DDEX declares eleven upgrades to its standards
During August 2018, DDEX completed work on the upgrade of eleven of its standards. These were subsequently published on the DDEX Knowledge Base. Below are brief descriptions on the main differences between the published standards and their previous versions to assist implementers in their initial analysis of the new standards.
Version 4.1 of the Electronic Release Notification Message Suite Standard is itself an upgrade of version 4.0 that was essentially created to simplify and clean up the ERN by taking out a lot of verbosity and unnecessary clutter that had developed in version 3 of the ERN standard. Once ERN 4.0 was created, DDEX members did some testing to ensure it met requirements and to remove any bugs. ERN 4.1 is the result of this effort. DDEX expects companies to start implementing and using this standard in the fourth quarter of 2018.
This has been achieved in a number of ways including:
• A new top-level PartyList composite to represent artists and labels;
• More efficient handling of territorial differences;
• Support for attaching supplementary data to convey vastly richer information;
• A new way to break out featured artist names in discrete fields, rather than jamming it into the track title;
• A major update to the allowed value sets for Artist and Contributor roles and instruments;
• Simplified Resource Groups;
• Reduction of data duplication by introducing a TrackRelease composite; and
• Aligning the ERN standard with the updated MLC and RIN standards (see below) with respect to describing contributors and artists.
ERN 4.1 is supported by a profile standard describing common Release Types whilst the Business Profiles, previously available as a separate standard for ERN 3 have been amalgamated into the core ERN standard.
There are also two new choreography standards, the Electronic Release Notification Choreography for SFTP in version 1.7 and the Electronic Release Notification Choreography for Web Services, also in version 1.7. These two standards now contain a common way in which to communicate status reports from DSPs to record companies.
Tony Brook (Pandora), co-chair of the ERN Working Group says: “The benefits of ERN 4.1 are that it adds a long list of new data values for recording owners to use to spark new discovery opportunities and reduces the complexity of our parsing code, which means a direct cost savings to build and maintain our codebase. It also significantly streamlines the XML itself for efficiency by removing ten years of redundant fields”.
The changes between version 1.1 of the RIN standard and version 1.0 are relatively minor but include:
• The ability to communicate how artist information should be displayed as part of a title;
• The ability to communicate display credits;
• The addition of a file-naming convention;
• Some corrections in artists role codes to align the RIN standard with the updated MLC and ERN standards for describing contributors and artists; and
• A series of smaller changes to closer align the RIN file format with messages defined in other DDEX Standards, particularly ERN and MLC.
John Sarappo, one of the co-chairs of the Studio Working Group said: “The release of RIN 1.1 addresses comments and recommendations from early implementations and the working group. The expanded allowed value set relating to instruments and contributor roles provides for a more realistic description of studio personnel and the adoption of shared field names provides better integration with all of the current DDEX specifications.”
Maureen Droney (The Recording Academy), the other co-chair, added “This is a big step towards solving a major problem in the industry, the availability and visibility of proper credits and other technical information that is necessary to fully monetise recordings and also ensure that creative contributors are properly paid”.
The Digital Sales Reporting Message Suite Standard contains several parts with separate profiles for the reporting of sales and usages for different business models. It has not been necessary to update all of these parts. Those that have been are as follows:
• Part 1: Architecture
Version 1.2 of the DSR Architecture is a minor update and allows senders and recipients to agree a different file size limit than defined in this standard and makes the handling of delimiters easier.
• Part 3: Basic Audio Profile
Version 1.2 of the basic audio Profile makes use of updated SY04, SY05, AS01, AS02, MW01, SU01 and SU02 records that support additional business requirements.
• Part 4: UGC Profile
Version 1.2 of the UGC Profile makes use of updated SY04, SY05, AS01, AS02, MW01, SU03 and LI01 records that support additional business requirements.
• Part 5: AV Profile
Version 1.1 of the Audio-visual Profile makes use of an updated RE03 record that allows the communication of the date of the first video on demand broadcast of a Resource.
Laurent Lemasson (SACEM), co-chair of the DSR Working Group, said of the Basic Audio Profile: “This new version of basic audio profile improves royalty calculation with extra information at summary level (rate exchange information), improves work identification at resource level (multiple ISRCs) and also makes the profile compliant with the summary records used in the UGC profile” and speaking about the audio-visual profile, Laurent said: “This new version of the audio-visual profile provides the ability for a sender of the message to provide extra information useful for receivers of the message in works identification and royalty calculation at release level, resource level and sales usage level for a specific context. This profile now also reflects the approach to summary records in the UGC profile.”
Referring to the UGC Profile upgrade Zach Hasanov (YouTube), the other co-chair commented that “DSPs with UGC content are now able to meaningfully break out financial revenue information on a per content category for both Ad Supported and Subscription services on an asset and summary row level. This will allow rights owners to clearly see how revenue was attributed for different video category classifications that a platform may have”.
Communication between Music Licensing Companies (MLC) Version 1.4
This standard is awaiting final approval and will be published soon on www.kb.ddex.net.
Version 1.4 of the MLC standard adds a Rights Claim Status Update Message which enables MLCs to “play back” to rights owners, the status of the data held in the MLC’s repertoire databases once the MLC has ingested the original claim message.
In the claim message there is also a closer alignment with the ERN and RIN standards and a cleaner modelling of artist and contributor information. A number of elements have been moved from the territorial section of the Resource-describing composites into the global section
Commenting on the Rights Claim Status Update Message, Luca Taborelli (Universal Music Group), co-chair of the MLC Working Group said that: “The new message is a huge step forward in ensuring the accuracy and completeness of information at the MLCs and will allow for quicker and more efficient resolution of rights conflicts. This will be beneficial for both record companies and MLCs”.
Jose Antonio Delgado (AGEDI), the other co-chair, added “MLC 1.4 is more efficient and easy to implement by the users than previous versions due to a thorough reorganisation of the standard. Furthermore, it is now better aligned with other DDEX standards thanks to the addition of new fields”
Version 1.1 of the MWN adds support for a hub-based architecture where a central hub is used to channel requests for rights share claims as well as Right Share claims between (prospective) Licensees and (prospective) Licensors.
This was largely driven by the development of the Music Data Exchange created by SoundExchange Inc. for the US market. However, the standard can be used without alteration by other organisations offering similar services. The standard still supports direct information exchange between (prospective) Licensees and (prospective) Licensors. Version 1.1 also now supports message exchange using web services.