex ownership disputes, and among other items.
The joint database will soon roll out in phases with Phase One expected to start by the end of 2018, and comprise the vast majority of both ASCAP and BMI registered tunes, the release says. Future phases will investigate customizable, interactive API solutions along with the potential inclusion of different databases. Both associations’ public databases include the following information, which is united from the combined database:
ASCAP and BMI have shown their devotion to industry-wide data transparency by creating public aggregated tune share ownership through their respective online, Both PRO public databases already include the following information, which is united from the combined database:
- Song and article names
- Performing artist info
- Aggregated shares by culture such as ASCAP & BMI
- International Standard Work Codes (ISWC) and other unique identifiers
- IP names and numbers.