On 31 May 2023, the UK Intellectual Property Office published the United Kingdom Industry Agreement on Music Streaming Metadata. This follows detailed research by the UKIPO and other government agencies.
The agreement aims to achieve a positive commitment from major organisations in the UK music streaming industry to progressively improve metadata in new recordings and deliver consistent crediting on streaming services.
The agreement will also establish a working group to consider industry-led action on remuneration for existing and future creators by examining recent progress in the sector and the quality of metadata available in the modern, music streaming, era.
What is Metadata?
Metadata, put simply, is data about data. Metadata provides information about finished digital products (such as a complete published song) and its individual components. In music, metadata can include the artist name; writer; song title; release date; producer; title; genre; and track duration. The creation, production, and distribution of a single song is not an easy task and usually involves numerous people to turn the creative work into a marketable product. The purpose of the agreement is to provide those individuals with the recognition and remuneration relative to their input.
What is the Agreement?
The agreement records the intention of the signatories to collaborate and progressively improve the quality of metadata associated with new recordings on streaming services by creating data sets (“core data sets”) in relation to published songs and ensuring the consistent crediting of works and songwriters on streaming services.
The agreement also establishes a code of good practice which covers songwriters; recording artists; artist managers; artist publishers; studio producers; labels; CMOs; publishers; releasing parties; and streaming service providers. The full text of the good code of practice can be found here.
Who has signed up?
Music industry organisations are not required to sign up to the agreement, but a number of major players have already committed to the agreement, including PRS, PPL and the British Phonographic Industry.
What Does This Mean?
In a press release, Viscount Camrose, Minister for AI and Intellectual Property said:
“Good quality metadata benefits everyone who creates and enjoys music. The agreement on metadata is a positive commitment by the music industry to improve the quality of metadata in the UK. I am very pleased to see the wide range of organisations which are signatories to the agreement, and I look forward to seeing the further progress that industry makes on metadata over the next two years.”
The agreement should mean the fair and accurate representation and remuneration of those involved in the creative process. Writers, producers, creators and others listed in the core dataset should receive appropriate credit for their effort.
However, it should be noted that agreement will not be imposed on all industry organisations. Many of the organisations which have already signed up to the agreement, represent the rights of artists, writers and those involved in the creation of the work. Whether large music streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Tidal, Deezer, Soundcloud etc. will follow suit remains to be seen. It may well take buy-in from these service providers before real change is effected.
If you have any questions about metadata, your rights of credit in musical works, receiving royalties, or any other queries on your rights as a creator please contact the BTO BeCreative team on 0131 222 2939 or email: email@example.com
Jamie Stewart, Trainee Solicitor: firstname.lastname@example.org / 0131 222 2939