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Our Commitment to Combating Digital Piracy in Music

Learn about the new measures that Random Sounds will implement to combat digital piracy in the music industry

2023-11-17

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5 minutes of reading

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When Random Sounds was born in 2014, the digital music scene was quite different from today.

An entire industry was created and shaped around streaming, the model that today leads the consumption of music content [1].

Unfortunately, piracy also evolved from the release of Random Sounds to this day.

According to a Recent French study on streaming fraud and the Pro Rata model, it was detected that between 1% and 3% of monthly streams are fraudulent [2]. These are known as artificial streams.

This causes a big blow to the music industry, since through the Pro Rata royalty distribution model, 1% to 3% of the monthly royalties distributed go to individuals and companies that defraud the entire value chain.

We also have to keep in mind that this study only took into account streams from France. At least in our catalog, France is nowhere near being the country with the most fraudulent activity, so we believe that the percentage of artificial streams is greater than 3%.

To understand the magnitude of this, let's do the following calculation:

According to the latest IFPI report, in 2022 streaming generated 17.5 billion dollars.

3% of this is equivalent to 525 million dollars stolen from the entire music industry in a single year.

Bad actor scams not only happen in streaming, but also on platforms that generate content through micro-synchronization.

These bad actors generally employ the following practices, which Random Sounds prohibits and rejects in its Terms of Use:

  • Buying streams or positioning in bot playlists.
  • Remixes or mashups of songs without having the rights or authorizations to market them.
  • Accelerated versions (Sped Up) or others (such as slowed + reverb) of popular songs without the rights.
  • Use of viral audios to be detected and monetized on content generation platforms.
  • Use of names of popular artists or celebrities without appropriate authorization.

At Random Sounds, we have already identified and blocked dozens of bad actors in recent months, but this is not enough, since they simply repeat the process with other distributors.

From now on, we will implement the following concrete measures to combat fraud in music:

  • We will block accounts where we detect and confirm fraudulent activities, without the need to receive an external complaint from a third party.
  • We'll create a list of bad actors detected by Random Sounds. This list will be shared with Digital Platforms (DSPs), Distributors and Labels that are members of Merlin Network, Encoding Houses, national independent music associations WIN members, IFPI, global Collective Management Societies, and other associations that seek to combat digital piracy, such as Music Fights Fraud Alliance.
  • “Strikes” system similar to that of platforms such as YouTube and Spotify when receiving copyright complaints.

1. The first complaint received is the first strike: Email notification, cancellation of the launch, warning to the user.

2. The second complaint received is the second strike: Email notification, cancellation of the launch, warning to the user and manual verification of the user's catalog for irregularities. If more irregularities are detected, the account will be permanently blocked.

3. The third complaint received is the final strike: the user will be notified, their user account will be blocked and all their releases will be canceled. Your data will be added to the list of bad actors.

  • We will generate public training content on what piracy is, what is fraud, and what types of services and tools bad actors use to deceive or defraud artists and labels who want to promote their music legitimately.
  • Priority collaboration with fraud prevention and artificial or fraudulent behavior analysis teams of digital platforms (DSPs) and related organizations.
  • We will actively train Random Sounds collaborators in global Intellectual Property standards.

These measures are in addition to the measures we used months ago:

  • All songs uploaded to Random Sounds are analyzed by ACRCloud, a tool for detecting fingerprints for songs. If ACRCloud finds matches with its database, the Random Sounds user is notified.
  • All songs distributed by Random Sounds are added to content detection databases such as ACRCloud and Audible Magic to protect them against piracy.

With the popularization of generative Artificial Intelligence tools, we know that this task will become increasingly difficult, so we must collaborate as an industry to prevent the mass spread of these practices.

References:

[1] IFPI. (2023). Global Music Report 2023: State of the Industry. Recovered from https://cms.globalmusicreport.ifpi.org/uploads/Global_Music_Report_State_of_The_Industry_5650fff4fa.pdf

[2] CM. (2023). Fake streams, real phenomenon: CNM with professionals to combat fraud. Recovered from https://cnm.fr/faux-streams-vrai-phenomene-le-cnm-avec-les-professionnels-pour-lutter-contre-la-fraude/

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