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3 things about audio fingerprinting you always wanted to ask

3 things about audio fingerprinting you were itching to know

Haven’t we all seen those cool music identification apps which tell you exactly which song you’re listening to, without ever being wrong?

What’s fascinating is that it takes no more than a few seconds to identify the song.

Sounds like magic, right? With around 1 million songs being produced each year, it definitely is awesome.

You’d be surprised to know that this tedious-sounding task is made simple by audio fingerprinting or acoustic fingerprinting.

If you’re part of the music industry or even someone with an interest in music, we’re sure you’ve heard about it.

Everyone’s talking about how cool this technology is. And how it makes things simpler for so many artists, producers and Performing Rights Organizations like PRS ASCAP etc.

Audio fingerprinting has also opened up so many opportunities for tech and music enthusiasts.

Music identification services like Shazam and Soundhound are just some of them.

With so much talk about acoustic fingerprinting, let us answer a few questions.

1. What is audio fingerprint, exactly?

Just like the human fingerprint, audio fingerprint is also a unique identification mark. Each music composition has a unique fingerprint, which is then used to identify music.

In technical terms, it is a compressed digital summary of a piece of music. It is created using audio signals, and then stored in an audio database.

2. Where are audio fingerprints used?

Music identification services use audio fingerprints to keep track of and identify songs.

Given the large number of songs produced every year, it’s almost impossible to do it any other way.

Identification services have a list of acoustic fingerprints stored in their database.

Every time someone asks for a song to be recognized it compares it with the list and shows the result.

Audio fingerprints are used to maximize royalty matching and distribution, keep a check on plagiarism, copyright compliance, and licensing.

If the fingerprint of a piece of music matches with another when applying for copyright, it will be considered plagiarized.

3. How are audio fingerprints different from cue sheets?

A cue sheet is a document created which lists all the music used within an audio visual programme (TV, film, or video). Cue sheets require a wide variety of information, from details of the programme or film, to composer and publisher details.

Authors/Composers/Publishers must submit cue sheets when applying for royalties.

Cue sheets are used by Performance Rights Organizations such as IPRS, PRS and ASCAP to keep a track of music that is registered with them.

Whereas, Audio fingerprinting is the process of digitally condensing an audio signal, generated by extracting acoustic relevant characteristics of a piece of audio content. This takes data matching and accuracy to the next level.

For audio recognition and fingerprinting to work, we need to have a database of music linked to its meta-data/cue sheets.

Most importantly international societies like PRS ASCAP GEMA APRA IMRO etc have their own systems and try to match your music as best they can; however, to make sure they’re paying out your royalties as accurately as possible, they enlist the help of Soundmouse and their music recognition (fingerprinting) technology to fill in any gaps.

Another benefit of audio fingerprinting is that it makes detecting plagiarism simpler.

At Joshua Inc, every day, we get asked about the connection between audio fingerprints and music royalties. If you’d like to know more about acoustic fingerprinting, or the work we do at Joshua Inc feel free to get in touch with us.

For over a decade now, Joshua Inc has been the leading visionary in setting up systems and processes, while working closely with authors, composers, publishers and labels to make sure that the rightful owners of the music receive their royalties.

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Are you a music artist looking for a hassle-free way to earn your royalties?

Joshua Inc is your perfect partner. Find out more about how we help you and what Joshua Inc does on our services page.

Have a question we haven’t answered here? Get in touch with us to discuss further, or leave a comment below and we’ll answer it for you.

Wish to share an experience or add something we’ve missed out? Do tell us in the comments below.

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