FAQ - Digital Audio Identification

In August 2007, SOCAN made its first distribution using DAI (digital audio identification).

What is Digital Audio Identification?
Digital Audio Identification (DAI) uses pattern recognition (or “fingerprinting”) to identify musical works aired on radio by comparing them against a BDS library of known works in search of a match to identify titles.

Why did SOCAN implement this?
SOCAN conducted more than two years of extensive research and impact assessment into the use of DAI technology for distribution of member royalties for performances on Canadian radio.

DAI allows SOCAN to:

  1. Address member requests that census information be used for radio performances;
  2. Dramatically increase the number of radio performances captured; and
  3. Expand our ability to provide members with additional details on their pre- and post-distribution performance data.

How is this different from the way SOCAN previously monitored radio?
Previously, SOCAN radio performance data was gathered one of two ways:

  1. CBC -- 100% performance data provided for the network and regional programming  
  2. All other stations - survey methodology to determine payable radio performances. Approximately 720 Canadian stations provided programming logs each quarter, to a maximum of 28 days per station per year.

How are performance payments calculated for non-census stations?
SOCAN currently applies survey methodology to performance data for these stations in the following manner:

  • 8 % survey  (28 days per year) of all music programming for commercial and larger non-commercial stations that are not affiliated with BDS
  • 1 % survey (3 or 4 days per year) is provided for smaller non-commercial stations (e.g., college stations) due to the lower licence fees (less than $2,000 / year) they pay.

Currently, with 100% census performance data provided by DAI technology, radio distributions are comprised of the following:

  • 100% census performance data (non-CBC) -- from approximately 210 commercial radio stations, which will provide approximately 65% of SOCAN’s domestic radio revenue.
  • CBC performance data  – 100% census - National and regional programming
  • Survey data – CBC local programming, community radio, and other non-census (survey) stations

How many more performances will be captured by using DAI technology?
The implementation of DAI will increase the number of annual radio performances captured for SOCAN to over 18 million at start-up. With the very first distribution (Aug 2007), stations covered by DAI technology will account for approximately 65% of all domestic radio re venue.

Does the use of DAI increase the amount of money I earn?
The value of your radio royalties will vary from distribution-to-distribution based on the amount of airplay you received and what combination of census and survey stations the performances take place on.  

Are there separate radio statements for census, survey and CBC?
No. All radio performances appear on one radio statement. Census, survey and CBC performances are distinguished as RCEN, RSUR or RCBC.
If you have online statements, you will be able to drill down to see further details for each performance – e.g., specific station.

Is there an online calculator for radio?
Yes. The calculator will allow you to calculate an estimate for a radio performance – census, survey or CBC.

I had a performance on a census station but I didn’t get paid for it. What happened?
A song must be registered with both SOCAN and BDS in order to be paid in the current distribution.  A song identified in the performance data provided by BDS that has not been registered with SOCAN will be categorized as “unidentified” until it is identified, at which time payment will be processed.

Although BDS has a very high rate of song identification (96%), there are cases where a song is not initially identified in the performance data. BDS then reviews approximately two weeks worth of radio tapes and checks back with various stations in an effort to identify as many additional works as possible.

How accurate is the information BDS supplies?
BDS encodes (or “fingerprints) songs received from radio stations, record labels, managers, publishers, songwriters, etc. BDS identifies approximately 96% of the songs aired on applicable stations. That information is 100% accurate.

If a “uni” has recently been identified and it had a prior performance on a station that now falls under the BDS group of stations, how will it be paid?
It will be paid as survey using the rate from the quarter in which it is paid (i.e., not the quarter in which the performance took place).

Will the performance value for census, survey and CBC stations change from quarter to quarter?
Yes. The value for each performance will vary from quarter to quarter depending on the pool amount and the number of payable points.  This will not be any different from previous quarters.

With more radio performances being captured, will private copying payments for airplay be affected?
Yes. The CPCC has made adjustments to ensure that private copying payments are fairly distributed between census and survey station performances.

How do I ensure that my songs have been registered with BDS?
Check with your record label or management to determine whether your songs have been sent to BDS. If you are still uncertain, you can contact BDS by e-mail at clientservices@nielsen.com or Paul.Tuch@nielsen.com, or by phone at 905-943-8481. If your songs are not currently registered with BDS, more information is available here.

You can also mail a commercial CD or a CD that you have burned as long as it is accompanied by a written list of the song titles and the artist name and the record label (if applicable). The address is:
Nielsen BDS
160 McNabb St.
Markham, ont.
L3R 4B8
att : Paul Tuch

Does BDS then send registered songs to radio for airplay?
No, BDS tracks radio airplay. It does not submit music to radio stations for airplay.