Chapter 5 Partners

We are aiming to build a balanced data user and producer ecosystem around the Demo Music Observatory, and we hope that this can be later transferred to the European Music Observatory.

  • We are inviting leading research organizations to partner with us to create and scientifically validate our data products and analytical products.

  • We are inviting representative music industry organizations to share their data with us, allow us to make their data better processed and more usable, and to communicate the industries real data needs in an interactive process to create better pan-European business and policy indicators.

  • We are inviting public organizations, policy makers who want to build music and creative industry policies on solid evidence.

The music industry has so little visibility in the policy debate and produces so little research to support its business and policy decisions because it is inherently fragmented. It is mainly a creative network of freelancers, individuals, and micro-enterprises. In many European countries, for example, their largest organizations (collective management societies) fall under the ‘small enterprise’ category of the EU classification. CEEMID showed in the past 7 years that it can successfully work with large and very small entities. We are aiming at a partnership that is open for very small entities, and eventually for individual researchers or creators, too.

5.1 Former CEEMID partners

CEEMID would never have became a pan-European data source with more than 2000 hard indicators if the founding partners, Artisjus in Hungary, HDS in Croatia, and SOZA in Slovakia had not partnered up with their consultant to create it (See the CEEMID history in the Annex.) Our original idea was not practical — we envisioned a centralized database that was familiar for collective management and for regional use; instead it quickly became a bottom-up, opt-in cooperation model that delivered mainly national results, and at the same time it allowed to quickly expand the data sources, the user base and the geographical coverage eventually to the whole of Europe, even outside of the current boundaries of the European Union.

  • The first Hungarian Music Industry Report, a 144-pages business strategy and policy advocacy report, which became the basis of annual reports in the Hungarian music industry.

  • The first Slovak Music Industy Report, a 227-pages advocacy report with business strategy and evidence-based policy recommendations. Several royalty pricing and other fact-based industry work was commissioned by Slovak stakeholders which are not publicly available.

  • Private Copying in Croatia is an advocacy report for re-setting the remuneration of private copying, and measuring the value transfer to media platforms such as YouTube. In Hungary, more technical and detailed reports were made for Artisjus, Mahasz, EJI, Hungart and Filmjus, and are not available to the public.

  • CEEMID was used in various quantitative ex ante granting assessments, in royalty price setting, in calculating private copying remuneration, predicting audiences, and other evidence-based policy projects.

The first invitation letters will go out to CEEMID partners to join the new observatory.

5.2 International music organizations

We believe that expanding the former, closed, but pan-European CEEMID data pooling method to a highly automated data observatory following the principles of open collaboration offers the best value for money, the highest level of security and quality, and the best flexibility to create the European Music Observatory, and we would like to shape our conversation with music organizations in this context.

Our approach is iterative and allows representative users to define their needs and assess in very short time–in days or weeks–if our proposed solution works for them, and refine it until they get the data exactly right. Our open collaboration approach also allows them to share as much of their data as they see fit in an environment where it is better processed and where it is professionally documented and authenticated to prevent it from being compromised in further uses.

5.3 National music organizations

Recorded music is by nature partly defined by national boundaries because copyright and neighbouring rights protection follow national jurisdictions all over the world.

Live music is a bit different, because it is inherently a very local business. Some large venues and arenas have an international audience, but most venues are very local, and they need market insights on a sub-national level. We are developing market research products on that level, too. For artists and talent managers, it is both a local and international market. Due to the tragic closure of many small music venues in Europe, economically feasible tours usually have to cross borders, which is technically easy within the European Union, but it is fraught with a lot of problems in collecting some of the revenues, staying insured, and so on. And live music is disastrously struck by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most of CEEMID’s use cases are in national contexts. We created evidence to increase extremely low copyright and neighbouring right tariffs, and we helped monitoring collections, providing evidence in competition cases to rebuff claims of excessive tariffs. We helped granting authorities with ex ante grant evaluation to make sure that they design grants that really help musicians or music professionals. We are open for collaboration with national, representative organizations in the European Union and in its neighbourhood of the European Economic Area, the United Kingdom, candidate and potential candidate countries, and even the larger neighbourhood area in the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe. However, we can provide the best service within the European statistical harmonization area that includes the EU, EEA, the UK and some candidate countries that already harmonized their data well with the EU, such as Albania, Northern Macedonia or Turkey.

  • SOZA Slovak Performing & Mechanical Rights Society: The former CEEMID project, and its new form, the Demo Music Observatory and its twin Cultural & Creative Sectors Observatory started a collaboration with the SOZA, a non-profit civic association representing more than 3,000 rights holders in Slovakia and over 3 million abroad (musical works composers, lyrics and publishers). Initially, some of our datasets created with our open source technology were included in the Slovak Music Industry Report, and various projects related to royalty and private copying compensation settings. We then broadened this cooperation by applying for music- and copyright-based industry relevant EU research tenders and national grant programs and received funding from the Slovak Arts Council for exploring the feasibility of using AI to better place the Slovak music repertoire in radios, playlists and export markets. We are currently exploring how a national collective management society can best exploit our reproducible research-based technology and observatories.

5.4 Provincial, regional, city organizations

In large or more federalized countries, like Germany, the Netherlands or Belgium, music is partly organized at the Land, province, community, and city levels. We know that data availability on these levels is far lower than on a national level, which makes the job of local policy-makers more difficult. Local businesses, such as small and medium sized music venues, or bands with a regional fan base are suffering from the same problem.

We do have the methodology to create statistically, scientifically valid data products for them, but we understand that city or regional indicators often cannot and should not be the same as national indicators. Businesses and policy-makers acting on a city, regional or federal state level have different targets, and of course, they must not take many aspects of music–such as national copyright laws and enforcement–for granted.

5.5 Business, scientific and policy research organizations

The music industry is particularly fragmented. The average industry size is far below 5 people. In fact, due to the high level of freelancer corporations, is it is around 2. A 2-5 people organization does not have individual HR or R&D functions nor market research. This makes them very vulnerable, and it makes the work of larger business researchers or university researchers via nationally representative or international organizations more important.

We are aiming at partnering with leading business and university research organizations to maintain and develop the Music Observatory, because we believe that they have the staff levels, experience and research output capacity that can best utilize our data, and they have substantial research budgets that they can share with us.

We believe that we can offer further research automation solutions that can make their work more efficient, higher quality, faster and less costly. Our envisioned business model relies critically on them: we would like to create value for them, and at the same time utilize part of this value for the entire music ecosystem. This is a bit easier in the case of scientific research, where the data supporting scientific output must be open for scrutiny; this is less challenging for business research mandated from public sources (where similar disclosure rules apply) and more difficult in the case of privately commissioned research. Yet, even in that case, pooling and sharing data assets can have substantial benefits, and even a very partial data sharing and integration can increase the value proposition of our private partners.

  • IViR: The former CEEMID project, and its new form, the Demo Music Observatory and its twin Cultural & Creative Sectors Observatory started a collaboration with the IViR research center at the University of Amsterdam. Initially, some of our datasets created with our open source technology were included in a research project, which is currently available in working paper format and is under scientific peer review. We subsequently broadened this cooperation by applying for music- and copyright-based industry relevant research tenders together. We are currently exploring how a leading research institution in this field can best exploit our reproducible research-based technology and observatories.

  • riverrun is a Brussels-based consulting boutique has been advising collective management societies for audio, audiovisual, literary and graphic/plastic works on the valuation, economic modelling and negotiations with stakeholders as well as overall strategy, and has been investigating the adoption of some of CEEMID’s datasets and valuation methodologies in a Belgian context. riverrun’s partners also have experience with working with entities at the crossroads of strategy, finance and organisation, ranging from the European Parliament to non-profit social organisations.

5.6 Small music and research organizations, individuals

As discussed, the music industry is fragmented and lacks visibility and budgets that allow for research operations.

We need to become financially viable to support a staff that can handle a large number of individuals, but we know that individuals have lower needs than large collective management societies or universities. We have invited a few individuals who had been using CEEMID in the past to explore the idea of working with freelancers or micro-enterprises. We will treat all contact requests with respect and care, but it will take a bit of time until we figure out how we can effectively work with any micro-enterprise that wants to partner with us. That should not discourage you to get in touch with us right now.

5.7 Musicians, music technicians and managers

Our data observatory is aimed to help musicians, music technicians and music managers, but so far we can help mainly indirectly, by providing proper data, evidence, and know-how for collective management organizations (mainly on how to set better royalty tariffs and private copying compensation), music export offices (to better set export targets and markets), grant agencies (to make grant calls that are more suitable for grantees), researchers of music and policy-makers to realize that music is often over-taxed in Europe. (See some examples in our latest research product, particularly in the concluding chapter.)

The best way artists, technicians and managers can help us in this is by filling out our fully anonymous annual surveys.

We are also experimenting with an AI-based tool, a web application, that would help the positioning and marketing of individual tracks for musicians and bands on streaming platforms by comparing them with many different soundtracks in the world.

We are a startup, and we are only using our private resources, but we have some forming industry partnerships and grant applications that will allow us to reveal at least a demo application aimed at musicians before the end of 2020. The best way you can help us in this is suggesting your collective management society, trade association or music distributor, label or publisher (if they are large enough to do market research) to team up with us, and not only use our free services, but get into paid collaborations.

We believe that however small research budgets are available in the COVID-struck 2020 in the industry, we offer the best value for money in surveying, in 6.3.2 collaborative data integration and pooling; @ref(private-data-integration private data integration)(#private-data-integration) and 4.2 forecasting, 4.1 AI & machine learning,4.3royalty valuation and copyright infringement compensation calculation, 4.4 impact assessments for grants and policies, or how to decrease overhead (market) research costs significantly by automated reporting and documentation. For a limited time, with smaller potentially paying partners, we are doing a similar experiment that many artists do on Bandcamp: we offer our research products, within limits, on a name your price basis.

We will never ask money from individual musicians, technicians and managers, but we want to create web applications that directly serve them for free. To get there, we need a lot of support in validating our mixed 6.6 open/private business model, and any constructive ideas, feedback is appreciated.

5.8 Let’s get in touch!

Reprex is a Dutch company partly operating in Belgium. Reprex’s co-founder, Daniel, who started with the original partners CEEMID, is leading this project and he is available for meetings in Amsterdam, Antwerpen, Brussels, Delft, Den Haag, Gent, Rotterdam and around regularly, as long as the COVID pandemic situation allows, and following social distancing guidelines. Our default location is Den Haag, connected by metro to Rotterdam and tram to Delft, and a business centrum in Aalst, between the Brussels and Gent suburbia, within half an hour reach to these cities.

We are surveying in more than 10 countries regularly, and work with dozens of freelancers to serve the music industry with data. We use the very simple and extremely secure, a kind of mix of Whatsapp, Skype, Google Drive, One Drive and Zoom. You can get in touch on that platform with us in anytime here.

You can easily contact Daniel or Kátya on LinkedIn, and of course, we have a usually working contact form, too.