ASCAP and BMI Form Joint Task Force Targeting ‘Suspicious Registrations’ Amid An ‘Explosion of Music Being Uploaded to Digital Platforms’

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With AI tracks debuting in droves, performance rights organizations (PROs) ASCAP and BMI have established “a joint task force” designed “to address suspicious registrations associated with musical works across the collective management ecosystem.”

ASCAP (which is still operating as a nonprofit) and BMI (which, despite also being subject to a consent decree, is now looking to turn a profit) unveiled their task force via a brief release that was emailed to DMN. According to the entities’ concise announcement message, the new unit will boast a “cross-functional team of copyright, technical, distribution, legal, business, and product experts” from both BMI and ASCAP.

And these individuals, the PROs communicated, will zero in on “mitigating and preventing fraud or erroneous activities,” chief among them “the registration of musical works that can result in financial loss or operational inefficiencies.”

“The team will focus on maintaining data integrity within the volumes of registration requests and protocols around identity verification and validation, among other areas,” explained ASCAP and BMI, which have partnered on the initiative as AI’s industry role continues to grow. “In addition to raising awareness around suspicious activity and schemes, the task force will work with other partners around the globe to share best practices and information that is not deemed competitively sensitive.”

Expanding upon the AI point, BMI president and CEO Mike O’Neill went ahead and highlighted “the explosion of music being uploaded to digital platforms” when describing the reasons behind and objectives of the task-force partnership.

“The integrity of our data is paramount and something we spend an enormous amount of time and effort to protect,” said O’Neill, whose organization in late March celebrated a “massive” rate ruling. “Given the explosion of music being uploaded to digital platforms and the speed in which that information connects to databases around the world, we felt it made sense to join forces with ASCAP to address these concerns. Bad actors don’t just limit themselves to one company, or one territory, and the more we can collaborate on this issue, the better it is for everyone involved.”

Meanwhile, ASCAP head Elizabeth Matthews in remarks of her own touched upon the perceived need for “all collective management organizations and DSPs” to tackle fraud “with increasing frequency.”

“Fraud is a complex global challenge that all collective management organizations and DSPs must confront with increasing frequency,” indicated Matthews, whose PRO reported “record-high” revenue and distributions for 2022. “Building on the strength of our Songview partnership and leveraging our expertise in building an interconnected data platform, ASCAP and BMI are uniquely positioned to lead this collaborative and proactive approach to enhance the integrity of data in the music industry and to protect the rights and royalties of music creators.”