Growing Together Towards a Brighter Future
The music industry has significantly changed over the last couple of decades. All thanks to new technology which has redefined the different aspects of the music industry covering production, distribution, and consumption. The pandemic has catapulted the change further. Today, we are a streaming generation with music apps a click away on our smart devices.
The rapid advancement has not only impacted the way music is created and consumed, but it has also created the need to understand and protect the rights of creators in the growing digital world. Thus, leading to the growing prominence of the role of CMOs across the globe, India is no exception.
‘CMO’ stands for Collective Management Organization. A collection society that enables copyright owners and administrators to collect royalties generated by several types of use.
As an organisation, a CMO is owned and operated by its members and needs to conduct its business fairly. It has to be legally authorized to collect the due royalties on behalf of its members.
In tandem with the rapid change, IPRS has its priorities set for the year ahead with key focus areas to usher in the new era of copyright societies in India.
Advancement of systems & processes through Technology
Technology is becoming more and more important within the world of music. Creators are exploring audiences across a wide array of digital avenues which also raised the challenge of copyright infringement and piracy.
The consumption of content on the digital platforms increased manifolds, and along with it, the fear increased of content being consumed illegally without any remuneration to the creators or the copyright holders.
With users becoming tech-savvy and powerful, the role of a CMO is gaining more importance as they need to step in to help out the creators and music right owners with licensing and collecting royalties. The CMO plays the mediator between the creator/copyright owner and the user and ensures monetary fair play as they provide a collective license or blanket license with a laid-out tariff card.
The growing number of works and surge in consumption across platforms demands a robust technology to monitor and claim for works being commercially exploited. It is humanly impossible to track consumption and claim royalty from the numerous platforms because it entails processing trillion lines of data to generate only a million units of revenue. However, with correct MetaData and accurate ingestion, technology can help gather information in a matter of hours which humans would take days to do.
CMO’s like IPRS process a mind-boggling number of streams to account for claims and distribution, to ensure rightful dues are paid to the owners of the copyrighted works. This warrants a technologically advanced backend set-up to match the timelines and expectations of thousands of members, harping on royalties as their additional source of income.
With the digital world giving access to a huge amount of data to anyone seeking information, trust and transparency are growingly driving the goodwill for businesses with customers emphasising their right to information.
To be updated with the times and equipped to garner maximum utilisation from the significant partnerships over the past couple of years, IPRS has been upgrading itself technologically by incorporating the Back Office software system.
With work literally at a standstill during the recent pandemic and the ensuing lockdown the IPRS released close to 6 Crore INR as COVID aid when for obvious reasons there was negligible or no income from the regular sources.
The advantage of using Members Portal through Back Office is that we can get our members to register their data themselves. Every member will have a login page where they can view and update their data. Once submitted, IPRS will check and sanitise it to ingest it further.
IPRS has the new member registration process online. The prospective members can join from any corner of the country and don’t need to visit our office for enrolment. Once their application is approved, IPRS sends them a physical deed to sign.
IPRS also has an online license portal. A user can register for a license and even make the necessary payment completing the entire process online. The License will be mailed to the user once we confirm the payment.
As a responsible CMO, IPRS is incessantly working towards making the licensee and member experience as smooth and hassle-free as possible with the help of state-of-art technology, which will continue to be our focus this year as well.
Expanding our Licensing footprint
The key highlight in recent times has been the growth in Income from Streaming/OTT platforms. Income from Streaming/OTT grew by 194% to INR 1466 million and contributed no less than 86% to our Total Income. Though revenues from Public Performance and Television declined drastically, significant growth in Digital revenues helped arrest the fall in earnings. We doubled down on our efforts to ensure that IPRS could collect royalties that our members were entitled to, including royalties from abroad. Among other things, we signed new agreements with major clients, expanding the IPRS licensing footprint. Due to which the Society was enabled to increase its income even in these times of adversity and we will continue with our efforts to tap the growing Streaming/OTT space, in the year to come, to get the revenues for our members that they are entitled to.
Strengthening IPRS database with robust data
The massive increase of streaming/OTT has placed new demands on Copyright Societies. Mind-boggling volumes of data must be processed quickly, correctly, and transparently. In the digital world with limitless opportunities, it is vital for a creator, to register the works and also ensure that the metadata is accurate. Creators tend to upload their content on digital platforms without proper MetaData. Thus, it becomes difficult for the CMO’s in collecting the license fees.
The content creators need to ensure that they enter the accurate MetaData with required credits to authors and composers with their legal names, publisher’s name, ISRC Code, ISWC Code, year of release, share percentage, etc., while registering their work. This makes it easier to track and claim the assets to collect royalties for a CMO which in turn will be passed on to the copyright owners. Correct Meta Data and accurate ingestion of content on digital platforms will be playing a vital role in monetization for all the stakeholders.
We have also strengthened our business operations to benefit and help our members. We will continue to modernise our data-management system befitting the changing needs.
Assisting and Empowering members through knowledge and value-added programmes
We have been reaching out to members with new tools. We are collaborating with industry partners to drive discussions on issues that shape the music industry. As a representative of our members, we stand strong to support those behind the music, spearheading campaigns to pave the path towards a rewarding future for music and its creators. The collective management of music copyrights is based on standing firm together, pooling our rights, and speaking in one voice.
Knowledge is power and at IPRS we believe in providing our members with all the latest information about anything and everything that will help them in their creative journey. Technology is transforming the music landscape and the change is happening very fast. Hence, at IPRS we aim to empower our members with industry information, technical know-how, and the latest tools so that they don’t have to depend on others when it comes to making the best from their creation.
Supporting members through royalties and aids
The past year has been significant in terms of record-high Distribution of Royalties to our Members. In this time of adversity, extreme pain, and loss, IPRS proved to be a reservoir of strength, fortitude, and succour. The COVID crisis, that we weathered, demonstrated to us, perhaps better than ever, the strength inherent in our community and the power of this system to be a support mechanism in the worst of times. We fought back, distributing INR 1845 mn in royalties, a rise of 32% compared to the previous year and the highest payout in our history.
We doubled down on our efforts to ensure that IPRS could collect royalties for our members that they were entitled to, including royalties from abroad. It is this focus that enabled the Society to increase its income even in these times of adversity. We left no stone unturned to help our members in dire need so that nobody was left out. We launched a temporary welfare scheme to disburse more than INR 60 mn in three instalments to all members in distress.
We will continue to focus on technological advancement in tune with the changing music landscape, keep expanding our Licensing footprint, create value through member outreach programs, accelerate the distribution of copyright royalties, and support members in distress through grants and aids.
We aim to make IPRS the most efficient and transparent Copyright Society in Asia. During this Covid disaster, IPRS’s role made it clear like never before that royalties are the salary and Provident Fund of authors and composers.
The role of CMOs like IPRS is only going to gain importance, with users becoming more tech-savvy and powerful. The content creators lean towards the creative side, so the CMOs have to step in to help them out with licensing and collecting royalties. /p>