Publishing ownership: standardizing videos with multiple musical works

YouTube videos can contain multiple musical works. There are various cases in which this may occur, for example, in videos that contain so-called "medleys.” These videos can lead to complicated ownership scenarios due to the number of sound recordings and / or compositions that have claims on them.  In multiple musical work scenarios, it’s important for publishing partners to accurately represent their ownership shares. Three primary scenarios often fall under this umbrella, each with their own best practices for publisher claiming:

Single-video master playlists (frequently confused for a "medley")

In these videos, the audio is comprised of multiple individual musical works (usually full songs) played one after another to make a playlist within a single video. Oftentimes, each song in the video is claimed by a distinct Sound Recording asset.
These cases are supported through normal claiming/linking behavior:
  1. Publishers should link their Composition Shares normally to any Sound Recording assets that are claiming the video.
  2. If the appropriate Sound Recording(s) is/are not claiming the video in question, the publishing partner should work directly with the partner controlling the Sound Recording to have them claim the video with the appropriate asset.
Note that these videos aren't “medleys,” although they have some similar characteristics.

Web claim-only video, no (or incorrect) SR/MV/AT

The audio in these videos consists of combined, but differentiable songs (e.g. a user singing a cappella and seamlessly transitioning between songs, as in a “medley”). You may notice that label partners sometimes claim these videos using one or more Sound Recording assets for the official master recording, even though the masters are not being used in the video. This is not the correct approach.
  1. Publishers should first search for existing Sound Recording assets that represent the entire medley contained within the video (i.e. a single asset for the entirety of musical works as performed by the artist in the video). If found, proceed to the next section (“Medley w/Accompanying SR/MV/AT”).
  2. If no Sound Recordings are found representing the medley, Composition Share assets can be used to directly claim the video, and payout will automatically be prorated according to the number of composition claims made on the video. If the publisher controls multiple compositions in the medley, they should create a claim for each.
  3. It’s important to request that any owners of Sound Recordings that are not specific to the Web-Claim Medley remove their claims. For example, if a cover version of a popular song was claimed by the official master Sound Recording asset for that song, the publishing partner should request that the label release this claim.
As with the previous case, these videos are not necessarily “medleys,” and can be supported through normal claiming/linking behavior.

Medley with accompanying SR/MV/AT

In these cases, the video is claimed by an individual Sound Recording/Music Video/Art Track that represents the whole medley and all works within it. If multiple publishers try to embed their individual compositions in the Sound Recording for these videos, they will run into conflict, since the asset claiming the video is in fact representative of multiple musical works. Publishers should work together to represent their ownerships accurately, but are also open to use the following workflow to expedite the process:
  1. The publishing partner locates the Sound Recording asset specific to the medley in question and listens to the medley, identifying the total number of compositions represented. Note: The number of times that a composition repeats and the length of the composition used are not referenced if using this approach - just the overall number of distinct compositions.
  2. The partner then creates a new Composition Share asset, specific to the medley, rather than using their existing Composition Share asset for the composition represented.
  3.  To calculate their ownership percentage, the publisher multiplies their ownership percentage on the individual composition times 1 / the number of compositions in the medley.
  • Song “Medley Song” is represented by Sound Recording asset “Medley-SR-Asset.” Medley Song contains 4 distinct compositions - “Song 1,” Song 2,” etc.
  • Publisher A is able to provide Performance licensing for 40% of Song 1 and 20% of Song 2 globally.
  • Publisher A locates Medley-SR-Asset and listens to the reference file. They identify that the medley contains 4 compositions (“Song 1,” “Song 2,” etc.). 1 divided by 4 = .25, meaning each composition represents 25% of the medley.
  • Publisher A then creates a new Composition Share asset representing their unique contributions to the medley - “Medley-Composition-Asset.” It’s critical that this is different from their existing Composition Share assets for Song 1 and Song 2.
  • Since Publisher A can license 40% of Song 1, and 20% of Song 2, they will have an ownership on the new medley Composition Share asset of: (40% ownership * 25% of the medley) + (20% ownership * 25% of the medley) = 15%
  • Publisher A embeds Medley-Composition-Asset in Medley-SR-Asset.




Was this article helpful?
How can we improve it?