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Digital Royalty Growth and ISRC’s

Digital royalties are on the rise with no signs of slowing down and ISRC’s are the universal cataloging agent responsible for identifying these sound recordings for royalty distribution.  Make sure you’re familiar with how this essential tool works, and that you’re not overpaying for your codes.

What is an ISRC?

ISRC stands for International Standard Recording Code.  Created by the International Standard Organization (ISO), each ISRC is a specially composed series of 12 alphanumeric characters that identifies a song or music video audio recording.  Every country has its own national organization which supplies codes to registered distributors.  For example, in the United States, the national administrative agency is the U.S. ISRC Agency, which is part of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Each ISRC is designed to act as a unique and permanent identifier for a sound recording.  This means that only one ISRC should ever be issued to any track, and an ISRC should never represent more than one unique recording.  Stems or alternate versions of a track should each get a unique ISRC.  Re-releases of the same recording should use the same ISRC.  

While the Performance Rights Organizations have their own systems in place to collect and distribute royalties for the composer and publisher of a song, ISRC’s are used worldwide to facilitate the distribution of royalties for the master recording, paying out to the recording’s featured artist and sound recording copyright owner.  

The Steady Growth of Digital Royalties

One of the many companies that utilizes ISRC’s to distribute sound recording royalties is SoundExchange, an independent non-profit that pays out on royalties from non-interactive digital streaming services such as internet radio, satellite radio, and cable TV music services that all use the statutory license to access any commercially available sound recording.  Rights owners enroll by making a free SoundExchange account, and registering their audio recordings and their respective ISRCs to collect royalties from airplay.  

SoundExchange has seen steady growth over the years.  2020 was the company’s largest Q1 payout to date with $224 million going out to rights owners as they continue to add channels to their roster and poise themselves for continued growth.  The same goes for music streaming revenue as a whole, which takes up a larger share of the music industry’s total revenue every year.  Statista reports that streaming revenue is projected to reach $16.39 billion in 2020, up from $14.25 billion in 2019, and $13.24 billion in 2018.

Streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music all require that any song be assigned an ISRC code before it’s released on the platform, so if you’re working with a label to release your music, the label is almost certainly going to take care of acquiring these codes, applying them to your songs, and registering them for collection; however, if you plan on retaining the rights to your recordings and releasing your music yourself, you’ll need to acquire and apply these codes yourself.

Where’s the Best Place to Acquire These Codes?

As an official ISRC distributor, SourceAudio offers ISRC codes at just 10 cents a code with a minimum purchase of 100 codes for $10.  Other ISRC suppliers require registration fees and still charge 20x more per code, but with your free 30-day trial of SourceAudio you can purchase as many ISRC codes as you need at no additional cost.
SourceAudio also makes embedding your ISRC’s easy for AIFF’s, WAV’s, and MP3’s of all your tracks.  We use ID3 standard metadata embedding to embed your codes into the designated ISRC field.  This encoded data acts as a digital fingerprint to ensure proper tracking and tracing of your sound recording so there’s never a question of where your royalties should be paid.

Questions?  Reach out at support@sourceaudio.com

Friday, 31 July 2020
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Industry Growth Patterns & Trends in Radio Production Music

Terrestrial radio has maintained a unique ubiquity in how we consume content.  Data from Nielsen’s most recent Audio Today report and The Pew Research Center shows its remarkable staying power in an otherwise constantly shifting media landscape.  This phenomenon has made radio an especially heated proving ground for cultural trends.  Alpha stands at the center of this industry as the largest production music service available for radio with a 1.8 million track library where the biggest and best music suppliers distribute their music for placements on the air.  Check out our exclusive inside look into the lastest industry growth patterns and trends in production music for terrestrial radio.

Sound Effects

Demand for sound effects in radio is high, and it’s constant.  Alpha provides its users with over 347k tracks of SFX like stingers, novelty sound effects, realistic sounds, and trendy, niché sounds; all common essentials for radio advertisers and DJs. Canned sounds like cheering crowds, wooshes, air horns/car horns, sounds from nature, mechanical noises, and so many more sound clips of all sorts continue to prove their popularity on a consistent basis.


Country western music is an undeniable staple in American radio.  The sound of real instruments and quality songwriting keeps country music charting on radio stations and puts the sound in high demand across the airwaves with 88,000 country tracks in the Alpha library.  Country music is as American as apple pie and the same goes for its appeal, meaning you won’t hear country music anywhere else in the world like you do in the United States.

Latin Music

Alongside country music, Latin music is another genre with a seemingly insatiable demand. There’s a clear cross-media correlation with demand for certain styles, and with the massive commercial successes of artists like J Balvin and his many contemporaries (Bad Bunny, Nio Garcia, Maluma, etc.) the Latin sound is booming right now.  Find over 45,000 Latin tracks in the Alpha library with a sound that is global, upbeat, and current, which all translates to a high demand in the production music sphere.

Epic & Dramatic

Dramatic sound design and scoring has seen unprecedented growth over the last few years in radio production music with over 100k “epic” tracks in the Alpha library.  Epic orchestral scores that would normally be heard in blockbuster movie franchises might not seem at home in a radio production, but today, the demand is on the rise.  Sounds that are bigger, more intense, and more cinematic are in high demand. 

Rock / Pop: Over-saturated

Plug-in’s and virtual amps have streamlined the production of pop and rock music, allowing for a surplus that exceeds demand.  This issue is exacerbated by metadata tagging on rock or pop tracks which often functions too much like a catch-all, lending itself to highly competitive search results and marginal returns for many producers in the field.  Alpha currently supplies 314k tracks tagged as rock, and over 285k tagged as pop.  Successful producers of pop and rock will tell you that cutting through the noise means tapping into a specific higher demand niche within the broader genre.  If you can supply that more targeted musical quality and properly tag it with your metadata, your chances of getting placed are exponentially greater.

Hip-Hop and Trap: Over-saturated

Hip-hop and trap catalogs are used heavily on the radio waves, but like rock and pop, competition is fierce. Widespread popularity and relative ease of production has resulted in massive quantities of these tracks being produced with relative oversupply for broadcasters.  Still, it’s impossible to ignore hip-hop/trap as a dominant force in the musical landscape with over 190k tracks in Alpha tagged as hip-hop.  The key to getting placements is the same principle of refined tagging that rock/pop producers leverage to optimize their libraries for success, but for hip-hop/trap, the emphasis is on staying current.  Producers in this sphere can get an edge by staying on top of the latest trends and producing sound-alikes that mimic the tracks that are topping the charts right now.  

Friday, 24 July 2020
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Upcoming Online Music Industry Events and Resources

2020 is half over, but there’s still plenty of online learning and networking to be done. Check out our hand-picked list of the best free online resources for composers and music businesses.

PMA Academy Round Table Sessions - July 21, 2020 11am PST (last one!)

The Production Music Association’s PMA Academy is a bi-weekly, virtual webinar series focused on educating composers and industry professionals. This summer’s events are all held over Zoom and are free of charge for the duration of 2020. The PMA’s goal is to provide education, support, and advocacy for its music publishers and composer members at any stage in their career. Keep an eye out for the return of the PMC in 2021!
Register for the PMA Academy by clicking the event listing HERE.

Sandbox Summit Global - September 21-25, 2020 3-5pm BST / 7am-9am PST each day

Produced by Music Ally, Sandbox Summit events offer thought leadership and practical insight into how to build and engage audiences digitally. Each two-hour session will involve a mix of short presentations, interviews, and mini-panel sessions around a particular theme with high-level speakers drawn from across the globe. For a broader look at music marketing beyond the production music industry, Sandbox is a great option. See their five day itinerary HERE.
Register or learn more HERE.

NAB Show Express - On Demand

On demand now through the end of August, NAB is offering full access to all their NAB Show resources, sessions of content, and detailed listings of all the exhibitions you would find at the NAB conference. At the link below, scroll down to check out the most viewed videos this week, or register for a free account so that you can take a deep dive and favorite your top content. Keep an eye out for what happens with NAB Show New York, October 21-22, 2020 and their flagship NAB Show event in Las Vegas April 10-14 2021.
Register or start browsing HERE.

Guild of Music Supervisors Summer Panel Series - On Demand

In response to COVID-19, GMS partnered with Mondo.NYC to host a weekly series of webinars to help the community of Music Supervisors, Music Creators, and other leaders in the TV/Film industry stay connected. Check out these segments to hear from Music Supervisors what it’s like working on some of the most watched shows on Apple TV+, Netflix, and Amazon. There’s also a special episode where panelists shed light on their journeys as coordinators and assistants, and discuss what the next generation can expect in this field.
Available in perpetuity on the GMS YouTube channel HERE.

Friday, 17 July 2020
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The Buyer Network, Sub-Publishing, and Networking Online

With the cancellation of all in-person networking opportunities, it’s time now for companies to dial in a complete strategy for online networking in 2020. Leverage seamless delivery to all your buyers and sub-publishers with just a few clicks.  Here’s an up-to-date look into how to get the most out of these powerful tools available only at SourceAudio.

Sending to Potential Clients and Partners

It’s never been easier, or more important, to get your material out to leads, quantify results, and start building value-driven relationships online.  Send a link to a track, album, published playlist, or use a coded link to send a private playlist with download access.  If you’ve restricted access to the track, album, playlist, or to your site in general, you can use a coded link that overrides these restrictions, or send the material to your recipient through the platform by clicking “More Options” » “Email” for more precise access settings and additional centralized reporting on your different sent items.  In any sending scenario, once a site user is logged in you’ll see each track they play or download (if enabled) and when exactly the activity took place, all from your Statistics panel.  Even if a site visitor is not logged in, activity on each track is cataloged with the listener’s IP address and the time of their activity.  Hook your sales leads and make your best first impression; both your sound and your visual brand are on full display when you send them to your SourceAudio-hosted library. 

The Buyer Network

Since its inception in 2012, the network of music buying sites on SourceAudio has grown to house over 100 million tracks from SourceAudio libraries, catalogs, and labels.  Top agencies rely on the buyer network to find the latest tracks from their site-to-site connections via the SourceAudio Buyer Network.  Once you’ve gotten in touch with a buyer who wants to connect to your library, syncing up your sites is just a flip of a switch from each party.  The seller controls exactly which of their catalogs and labels get sync’d over to the buyer when connecting, while new labels added after a connection is established need to be manually accepted by buyers so that they always know what they’re getting.  A connected buyer and seller can also exchange track requests and/or briefs that list budgets and reference tracks for their project along with an integrated, easy-to-use brief-response tool.

Connect With Your Sub-Publishers

Expand your network with sub-publishers that operate in different territories.  SourceAudio has become an integral tool for publishers that utilize a network of sub-publishers to drive more business.  Whether you’re the original publisher or the sub-publisher, whenever you and your other party are ready to send over a mirrored copy of the material just reach out to our dedicated support department.  We have all the tools to ensure that sub-published material shows up exactly how it's supposed to on its new listing.

Questions about sending, buyer sites, or sub-publishing?  Reach out to our support department at support@sourceaudio.com.

Friday, 10 July 2020
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How We Work Now: 2020 at SourceAudio

In the face of global catastrophe, SourceAudio continues to power the music licensing economy around the world.

In the beginning of 2020, the ability to work from home was a modest perk enjoyed by professionals of certain industries.  Today, it typically means the difference between whether a business survives, or ceases to exist.  Now a fully remote company itself, SourceAudio is proud to enable music companies around the world to manage and execute their everyday tasks without ever leaving their homes. 

From the ground up– How we work now at SourceAudio

Our support team, previously based in Culver City, CA, works with companies of all sizes and specialties to ensure that their needs for digital asset management are met from the robust SourceAudio suite.  This support team works closely with our development team, located all across the United States, who continually work to build out new features and capabilities for the platform.  Our detection service, led by EVP Hunter Williams in Nashville, is one such program that is constantly expanding, as we add the latest broadcast channels to our roster of monitored content.  Data from these detections goes straight to our clients, who leverage this data to collect on their entitled royalty payments from their respective PRO.

Youtube royalty collection through SourceAudio, led by Jarrett Santarsiero in Culver City, is one of four major monetization programs where revenue is collected by SourceAudio, and paid out directly to rights owners on a quarterly basis.  The second is SourceAudio Collect, also led by EVP Hunter Williams, which brings global PRO royalties together into a single quarterly payout.  The third is Podcast Music, led by EVP Doug Reed in Philadelphia, which provides distribution in the leading music library for podcasters.  Finally, Alpha Music Libraries, also led by EVP Doug Reed, provides distribution in the largest and most widely used production music library for terrestrial radio anywhere in the world. These passive streams of income bring in millions of dollars every year for the companies that rely on SourceAudio. 

Our roster of clients is the work of our President of Sales Dan Korobkin in Los Angeles, who has turned SourceAudio into the premiere sub-publishing and sync distribution network for every industry where music is used.  Our road map is forged by CEO, Geoff Grotz, and Head of Strategic Partnerships, Andrew Harding, both based out of Los Angeles, who started SourceAudio just over 10 years ago as a cutting edge “cloud company”, a move that would change the digital music industry forever.

Marketing Representative Max Monahan has been with SourceAudio for just over 6 years.  He now works from home and shares his experience on pursuing a career in the music industry mid-pandemic:

“It’s tough to fathom just how fortunate I am– just to have a job right now at all.  Life is never certain, least of all now, but to have a team like the one we have at SA is more than I could even ask for.  That being said, we earn our keep as a company.  Office hours start at 9:30am, but I’m getting my day sorted out and starting in on projects well before that.  I’m still a night owl, I just don’t discriminate against mornings anymore.  From 9:30am on, my day is a barrage of emails, phone calls, and zoom sessions with clients, exactly the same as it would be in an office.  Slack and Github are also blowing up in perpetuity, never a dull moment.  I truly enjoy the social aspects of my job, but more than that, I like my space.  I catch myself savoring the luxury of a home office pretty often, but of course, the reality of these changes is a sobering one.  I read the news quite a bit and try to participate in meaningful dialog about the issues we’re facing right now.  I can say of the people in my life that we’re all pulling for each other, and I’m happy to work at a company where that idea is intrinsic to the business model.”

For more info on any of these programs, contact the following:
Alpha Libraries for Radio: doug@sourceaudio.com
Detection Services: hunter@sourceaudio.com
Podcast Music: doug@sourceaudio.com
SourceAudio Collect: hunter@sourceaudio.com
Youtube Content ID: jarrett@sourceaudio.com

Thursday, 2 July 2020
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