One of the things that bugs artists, songwriters and labels about YouTube is that it’s pretty difficult to get precise information about views and payments. In many cases, views aren’t counted and in other cases payments take too long to arrive. YouTube is hoping to alleviate those problems by implementing a new tool based on the DDEX Digital Sales Report Flat File standard.
DDEX is an organization dedicated to standardizing the data of the digital supply chain, and its members include Amazon, Apple, ASCAP, BMI, Google and the 3 major labels. The Digital Sales Report Flat File standard is a way to standardize the data so it’s the same regardless which part of the supply chain its in, from content owners like labels, to performance rights organizations and publishers, to digital retails like Spotify and Pandora.
By adopting this format, YouTube is taking a giant step to not only speeding this standard along to companies and organizations that haven’t adopted it yet, but also much faster and more accurate reports and payments from the service.
Data exchange has long vexed the music industry, as each organization has their own standard primarily based on the accounting system it has in place. In many cases, these accounting systems are old but reliable, and companies are reluctant to spend the money and feel the disruption of implementing something new that might end up not being able to interface with other new systems. As a result, it’s not uncommon for a label or publisher to receive sales data from a distributor, then have to enter it in manually into its own system. Because of the manual component, not only does it take an inordinate amount of time to input, but there are also errors that occur along the way.
Maybe now we’ll all see faster and more accurate royalty accounting. The initial testers of the new standard include YouTube, SACEM, GEMA, BMI, NMP and Kobalt.