Muserk, a global rights management company which helps music and video rights holders collect royalties from digital platforms, has launched Muserk Connect, a publishing administration platform. The platform will be full-service, using Blue Matter — the company’s propriety AI — to help ease the notoriously complicated and messy royalty collection process for compositions.
As CEO Paul Goldman puts it, “the music industry is a broken, outdated system that can’t keep up with the modern tech platforms such as YouTube and Spotify. Currently the music royalty process is a biased system that works in favor of the tech platforms while leaving modern day copyright owners at a huge disadvantage.”
Streaming makes up 84% of U.S. music industry revenues, according to RIAA’s latest midyear report. However, not everyone collects their total royalties on these services. Due to stipulations in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), an act passed in 1998 which protects and regulates some digital service providers (DSPs), those regulated by the law take a neutral stance when it comes to claiming royalties. Instead, it places the onus on the artist and songwriters’ teams to make sure their copyrights are being claimed properly. “There is a massive untapped market of important rights holders who were literally being left behind with no realistic chance of collecting their global royalties,” says Goldman.
While many believe the proper information for royalty collection is automatically and cleanly logged with every platform as soon as a song is released by a distributor or label, it often is not the case for a variety of reasons, leaving songwriters and artists open to simply missing royalties or to having savvier bad actors claim their copyrights in their absence instead. In one extreme case reported in August, two scammers, taking advantage of errors in the copyright claim system, allegedly stole $23 million in YouTube royalties from unsuspecting artists and writers.
For this reason, many talents who are aware of this issue opt for a rights manager like Muserk to track down their rightful earnings. With 7 million copyrights under their Blue Matter technology, now the company is making its next expansion into publishing administration with Muserk Connect to further address these issues for songwriters.
Currently led companies like BeatStars Publishing, Tune Core Publishing, and Songtrust, who service any independent writer who signs up, and Kobalt, which pioneered the field but only offers deals to a select few, as well as occasional publishing administration deals from more full-service publishers, Goldman hopes Muserk Connect can disrupt the sector by using machine learning to keep up with the “exponentially more complicated” royalty collection process of today, which he feels will only get more untenable for songwriters in the next few years.
“The upper echelon “[of talent] have all the access to cutting edge admin services and the middle class is left behind with inadequate resources for administration,” Goldman explains. “We will level the playing field.”