With a few exceptions, ALL statutory licensees are required to submit Reports of Use to SoundExchange on a regular basis, including detailed information of what sound recordings were performed and the audience measurement of those performances (for each recording). (Reports of Use should not be confused with Statements of Account, which are the forms used to calculate liability, including the annual minimum fee.) Reports of Use requirements have been determined by the Copyright Royalty Board through a Notice and Record-keeping rule making, described at 37 CFR 370, and with certain exceptions and modifications for particular categories as published in the various agreements made possible by the Webcaster Settlement Acts of 2008 and 2009. In general, Reports of Use identify four things about the sound recordings (“tracks”) used under the statutory license:
- the identification of the service provider using the recording
- the reporting category
- the identification of the recording itself (including the featured artist(s) performing on the recording), and
- the audience measurement of the recording.
- Service Provider Identification
All service providers must identify the Name of Service (including, if applicable, the call letters of the station), and the Transmission Category applicable for the sound recording’s transmission. Duplicate track listings, with different Transmission Categories may be used on the same Report of Use, if needed.
- Track Identification
Generally, a statutory licensee must provide the following information on a monthly basis to SoundExchange in order to identify which tracks have been used under such licensing:
- Title of the track, as listed on the commercially released recording
- Name of the featured artist, as listed on the commercially released recording
- International Standard Recording Code (“ISRC”), or (if the ISRC is unavailable) the combination of both
- the album name, and
- marketing label
SoundExchange has launched several free tools to help licensees meet the above ISRC track identification requirements:
- ISRC Search Site: This tool allows you to search for the ISRC for a specific track and can be accessed at https://isrc.soundexchange.com.
- SoundExchange Repertoire Matching Service: This tool allows licensees to obtain ISRCs in bulk. Within Licensee Direct, you can submit catalog files and receive them back with ISRCs as matched against our repertoire database, using data provided by the rights owners themselves. You will be able to automate ingestion of that information as your systems allow.
- SoundExchange Repertoire Search API: Developers can incorporate this tool within software and applications already in use by licensees and third-party reporting vendors, allowing “real time” selection of recordings with their ISRCs as needed by DJs and other music programming users. Please contact [email protected] to request use of the API.
Please contact [email protected] for more information about these tools.
- Audience Measurement
Most service providers have to provide audience measurement of the use of these tracks, reporting the actual total performances accrued by each track. Often called “per play, per listener,” a performance is each instance in which any portion of a sound recording is transmitted to a unique listener. So, by way of example, if 100 listeners receive any portion of a single transmission of a sound recording, that transmission accrued 100 performances.
Some services (including some services with small listenership and some noncommercial services) may report, in lieu of actual total performances, a combination of (1) aggregate tuning hours (“ATH”), sometimes called, “total listening hours,” (2) the program or channel name, and (3) the play frequency (i.e., “spins”) of each track. Furthermore, some categories of service allow webcasters to completely waive the obligation to provide Reports of Use with the timely submission of their election and reporting waiver fee. Again, please refer to your category’s specific requirements for more information.
- Late Payments and Statements of Account
The late fee program is designed to catch all late payments, any statement of account or any report of use on a month to month basis. A Licensee is required to pay a late fee of 1.5% per month (1.0% for Business Establishment Services) for any payment and/or statements of account received by the collective after the due date. Late fees accrue from the due date of this payment, statement of account or report of use until payment and the related statement of account are received by the collective.
- Delivery Format and Specifications (Including Excel Templates)
Reports of Use must be in a standardized, electronic format (ASCII). SoundExchange accepts delivery of Reports of Use in the following ways:
- Uploaded via our online portal, SoundExchange Licensee Direct.
- E-mailed as an attachment to [email protected], if the Report of Use contains fewer than 200,000 lines, or
- Uploaded using File Transfer Protocol (FTP), if the Report of Use contains greater than 200,000 lines; please request a login/password by e-mailing [email protected], or
- Delivered on a CD-ROM, portable USB drive (e.g. a “USB stick,” etc.) or floppy diskette through standard mail or an overnight delivery service.
- Hard copy Reports of Use are not permitted. They must be submitted in electronic format.
As a courtesy, below are some Excel templates that services may use to assist in the creation of Reports of Use. If using the Excel template, please use the “macro” in the Excel template to export the actual Report of Use to a text file, and send that Report of Use to SoundExchange. (Do not send us the actual Excel template.)