CISAC reports global progress on metadata and plans wider access to ISWC music identifier

CISAC reports global progress on metadata and plans wider access to ISWC music identifier

CISAC has published its 2022 Annual Report, outlining its work supporting the world’s largest network of authors societies.

CISAC’s members comprise 228 authors societies who together manage the rights of over four million creators from the music, audiovisual, visual arts, drama, and literature repertoires.

The 2022 report highlights the Confederation’s diverse services including lobbying, development of best practices, technology, and the systems to support data exchanges, help identify works and pay royalties quickly and accurately. 

CISAC has reported “steady progress” for the extension of the ISWC music identifier and improvements in music data reporting. It follows a major upgrade to the system completed in 2020. 

The ISWC is a unique, permanent and internationally recognised reference number for the identification of musical works. The upgrade has been rolled out globally amid concerns about the scale of unallocated royalties from streaming.

“In the last two years societies have taken the opportunity of the new modernised system to redesign their allocation procedures, benefiting from improved web services which allow for the central assignment of ISWCs as part of their local registration processes,” said CISAC.

Publishers have also started to make more extensive use of the Resolution Service to validate existing ISWCs in their databases or retrieve ISWCs missing from their back catalogues.

Publishers now have access to the Allocation Service, with the support of societies. This allows an ISWC to be assigned before the work is fully registered with the society, and before the work documentation is circulated to the network of sub-publishers throughout the world. In this way, the ISWC is fully documented even before the musical work is used.

CISAC aims to provide new services that will be made available to other parties in the music industry, including music platforms and tech companies offering services to societies. These new services include an automated access to the ISWC database, in addition to the current web site that is available to the public. 

“The objective is to further disseminate the ISWC throughout the value chain, and with greater accuracy,” said the organisation.

The objective is to further disseminate the ISWC throughout the value chain, and with greater accuracy


The report also outlines CISAC’s legislative lobbying actions in multiple countries to promote stronger laws protecting creators and rights-holders. 

It also focuses on recent solidarity actions taken by the CISAC community through its global initiative Creators for Ukraine, to aid Ukrainian creators and refugees. CISAC societies have contributed €1.4 million to the project so far, which were distributed to individual creators and charities helping victims of the war.

In his foreword, CISAC general director Gadi Oron said: “In a world which has lurched from one crisis to another, CISAC continues to work with focus and determination to serve our members, creators and the interests of the collective management sector. 

“Our immediate priorities have shifted to follow the switch to digital consumption in the last two years. They include live-streaming, digital licensing and improved information systems support. Our lobbying and educational efforts have all concentrated on digital rights, online income and their importance to creators’ livelihoods in the post-Covid world.” 

CISAC president Björn Ulvaeus of ABBA said: “In times of crisis, and in normal times, CISAC’s mission is clear – to make collective management work effectively for creators, and fairly remunerate them; to lobby governments so that authors have strong rights; and to support its members with the data and information tools they need.

“This is an extraordinarily challenging mission, but it is vitally important and no one else has the skills or authority to do it. I greatly look forward to another year working with CISAC to try and fulfil that mission.”


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