Songs in DJ Sets Are Notoriously Hard to Track — How a Dutch Rights Organization Is Paying Royalties

In the United States, the process of publicly collecting royalties from DJ sets has long been cumbersome. The uneven data collection process makes it difficult to tell which songs are being played at dance festivals. This makes it difficult for artists with music rights to receive the compensation they deserve.

But one music market that has a firm grip on the performance royalty collection and distribution process associated with the world of dance is the Netherlands, where electronic music is deeply woven into the social fabric of the country.

Buma/Stemra is one of the world’s most progressive collective management organizations (CMOs) for electronic music producers in the live music market, generating €34 million ($36 million) in performance royalties in 2022. It is operated. Of this revenue, €7.2 million ($7.6 million) comes from dance festivals and about €1 million ($1.1 million) comes from clubs, with dance music production accounting for a quarter of his total Dutch performance royalties. I’m here.

Because dance music incorporates different music by different artists into one set, many rights holders need to be identified. To do this, Buma/Stemra uses audio fingerprinting technology that monitors and identifies the songs played during the set.

“The Netherlands has a very wide range of successful DJs who have achieved worldwide success,” he says. Juliet Tetteroo, account manager for dance events at Buma/Stemra. “This is also why Buma/Stemra thinks it is very important to be at the forefront of developments like fingerprinting technology.”

For fingerprinting, Buma/Stemra primarily uses Amsterdam-based DJ monitors, an electronic music monitoring technology. DJ Monitor works similarly to Apple’s own audio-recognition mobile app, Shazam, identifying tracks in its library — nearly 100 million songs submitted to DJ Monitor by global performance rights organizations (PROs). database — the company reports 93% accuracy. (billboardrecently published a list of the Top 50 Tracks and Top 50 Artists Performed at Dutch Dance Festivals in 2022 based on data collected by DJ Monitor. )

DJ Monitor is one of many music recognition technologies, such as Pioneer’s KUVO, that make monitoring and reporting on DJ sets easier and more accurate. According to Buma/Stemra, DJ Monitor has the highest identification rate among all audio fingerprinting technologies.

DJ Monitor is currently used by CMOs in France, Germany, Finland, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand, UK and Holland, representing 70% of all festivals. (Another fingerprinting company, Soundware, has also been used at some Dutch events.)

Buma/Stemra’s collection of performance royalties from specific events begins long before the track is even played. CMOs start by determining the licensing fees for specific events. For festivals whose revenue is less than his €110,000 ($116,000), the festival organizers pay his standard 7% license rate for the event. This percentage is based on the assumption that more than two-thirds of his songs played during a given event are in her Buma/Stemra repertoire. (If the event organizer provides a setlist showing that less than two-thirds of the music played is her Buma/Stemra repertoire, the license fee drops from his 3% to 5% .)

For festivals with revenues over €110,000, the event organizer provides Buma/Stemra with the audio of the event and creates a fingerprint. Festivals can either submit their audio manually or upload it to a Buma/Stemra server and then have it fingerprinted by DJ Monitor. At festivals, DJ monitors can also monitor audio during live performances. DJ monitor technology will then be implemented on all stages of the festival.

For larger events, Buma/Stemra will cover the cost of fingerprinting. This helps with our goal of paying royalties for every song played at a particular event.

“Our goal is to work on one-to-one collection and distribution,” says Tetteroo. “What matters is the quality of what we do. [Paying for fingerprinting costs] It also helps to encourage organizers to pay, knowing that the money they pay goes to the composers of the songs paid and their publishers. This is why we are willing to invest in technologies that point us in this direction. “

Buma/Stemra receives hundreds of songs from any given festival, considering most events host multiple stages and are often held over three days. DJ Monitor usually identifies his 80% to 90% of this music (more than 80% if you monitor electronic music, 90% if you monitor open format/pop music) and a list of formatted data to Buma/Stemra. Buma/Stemra imports this data, but 60% to 70% of it is usually automatically imported. This assumes that a rough amount of music from a particular event is known as already in his Buma/Stemra database.

Percentages that are not automatically recognized are sent to an Indian outsourcer for manual identification. The money collected at the festival will be divided and paid by giving points for each song.

According to Buma/Stemra’s music processing manager, hundreds of hours of unclaimed music add up over the course of a year, given that a certain percentage of songs go unrecognized. robert van den leek“There are so many festivals here in Holland.”

Buma/Stemra publishes this unclaimed music on their website, where artists can find and claim their songs. Artists may make claims up to three years after the song is posted online. If no one claims after three years, payments for all unclaimed music will be divided among the rights holders in the so-called “reference repertoire”. Introduced four years ago, this billing system provides even more transparency and more opportunities for creators to receive the money they owe.

“Transparency is one of the most distinguishing benefits of the way we work,” says Buma/Stemra Marketing Manager. Annabelle Hayen“That’s where we’ve made the most progress.”

There is one fault in the Buma/Stemra system that is being addressed. Currently, Buma/Stemra pays based on the length of the entire song on file. It is not the actual length of the song played on the DJ set. If a song is registered as his 3 minutes long but only played for 2 minutes, Buma/Stemra will pay based on its full original timestamp. Buma/Stemra is currently building a new system where the organization will pay for the actual timestamps identified during his DJ sets to be released by the end of 2023 or early 2024.

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