Production music composers should also be aware of the importance of complete and accurate data (metadata) being attached to their work.
“With the rapid growth of the digital age, this whole business that we are in is almost 100 percent dependent on human error,” says Hardy. “We’re paid on probably 20 or 30 percent of our actual use. As music creators and sellers, we’re depending on the producer or the engineer in the post-production facility to log our tracks properly, whether it be physically or electronically.”
Soundminer was founded by Steve Pecile to market an audio file management system which he’d developed for his own use. “We created a desktop application which was for internal purposes,” says Pecile. “When we opened up one of our new studios, we had a big party and some people from Avid [Software] were in the city and attended. Along the way, they asked what was up on one of the screens. We told them about it and they said you’ve got to show this down in Hollywood. At the next National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Convention, we took a booth and before you know it we were in Skywalker, Pixar, Lucasfilm, Warner Brothers, Universal, among others. We’re still in all of those places today.
Canada has become a production music hub.
“Over time, we started to expand it, make servers and make it more available. It was all based on the idea that we embed the file with metadata. Now this word becomes critical for music. Sure, it’s great for sound effects to know where the sound came from but, with music, people are depending on getting paid, so the metadata became a bigger issue. So we made it more robust.”
Pecile says that he’s been preaching the importance of metadata for the better part of ten years to anyone who would listen. “I’ve even gone down to the Production Music Association [the leading advocate and voice of the production music community in the U.S.] and said, ‘Listen, I will build a server if you guys support me and put all your metadata on it and make it instantly accessible by any of our apps to do a cue sheet. They said it was a great idea but it was a matter of getting everyone together on it.”
Moving forward, the new model is digital music recognition with powerful companies like soundmouse, which manages music usage data for networks, producers, performing rights and other music copyright organizations.
“They basically have a digital algorithm that reads music and the audio is embedded with digital information with that same robust metadata that we referred to earlier,” says Hardy. “Soundmouse will sell their product to the networks and their audio recognition system will monitor their feeds 24/7. As more and more businesses are subscribing to companies like soundmouse, this issue of re-titling becomes problematic, because if PROs like SOCAN, ASCAP and BMI get a duplicate title, they can’t pay out.”
Whether it’s a boutique company like hard, with its international reach, or a software company like Soundminer, whose technological innovations have impacted the industry worldwide, Canada has become a production music hub.
With the acquisition of Jingle Punks earlier this year, rights management company ole, with offices in Toronto, Los Angeles and Nashville, created one of the world’s largest production music libraries. The company entered that space in the spring of 2011, as ole’s early production music division clear acquired The Music People, Canada’s largest music production music company at the time, before acquiring U.S.-based MusicBox.
Says Hardy of his hard company, “We’ve signed 34 Canadian writers over the last year, including five JUNO Award winners, and we’ve produced 30 CDs – actually I call them VCDs because they are actually Virtual Compact Discs – and have produced almost 2,000 tracks. We went from zero international sales agreements to being represented in over 50 countries. A great deal of our energy is spent in pushing new product into those international sales streams.”