Group formed to develop customs.

Digital Data Exchange (DDEX) has established its first four standards to facilitate efficient information sharing among companies involved with digital music. DDEX was launched in May to develop voluntary data exchange standards for information relating to digital media content, initially focusing on music-related content.

The first data exchange standard is a message called the Electronic Release Notification Message Suite Standard (ERN). It enables companies, which want to make their music available for digital performances or distribution, to notify digital service providers with information about the compositions and sound recordings.

The second standard is the Digital Sales Report Message Suite (DSR). It enables digital and music service providers to communicate information about music sales to record companies and rights societies so that they may pay artists, songwriters and publishers whose music is used.

The additional standards support the implementation of the first two standards. The DDEX Data Dictionary contains terms, and their definitions, used for the exchange of information. The DDEX Party Identifier is a unique alphanumeric string that will be allocated to each company and organization using the standards so that they may be properly identified.

“These standards address several of the most critical data exchange points for the music industry," says Chris Amenita of ASCAP and the chair of DDEX. "I’m pleased with the ability of the group to come together and make such progress so quickly.”

Charter members of the nonprofit DDEX are music companies, rights societies and digital service providers. They are EMI Music, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group; ASCAP, the Harry Fox Agency, the U.K.'s MCPS-PRS Alliance, Spain's SGAE and France's SACEM; and AOL, Apple Computer, Microsoft and RealNetworks.

Contributing DDEX members are Edel Music Group, IODA, Metro Media, Muzak, Napster, Nielsen SoundScan, PassAlong Networks, RoyaltyShare, Sony Connect, All Media Guide, BMI, the Netherland's Buma-Stemra, the U.K.'s PPL, Italy's SIAE, France's SCPP, and Canada's CMRRA, SOCAN and SODRAC.

Participating members are Australia's APRA, Geneva Media, Tradescape and SESAC.