DDEX, Digital Data Exchange has, in the past decade, developed standards for the communication of metadata along the music supply chain. These include, product feeds from record companies to online retailers, sales and usage reports from retailers to owners of rights in sound recordings and/or musical works, as well as messages to support the licensing of musical works, and the communication with and amongst music licensing companies, including those who represent performers.

It can be estimated that around a thousand[1] companies, from large multi-nationals to small or niche companies that are part of the digital music supply chain and wish to find an efficient way to communicate the necessary metadata, are using DDEX’s standards.

DDEX standards help to make the smooth flow of essential metadata easier and more efficient. However, companies have to rely on good metadata being put into the supply chain, to allow it to be available to retailers as well as to those organisations that distribute royalties to rights owners such as labels, publishers, writers and performers. One of the best sources for good metadata about music is the place where the music is made: the recording studio[2].

DDEX is in the process of developing its Recording Information Notification (RIN) standard that will allow studio equipment manufacturers, including Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) manufacturers, to enable their users to capture and store essential metadata and then communicate it into the commercial supply chain alongside the audio files to which the metadata relates. As RIN will be one of the DDEX family of standards, the metadata will be interoperable with all the other DDEX standards used to communicate data along the supply chain.

Once studio personnel use this opportunity to capture meaningful metadata, this will enable retailers to have better metadata about the products they are selling and it will smooth the process by which all rights holders and other contributors are properly remunerated.

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[1] DDEX has no reliable information about the number of companies using its standards. However, DDEX has issued well in excess of 2,000 Implementation Licences to companies that permits them to implement and use the standards.

[2] The term “studio” denotes any facility for sound recording and mixing. The term specifically includes large studios (such as the ones in Abbey Road in London) as well as digital audio workstations (DAW) installed on a personal computer and used in a musician’s home and portable units used for recording live events.