The Music Producers Guild's efforts to establish an industry standard for embedding ISRC data within digital music files has received a significant boost with the announcement by MAGIX Software GmbH that it will incorporate EBU (European Broadcasting Union) Broadcast WAV files in the latest software update for its Sequoia Digital Audio Workstation.
André Standke, Product Manager Sequoia, MAGIX Software , says: "For years, Sequoia has been an integral part of leading broadcast and mastering studios worldwide. We focus our attention on delivering the best sound and tools by working closely with engineers and music producers including Sterling Sound in New York, Air Studios, Alchemy Mastering in London and many more.
As optical media is gradually replaced by file and server based audio content, we will continue to support the changes to the mastering process with innovative developments such as EBU tech3352 and we are happy to announce this feature is now incorporated into Sequoia, our number one product on the market."
From the MPG's point of view, the importance of ISRC cannot be understated. ISRC, which stands for International Standard Recording Code, is uniquely allocated to every song recorded. These codes are then registered with royalty payment agencies, thus ensuring that recording artists and copyright holders are properly remunerated for their work when it is played on radio or TV.
In the past the ISRC information was included within sub data streams of a CD, but in today's digital age, where music is often stored on digital WAV files, the ability to securely associate ISRC data with specific tracks has been lost. This is because the only common way to incorporate ISRC into a WAV file is via the file name – and if someone changes the file name or it is truncated or amended by a software program, the vital ISRC information can easily go missing.
To resolve this problem, the MPG's Mastering Group has been working closely with the EBU to develop an industry-approved method for embedding ISRC data within a WAV file. Following discussions, it was agreed that the best solution was to use was the EBU's existing Broadcast WAV File (BWF), a variant of the traditional WAV file that was developed for use by broadcasters. The EBU has now agreed to adopt the BWF as standard so that all-important ISRC data can be securely associated with specific tracks.
MPG Mastering Group board member and Alchemy Mastering Engineer Barry Grint, who is leading the BWF initiative, adds: "MAGIX' decision to incorporate BWF into Sequoia is a significant step forward for the MPG's initiative and we are delighted that the company has embraced BWF as the standard specification for file exchange. The new system is simple to implement and, once adopted, it will allow ISRC to flow through the whole production chain. We now hope that other DAW manufacturers will follow suit."
Grint adds that ISRC is set to become the cornerstone of every aspect of digital asset management, from tracking and reporting through to royalty reporting and song identification. "The entire music industry needs a robust and secure system for identifying tracks, and who had input into their creation, so that we can safeguard the incomes of all artists and copyright owners," he says. "Ultimately, the adoption of BWF as standard will provide a cornerstone for the MPG's Credit Where Credit is Due campaign, which aims to highlight the woeful lack of credit information within the digital domain. Our overall goal is to ensure that all music creators receive proper credit and proper payment for their work, and having an industry-standard technical solution that allows credit information to be included in the metadata is a major step forward in achieving this ambition."
About Music Producers Guild (UK):
The Music Producers Guild (UK) is an independent and democratic organisation that encourages the highest standards of music production, and actively engages with other music industry organisations to campaign and lobby on matters of important mutual interest.
The MPG represents and promotes the interests of all those involved in the production of recorded music, including producers, engineers, mixers, re-mixers, programmers and mastering engineers.