Frost School of Music Hosts Meeting of Music Industry Data Experts

Frost School of Music Hosts Meeting of Music Industry Data Experts

(left to right): Susan Butler, Music Confidential; Mark Isherwood, DDEX Secretariat; Serona Elton, Frost School of Music; Kris Ahrend and Ellen Truley, The Mechanical Licensing Collective. Photo credit: Gonzalo Mejia. 
By UM News

(left to right): Susan Butler, Music Confidential; Mark Isherwood, DDEX Secretariat; Serona Elton, Frost School of Music; Kris Ahrend and Ellen Truley, The Mechanical Licensing Collective. Photo credit: Gonzalo Mejia. 

Frost School of Music Hosts Meeting of Music Industry Data Experts

By UM News
The Music Industry Program at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music hosted a four-day in-person and online event of the music industry data standards organization Digital Data Exchange (DDEX) from June 13-16.

The event included the DDEX BIG Summit, a 1-day event which focuses on “bridging information gaps,” and a 3-day plenary semi-annual meeting. Over 175 attendees from music companies all over the world participated in the events, including individuals working with record companies, music publishers, collectives, distributors, digital music services, and technology companies.

This year's BIG Summit focused on creating and implementing better strategies to more effectively communicate data-related issues to bridge the information gaps that disrupt the flow of money in the digital music ecosystem.

Moderated by Susan Butler of Music Confidential, speakers included executives such as Greg Quillard, Director of Music Publishing Operations, YouTube; Victoria Campoamor, Senior Director, Content Operations & Services, Spotify; Amy Thompson, Chief Catalog Officer, Hipgnosis (a FTSE 250 Company on the London Stock Exchange); Cecile Rap-Veber, Chief Executive Officer of SACEM; and Kris Ahrend, Chief Executive Officer of The Mechanical Licensing Collective (a new organization in the industry, created by the Music Modernization Act of 2018). All passionately spoke about ways to improve the flow of data.

The plenary meeting included deep dives into data standards related to capturing credits in the recording studio, sending information about new music releases to digital music services, licensing songs, using music in podcasts, and routing revenue to rightsholders.

Serona Elton, Professor and Director of the Music Industry program at Frost School of Music, and Head of Educational Partnerships for The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC), felt it was very important for Frost to host the event. “I’ve been involved with DDEX for many years,” said Elton, who has worked for or with major music companies, such as Warner Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Universal Music Group, and has focused on practices involving rights management, licensing, royalty processing, and information management. “Without standards-compliant music data flowing in the industry, fans would not be able to find their favorite music on their preferred digital service and recording artists and songwriters would not get paid when their music is consumed.”

Educating newcomers to the music industry about existing standards was a topic brought up in numerous working group break-out sessions, Elton observed. “Including information about these standards in many of our courses ensures that the next generation of industry professionals understands their importance and how they work.”

“Hosting the DDEX event created a mutually beneficial relationship with our program,” Elton says. “It gave the visiting experts the opportunity to network with our faculty and learn more about our Music Industry program and school facilities, and it gave our faculty the opportunity to get caught up on the latest updates to the standards.”

In 2019, Frost’s Music Industry program was the first school to host a DDEX working group meeting and is now the first to host a BIG Summit and Plenary meeting.

Mark Isherwood of the DDEX Secretariat commented, “DDEX was really pleased to have its BIG Summit 2022 and 39th Plenary Meeting hosted by an educational institution with the amazing reputation and track record of the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. The music industry recognizes the importance of informing the next generation of industry participants, particularly about critically important yet less glamorous subjects like metadata and identifiers. Being in Miami this week has been a fantastic opportunity to do so.”