Here’s a great article from Music Business Worldwide – an interview

with of Sweden’s mega Songwriter/Producer superstars.  Songwriters

and producers have struggled with the missing money that disappears

into the ‘BLACK BOX” for years. 

What is the Black Box?  It’s the place

creator royalty money goes if it is nor claimed.

The reasons this money goes unclaimed is primarily due to the

following:

  • MISSING/INACCURATE  METADATA
  • ISSUES WITH NOTICE OF INTENT FROM STREAMING SERVICES (DSPs)
  • MULTIPLE  PROS & ORGANIZATIONS  with incompatible databases

FROM MUSICBUSINESS WORLDWIDE

MAX MARTIN, ABBA’S BJÖRN ULVAEUS, AND SONGWRITER

/PRODUCER NICLAS MOLINDER SAY THEY’VE INVENTED THE

SOLUTION TO THE MUSIC INDUSTRY’S ‘BLACK BOX’. ….AND IT’S

FREE.

 

Each year, royalties worth an estimated $655 million (£500m)

globally are not paid to the correct rights holders due to bad data.

To address the issue of hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of

royalties landing in the industry’s so-called ‘black box’, rather than in

the bank accounts of rights holders, ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus launched

the ‘Credits Due’ campaign in 2021 to get creators paid for their work.

 

BMG became one of the first international music companies to commit

to the initiative, and the likes of SoundCloud, Hipgnosis and Kobalt

Music Publishing are also listed amongst the campaign’s supporters.

Now, with Credits Due having caught the attention of the music

business, Ulvaeus is going one step further to fix music’s missing data

problem.

The superstar artist has teamed up with his fellow Swedish

producer/songwriters Max Martin and Niclas Molinder to develop

technology that aims to directly combat inadequate creator data

collection.

The trio’s new data tool is called Session Studio.  It’s already secured

over £1 million ($1.3m) in funding from two notable investors – Spotify

and YouTube – while its other supporters include ProTools-maker Avid,

Universal Music Group, and DDEX.

Niclas Molinder tells MBW that incorrect metadata is a Big Data

problem for the modern music business, for both music’s creators

and its investors.

 

The vast amount of new songs released on a daily basis, many with

very little metadata and missing linked identifiers causes enormous

problems for the music industry,” he says.

Molinder adds: These problems are the reason why so much royalty

money each year is unidentified and not paid out to the people who

created the music.

Session is an evolution of Auddly, which was launched by Max

Martin, Niclas Molinder and Björn Ulvaeus a few years back to “fill

the gap in the music industry’s data and money flow”.

NICLAS MOLINDER

With Session and its free Session Studio app, Martin, Molinder and

Ulvaeus are aiming to take this idea global, enabling music-makers to

capture accurate song data at the point of creation.  Cleverly, Session

Studio is actually embedded within Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs)

to capture authoritative song information and data as soon as

creators get to work.

The platform enables songwriters/producers to assign credit to

multiple creators in the studio via its unique ‘Creator Credits’

system – and to set the splits of royalties each of these creators

will receive in future.

Explains Molinder: “Every creator that has a Session profile, can ensure

all the information is captured. When it’s time to release a track,

Session can send releases downstream in the music ecosystem to

labels, publishers and societies in the necessary format with all

the correct information attached.” 

In a joint statement, Molinder, Martin, and Ulvaeus say: “By using

innovative technology and working with industry partners, we’re

creating a trusted reference point, open to everyone who needs to

register, credit and pay the right people.

 

This saves time, effort and money for all those involved – from song

idea to release and beyond – making music work better for everyone.

 

We do it for the love of the music and passion for those who

make it. That’s why Session Studio is free of charge for creators

and always will be, we will never charge for the collection and

management of credits and metadata. “

Here, Molinder tells MBW why Session was founded, how it is tackling

the issue of so-called ‘black box’ revenues in the music business, and

how it hopes “to transform the industry’s ability to create and reward

creators”.

 

TELL US ABOUT SESSION’S ORIGINS. WHY WAS IT FOUNDED?

I’ve been a producer and songwriter for over 15 years, and I know

there are so many amazing initiatives to help fellow music creators

succeed. But years ago, I realized there was something important

missing: a technology that ensured that creators are always fairly

credited and compensated.

The problem became particularly evident when I was running a

publishing company, as I came face-to-face with the enormous issue of

incorrect or missing song and recording information, and metadata.

The artists and creators I was working with made incredible music, but

I couldn’t get the correct data I needed to make sure everyone was

credited and paid. Especially if the information came days, weeks,

months or even years after the music was recorded.

I FOUNDED SESSION ALONGSIDE BJORN ULVAEUS AND MAX MARTIN,

TO PROVIDE FREE COLLABORATION TOOLS FOR CREATORS THAT

SILENTLY CAPTURED ALL THE NECESSARY SONG AND RECORDING

INFORMATION IN THE BACKGROUND.

That’s when I knew, we have to capture the song and recording

information at the point of creation, from the creators themselves. But

of course, creators want to focus on the music and not boring admin

and metadata, so we needed technology to capture this information.

HOW DOES SESSION WORK?

We know that creators want to spend time making music, and want to

avoid admin. However, we also know that in order for all creators to

get fairly credited and paid, we need five pieces of information. IPI for

songwriters and publishers, ISWC for the musical work, ISRC for

recordings, IPN for the performer and the ISNI.

So we created a web, desktop and mobile app, Session Studio, to

provide creators with free collaboration tools, which then also collects

all the necessary information in the background.

Session Studio gives creators the tools to collaborate on lyrics,

voice memos, notes and more, but is also fully integrated with all

the DAWs, like ProTools and Ableton, to capture any recording

contributions.

When any artist or performer provides a contribution to a track (in

person or remotely), they simply ‘scan in’ on their phone, using

Session’s Studio Check-in feature directly on the DAW, and that

ensures that their credits are added to the track.

WHAT DIFFERENTIATES SESSION FROM OTHER PLAYERS IN THE

MARKET?

There are companies that provide forms for creators to fill in, in order

to get the credit they need. But, as I’ve said, creators don’t want to

spend hours filling in forms, and they may not always know what

to include.

Session streamlines the process for creators, but the other key

differentiator is that we’re leading the way in ensuring that

identifiers are linked early, at the point of creation, not weeks,

months or years later.

WHAT ARE ALL THE CHALLENGES THAT SESSION SOLVES FOR MUSIC

CREATORS?

Creators want to and should focus on music production. We want to

take the burden of data capture, injection (into the music ecosystem)

and credits off the creators’ shoulders.

WHAT CHALLENGES DOES SESSION SOLVE FOR COLLECTING

SOCIETIES?

With Session’s unique creator ID verification process, songwriters,

publishers, artists, producers and performers are identified at the

point of creation, so everyone involved refers to the same musical

work and recording at the point of registration.

HOW CLOSELY DOES SESSION WORK WITH COLLECTING SOCIETIES?

Session is working closely with CISAC and SCAPR and their members

on the creator ID verification process.

DO YOU HAVE OTHER PLANS OR LAUNCHES IN THE PIPELINE FOR

SESSION IN 2022?

We have a huge number of partnerships with stakeholders across the

whole industry to solve the issue of capturing and injecting the correct

creator data downstream into the music ecosystem.

SESSION WAS CO-FOUNDED BY THREE PROMINENT MUSIC

INDUSTRY FIGURES – BJÖRN ULVAEUS, MAX MARTIN AND

YOURSELF. TELL US ABOUT THE SIGNIFICANCE FOR THE COMPANY

AND ITS MISSION OF HAVING THESE CO-FOUNDERS INVOLVED?

We are incredibly lucky because Björn and Max joined Session for one

reason, and one reason only : they share our vision to make sure all

music creators are fairly credited and rewarded for their work.

In order for our app to be a success, it requires a certain amount of

cooperation from the wider music industry. Of course, having such

respected creators does help us along our way.

BJÖRN ULVAEUS LAUNCHED ‘CREDITS DUE’ IN SEPTEMBER WHICH
ALSO FOCUSES ON METADATA. HOW MUCH SUPPORT HAS THE
CAMPAIGN HAD FROM THE MUSIC INDUSTRY SO FAR?

The response has been entirely positive. Session is of course a big

supporter of the Credits Due campaign, as Credits Due is focused on

educating the industry on the five identifiers that are necessary to

ensure creators are fairly credited and rewarded.

Whilst Credits Due tackles industry awareness and cooperation,

Session is laser focused on achieving this vision through its free

Session Studio app.

SESSION RECEIVED A GBP £1 MILLION GRANT FROM SPOTIFY AND
YOUTUBE IN NOVEMBER. WHAT WAS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF
GETTING SUPPORT FROM THESE TWO COMPANIES AND WHAT ARE
THE PLANS FOR THE FUNDS?

Spotify and YouTube provided a grant in support of Session’s mission

to make sure that creators are always fairly recognized and rewarded

for their work.

The DSPs want to help creators, and recognized that Session’s

innovative mobile, desktop and web apps will provide the ultimate

companion tool for music creators to seamlessly collaborate, log who

did what-where-when and distribute the vital information to industry

partners across the global ecosystem, facilitating unparalleled accuracy

for royalty distributors.

OTHER THAN METADATA, WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES
FOR WRITERS, PRODUCERS, LABELS AND PUBLISHERS TODAY?

One of the big issues is the access, the communication and the

transparency of authoritative data and information. No one in the

industry is to blame for this, but the siloed nature of industry data,

and information has created inaccuracy at a huge scale.

Remote collaboration as a result of the pandemic has exacerbated

the issue of capturing authoritative data, as creators are even more

spreadout. Session is set to enable the sharing of authoritative data

across the industry, from the creator to the release.

WHAT TECHNOLOGIES DO YOU FORESEE HAVING THE BIGGEST
POSITIVE IMPACT ON THE MUSIC BUSINESS IN YEARS TO COME?

Without a doubt, the Cloud is the ultimate tool kit.

New great technologies will come and go, but the Cloud’s ability to

process massive amounts of data at scale remains unrivaled in terms

of positive contribution to the industry.

WHAT ONE THING ABOVE ANY OTHER WOULD YOU CHANGE
ABOUT TODAY’S MUSIC BUSINESS AND WHY?

The music business is fabulous in so many ways, but one thing that

could be improved is the efficiency and effectiveness of

communication and data sharing.

Where there’s a lack of standardization, there’s a tsunami of data,

which can lead to confusion.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO CREATORS SO THAT THEY CAN
ENSURE THEY GET THE CREDIT THEY DESERVE?

I am of course biassed, but I would encourage creators to sign up to

Session. It’s completely free.

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