Rightsholder.io Study Reveals Major Gaps, Duplication in Global Song Registration Data for Top Grammy Categories
Song registration with rights societies around the world is critical for proper licensing and royalty collection, but current methods of tracking this information globally often leaves major gaps, even for some of the most popular songs.
To illustrate this, rightsholder.io reviewed its data sources on global song registrations for some of this year’s top GRAMMY categories, including Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Pop Solo Performance, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, Best Dance/Electronic Recording, Best Rock Song, Best R&B Song, and Best Rap Song.
As of January 7, 2023, this information has revealed that even in North America, 10% of the nominated songs were not detected to be registered with the region’s rights societies. This increases to 20% in Europe & UK and 33% in Asia-Pacific. Further, a third of these works were found to have duplicate registrations, which can mean songwriters and publishers may be missing out on monies if these are not reconciled in their royalty administration systems.
Relatedly, more than 50% of all these songs were found to have multiple International Standard Musical Word Codes (ISWC). ISWCs are intended to be unique to each song composition, with the title; all songwriters, music publishers, and their associated shares of the composition; and any other works that may be referenced in the song, such as a sample. The ISWC should be consistent for any recorded version of the song, whether by the original recording artist or a cover version.
“The GRAMMYs is one of the biggest events of the year for the global music industry, and we saw this as an opportunity to show that even the most notable songs and records of 2022 have issues when it comes to their registrations,” said Bryson Nobles, Co-Founder and CTO of rightsholder.io. “Identifying these gaps and duplications is critical to ensure that royalties can be properly and promptly collected, especially since many non-U.S. rights societies may only distribute monies once or twice a year.”
“We hope that this information will open people’s eyes to the true magnitude of this problem,” said Jarrett Hines, Co-Founder and CEO of rightsholder.io. “While there are many reasons these issues exist, it’s critical to recognize that not only could a significant amount of money be left on the table for the songwriters and music publishers, but this also could decrease their overall catalog valuation. If the top titles are missing royalties due to missing registrations in the top markets, duplicate registrations, and duplicate ISWCs, what is the picture for songs that are not frontline titles?”
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