How real-time licensing changes the game for independent music rightsholders

WRITTEN BY Courtnay Moriarty
Sep 29, 2021

With new social platforms popping up daily, protecting copyrights while still sharing and promoting music is quite the task for independent artists. Independent labels, publishers, and distributors lack access to the same tools as the majors, including manual claiming in YouTube’s Content ID, which is restricted to rightsholders who “demonstrate a need for the feature and an advanced working knowledge of Content ID.” They may also have less negotiating power with enterprise platforms for direct licensing deals, and fewer resources for managing the onslaught of emerging platforms. 

Pex is tackling this problem with our Attribution Engine, the copyright solution for the creator economy. Attribution Engine enables content-sharing platforms that distribute music via their creators’ uploads to license the music before it’s published. Here’s how it works: First, rightsholders register their catalog and metadata in Pex’s registry. Next, they set licensing policies for each of their pieces of content to inform a platform if a song can be distributed and under what commercial terms. They can also block songs from being distributed to prevent leaks and manage releases effectively. Finally, every time an upload is made to a platform, the registry is referenced, identifications are made, and policies are enacted, all within seconds.

The best part…independent rightsholders can join the Pex registry at no cost, and the registry is open to all rightsholders, regardless of catalog size.

Four ways Attribution Engine benefits independent music rightsholders

1. Increases revenue without increasing resources

Without tools to manage catalog distribution and licensing deals across the various content-sharing platforms (at Pex, we’ve identified 150 and counting), rightsholders have to deliver their catalog over and over again to meet individual platform’s delivery requirements. This means sending and collecting individual reports, and receiving individual payments, all in different cadences and with varying amounts of information. This is a time-intensive process for independent groups that may not have the bandwidth or available resources. 

Attribution Engine solves this by allowing rightsholders to register their catalog once, and have it made available to all participating platforms. Pex also manages all payments, which reduces the burden in-house. Relying on one solution enables more efficient reporting and maximizes independent rightsholders’ ability to make revenue from user-generated content. Attribution Engine brings platforms directly to rightsholders, making it easier than ever to engage with emerging platforms and increase monetization.

2. Provides control over content

With Attribution Engine, rightsholders set licensing policies for every piece of content in their catalog on a per-platform, per-territory basis. Rightsholders can choose if they wish to monetize (accept a platform’s standard licensing terms), enact a custom policy (a direct licensing deal with a platform), track a piece of content (distribute without royalty payments), or block (prevent from being distributed). Once policies are set up, they will be automatically applied to a content creator’s upload if a copyright match is found. The policies are applied prior to publication on the platform, so royalties are earned from the first view or stream, and catalog is not distributed without consent.

3. Expands catalog exposure without compromising on payment

Imagine a song goes viral. Now imagine getting compensated for every one of those uses from the moment they happen. While some songs do go viral on social media and lead to increased value for a rightsholder, (Fleetwood Mac saw sales triple and had their best week ever on streaming from a viral TikTok video), the rampant use of unlicensed music on social media has often not returned much ROI for copyright owners. With Attribution Engine, rightsholders can play an active role in the “promotion” of their music by content creators and most importantly, capitalize on it.

4. Levels the playing field with major rightsholders

Because Attribution Engine is open to everyone, independent rightsholders have access to all the same tools and benefits as major labels, publishers, and distributors do. Attribution Engine facilitates all types of licensing deals and allows rightsholders to license every song in their catalog on a per-use basis, eliminating the need for costly and time consuming contract negotiations. Multiple platforms can be managed in one place at no cost to the rightsholders, making copyright management and licensing accessible to everyone.

Proper attribution and licensing preserves the value of copyrights

The devaluation of copyrights is one of the biggest challenges rightsholders face in the modern industry landscape. We know that content-sharing platforms have been a benefit for the music industry in general, but Attribution Engine ensures the independent sector is more fairly represented as this trend continues. Partnering with Pex and joining Attribution Engine enables platforms to use copyrighted content on rightsholders’ terms. Together, we can create a marketplace where platforms are able to license more content, rightsholders are able to be properly credited and compensated, and content creators can focus on what they do best: create. The result will be a thriving creator economy that preserves and even increases the value of copyrights for years to come. 

To get started with Attribution Engine and join the Pex registry at no cost,  contact our team at [email protected].

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