BMI and ASCAP, the nation’s two leading performing rights organizations, have joined forces to create a single, comprehensive database of musical works from their combined repertories that will deliver an authoritative view of ownership shares in the vast majority of music licensed in the United States. Expected to launch in the fourth quarter of 2018, the first-of-its-kind database will feature aggregated song ownership data from ASCAP and BMI and offer greater transparency to music users and the industry. The announcement was made today by Elizabeth Matthews, CEO, ASCAP and Mike O’Neill, President and CEO, BMI.
A cross-functional team of copyright, technical and data experts from BMI and ASCAP began working on the project over one year ago, in anticipation of the demand from licensees and the industry for more clarity around ownership shares. The database, which will be publicly available initially via ASCAP’s and BMI’s websites, will feature aggregated information from BMI’s and ASCAP’s repertories and will indicate where other performing rights organizations may have an interest in a musical work. The joint database will serve as a foundation that can evolve to include a broader range of music information across the entire industry.
Matthews commented, “ASCAP and BMI are proactively and voluntarily moving the entire industry a step forward to more accurate, reliable and user-friendly data. We believe in a free market with more industry cooperation and alignment on data issues. Together, ASCAP and BMI have the most expertise in building and managing complex copyright ownership databases. With our combined experience, we are best positioned to make faster headway in creating a robust, cost-effective market solution to meet the needs of the licensing marketplace.”
O’Neill added, “This is an important solution for the marketplace created by the experts who know their data best. We have always advocated for data transparency and supported the need for a user-friendly and comprehensive solution that would benefit music users and music creators alike. While BMI and ASCAP remain fierce competitors in all other regards, we recognize that our combined expertise allows us to create the best solution for our members and the marketplace. We’re excited by our momentum and the promise of what this database can become in the future.”
The respective teams are analyzing, testing and reconciling the data from each organization, addressing incomplete and/or incorrect registrations, share splits, U.S. representation of international works and complicated ownership disputes, among other things. They are now testing the combined data sets in a cloud platform, and the results of that analysis will serve as the foundation for the joint database.
The joint database will roll out in phases with Phase One expected to launch by the end of 2018, and include the majority of ASCAP and BMI registered songs. It will be secure, user-friendly and searchable and will be updated as new information becomes available. Future phases will explore customizable, interactive API solutions and the potential inclusion of other databases.
ASCAP and BMI have proven their commitment to industry-wide data transparency by making public aggregated song share ownership through their respective online, searchable repertory databases – ASCAP’s ACE Repertory and BMI’s Repertoire Search. Both PRO public databases already include the following information, which will be combined in the joint database:
- Song and composition titles
- Performing artist information
- Aggregated shares by society for ASCAP & BMI
- International Standard Work Codes (ISWC) and other unique identifiers
- IPI names and numbers
ASCAP’s and BMI’s respective databases will continue to be available on each organization’s respective website during the creation and initial launch of the joint database.
Support For This Initiative
Today’s announcement from ASCAP and BMI is a substantive step forward in helping modernize the music industry. ASCAP and BMI are working together to better serve songwriters, publishers, licensees, and the entire music community through a free-market solution that leverages industry expertise and efficiencies.
ASCAP and BMI represent 90% of American songs and have built this database with the potential to include an even broader range of information across the music industry.
I’ve been working to protect the constitutional rights of America’s songwriters for years, and this is a good day for music creators and music lovers.
Congressman Doug Collins (R-GA)
Having spent 30 years in senior management positions at large restaurant companies, and the last 4 years as head of a state restaurant association, I believe this database will for the first time deliver transparency to assist the restaurant industry to have a better understanding of who owns the music they are using in their establishments, which will in turn allow them to make a more informed decision when it comes to music licensing. I commend both ASCAP and BMI for providing our operators with this valuable resource.
Bob Luz, President & CEO, Massachusetts Restaurant Association
As a former restaurant owner, this new collaboration between BMI and ASCAP regarding their music catalogs will provide greater clarity, transparency and hopefully improve the understanding of the licensees of these copyrighted materials when they choose to enhance their business environment with recorded, live music or television performances. In my role as a trade association exec representing restaurants, this will expand on the amazing partnership that we have enjoyed with BMI for many years by providing a consolidated database that will cover a vast majority of the music available today. We applaud both performance rights organizations and their leadership for this vision.
Stan Harris, President & CEO, Louisiana Restaurant Association
The Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association is very encouraged by this effort by the two major music licensing entities to create a transparent database that our members can reference when entering into public performance licenses and contracts. This makes it much easier to comply
Eric Terry, President, Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Assoc.
Generally speaking, music licensing is something our members don’t really understand and have a hard time getting comfortable with. It’s awesome to hear that BMI and ASCAP are interested in making all of this more transparent. For many of our member restaurants, music helps create a backdrop for a wonderful dining experience. Whenever anyone has to pay for something, there should always be full disclosure and transparency about what it is they are paying for.
Adam Mills, President/CEO Kansas Restaurant Association; Board Chair, Council of State Restaurant Associations
We commend BMI and ASCAP for developing this comprehensive resource for restaurant industry operators. This kind of transparency will help our industry have a better understanding of who owns the music they are using in their establishments, in turn allowing operators to make more informed decisions when it comes to music licensing.
John Longstreet, President & CEO of the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association
This innovative database is a welcome resource for business owners in Florida’s hospitality industry. By providing a comprehensive database that allows hotels and restaurants to easily access music ownership information, these establishments can easily provide a unique and entertaining experience generating repeat business for years to come.
Carol Dover, President & CEO of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA)