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Music Business News, January 23, 2018

Apple launched a new suite of analytics tools for artists. Also, SoundExchange developed a new tool to address U.S. copyright issues. And YouTube committed to implementing ID numbers for artists and songwriters.


Apple Launching Apple Music for Artists


Apple debuted its new analytics dashboard for artists on January 22, reported Billboard.


Called Apple Music for Artists, the dashboard will give acts hundreds of pieces of data in order to track fans’ listening and buying behaviors.


The beta version will serve several thousands of artists. The official desktop version will be released in the spring to millions of artists on iTunes and Apple Music, and a mobile version will follow beyond that.


The dashboard home page will highlight number of plays, spins, song purchases and album purchases. Users can choose a time period spanning from 24 hours all the way to the launch of Apple Music in 2015.


Spotify, Pandora and YouTube released their own analytics dashboards over two years ago. Apple said it will “make up for its tardiness with the depth of information available, level of transparency and the ease of use provided by the clean user interface.”


Beyond the home page, artists can view global maps to track their performance in the 115 countries Apple Music/iTunes is available or select individual cities. They can also look at demographics such as age and gender of listeners for albums or particular songs.


Apple said the “deep dive” can help artists better determine tour routing or plan set lists based on top tracks in specific towns.


Artists can also use Apple Music for Artists to view Apple playlists on which their songs appear and see how many plays they receive through these playlists.


Apple originally planned to add in financials to the analytics, but said the complexity of royalty payment calculations prevented it in the initial launch.


Apple noted that the dashboard will particularly help independent and emerging acts who did not previously have access to deep enalytics.


Canadian R&B singer Daniel Caesar, one of the artists approached to inform the initial rollout of the dashboard said, “As a truly independent artist with a small team, music analytics is something we can’t do without. We don’t have the luxury of deep major label market research to rely on to help us make important decisions like where to perform and how to advertise the things that we make … Apple’s analytics tool helps to level the playing field for artists like myself.”


John Silva, manager for Foo Fighters and Beck added, “This wealth of data will improve our efficiency in serving our artists and their fans, both on the market-by-market level of previous eras and the new global context opened up by Apple dashboard.”


SXWorks Releases New Tool to Manage U.S. Copyright Issues


SoundExchange subsidiary SXWorks launched NOI LOOKUP this week.


According to Music Business Worldwide, the service is designed to help music publishers and songwriters navigate the over 60-million “address unknown Notice of Intention to Use (NOI)” filings that have been made with the copyright office in the U.S.


Last year alone, about 2.5 million of these filings were registered per month, delaying royalty payments and attribution for songwriters and publishers worldwide. These filings originated from users wanting to distribute or use a musical work, but who cannot because they are unable to find the track’s copyright owner.


“Address Unknown” NOI filings have been a major issue the past couple years. Amazon and Google alone have filed millions. And these companies must pay copyright holders for retrospective use whenever their music is identified by the U.S. Copyright Office. Unfortunately, this has not been happening because of the complexity of the reporting and identification process.


NOI LOOKUP is the first straightforward method for songwriters and artists looking to claim their works with accuracy. The service is free at sx-works.com.


Chairman of the Board of SXWorks Michale Huppe explained, “Music publishers and songwriters finally have a way to gain visibility into address unknown filings made by some service providers using their songs … Publishers and songwriters can search the NOI submissions via a simple web-based interface. The service makes a complex process much more transparent, supporting our goal of trying to improve how the music industry operates.”


Music services filed nearly 4.5 million “address unknown” NOIs with the Copyright Office in one month of 2017.


YouTube Planning to Assign ID Numbers to Artists/Songwriters


YouTube committed to requesting an ISNI (International Standard Name Identifier) for all creators whose works are being used on the platform. This includes performers and songwriters.


Music Business Worldwide reported, YouTube is a registration agency for the ISNI Initiative, which is designed to help to “reconcile data and ensure attribution.”


ISNI is the global standard number that helps identify and organize millions of contributors to creative works and those who distribute them.


Spokespeople from YouTube said it will share ISNIs with its label and publishing partners so it can help spread the adoption of this standard by the entire music industry. YouTube is the first platform in the music space to become an ISNI registration agency.


Artists, songwriters and other creators on YouTube will be easier to identify once ISNI is adopted, which will also make their works more visible and trackable on the platform.


Tim Devenport, Executive Director of the ISNI International Agency said, “Bringing the ISNI open standard to music opens the door to more accurate credit for creators, discovery for fans, and transparency for the industry.”


ISNI is meant to help solve the problem of name ambiguity during search and discovery on YouTube and also to diffuse “each assigned ISNI aross all repertoires in the global supply chain so that every published work can be unambiguously attributed to its creator,” explained Devenport.


He added, “We’re delighted to partner with YouTube on such an ambitious effort … Many organizations active in the music sector have already shown interest in using ISNI identifiers as part of the infrastructure they need to manage rights and royalties effectively. Working closely with YouTube, ISNI is very pleased to contribute its experience and skill-sets to these critical objectives … We view this as a transformative opportunity to offer the music industry a valuable identifier scheme and in so doing, to deepen ISNI’s knowledge of this domain and improve its technical facilities and approaches.”

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