Supporting AFEM and its members with music rights and data

I joined the Association of Electronic Music (AFEM) last year, as I’ve working alongside them in various capacities since they formed. In December I was really pleased to be asked to co-chair their metadata working group. I’m also leading their liaison with Digital Data Exchange (DDEX). I had the same role for the international independent sector over the last few years, so I’m fairly well versed in DDEX and its operations. I’m looking to draw on experience from developing the RDx platform in particular, to help with data issues specific to the electronic music community.

Metadata and rights management in the digital music ecosystem is not everyone’s favourite subject. It sounds esoteric and daunting. Yet metadata is only a mechanism to describe who did what, or who owns what, in music. At this level it’s fairly simple to understand. It does get more complicated when you start looking at the technical processing of data, message formats, rights types and so on. But the good news is that from the perspective of most people on the creative side (writers, producers, performers, DJs, remixers etc), much of this technical stuff happens behind the scenes. For labels and businesses, it’s the same story. Digital distributors, music services, collecting societies and other commercial entities will handle this as their interface with the infrastructure of the digital music industry.

Nonetheless, an ongoing process of topping up your knowledge is the best way to keep across all this. And it’s clear that there’s a real appetite at AFEM to help its members understand this area, and most importantly to help them focus on the bits they really need to know, understand them, and not get overwhelmed. We are also looking to understand where the digital ecosystem can better cater for electronic music.

We had our first meeting of the rebooted AFEM metadata group last week, which was a great chance to introduce what we’re doing, and get some great input from the AFEM community. Big thanks to Mark Isherwood from DDEX for a clear and concise overview of how DDEX works, and to Co-chair Chloe Johnson for setting out some of the tricker areas we will be looking at. And thanks as always to AFEM General Manager Greg Marshall for setting up and running the session. More to follow!