(HYPEBOT) – The importance of keeping metadata tidy is essential for artists in the streaming era, but good housekeeping is all for naught if the streamers change song titles and information at will.It’s an issue which the Mechanical Licensing Collective just brought to the Copyright Office.
Guest post by Chris Castle of Music Technology Policy
There is an unsurprising discussion going on about song titles in the metadata deliberations regarding the regulations mandating the conduct of the Mechanical Licensing Collective quango. The least surprising part of the discussion is that the services change song titles as it suits them.
This explains why you can get your song metadata all nice and pristine and yet your payments are still screwed up because somehow the titles got changed. It’s not a surprise–they’ve been doing it for years. Unless the services are prohibited from continuing this boneheaded..there I said it..practice, their supposed great yearning for the database in the sky will come a cropper.
The MLC recently raised this issue with the Copyright Office:
The DMPs do not have the same method for altering metadata, and their alterations significantly increase the difficulty of matching. There was a discussion of the DLC’s example of changing the sound recording licensor’s metadata for the “Radio Edit” version of the song “Hello,” so that the song title becomes “Hello (Radio Edit).” It was noted that the MLC’s musical works database will have the musical work title “Hello.” Whereas the unaltered sound recording licensor’s 5-character title “Hello” will be a direct match to the MLC’s musical works database title, the 18-character “Hello (Radio Edit)” is much less of a match in the eyes of an automated string comparison algorithm. Similarly, the MLC does not see merit in the DLC’s argument that each DMP should be allowed to alter metadata such as to remove characters that they deem “illegal” (and there is no standard or consensus on what is an illegal character) as this will only hamper matching efforts.
Let’s acknowledge that there’s nothing new here–this problem has been around for years and was allowed to fester into a business practice. I first wrote about it in the context of the “address unknown” debacle where all concerned allowed services to change song titles and then claim they couldn’t find a copyright registration for the title they changed. Sound Kafka-esque? Mais certainement.
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