Producers are the foundation of the music industry. They are the most prolific songwriters of today and yet they have to fight the hardest for their royalties. New economies have been created from beat and music-ingredient marketplaces, with creators gaining entirely new ways to monetize their work. However, it is extremely difficult and expensive for producers to track the use of their sounds and beats across the internet, which creates a host of new challenges.
At RME, our mission is to create a fair music industry for producers and beatmakers. We want to change an unfair system that doesn’t serve the backbone of its existence: its producer community. This is why we use industry-leading identification technology, powered by Pex, to find more beats, and thus more money, for producers.
To understand the true impact of this technology, you first need to understand why producers and beatmakers have it harder than other songwriters or recording artists when it comes to tracking digital royalties.
Why is tracking digital royalties more difficult for producers?
Copyright is complicated
Producers are songwriters. Their beats are “compositions,” and are entitled to copyright protection. Copyright protection for a composition starts as soon as it is created and fixed in a tangible form, like being written down or recorded. This means that producers don’t need to do anything special to get copyright protection for their beats. It’s automatic. As a copyright owner, or rightsholder, the producer holds the rights to that composition, and if anyone wants to use it, or a platform hosts an approved use, they need to get their permission.
Recording artists and their labels own the rights to the actual recording of that song: the end result you hear on streaming services, social media, or the radio. If a song is recorded or performed multiple times by different artists, the songwriter is owed royalties on all of those uses. This includes remixes or cover versions of songs on social media, live performances, and the videos of live performances that are uploaded or streamed online. This means that when compositions, aka beats, are used elsewhere, the producer is owed royalties.
Securing unclaimed royalties
When recordings are identified, songwriters, and thus producers, often don’t receive their royalties because of failed attribution. When a copyright owner is not identified, their unclaimed royalties are held separately in a “black box.” After a predetermined period, the unclaimed royalties are paid out to other owners so the revenue isn’t held in limbo. If the songwriters haven’t been attributed before the royalties are paid out, they lose those royalties. Being able to identify the most uses of copyright and receive proper attribution is paramount to songwriters’ and publishers’ livelihoods.
How RME makes you money
Evolving technology is making it possible for compositions and beats to be identified without an identical recording match. With Pex technology, RME can identify beats at scale with speed and accuracy. But full-song audio identification isn’t enough to help producers. With beat matching technology, RME can find the elusive beats that producers have been missing, so they can finally receive payment.
How audio identification works
Audio identification matches different or altered versions of the same underlying sound recording by leveraging digital fingerprints, which simply put are compact representations of audio files. For example, if Drake’s “Middle of the Ocean” is fingerprinted and then compared against a database of fingerprinted content (like the one Pex has built with over 23 billion fingerprints), then other instances of the song can be found. This includes versions of the recording that have been modified (shortened, sped up, altered pitch, or were edited in some other way) or samples.
How beat matching compliments audio matching
Identification via beat matching breaks it down even further. Instead of looking for the full song, fingerprints are created of a song’s beat. Using the beat fingerprint, we can leverage every use of the composition to find more matches. Think of it like the six degrees of separation theory: each match connects to another match, which enables new matches. Every new composition match represents potential revenue for songwriters and publishers, including securing unclaimed royalties.
While there are still other challenges to be solved, beat matching shows how advanced technology will bring more attribution and payment to producers and beatmakers.
Interested in getting paid? Help us build momentum by joining the movement here: rme.com/findyourbeats.