In September 2008, the EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes organized a series of Roundtable Meetings to start a dialogue between music industry stakeholders on legal and administrative barriers to the online distribution of music.
The need for a common framework for consolidation and maintaining accurate data regarding musical works, their ownership and authority to license was recognized by the industry and a Working Group (WG), composed of representatives of the various stakeholders, concluded in late 2009 that a central repository of authoritative information, a Global Repertoire Database (GRD) could form the basis for a common framework.
In 2010 the WG issued a Request for Information and a Request for Proposal to many key players in the music industry. Based on the answers received, at the end of 2010 the WG selected Deloitte as the program manager and ICE, the International Copyright Enterprise joint venture of Sweden’s STIM and England’s PRS for Music, as the technology solution.
In September 2011, a Scoping and Stakeholder Consultation Study was launched to work with representatives of the music industry to develop a high level recommendation for the creation of the GRD. The recommendation was published in March 2012, followed by a short Transition phase to address some key concerns of Societies to enable a GO/NO decision. In June 2012 the green light was given to execute the next phase of the GRD Program: The Requirements & Design phase (R&D).
FastTrack was one of the organizations that were invited by the WG to respond to the Request for Information and Request for Proposal. FastTrack’s proposal was a reengineered CIS-Net model but the WG preferred ICE as the technology solution. However, during the Scoping and Stakeholder Consultation Study it became clear that FastTrack and CIS-Net could play vital role in the future GRD. In particular it was recognized that since ‘CIS-Net powered by FastTrack’ already provides a mechanism for Societies to register their data into a common schema, it provides a starting point for submitting data, as a first layer, into the future GRD. CIS-Net furthermore provides a key benefit in terms of potential access to Society data. Although CIS-Net’s current data scope would need to be extended to meet GRD requirements, CIS-Net will accelerate anticipated timescales required for migration to the GRD, potentially reducing cost and complexity.
FastTrack’s Common Search Index (CSI) was recognized as a benefit, in those cases where the results of CSI and GRD matching algorithms align. The CSI could also play an important role in the allocation of ISWC’s to new registrations posted directly in the GRD (an option the publishers are considering).
FastTrack’s Involvement in the R&D Phase
FastTrack is, in the current R&D phase, one of the three service providers in addition to Deloitte and ICE. FastTrack contributes to the R&D phase in the same way it develops projects for CIS-Net, working through remote development teams at SACEM and SOCAN with management and technical support from FastTrack Management.
FastTrack Management holds a non-voting position at each of the three key governance tiers: the Working Group, which defines strategy and serves as the point of escalation for issues; the Program Board, which is responsible for the day-to-day management of the R&D Phase; and the Design Authority, which is responsible for developing the key deliverables.
The R&D phase is expected to last circa 8 months, with the aim of approving the recommendations the week of 27th May, 2013.
There are five “design workstreams” and FastTrack is represented on each of them:
- Program Management – represented by FastTrack Management.
- Business Requirements and Rules – represented by the SOCAN development team.
- Data Standards and Schemas – represented by the SACEM development team.
- Data Assessments and Strategy – represented by the SACEM development team.
- Technology Blueprint – represented by Vincent Poulain, FastTrack’s Head of Development.
Substantial effort will be asked of FastTrack Management and the development teams at SACEM and SOCAN. In addition to FastTrack’s commitment to the GRD, there is ongoing commitment to the FastTrack’ shareholders and CISAC to maintain CIS-Net, provide support to the CIS-Net User Community, to deliver selected projects in 2012 and 2013 and to develop new projects in 2013. FastTrack is well aware of these commitments and the resources they require, and in order to fulfill FastTrack obligations, the SACEM development team was extended with additional developers.
Chris van Houten, FastTrack Director General
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