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Simplifying the live industry supply chain

Jake Beaumont-Nesbitt of IMMF argues for adoption of the ISNI identifier for authors and performers, which could serve as a bridge between industry sectors

14 Jun 2018

Jake Beaumont-Nesbitt, IMMF

At Eurosonic 2018, our members once again touched upon the wide range of rates for public performance licensing of authors’ rights, as payable by promoters.

With ranges in rates from around 1% in the US towards 25% in some central-eastern European markets, the question, ‘Which of these rates would artists (authors and performers) prefer?’, is a tricky one.

The artist has four sectors of operations: live, publishing, brand and recording, and in each of these areas music rights and supply chains are complex. Consumers, however, have one demand: access to the artist’s activities. When each sector is chasing the same consumer, running unrelated supply chains is not smart.

When building their businesses, artists are increasingly operating independently of traditional service providers, or with simplified B2B relationships. Artists’ SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) need to be able to operate efficiently, without complex barriers. If the music industry is “all about the artist” we should review how the supply chain works.

IMMF is debating what simplifying the supply chain means for the live sector, not only in terms of efficiency (authors’ rights) but in terms of investment (the impact on labels of streaming/recording live events) and of opportunity (identifying artists and rightsholders using metadata and metrics in context-based marketing).

When each sector is chasing the same consumer, running unrelated supply chains is not smart

Especially in the live sector, the artist, and not the IP (work/ recording), is the common thread and the driver of consumer engagement – but artists are often identified only by ambiguous text. How many permutations are there for the name “Guns N’ Roses”? Throw in variations in language and alphabets – and remember we have a global music market.

IMMF is keen for the industry to take a longer look at ISNI (International Standard Name Identifier), a 16-digit ISO-standard identifier for creators. ISNI, if widely adopted within the music industry, could be used to disambiguate names and so link usage data across all sectors to one point – ie by linking data to the relevant authors and performers.

If artists’ contracts compelled labels and promoters to identify, in the back-end processes, each artist by an alphanumeric identifier, this should create connective metadata. That would lead to opportunities for usage data to be collected across all sectors and activities.

It would be a great way for the live, publishing, brand and recording sectors to come together and grow the gross value of our industry.


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