ASCAP, BMI Are Building A Joint Song Database Designed To Increase Licensing Accuracy, Speed

ascap bmiUPDATED: Transparency and accurate data are major issues for songwriters and music publishers. To solve both problems, ASCAP and BMI are creating a joint database of musical works.


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ASCAP and BMI are joining forces to create a single, comprehensive database of musical works from their combined repertories. The new database is designed to provide an authoritative view of ownership shares and other song related informations,. It is expected to launch in the fourth quarter of 2018.

A joint team of copyright, technical and data experts from the two performing rights organizations began working on the project over a year ago as demand from licensees and the need for more clarity around ownership shares grew.  The database, which will be publicly available initially via ASCAP’s and BMI’s websites, will feature aggregated information from both repertories, as well as, where other performing rights organizations like SESAC may have an interest in a song.

Both PRO public databases already include the following information, which will be combined in the joint database:

  • Song and composition titles
  • Performing artist information
  • Aggregated shares by society for ASCAP & BMI
  • International Standard Work Codes (ISWC) and other unique identifiers
  • IP names and numbers

The joint database will serve as a foundation that can evolve to include a broader range of music information across the entire industry, the PROs said in a statement. “Together, ASCAP and BMI have the most expertise in building and managing complex copyright ownership databases,” said Elizabeth Matthews, CEO, ASCAP . “With our combined experience, we are best positioned to make faster headway in creating a robust, cost effective market solution to meet the needs of the licensing marketplace.”

How The Joint Database Will Work 

The joint team are currently analyzing, testing and reconciling the data from each organization, addressing incomplete and/or incorrect registrations, share splits, U.S. representation of international works and complicated ownership disputes, among other things. 

The joint database will roll out in phases with Phase One expected to launch by the end of 2018, and include the majority of ASCAP and BMI registered songs. It will be secure, user-friendly and searchable and will be updated as new information becomes available. Future phases will explore customizable, interactive API solutions and the potential inclusion of other databases.

ASCAP’s and BMI’s respective databases will continue to be available on each organization’s respective website during the creation and initial launch of the joint database. 

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