ASCAP and BMI, the two largest performing rights organizations in the U.S., are working together on a single database of musical works in an effort to bolster transparency in the tangled-up world of licensing, it was announced on Wednesday. The joint database, expected to launch in late 2018 on ASCAP's and BMI's web sites, will feature aggregated data from both organizations with the goal of making it easier to find out whether another PRO has a share of a musical work.
Work on the database started a year ago, with a team of copyright and tech experts scrutinizing data from each org for errors regarding registrations, share splits, ownership disputes and complications related to international works. The joint database will have much of the same information already available on the PROs' existing sites -- ASCAP's Ace Repertory and BMI's Repertoire Search -- including song and composition titles, performing artist info, aggregated shares broken down by societies, unique identifiers like the International Standard Work Codes and IP names and numbers.
Both PROs see an aggregated database as a necessary step toward bringing more clarity around ownership data -- as well as a worthy excuse to set aside their usual competitive nature.