CMRRA’s New Licensing and Royalty Distribution System

When CMRRA staff began to analyze how it could serve its music publisher clients better in this new and vast world of online music, it found its IT partner across the ocean in Ireland.  Spanish Point Technologies Ltd had already helped IMRO, the Irish Music Rights Organisation, find a solution to the growing volumes of data they were processing from online music services and other sources.  After an extensive RFP process, CMRRA launched a project that will see the replacement of its 25 year old legacy system with a new modern system that is being built using the latest Microsoft technology.

CMRRA’s commitment to transforming its systems to meet new challenges in the music industry is impressive. We are lucky to work with a dedicated team of professionals who are reinventing their business and providing value to their clients,” states Donal Cullen CEO of Spanish Point Technologies.

CMRRA’s new License and Royalty Distribution System (LDS) is based on combining a suite of Microsoft technologies including Microsoft SQL, BizTalk, SharePoint and Azure.  Work has been ongoing for some time already and will continue throughout 2015. The project is being rolled out in stages in order to provide as little disruption as possible to our clients.  “A good friend once compared many of our technology projects to “changing the tires on a moving car” said Caroline Rioux, President of CMRRA. “Here, we’re also changing the engine, the dashboard and the car shell, so it’s important we don’t lose anyone along the way. We need everyone to stay on board, all moving in the same direction. We’re committed to reaching our destination with the fewest bumps possible”.

The first module allows for the processing of mechanical licences and royalties from the major labels, and incorporates many new process improvements. New modules will be added to accommodate our various other lines of business, including distribution of Broadcast Mechanical royalties and the licensing of online music services offering downloads, on-demand streaming and webcasting.  The rollout of CWR processing in LDS will begin in early 2015, and we will slowly begin reaching out to CWR submitters to transition them to a more secure file transfer protocol for all CWR files.

Accurate automation is the key to increased efficiencies and faster royalty distributions”, said Lori Ellis, CMRRA’s  Vice President, Operations. “LDS offers a completely new operational approach to licensing and royalty processing and is designed to increase and improve the accuracy of data matching as much as possible without human intervention”.  In particular, our new system will have the ability to match all manner of incoming work and usage data – CWR registrations, recording and usage/sales details –  to musical work data that we have compiled from a variety of sources. It will also give us the ability to add new lines of business in a cost conscious manner.  In addition, the use of the Microsoft technologies will make it easier to maintain and upgrade LDS as the world of music and audiovisual distribution evolves.

The staged implementation approach means that CMRRA publishers will see royalty statements from two different systems in the short term but, in the longer term, they will benefit from combined statements and payments for all business lines in one easy to use format.  Clients will have access to an array of song, licence and royalty information online, via a new version of CMRRA Direct; this enhanced data will allow music publishers to analyze their royalty sources in new ways that will help them streamline their own business processes. Clients will also have access to useful online features to help them conduct their business with CMRRA, such as song registration, dispute resolution and royalty tracking and claiming tools.