UMPG Partners With Max Martin's Auddly to Tackle Music's Song Data Problem

Courtesy of Auddly
Björn Ulvaeus, Niclas Molinder and Max Martin

Although the legal issues vary by country, the problem of accurately identifying and paying songwriters for streamed compositions is an international one -- and one of the companies trying to tackle it is Auddly, a Swedish startup co-owned by songwriters Max Martin and ABBA frontman Björn Ulvaeus.

Today, Auddly announces a deal with Universal Music Publishing Group for the company to begin using its software to help manage and track song data. Although Auddly already works with several large performance rights organizations, this is its first deal with a major publisher.

"We have a solution that most of the organizations, companies and songwriters we show it to like," Auddly CEO Niclas Molinder, who founded the company three years ago and is also a songwriter himself, tells Billboard.

Since Auddly essentially operates as a data hub, it will become much more useful as more people use it. "So for us to have UMG Publishing take this step is huge for us."

Although many companies are competing to solve the problem of accurately identifying compositions and their songwriters -- and, in many cases, the share owned by each writer and publisher -- Auddly has focused on getting creators to enter authorship information themselves, in the studio. Recently, in response to requests from collecting societies, the company also started to allow creators to enter information for existing compositions.

"From the moment Niclas presented me with his vision for Auddly, I understood it, and this deal will be a catalyst that will make it more widespread," Ulvaeus tells Billboard. "I think the music business is a bit old-fashioned and there's a certain inertia in it, and our vision is that it should become what it could be, with writers and artists getting paid more accurately, and faster."

In a statement, UMPG chairman and CEO Jody Gerson said the publishing giant is "always looking to improve data management and streamline the song delivery process. Auddly’s user-friendly tool is a step forward in that effort and will hopefully set a new standard for the industry."