Every time a song gets played music-makers need to be paid. But which song got the play? And which music-makers do we pay? Too often, we simply don’t know.

This has long been a challenge for the music industry.


It means that royalties collected when music is performed live and when recorded music gets played in public spaces often cannot be accurately paid to the record labels, music publishers, artists and songwriters whose music was actually used.


Meanwhile in the digital space, we have similar problems with the user-generated content, video-sharing and livestreaming apps that are becoming increasingly key revenue generators for the growing music rights business.


But there is a solution: next generation audio ID that is able to identify every version, every performance and every cover of every song everywhere. Breathe Music is developing a ground-breaking new AI-drive technology that will achieve just that.

Breathe Music


The music rights business is in growth. Fuelled by the streaming boom, the global recorded music market has grown 39% since 2015, and Goldman Sachs has estimated that recorded music revenues will double in value by the end of the current decade.


Phase one of the streaming boom was driven by Spotify-style services, providing access to a large catalogue of recordings for a monthly subscription fee. However, the streaming music market is now diversifying with new business models gaining momentum.






While YouTube has been licensed by the music industry since the late 2000s, it’s only in recent years that user-generated content and video-sharing apps have started to become lucrative royalty generators for the music community.


With services like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Triller now also part of the mix – and other innovative alternative business models in development – it is these kinds of services that are most likely to drive the next phase of the streaming boom.




Breathe Music
Breathe Music

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 shutdown has resulted in the livestreaming of concerts finally gaining mainstream appeal. Research suggests this new interest in livestreaming will outlive the shutdown itself, providing a significant new revenue stream for the music industry.


Concurrent to all this, another growth music rights revenue stream has been live and public performance, ie when music is performed or played in public.


This side of the business has been heavily hit by COVID-19 of course, but once the pandemic is over a resurgent live industry is expected to embrace technology like never before, while the use of music by businesses in public spaces will quickly return to 2019 levels and then grow significantly in the years ahead.


All these trends mean that the music rights business continues to be in good health. Traditional music rights companies – including record companies and music publishers – are expanding, and new investment is flooding into the sector as the City again seeks to get involved in music copyright.

Breathe Music


There have always been many scenarios where music is used and royalties are due, but it is hard for the industry to know what specific songs and recordings have been played.


This can mean royalties are not collected at all. Or that the costs of distributing those royalties to artists and songwriters are too high. Or that royalties have to be distributed based on market share calculations, meaning the wrong people get paid.


And these challenges are increasing. Many of the new kinds of digital services that will drive the next round of growth in streaming involve both users and grass-roots creators uploading, editing, curating and remixing music. But what music?




We need a fast, reliable and efficient way to track what music is being used so that the music industry can capture all the potential revenue; the digital platforms can comply with copyright laws that are evolving to increase their liabilities; and most importantly of all the correct artists and songwriters are benefiting from this new digital income.


Meanwhile, post-COVID, live performance and public performance royalties will become an important growth revenue stream for the music industry again. But for artists and songwriters to benefit from that new round of growth, we need to find a better way to ensure that royalties are being paid rapidly and accurately to the right music-makers.

Breathe Music


The solution to this challenge is audio-recognition technology.


The music industry has already embraced level-one audio ID to power recommendation services and monitor the use of recorded music by radio stations and in clubs. But it’s next-generation audio ID that will be a real revolution.

Breathe Music

Level-one audio ID was mainly designed to recognise commercially released recordings. But next-generation music recognition will be able to identify every version, every performance and every cover of every song everywhere. Breathe Music is developing a ground-breaking new AI-drive technology that will achieve just that.


Our game-changing approach to audio-recognition has been in development since 2018 and is now being built, evolved and tested by world-leading experts via our partnership with Queen Mary, University Of London’s Centre For Digital Music.