With the modern people in the habit of building a collection of free music (not paying a dime at all), music is easily downloaded from torrent sites (peer-to-peer sharing) and apps that rip audio from YouTube videos. But this is not a dissertation pleading with music consumers to quit with the piracy. It is still safe to say that someone is screening where music is heard by the public, detecting any underhanded approach that prevent music rights holders from getting paid. Not the FBI. Not God. It's the organization known as TuneSat, one that employs content recognition technology to scan millions of websites, hundreds of radio stations, and hundreds of TV channels to avert the underreporting of music performances worth millions of dollars. Since 2009, musicians, record labels, and music publishers have been paying for this service to be sure they get all royalty payments owed to them.
Record labels and musicians use to rely on their staff to report unauthorized use of their music. They would hold music licensors (e.g. television networks, radio stations, etc.) responsible for paying them the appropriate amount of money for the length/number of times their music was played or broadcast in public. But music licensors can easily skew the books either intentionally or unintentionally. According to TuneSat, an average of 80% of all music performances goes unreported. That means the 20% that does get paid monetarily is split up among performance rights organizations, record labels, music publishers, and music producers before the musicians who actually wrote the songs are left with crumb.
Websites like Taltopia, Sound Cloud, and Official.fm allow musicians and recording artists to upload their songs for the public to hear. Electronic and hip-hop artists are known to sample other people's music and use the sample as their own. Unfortunately, some of these music-based websites have content recognition software that detects potential copyright infringement, even if the artists layered their own drums and melodies over the sampled music. The artist uploading the song must provide proof of sample clearancing in order to successfully broadcast the song to everyone else. The software may be able to detail the original name of the sampled music and the name of the original artist. Although TuneSat developed its own content recognition technology, it wasn't designed to stop music piracy but rather to notify music copyright holders what is owed to them from music licensors.
Here in Cleveland, Ohio, schools like Cuyahoga Community College and Cleveland Institute of Music offer programs for musicians, sound engineers, and music entrepreneurs. They teach on music trends and the basics of the music business, but there's a wonder if they delve much into the non-music software tools that could definitely come in handy for musicians. Content recognition software is definitely one of them. Nevertheless, all musicians serious about their career are encouraged to purchase TuneSat services for the protection of their royalty payments. For more protection, it is recommended that they also sign up for a performance rights organization like BMI, ASCAP, SESAC, and Sound Exchange.