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First Friday Playlist: Muserk’s Colin Moriarty

This month’s “First Friday” Spotify playlist comes from Colin Moriarty – Rights Administrator:

Hi – my name is Colin Moriarty and I am a rights administrator at Muserk. I have been with the company for three years and am mostly responsible for the ingestion and quality assurance process as it relates to the data we receive from clients. In my free time I also write and release my own music under the artist name ‘ceemor’.
As much as I love instrumental tracks that give me space to think, sometimes I find myself overthinking. These songs are my antidote to that. I created this playlist because these songs give me energy, lift me out of bad moods, and bring me back to specific happy periods of my life. The playlist as a whole leans towards indie/hip-hop/and modern R&B.

Muserk Lands on Inc. Magazine’s List of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies – The Inc. 5000

Muserk Lands on Inc. Magazine’s Prestigious Annual List of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies –

The Inc. 5000

No. 4 In Media, No. 779 Overall

With Three-Year Revenue Growth of 636%

 

NEW YORK, August 17, 2021Inc. Magazine today revealed that MUSERK is No. 4 in Media and No. 779 overall on its annual Inc. 5000 list, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. The list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment—its independent small businesses. Intuit, Zappos, Under Armour, Microsoft, Patagonia, and many other well-known names gained their first national exposure as honorees on the Inc. 5000.  Not only have the companies on the 2021 Inc. 5000 been very competitive within their markets, but this year’s list also proved especially resilient and flexible given 2020’s unprecedented challenges.

“Being named to the Inc. 5000 list is an honor for the entire Muserk Team.  There has been a lot of blood sweat and tears poured into this company from a passionate team of people who believe in the important mission of getting creators paid, so it’s deeply gratifying to be recognized for everyone’s hard work. We’d also like to extend our congratulations to all the other organizations that made the list. We are in great company,” said CEO and Founder Paul Goldman. 

“The 2021 Inc. 5000 list feels like one of the most important rosters of companies ever compiled,” says Scott Omelianuk, editor-in-chief of Inc. “Building one of the fastest-growing companies in America in any year is a remarkable achievement. Building one in the crisis we’ve lived through is just plain amazing. This kind of accomplishment comes with hard work, smart pivots, great leadership, and the help of a whole lot of people.” Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at www.inc.com/inc5000.

 

CONTACT:        

Bobbie Gale

MixedMediaWorks

323-363-2171

bobbie@mixedmediaworks.com

 

More about Muserk:

Muserk is an AI technology-driven administration platform. With its proprietary Blue Matter  system, Muserk has significantly impacted royalty collection in the video and music spaces and currently manages over 7 million works on all the major tech platforms (YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, etc.). Muserk’s proven technology has found millions in uncollected royalties for copyright holders around the world, delivering a 40% increase in royalties on average for its clients. Muserk has offices in New York, Tokyo, Nashville and Copenhagen.

More about Inc. 5000:

Companies on the 2021 Inc. 5000 are ranked according to percentage revenue growth from 2017 to 2020. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2017. They must be U.S.-based, privately held, for-profit, and independent—not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies—as of December 31, 2020. (Since then, some on the list may have gone public or been acquired.) The minimum revenue required for 2017 is $100,000; the minimum for 2020 is $2 million. As always, Inc. reserves the right to decline applicants for subjective reasons. Growth rates used to determine company rankings were calculated to three decimal places. There was one tie on this year’s Inc. 5000.  Companies on the Inc. 500 are featured in Inc.’s September issue. They represent the top tier of the Inc. 5000, which can be found at http://www.inc.com/inc5000.

 

First Friday Playlist: Muserk’s Hans Peter Roth

This month’s “First Friday” Spotify playlist comes from Hans Peter Roth, Partner – Head of Global Business Development:

As the sole Dane at Muserk, the theme choice for my First Friday Playlist was pretty obvious; a list of the danish songs that have been part of the soundtrack to my life.

That playlist would of course be more or less infinite. So I’ve tried to spread the songs out over each decade of my life while selecting the pop and rock tracks that immediately came to mind.

Looking at the list, I am not sure those were in fact the tracks I listened to back then. Some are. But others just stuck in the back of my mind and have grown on me and others have come back to me at a later time for different reasons.

1. Rugsted & Kreutzfeldt – Jeg Ved Det Godt – 1979

The duo originally only released three albums – all hugely successful. However, the two ended up focusing on writing and producing for other Danish artists, which resulted in a multitude of hits over the following decades.

“Jeg Ved Det Godt” is their biggest hit – a Danish evergreen if you will. A song about a man’s insecurity, jealousy and temper and how “I know it all, but it’s too late now!”

2. Sneakers – Se Selv – 1982

One of the biggest 80’s Danish bands with the very characteristic voice of Sanne Salomonsen on the foreground. However, the reason the song made the list is that the percussionist, Jacob Andersen, died recently. Jacob became an institution in Danish music, both as a studio and live band member, working with a multitude (all relevant!) Danish artist over four decades. Indeed, all those collaborations mean that according to the neighbouring rights society, GRAMEX, Jacob Andersen is the most played danish artist – ever!!

3. Kasper Winding – Sjæl i Flammer – 1987

The theme song from “Een Gang Strømer” – the show that kept the streets empty in Denmark in the late 80’ – features Kasper Winding and Lars Muhl on vocals. Kasper is one of the most innovative and productive Danish songwriters and has more than 3,000 copyrights to his name with danish PRO, KODA.

4. One Two – Den Bedste Tid – 1989

Huuuuuge hit – damn, I’ve danced to this song many a summer night.

However, I’ve included it mainly for the title “The Best Time” as a kudos to Muserk and the team – I’m having the time of my (work) life!

5. Sandmen – 5 Minutes Past Loneliness – 1992

I remember seeing Sandmen at my local High School when they were coming up in the 80’s – they broke through big time and were a huge part of the Danish rock scene in the 90’s.

6. Sort Sol – Let Your Fingers Do The Walking – 1993

One of the most innovative Danish bands with their roots in punk and later art-rock/post-punk. The feeling in this track still gets me every time

7 Dizzy Mizz Lizzy – Silverflame – 1994

The band helped respawn the Danish rock scene by winning “DK Camps in Rock” in 1993. The band was long looking for a fourth member to sing and play guitar, but in the end, shy composer and guitarist, Tim Christensen, took on the job. And good for them and us!

8. Kashmir – The Story of Jamie Fame Flame – 1994

Kashmir came in second in “DK Champs in Rock” after Dizzy Mizz Lizzy. So they lost out on the free studio time. This is, in my view, clearly audible on their first album, Travelogue, where production is not top shelf. This in turn means that the success of the album is very much attributable to the skill of the musicians.

9. Caroline Henderson – Kiss Me Kiss Me – 1995

Having first sung in Ray Dee Ohh, competing with OneTwo (above) over airtime, Caroline went solo and released Cinemtaztic combining pop, triphop and jazz and is produced by Kasper Winding (above)!

10. Alphabeat – Fascination – 2008

Alphabeat was huge in the 2000’s, but they have made it on to this list, because they reformed in 2019 with their first concert taking place that year at the Scandinacian pavilion at SXSW. In attendance was – in addition to HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark – much of the Muserk team. Great gig!

11. Saveus – Himalaya – 2017

After winning the first X-factor in Denmark in 2008, Martin Hedegaard disappeared, only to return out of nowhere in 2015 under the name “Saveus”. The band went on to opening the famous Orange Scene at Roskilde Festival in 2018, which became an instant koncert classic. Look for it on YouTube!

Honorable mentions:

Finally, I added some pop songs from Danish artists that you may have heard before,without knowing they were Danish!

Junior Senior – Move Your Feet – 2002
Lukas Graham – 7 Years – 2015
MØ – Final Song – 2016

Thanks for reading and listening!

 

First Friday Playlist: Muserk’s Kelly Swartz

This month’s “First Friday” Spotify playlist comes from Kelly Swartz:

Hi, I’m Kelly Swartz and I am the Chief Financial Officer for Muserk. I decided to come up with a playlist to celebrate Mothers, Moms and Mommas since Mother’s Day is Sunday May 9th (everyone be sure that is in your calendars!) I have three great kids ages 22, 19 and 15 and yes… I have a lot of stress in my life! Just kidding (sorta). I also have a wonderful Mom that I adore. The songs on my list are a mixture of genres but the theme is based on songs written about Moms or for Moms (or should be about Moms, hence Aretha’s RESPECT). l also threw in a Prince song because I just really like Prince!

Muserk’s “How to Work From Home (and Beyond)” Guide

By Madeline DeLuca

Just over a year ago, I started my position as a Rights Manager at Muserk. My first day on the job was the first official day the company had gone remote. I had the unique experience of learning how to do a new job through video calls, screen sharing, and good old-fashion trial and error. With a year under my belt, I can say with confidence that working from home has been a wonderful learning experience and has allowed me to pick up new skills I may not have had the opportunity to learn before this pandemic, many of which I will keep in my tool belt long after we can safely gather in an office again. 

With that in mind, I asked my fellow co-workers at Muserk to share with me their favorite tips and tricks that have been beneficial to them over the past year – the tricks that kept them focused, efficient, and engaged as they worked from home with the hum of their personal lives all around. I hope anyone reading this finds at least one piece of advice or information that makes their work from home experience a better one.

  1. Keep a physical notepad that is dedicated to work thoughts that don’t require immediate action. Just because you can work after hours late at night or early in the morning doesn’t mean you have to. Write down any tasks you think about after work hours and save them for the next day.
  2. Take walks during the day, especially when it is warm. It can help reduce stress. A benefit of working from home is you are able to take a nice midday stroll and get some fresh air. It can help you clear your head and focus better and push past the 3pm slump.
  3. Learn and use keyboard shortcuts. When working from home, it’s nice to be able to unplug from monitors and work elsewhere. Using keyboard shortcuts can allow you to navigate smoothly between tabs and workbooks.
  4. Try using the Pomodoro Technique. The Pomodoro technique is a time management method that breaks down your working time into intervals with set breaks at the end of each interval. For those who find it hard to focus on the task at hand because of constant interruptions, this technique can help you be more efficient and keep to the task at hand while allowing you to take a break to handle any distractions that have crept in.
  5. Take advantage of Zoom. Now that we’re a year into using Zoom as a tool, and while we both curse and bless it, isn’t it nice to video conference with people we may have only spoken to on the phone in the past?  
  6. Set weekly and daily goals for productivity based on actual work progress instead of time. Everyone has goals that they want to achieve in a workday/week, and sometimes it feels overwhelming. Setting goals based on concrete tasks rather than time spent working can help you to feel accomplished and productive, even if you were interrupted all day by the sound of the dishwasher, the lawn mower, the washing machine, etc. 
  7. Have a morning routine and stick to it. It is so easy to roll out of bed, grab your laptop and start working, but from experience, this can be detrimental to your work-life balance. Wake up with enough time to make a cup of coffee, go on a walk, listen to a podcast, eat some breakfast, or read a book. Allow yourself some personal time to separate your day. Once you get in the groove, the days will feel much more enjoyable. Also, you can continue this routine when you return to the office, and I believe that transition will feel more seamless. 

I have incorporated each of these tips into my work routine in one form or another, and it has drastically improved my work from home experience. I personally cannot wait to be able to gather safely again (and to actually meet my coworkers in person – some for the first time), but in the meantime, I will enjoy working from my comfy couch, not having a daily commute, therefore getting to spend a few extra hours with my husband, and being able to do seemingly endless amounts of laundry during my lunch hour. 

First Friday Playlist: Muserk’s Justin Ahmanson

This month’s “First Friday” Spotify playlist comes from Justin Ahmanson:

Hi I’m Justin Ahmanson, and I’m a software developer here at Muserk. I’m also an active guitarist/singer-songwriter (or at least I was before the pandemic). With the anticipation of live music coming back soon, my playlist is testament to some of my favorite live performances by bands and artists that have influenced me over the years. Looking forward to seeing live music again!

Cattle Not Pets

When I first heard the term “cattle not pets” it was the perfect metaphor to describe a concept I had always been aware of when developing for the cloud, but never had the words to describe. The idea that you should remove individuality from your cloud infrastructure and treat your resources as nameless and dynamic like cattle. Resources come and go all the time so there is no time to name, feed, and care for them as if they were pets.

I’m sure many of us have been somewhere that has a fleet of servers named after superheroes, Disney characters, or something exceedingly nerdy like Dr. Who villains. When we start talking about scalability, though, characters can’t be imagined fast enough. Not to mention the hand feeding required to spin up new instances of an application over and over again. As we were developing our cloud infrastructure to scale for Muserk, our first goal was to never connect directly to an instance again. This felt like a great starting point to answer the question of how do we deploy applications, manage state, and debug issues that arise. This is mostly a qualitative look at how we began to scale our operations in the early days of Muserk…. So for you super nerds out there we won’t go into detail about things like load balancing, caching, or infrastructure as code.

DEPLOYING APPLICATIONS

Probably the most important aspect of scaling is being able to deploy an application programmatically. Once we can do that everything else is just a facility. The obvious answer here is Docker. The more advanced answer involves Kubernetes or Terraform, but that’s a topic for another day. With a containerized application we can control dependencies, versions, the operating system, and any configuration that needs to be done ahead of time. So, all we need is a platform to run our container. The advantage of this is that this platform can be anything! The container will run exactly what we need, the exact same way, anywhere that can support docker. Once the process of starting one of these containers is automated, we are free to start up as many as we would like, allowing a load balancer to route traffic appropriately.

MANAGING STATE

Next there is the problem of how to manage state on a server instance that is essentially garbage. Writing to disk is out of the question because all of that information would be lost from instance to instance. Well, what about NFS? This could be a plausible solution, but too slow without provisioned IOPs (which are expensive in the cloud). Besides, we should do better!

In fact, this was the starting point for really honing our data model and forced us to come up with a first pass at some sort of ETL. As we ingest data, how do we store it so that our applications can access it in a consistent way? Once all of our data is in one place, we can use it as our Single Source of Truth. Using a database as a SSOT is its own complexity. The real lesson for managing state across a scalable infrastructure is to AVOID state when you can.

DEBUGGING ISSUES

Most commonly, the reason for needing to log into an individual instance is typically to figure out what went wrong. As resources start to scale this gets increasingly difficult anyway because an error could have occurred on any one of 4, 10, or, theoretically, n number of instances. So how do we figure out where problems are happening and how to fix them? There are all sorts of things to monitor across our applications. User experiences, resource trends, load times, are a couple of examples. Most importantly, in my opinion, are the error logs.

When an error occurs, we want to be made aware of it. At first pass you should be using a logger. A logger lets us standardize how we create new logs by assigning a category for each type of log and ordering them by severity. Some common categories include DEBUG, INFO, and ERROR. In this example, DEBUG level logs may be information that would be helpful when figuring out what happened, but not necessary to be looked through all the time. INFO-level logs are adding a bit higher severity. These are messages we may always want to see so that we can see usage in real time. ERROR logs, being the most severe, can be alerted on. We can configure our system to report when an ERROR has been logged so that we can take immediate action. We can then use the INFO and DEBUG logs to determine what happened. If we’ve done it correctly these logs will have information on the unique machine the application is running on so we can handle hardware-specific problems. Once we are collecting logs from all machines across all applications, we can begin to build dashboards around each application. Combined with usage and hardware metrics, we have a central location to view all relevant information.

I hope this was in some way helpful for thinking about your own cloud infrastructure.  As we continue to improve our architecture, we hope to have more to share. We are evolving our technology every day and are working hard to improve our ETL workflows and integrations into the substantial amount of processing we are doing with the data we generate. In the meantime, we will continue to backfill posts with what we have learned and implemented along the way of this journey into the final frontier.

Product Innovation In Music

When we think of product innovation in the music industry, much of the focus centers on new ways to create music and new ways for fans to consume it.  As far back as piano rolls, the idea of having a machine play your favorite music in your own home was amazing, this iterated into piano rolls and player modules that better captured and reproduced the nuances of a better performance (eg. dynamics, attack, etc.). Welte-Mignon brought the public Debussy playing Debussy the way Debussy intended! This natural progression can be seen throughout the industry’s history with the phonograph, radio, film, television, cassette to cd, streaming, and so on.  As new technology brought us more music to listen to, the business and administration side has always reacted with ways to properly manage and exploit rights; mechanical royalties, performance rights societies, licensing of rights for new media just to name a few. However, with all of the progress on the macro level of the business side, there is still a lot of room for innovation. The challenge is how do we productize the business and administration side of the industry with the same level of innovation that the production and consumption of music has been given? Let us explore….

What is a Product in the first place?

For the sake of this piece, let’s call a product an aggregation of parts & commodities, packaged with a brand, in order to create a usable, productive, satisfying experience, which is then sold. Huh? Maybe this is better explained with an example:

A bunch of steel, 3rd party machined parts, tires, a computer, all wheel driving system, etc. is “an aggregation of parts and commodities”that could make an SUV.

The SUV “packaged with a brand,” say Subaru, could bring us one of several Subaru SUV models which are likely creating an image in your head of who buys it and where they drive it.

The ability to drive the car (usable), to your destination, through the woods with a mountain bike on the back, in the snow with skis on the roof, to the beach with a surfboard (productive), all the while remaining content because it never fails, and you didn’t pay the price of an Audi.

So for music, a product such as the Spotify® or Apple Music® app could be described as the aggregation of: licensed music (the commodity) delivered through graphical user interface that sits on a robust tech infrastructure (some parts) that gets people to the music they want, or never knew they wanted, with ease (the brand, usability, experience, etc.). Taking any product through the same exercise starts to reveal why one is chosen over the other, why some brands are more successful than others. During product development at Muserk, we use this exercise as a means to identify the real issues at hand and begin the process of building the solutions that address them head-on. So let’s now dive into what we can do about innovation in the music business.

Don’t confuse pain points with problems

At Muserk, we remain focused on the root of industry challenges.  We strive to stop identifying broad pain points and pretend they are the problem. They are, in fact, the symptom. Instead, we break them down and arrange them within a respective process. There is no shortage in our industry of pinpointing issues in copyright, royalty collections, lack of transparency and so on. Anyone who has attended a music industry panel knows we are great at identifying issues in the industry, and that is a good thing. Unfortunately, sometimes panels can be on parity with a New York City co-op shareholder meeting where people complain about the same things as last year and offer no practical solutions. At times solutions can even be met with ire as jaded individuals equally dread both their current circumstances and the change that could do them some good. Alternatively, taking the pile of identified pain points, breaking them down to their individual problems, and arranging them in an order to identify their place within a process will uncover their effect on a crucial dependency (i.e. a very important point of failure). It is a focus on these real issues that lead us to effective solutions. For example, with personal finance “I don’t have enough money” is a problem – really a symptom – we all face at one point or another.  When broken down it is because of an income problem or spending problem. If it’s an income problem, it could be because your gross pay rate is too low, or the number of hours/days to which the rate is applied are too low. Or maybe your net pay is being affected by a wage garnishment, or another withholding. Your problem may even pivot. You might find that a pre-tax retirement contribution is affecting your net income and doesn’t support your eating out/coffee habit. You decide the compound interest over 30 years is in fact better than the convenience of not making your lunch/coffee, and your perceived income problems are in fact a spending problem. Solution: make your own damn coffee and lunch!

Let’s identify and arrange

One major pain point in the industry that we, Muserk, alleviate is:

…having no idea how much a rights holder should be making but there is a strong feeling it should be more…

This pain point  is really a symptom of a whole bunch of underlying issues embedded in a ton of processes that span across the globe. The recording and publishing industries consist of many data pipelines, supply chains, royalty streams fragmented by rights types, mediums, platforms, and licensing configurations. These royalty streams are subject to the business practices, copyright laws, and capabilities of local markets. Constantly emerging music platforms create new royalty streams with new licensing configurations, which adds complexities to an already-complex industry. So, if we are to make meaningful products to fix this let’s start to list out these big little problems that make up the overarching issue:

  1. Music is on a DSP but not being played
  2. Music isn’t attached to my artist page
  3. Not getting paid for cover versions of your songs
  4. Having no way to find ISRCs linked to your compositions
  5. It’s been a year since a release and songwriter splits have not been decided
  6. Being able to collect PRO money for radio play, but no mechanicals from DSPs
  7. Being able to collect for U.S. activity but nothing internationally
  8. Being able to collect for all activity but the U.S.
  9. Having no idea how to register your works to receive publishing money
  10. Acquiring a catalog of masters but there is no useful metadata
  11. Not getting paid for remixes
  12. Unable to find 473 works in the 22 million rows of usage data provided by a music platform

 …we could go on forever before we even mention deal terms and royalty rates which is where most everyone looks first

Start arranging

As you arrange in the order of a process, you will begin to find that one problem may be a result of another before it or it may be creating a bigger issue further down the line. For example, there may be a solution for automated global delivery of works data to help with compiling and delivering data, but that ends up efficiently populating databases around the world with incorrect information. Oops! The challenge is anticipating the potential roadblocks that may appear when fixing things in one area only to uncover issues in another.  When developing solutions in this way you soon discover that the most complex of them can be solved one issue at a time.  It is this combined with an agile approach that so many software development teams use when building. Moving on….

Fix the stuff you know, take cues from other non-music industries for everything else

Everyone agrees that a fresh perspective can uncover new and innovative ways to approach problems. Anyone who has spoken with me about this knows I am a broken record when it comes to finding solutions outside of our industry (pun kind of intended). So, with the example from above, there is a data input issue and a delivery issue; 2 steps of a much longer process. Normally, we look for solutions within our industry. However, Muserk has found that looking at industries that have great success in fixing similar issues can be quite helpful. With the data input issue think about ecommerce and the checkout process. If you have ever purchased an item online, you navigate to your shopping cart, entered an address, CC info, shipping, etc, you have completed a process that companies spend a lot of resources and money tweaking and figuring out. Companies hate abandoned shopping carts and do whatever they can to ensure you complete your purchase. If we want to ensure music metadata is accurate going into our systems, perhaps the eCom shopping cart industry is on to something in terms of design, UX/UI, information gathering, etc.. There are solutions to countless problems already solved in other industries.

Building something truly useful, and constant iteration

By now, we can all agree that rights administration consists of many linear processes that are each subject to many points of failure. It is important to always know that one improvement somewhere can amplify a deficiency elsewhere. Or that a high performance feature in one area can be rendered useless by a weak link down the chain. There’s no reason to put a jet engine in a small prop plane if it is just going to tear the whole plane apart on takeoff. At Muserk, we realize building a single feature is useless without the infrastructure to support it, a workflow in which it integrates, or the personnel to use it. MMatch, Muserk’s AI matching technology that discovers sound recording/musical work links, at proof-of-concept required a Sr. developer and a tech savvy rights manager to run; not what we would call a scalable solution. Not until there was a UI for a rights manager to input various data formats and automated steps that made MMatch’s output data usable was the technology more accessible to everyone on the team and therefore used more often. Now that productivity shot through the roof, do we stop there? No. At this point we are ready to iterate and not be outpaced by industry demand. The tech world can be harsh in this regard. A product version or feature  can go from “beta” to “deprecated/obsolete” in a handful of years or less. Once MMatch became more widely used by the team, the rights management cheered the sudden ability to complete days of work in under an hour, but understood this vast improvement shifted the bottleneck from usage discovery to staging data and the subsequent analysis that followed MMatch. It is true that days of work were gone, but why stop there? Why not apply MMatch to other use cases? Or better yet, why not make this one incredible product, one of several “parts & commodities, packaged with a brand, in order to create a usable, productive, satisfying experience?” It is at this point where product development resembles a continuous cycle or even an expansive spiral. Innovation in one area of an industry or other industry that once served as an effective stand-alone solution then becomes a lynchpin for a larger, future product.  

So let’s review. We have gone from simply airing grievances to identifying problems. From understanding these problems’ effect on the bigger picture to ideation of real solutions, and so on. The music business side of the industry has a long way to go in terms of technology, but I personally look forward to Muserk being a part of the massive amount of innovation we will see in the future and helping modernize the music industry.

YouTube Accrued Royalties Program 2021

The 2021 claiming window for the YouTube Accrued Royalties Program is well underway. At the beginning of this year – and every year since 2017 – Muserk began the process of claiming sound recordings on YouTube that have generated royalties but are being held for unknown copyright holders. These royalties are now awaiting a link from a rightful owner.

Even though YouTube delivered its share of the $424 million of unclaimed royalties to the MLC, this only represents a fraction of what is awaiting a claim. Because of the wide variety of content formats available across all of YouTube’s products only a portion of YouTube’s music usage is subject to section 115 compulsory licensing handled by the MLC. Therefore the rest of YouTube’s unmatched royalties are claimed and distributed through the YouTube Accrued Royalties Program. 

Muserk’s A.I. matching technology M-MATCH was first deployed as a tool to handle the challenge both the inherent sparseness of the accrued royalty data and its sheer volume. With improvements year over year, and now powered by Muserk’s distributed computing system, M-PAC and M-MATCH,  our rights management team is poised to outdo itself, again. 

First Friday Playlist: Muserk’s Colin Moriarty

As a company, Muserk wants to showcase the people that make us who we are.   The reason we all work so hard here at Muserk every day is, of course, because of the music and the artists that make it. Thus, every first Friday of the month, we’ll be spotlighting an employee and the music they love via a “First Fridays” Spotify playlist. First up is Colin Moriarty – Rights Administrator: 


Hi, my name is Colin Moriarty. I joined Muserk shortly after moving to Nashville in 2018 and continue to work as a rights administrator. In my spare time I enjoy playing guitar and making music. During quarantine I started to experiment producing lo-fi hip hop songs under the artist name ceemor. I’ve included my most recent single ‘face value’ in the playlist along with some of my other favorites from the genre. I’m happy to share a handful of songs that help me focus at work and relax in my free time. Normally I listen to hip-hop/R&B, but lately I’ve been enjoying instrumental tracks like this because they leave more room to think.

Tornadoes, Rescue Dogs and Rights Management; Why this New Yorker made the move to Nashville

I grew up singing; theaters, retirement communities, Monday night open mic’s, and anywhere that would have me. As I got older, I learned that I was pretty good at being a musician, but terrible at being an artist so I moved to New York City to pursue a career in songwriting. Of course, this meant waiting tables during the day and going to shows/writing at night. Before I lived in New York, I had attended Berklee College of Music where I ended up learning a lot about royalty collection, so I soon became the go-to for all my musician friends who didn’t understand how to get paid for their music. 

New York makes you feel like you are part of a club, there is an energy to it. As great as it is, I always knew that I wouldn’t stay in NY forever, I knew it wasn’t a good fit for me, but I landed a job working with Muserk as a Music Supervisor where I was tasked with building a music library of pre-cleared music that I could then pitch for tv shows and commercials. When you are building a music library you learn a lot about communicating with artists and seeing things from their perspective. There is a lot of explaining the basics of sync licensing and also the differences between exclusive and non-exclusive contracts. This was working well for me so I ended up living in New York for 10 years. As the company grew we focused our business on royalty collection rather than licensing so Nashville naturally became our main hub. I started to feel a little disconnected from all the innovation happening in the Nashville office, so I decided to make a move. When it came time to leave for Nashville, I told my friends and family “don’t worry I will see you all the time… there’s nothing that could keep me from getting on a plane and seeing you (except maybe a global pandemic)…” I bought a car, figured out that I could save 15% on my car insurance and packed up my little apartment in Queens to head west. You’d be surprised just how much you can fit in the back of a Subaru!


Living in Nashville, as you can imagine, has been completely different than NYC. The pace of life is slower and the cost of living is like the 1950’s compared to NY. My place in Nashville looks out onto a forest rather than a busy street and I even have laundry inside… what’ll they think of next?! Just like New York, I do (or should I say, did) go see local bands and songwriter rounds. I have even found time for hobbies that would be impossible in NY like mountain biking which, turns out, is pretty fun! 

The music scene here is great. It has a distinct personality from New York’s where the emphasis tends to be on the song rather than the spectacle of performing it. In New York the picture of success is being famous, but in Nashville it’s owning your own publishing. Whenever I get asked what I do, the conversation always goes towards publishing. It has been interesting to see how many performers have a general understanding of royalty flow in Nashville. That being said, there is still a disconnect on the “how” when it comes to collecting for these rights. 

Knowing the importance of owning your copyrights is a good start, but that won’t do you much good if you don’t understand how those rights translate to revenue. I’ve seen too many musicians get hung up on only collecting for their master recordings. In an eco-system where per stream payout is…uh…pretty low, it’s important you collect as much as you possibly can for your works. Luckily, many of our clients know the importance of having a strong digital publishing presence and trust us to take care of this for them. I could have never known just how important proper monetization was about to become for all artists.


Right before the pandemic hit, Nashville experienced a terrible weather event that leveled homes and businesses. It truly terrified this city boy. I’ve always lived on the East coast, so I’ve never lived through a “tornado season.” The thing about a tornado is that you don’t have much time to prepare for it. It happens, and you pick up the pieces when it’s done. Muserk and its employees were lucky to not have been personally affected by the storm, but in the days following we saw the devastation and donated essential supplies while also volunteering to help clean up debris from the worst hit neighborhoods. Watching the community come together to help those who were affected reminded me of that energy I felt in NYC where some stranger will not hesitate to lend a hand when it is needed…they might grumble about it…but they’ll still help you out. Amongst the literal rubble was a local venue called The Basement East. Not only was the venue itself someone’s livelihood, it also served as a hub for touring and local bands that depended on it as an outlet to make a living. Just a couple months prior I had been there to see The Milk Carton Kids who are among a list of many musicians who no longer receive revenue from playing live shows. This makes what we do at Muserk even more personal and important…

In many ways our company has been fortunate. We’ve been able to gain momentum through this time, signing many more deals and expanding our skill sets while also allowing more time for family. For me, this meant being able to adopt a dog I named Freddie Blue after the late great Freddie King. He’s a hound/lab mix. In NYC, this would have never been possible. Nashville has given me a new family member and the team a new Zoom distraction. I think he may even have inspired our CEO, Paul Goldman, to get a dog too. The world really does work in mysterious ways….

Cattle Not Pets – Configuring Scalable Resources

When I first heard the term “cattle not pets” it was the perfect metaphor to describe a concept I had always been aware of when developing for the cloud, but never had the words to describe. The idea that you should remove individuality from your cloud infrastructure and treat your resources as nameless and dynamic like cattle. Resources come and go all the time so there is no time to name, feed, and care for them as if they were pets.

I’m sure many of us have been somewhere that has a fleet of servers named after superheroes, Disney characters, or something exceedingly nerdy like Dr. Who villains. When we start talking about scalability, though, characters can’t be imagined fast enough. Not to mention the hand feeding required to spin up new instances of an application over and over again. As we were developing our cloud infrastructure to scale, our first goal was to never connect directly to an instance again. This felt like a great starting point to answer the question of how do we deploy applications, manage state, and debug issues that arise. This is mostly a qualitative look at how we began to scale our operations in the early days of Muserk so we won’t go into detail about things like load balancing, caching, or infrastructure as code. If you’re looking for that type of thing stay tuned!

Deploying Applications

Probably the most important aspect of scaling is be able to deploy an application programatically. Once we can do that everything else is just facility. The obvious answer here is Docker. The more advanced answer involves Kubernetes or Terraform, but that’s a topic for another day. With a containerized application we can control dependencies, versions, the operating system, and any configuration that needs to be done ahead of time. So all we need is a platform to run our container. The advantage of this is that this platform can be anything! The container will run exactly what we need, the exact same way, anywhere that can support docker. Once the process of starting one of these containers is automated, we are free to start up as many as we would like allowing a load balancer to route traffic appropriately.

Managing State

Next there is the problem of how to manage state on a server instance that is essentially garbage. Writing to disk is out of the question because all of that information would be lost from instance to instance. Well, what about NFS? This could be a plausible solution, but too slow without provisioned IOPs (which are expensive in the cloud). Besides, we should do better!

In fact, this was the starting point for really honing our data model and forced us to come up with a first pass at some sort of ETL. As we ingest data, how do we store it so that our applications can access it in a consistent way? Once all of our data is in one place we can use it as our Single Source of Truth. Using a database as a SSOT is its own complexity. The real lesson for managing state across a scalable infrastructure is to AVOID state when you can.

Debugging Issues

Most commonly, the reason for needing to log into an individual instance is typically to figure out what went wrong. As resources start to scale this gets increasingly difficult anyway because an error could have occurred on any one of 4, 10, or, theoretically, n number of instances. So how do we figure out where problems are happening and how to fix them? There are all sorts of things to monitor across our applications. User experiences, resource trends, load times, are a couple of examples. Most importantly, in my opinion, are the error logs.

When an error occurs we want to be made aware of it. At first pass you should be using a logger. A logger lets us standardize how we create new logs by assigning a category for each type of log and ordering them by severity. Some common categories include DEBUG, INFO, and ERROR. In this example, DEBUG level logs may be information that would be helpful when figuring out what happened, but not necessary to be looked through all the time. INFO-level logs are adding a bit higher severity. These are messages we may always want to see so that we can see usage in real time. ERROR logs, being the most sever, can be alerted on. We can configure our system to report when an ERROR has been logged so that we can take immediate action. We can then use the INFO And DEBUG logs to determine what happened. If we’ve done it correctly these logs will have information on the unique machine the application is running on so we can handle hardware-specific problems. Once we are collecting logs from all machines across all applications we can begin to build dashboards around each application. Combined with usage and hardware metrics, we have a central location to view all relevant information.

I hope this was in some way helpful for thinking about your own cloud infrastructure. We have come a long way in the past several years, and still have a long way to go. As we continue to improve our architecture we hope to have more to share. In. the meantime we will continue to backfill posts with what we have learned and implemented along the way.

Thoughts from a Working Musician In Nashville

“Nashville has a long history of songwriting.”

This was something that I heard over and over when I moved here in the fall of 2017. At the time, I didn’t understand that this statement was actually an insight into how the music industry operates. To me, the word “songwriter” wasn’t much different from the word “artist” or “musician.” I had grown up playing songs by my favorite artists as well as writing and performing my own songs. It was all music to me. It wasn’t until later that I realized the music industry operates on some very clear distinctions – particularly in Nashville.

One of the first shows I went to in Nashville was at a down home type venue called Belcourt Taps. The show was an “in the round” style showcase where four different songwriters sat on stage side by side and took turns playing a song they had recently written. I had never encountered this type of show in Austin where I had moved from, but I got the sense it was standard practice here. To my surprise, one of the songwriters, in particular, was a very bad musician. His guitar playing was filled with missed notes and he struggled to sing in tune. But what was fascinating, was he didn’t seem to care at all. He was more interested in the audience, trying to gauge their reaction to his songs. I quickly realized that he had no interest in performing these songs on his own. His goal was to refine his songs down to their most entertaining form – that three-and-a-half-minute gem. It reminded me of how a comedian works on a joke over and over until he or she gets it just right. This was my first insight into how the music industry makes a clear distinction between artists and songwriters.

About a year later, I began working for Muserk as a software developer. Muserk is a global rights administrator that leverages technology to perform its duties with an exceptional level of speed and scale. I was intrigued by the opportunity to combine my tech career with my love of music. Furthermore, it was a chance to learn more about the business side of the music industry, something I thought would be useful in my own music endeavors.

As soon as I started, I was thrown into (sink or swim as the saying goes) the very complicated world of rights management. One of my first projects was developing what would later be known as M-Match — our proprietary AI technology used for finding works in the vast ocean of DSP data. Through this I then learned the intricacies of one way the music industry makes money.

The music industry makes money from two copyrights: one for the underlying work or composition and the other for a sound recording. In practice, there are two types of businesses that form around this: publishers (songwriter/work) and labels (artist/sound recording). So, if you have a song playing on Spotify, let’s say, a portion of the money that is generated from that song should find its way to the label/artist and a portion should find its way to the publisher/songwriter/s. You may think (as I did) that a company like Spotify would know all of this in advance and take care of it. That is not the case.

One of the big problems is that the label and publishing worlds don’t really talk to each other. So, a label will push a song to Spotify and not provide (and in some cases even know) any information about the underlying songwriters. Therefore, Spotify won’t know where to send the publisher/songwriter portion of the money. This is a fairly simplified but accurate account of what happens.

This is where Muserk shines. We spend most of our time matching songwriter related metadata to sound recordings so that we can collect and distribute the appropriate royalties. In the age of digital music this isn’t an easy task. We use all kinds of technology, processes, and insight to match as much data as possible. We’re constantly trying to innovate so that we can match works fast, accurately and at scale. I spend most of my time building this technology and creating ways to convey its results. I feel proud knowing that the work I do contributes to getting musicians paid what they’re owed.

As a musician, my time at Muserk thus far has opened my eyes to how the music world really works. I’ve learned that businesses dedicate themselves entirely to very small pieces of the industry. In Nashville, for instance, there are networks of people that are just trying to write the next hit song and could care less about recording or performing it. Concurrently, there are networks of people trying to be the next big artist and could care less about writing their own songs. For me, I’m still trying to figure out where I fit in. But having a broader understanding of the industry as a whole I know will help me navigate my own musical journey. And, of course, my metadata will be correct.

the next hit song and could care less about recording or performing it. Concurrently, there are networks of people trying to be the next big artist and could care less about writing their own songs. For me, I’m still trying to figure out where I fit in. But having a broader understanding of the industry as a whole I know will help me navigate my own musical journey. And, of course, my metadata will be correct.

Muserk VID

Announcing Muserk VID, A Joint Venture With Japan’s Video Research to Tackle Japanese Rights Management


Paul Goldman
CEO & Founder

With this joint venture and the creation of Muserk V.I.D., we expect to see less piracy of Japanese content on all platforms and an opportunity for our customers to monetize their content online through royalty collection,” said Video Research president Wataru Mochizuki in a statement. “We knew we needed a company that offered something unique to match the power of our scale for this joint venture. The passionate team at Muserk and their propriety technology M-PACTM and M-Match® make this a perfect match.

Read more on Billboard

Read more on Nikkei

Muserk Announces Partnership with Japan’s Largest Musical Copyright Administration Society JASRAC

Muserk is happy to announce that we are partnering with The Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC). JASRAC is not only the biggest copyright administration society in Japan, it is one of the largest rights societies outside of the United States. We will be leveraging proprietary tools like MPAC® and MMatch® to ensure a seamless collection of JASRAC’s U.S.-based mechanical rights on YouTube.

“JASRAC was founded in 1939 by Japanese composers and lyricists to protect the copyrights of musical works,” said JASRAC’s director in charge of international, Saito Mami. “We are happy to partner with such an innovative company that recognizes the abundance and importance of JASRAC repertoire on YouTube in America. I look forward to this agreement with Muserk bringing good results for Japanese rights owners.”

With the growing popularity of Japanese music and content on YouTube in the U.S., the partnership strengthens both companies’ positions within the growing and complex global online music business. Both MPAC® and MMatch® were specifically designed to find usage of our customer’s data amongst very large datasets while automating the entire royalty chain. This workflow allows us to to do the work of hundreds of people accurately and in a fraction of the time. We feel that Muserk is a perfect fit for the enormous scale of JASRAC’s data.

“We are very excited to be working with JASRAC,” noted Paul Goldman, Founder and CEO at Muserk. “JASRAC is a forward-looking rights society that has always been proactive about collecting royalties in its own territory and this partnership will help to extend the practice of proper remuneration of rights owners globally.”

Working Remotely

How Our Office Prepared Us To Be A Remote Team

As many startups do, Muserk began as a fully remote team. Once our business solidified, workflows increased and collaboration became increasingly more important. The logical next step was to get as many people as possible into one place. With team members all over the world, however, we couldn’t expect the entire company to move to Nashville.

In the throes of COVID-19 we were forced to move the team remote. We had gotten used to office life, and the team had grown significantly. Were those distant memories of a fully remote team lost? We couldn’t be sure how big of a challenge this would be to overcome. Luckily we still had members of the team outside of Nashville, and all along we had accidentally been preparing for this.

The office has always served as a hub for us. Once a quarter we assemble in Nashville for a week to share everything the company has been doing, and the division in each group’s effort is obvious. Each team is working on their own thing, and some of that knowledge doesn’t come across day to day. Because it doesn’t need to. Communication is key to facilitating a remote team, and, like any good team, we should even strive to over-communicate. That over-communication can quickly become a distraction, however, if it’s not effective.

Working in an office we’ve figured out what information streams matter to us, how to separate those, and how to tap into the ones we care about. In order to subscribe to all of the conversations happening at Muserk, and mute them when they get in the way, we make our chat channels as granular as possible. Discussions often happen in chat rather than in person, and we are in the habit of posting the results for those who were not there. We send casual meeting invites to those who may or may not care about the topic in case they want to be involved. Scheduled meetings auto-create video links within our calendars, and we join with tablets to use as whiteboards. When COVID-19 kept us from getting to the office, we worried about how it would hinder collaboration, and in hindsight we had been preparing all along. Without even knowing it we had fostered a remote-first culture that even our new hires, with no remote experience, were able to seamlessly adapt.

So has the office become unnecessary? Without it we wouldn’t have figured out who we are as a team. The lessons about communication may have required more effort, or taken longer to develop. We inadvertently learned a valuable lesson about disaster preparedness that we can carry on into the future. When we go back to the office, this moment will remain in the back of our minds. We may never be in this situation again, but if we are, the transition will be just as seamless.

Muserk Partnering With South Africa’s Largest Mechanical Rights Organization (CAPASSO)


Muserk has announced that we are partnering with South Africa’s largest mechanical rights organization, the Composers, Authors and Publishers Association (CAPASSO). Leveraging tools like MMatch®, Muserk will help CAPASSO spread their wings, and be a leader, not only in emerging markets like Africa, but every market worldwide.

South Africa’s parliament has recently passed the Copyright Amendment Bill intended to modernize the country’s four-decade-old copyright laws. The bill, awaiting presidential signature, has come under heavy scrutiny for “deviation from its original vision”. The bill seeks to improve access to those with disabilities, facilitate access to research and social development, and enhance creativity and innovation by empowering authors and creators.

South Africa has been the continent’s largest performing rights market with more than 50% of revenue coming from streaming. This partnership will help find more revenue for those artists. Muserk will collect streaming royalties from YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, Pandora, Tidal, and Deezer in the United States as well as YouTube in Brazil and Canada.

Read more about it on Billboard