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COSBOTS engages Spanish digital monitoring company

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  • Company is paid P144 000 annually from royalty income
  • Will solve the problem of inaccuracies that bedeviled the entire COSBOTS process

GOSEGO MOTSUMI

The country’s only royalty collection society, the Copyright Society of Botswana (COSBOTS), has contracted a Spanish company based in Madrid called BMAT Licensing, S.L.U. (BMAT) for monitoring services.

This is against the background of one of the biggest challenges that the collection management organisation (CMO) has had being the absence of a digital monitoring system to ‘scrutinise’ large numbers of users of music and their operations that depend on music, resulting in COSBOTS receiving inaccuracies on behalf of artists.

For COSBOTS to be able to achieve a fair and equitable distribution, the company’s communications manager, Seeletso Lekgaba, says they needed to have accurate information on the usage of music that COSBOTS will match to membership information in its database. This means the organisation also needs to have detailed member information for use in the process of matching. The absence of adequate information, both from a user perspective and from members, makes it difficult to distribute as it impacts the operational efficiencies of the organisation.

Lekgaba says: “COSBOTS is paying the BMAT partnership P144 000 per annum for music monitoring services. This expense is funded out of royalty income.”

Before engaging the Spanish company, COSBOTS relied on playlists and log sheets that were provided by users of musical works such as event promoters and radio broadcasters. With the introduction of BMAT, COSBOTS will be able to monitor music from across radio stations, television and events, using the company’s in-house solutions that are based on audio fingerprinting technology.

BMAT’s system also has the ability to enrich match reports with customer’s identification codes,

thus providing COSBOTS with tailored reports for use in its daily operations. BMAT has developed Vericast, a music identification service that monitors sound recordings worldwide on behalf of collective management organisations, publishers, record labels and their respective associations, as well as digital distributors so that they can implement a more transparent, efficient and fair copyright distribution system.

Lekgaba explains, “Prior to securing the services of this company, we issued a public tender in local newspapers and the COSBOTS website. The tender required that any international bidder must be in partnership with a local entity, which BMAT has done. BMAT Licensing, S.L.U. (BMAT) put in a joint bid with a 100% citizen-owned company called VIB Mobile. The two companies are partners in the COSBOTS monitoring contract.”

For COSBOTS to be able to achieve a fair and equitable distribution, the CMO needs to have accurate information on the usage of music. Without this, there were instances where artists were not paid accurately because of inaccurate information provided to COSBOTS by both artists and users of music. Lekgaba says some artists do not provide COSBOTS with an exhaustive list of all the people who participated in the production of their musical works. An example is a singer not acknowledging authors of lyrics, publishers, producers and back up artists.

“Another instance would be where users of music such as radio broadcasters and event-promoters providing incorrect information on songs played,” Lekgaba continues. “This in turn results in inaccurate distribution of royalties. Once we are able to obtain data digitally, meaning without human intervention, we will have a fairer and more equitable distribution.”

Most notified works for domestic repertoire within COSBOTS are currently stored in CDs and there is thus a need to convert these works into digital metadata and upload them as MP3 or MP4 files onto the company’s database. Only when this has been done will the BMAT system work efficiently and allow COSBOTS to achieve desired goal of fair play. COSBOTS is currently doing this towards benefitting creators of music and songs.

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