Leading performance rights organizations (PROs) ASCAP and BMI have jointly announced the launch of Songview, a searchable database of music ownership rights.
Better organization and transparency in the tangled field of music ownership has long been needed, according to nearly all experts in the field, to more accurately and quickly direct royalty payments to the proper creators.
ASCAP and BMI are collection and distribution agencies for songwriters and composers. They are separate from SoundExchange which collects and distributes royalties for use of recordings owned by labels. Both sides of the music royalty industry are governed to some extent by the U.S. government for rate setting, licensing types, and rights-of-use in various distribution platforms like radio and streaming services.
“With the launch of Songview, ASCAP and BMI are working together to make copyright data more accessible and transparent for all of our partners,” stated ASCAP on its announcement page. “Songview is a new comprehensive data platform that provides music users with an authoritative view of public performance copyright ownership and administration shares for the vast majority of music licensed in the United States.”
The combined music datasets of the two giant PROs purport to cover 20-million songs. Spotify claims a total music catalog of about 50-million tracks. ASCAP and BMI are not the only PROs, and some songs are not registered with any collection database for songwriter payment.
While Songview is an industry tool, it is also publicly open for searching.
ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews commented: “This project is all about providing greater transparency for everyone who relies on this copyright data to guide important business decisions. When you see the SONGVIEW checkmark, you know that the data is consistent in both ASCAP and BMI’s copyright systems. Drawing upon our 185 years of combined ASCAP and BMI expertise in managing complex and dynamic copyright data, we have built a convenient new digital tool for anyone who licenses music. This release is our first iteration of SONGVIEW, and we are committed to enhancing this new platform as our industry evolves.”
BMI President and CEO Mike O’Neill added: “When two companies that are fierce competitors come together on a project this ambitious to address a need identified by the marketplace, it says a lot about how important greater data transparency is to both of our organizations. Today’s launch is a good first step in the ongoing evolution of transparent and accessible data, and I am pleased with what we have accomplished so far to meet the evolving needs of the music industry. I look forward to continuing to expand on the possibilities of SONGVIEW in the future.”