A. GRD explained

1. What is the Global Repertoire Database?

The Global Repertoire Database is a central, authoritative, multi-territorial source of the global repertoire of musical works copyright metadata. The metadata that it will contain includes information about musical works themselves, the creators of the works and their ownership, control or administration. This metadata needs to be overlaid with authoritative information about which organisation (whether a music publisher, a musical work rights society or other institution) is in a position to grant the requisite licences for the exploitation of the musical works by rights share, by right type, by use type, by territory and by exploitation date.

2. Why is a GRD required?

There is currently no database or data-resource that provides access to authoritative comprehensive multi-territory information about the ownership or control of the global repertoire of musical works and that is openly available to songwriters, publishers, musical work collective rights management organisations and users. The stakeholder community recognises the urgent need to ensure that the global repertoire of musical works and rights is efficiently administered in the context of emerging multi-territory licensing solutions for the new online services, including those that have just started to emerge. Authoritative, multi territory, transparent, openly accessible, comprehensive rights ownership data is key to enabling these multi-territory licensing solutions to function effectively and efficiently.

3. What are the financial benefits of the GRD?

Potential financial benefits are large and may include:

  • Data management costs avoided across the value chain
  • Working capital cost avoided
  • Fewer misallocated (and unallocated) royalties
  • More funds available to re-invest in more effective licensing
  • Revenue opportunity resulting from greater music availability

4. Will data held within the GRD include information on ownership splits?

Absolutely. This is of central importance to the vision and effective operation of a GRD for musical works. However, such access will be governed by strict rules set according to different stakeholder groups.

5. Will the GRD contain details of public domain works?

This is an area that has been discussed. Clearly if the GRD is to be authoritative it needs to be able to identify whether a work is protected by copyright or not. However, as with many of these sorts of issues fully formed views on how this should be achieved have yet to be arrived at.

B. History of GRD

6. What is the GRD WG?

The Global Repertoire Database Working Group is a cross-sector initiative formed in 2009. At that time its members where EMI Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing, iTunes, Amazon, Nokia, PRS for Music, STIM and SACEM. The WG went through the process of a Request for Proposals the results of which were published in a Recommendations document in December 2010. Since the publication of the recommendations ECSA (the European Composer and Songwriter Alliance), ICMP (the International Confederation of Music Publishers), CISAC (the International Confederation of Societies of Composers and Authors), Google and Omnifone have joined the Working Group to continue the principle of a wide stakeholder involvement in the project.

7. How was the GRD WG formed?

In September 2008, the then European Competition Commissioner, Neelie Kroes, initiated the Online Commerce Roundtable whereby a selection of music rights holders and rights managers, music service providers and consumer representatives met to discuss issues relating to the provision of online music services. Following meetings in September and October 2009, the participants of the Roundtable issued a Joint Statement setting out some agreed general principles concerning the online distribution of music. Subsequently the organisations on the Roundtable announced the formation of a Working Group to look into the development of a common framework for rights ownership information.

8. What steps have the GRD WG taken since then?

The Global Repertoire Database Working Group launched the first phase of work in September 2011 called the Stakeholder Engagement and Scoping Study. The Study involved a 20-week industry-wide consultation to determine the technical, data, business process and organisational design aspects of the Global Repertoire Database, as well as the approach to governance and funding. There was a core group of around 20 representative organisations from around the world including publishers, songwriter associations, collecting societies and digital retailers, with yet further consultation with a wider group of stakeholders. A programme of open webinars took place to help inform a still wider group of stakeholders about the progress and eventual results of the Study.

9. What has happened since the conclusion of the Study?

The Study concluded in March following which work was undertaken across the industry to ensure all parties are comfortable with the way forward, plan the next phase of work and put the necessary structures in place to ensure a successful conclusion of future phases. In October 2012 a new phase of work was launched, the Requirements and Design Phase (R&D Phase). This will continue until May 2013.

C. GRD and existing musical work databases

10. Why is participation in the GRD voluntary?

No individual organisation or groups of organisations is in a position to force any other organisation to place their data into the GRD. In any case, to do so would probably fall foul of competition/anti trust legislation. However, if the GRD is created in the right way through widespread stakeholder engagement, it is hoped that all creators, societies and music publishers will want to be part of and supply their data to.

11. Would the GRD replace all existing society and publisher databases?

No. All societies and music publishers will still need to retain their own databases even if some of the data those databases contain is supplied by the GRD. It is envisage that by supplying its own data to the GRD a society or music publisher will have access to all the reconciled information about all other works. So the GRD by design is not there to replace anything, it is there to augment the existing systems by providing a reconciled source of data, thus take the pressure off the maintenance of the global repertoire repeatedly throughout the world. To achieve this it will be necessary for organisations to keep a database to run their own transaction processing operations.

D. GRD and standards

12. Will the GRD data exchange be based on the Common Works Registration format?

Yes, as far as possible. One of the underlying principles of the project is that we are not going to reinvent standards, we are going to attempt to use things which are out there and attempt to influence their potential development, so they accommodate some extra pieces which the GRD might require. However, at the moment, CWR doesn’t accommodate registration of agreements information and also mandate information. This is one of the design issues that we need to address and there are also various acknowledgements for certain actions being introduced into the flows that probably CWR isn’t equipped to accommodate today. However, CWR is widely used by a number of publishers who have systems designed to support it and we need to be sympathetic to that.

13. What level of integration will there be with the DDEX metadata activities?

There is a very close connection between GRD and DDEX, not least because many of the companies involved in GRD are also involved in DDEX and having implemented DDEX are unlikely to want to use a set of tools for communicating with the GRD that are completely different. However, it is too early in the design of the GRD to make decision at this level of detail. The important thing is that there is communication between the two.

E. Project duration

14. How long is the R&D Phase and what areas will it cover?

The R&D Phase of work will run from October 2012 to the end of May 2013. The areas of work that will be undertaken include:

  • Business Requirements, Rules and Readiness: Development of the GRD’s functional and non functional requirements and rules (including scenarios);
  • Data Standards and Schemas: Definition of GRD standards for works, agreements and repertoire mandates, and definition of the GRD logical data model;
  • Technology Blueprint: Definition of the logical technology architecture for the GRD solution;
  • Data Assessments and Strategy: Development of data dashboards and the delivery of data assessments of selected existing copyright systems; and
  • GRD Business Design and Setup: Design of critical business processes, the development of GRD performance measures and business plan, enrichment of the agreed Governance framework and support to the set up of the GRD legal entity.

At the end of this phase there will be:

  • A requirements specification that will define what the GRD solution needs to do;
  • A technology architecture for the GRD solution;
  • A GRD legal entity that is able to contract the resources required for implementation;
  • A strategy for the data activities required to deliver the data scope for Release 1; and
  • The implementation and business plans for Release 1 of the GRD.

15. How many phases of work are then and when will GRD go live?

Once the R&D Phase has been completed there are four further phases of work, some of which will be run in parallel. The four areas are:

  • Technology enhancements;
  • Release 1 data processing, migration and reconciliation;
  • Society and Publisher system readiness; and
  • GRDB business setup and readiness.

Therefore, there are likely to be points where some levels of functionality that have a value to the industry can go live within that 3 year period.

F. GRD and sound recordings

16. Why are there no record companies/recording industry groups involved at this point?

Early on in the GRD WG discussions it became apparent that a lot of the data problems affecting everyone in the supply chain lie with musical works. So the GRD currently being worked on by this group is only in respect of information about musical works, their ownership and the entity authorised to issue licences. It is however recognised that there needs to be a link from musical works to the associated recording identifier and that is within the scope of the GRD although more detailed information about recordings is not, Therefore, because of this distinction, there is no need for record company or industry groups to be involved. The GRD WG has however, been keeping organisations such as RIAA and IFPI informed of its activities.

17. What links will the GRD have with PPL (and other societies worldwide), will the GRD be able to assist rights holders (e.g. record companies) streamline the processes of registration and distribution.

Links between the PPL database and the GRD are not immediately in scope and the GRD scope certainly excludes analysis of processes that exist in record companies. However, what is in scope and is critical to the affective matching of data at various points in the supply chain, is the link between musical works and the recordings on which they appear. The mechanism for doing this has not yet been defined but this is something that is being worked on.

18. Will the information regarding the master owner be in the database?

One of the key linkages of data is that between the International Standard Work Code (ISWC) and the International Standard Recording Code (ISRC). Therefore the database will need to contain basic information about sound recordings in order to distinguish one from another in order that the links between ISWCs and ISRCs can be established.