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News / Song Sleuth / 16 Sep 2021

The golden age of UGC and music rights

5 minute read

The golden age of user-generated content (UGC) is upon us, and with it comes a goldmine of untapped music royalties.

UGC is any content that is created by individuals and not by brands. This content may be text, posts, images, user reviews, user advertisements, or music. When you scroll through your Facebook feed or TikTok “for you” page, you are often looking at UGC.

TikTok, the most popular app for UGC, has been downloaded over 1.5 billion times – incredible growth for a company that was only created in 2018. Almost every TikTok video has music, lyrics, or melodies attached to it to get more views, and each usage of a song can generate revenue for the music industry. If you’ve read our blog about how royalties work , you know that UGC is a goldmine for the music industry. The problem is that collecting the royalties is a tricky process, to say the least.‍

But what if there were a way to collect these unclaimed royalties effectively? How much would it be worth, really? After all, one song on TikTok can be played millions of times in a day; it can’t be worth too much. Well, that’s where you’d be wrong. In fact, in the music industry alone, UGC is predicted to be worth $6 billion by 2022.

Users also have a lot of influence when it comes to getting their favorite musicians on TikTok. ABBA , the legendary Swedish band, has been a fan favourite for a long time on the platform. In September 2021, ABBA joined TikTok officially, which means that users can generate new content with their songs. What does this mean for rights holders? You guessed it, lots and lots of royalties.

You may be thinking that the way these royalties make it back to the rights holders is easy. Definitely not. Because of the many complications, which we won’t get into here, the way royalties make it back to their owners is evolving.

The problem is that not all songs played on UGC are “linked” to the rights holders. It’s pretty easy for this to happen. To keep it simple, because there is so much UGC every day, artists and record companies simply can’t keep up with claiming all of their royalties. It’s just impossible. That’s why the process needs to be improved and automated.

Song Sleuth does exactly this and brings royalties back to their rightful owners. Let’s take a short example. Song Sleuth is software that can recognize, for example, melodies. When melodies are played in different ways from the original, for instance, in a remix, Song Sleuth can automatically and instantly detect them. This allows artists and record companies to collect royalties that are difficult to find manually.

Think of Song Sleuth as the pickaxe for unclaimed UGC royalties. It scans, or mines for, songs on different platforms, and it knows if the melody its hearing is tied to rights that you own. After all, it would be a shame if artists and those who help their songs become famous couldn’t collect the money they deserve. This is why tools such as Song Sleuth are vital for all music producers and rights holders.

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