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Everything you need to know about Music Recognition Technology

Story Published Sunday 16 July 2023

If you’re familiar with Shazam, an app that can identify a song by feeding a short sample of music through your phone’s mic, it won’t be hard to understand MRT. Similar technology is used by PRO’s (Performing Rights Organisations) around the world to help identify songs played at large events and festivals. Here’s everything you need to know.

What is MRT?

Music Recognition Technology (MRT) is an audio matching process whereby audio fingerprints taken from DJ performances are compared to a database of source recordings. APRA supplies promoters or event organisers with a device that connects to the mixing desk, picking up audio fingerprints from the songs played.

This data is processed by DJ Monitor who then provide a detailed report to APRA of song titles and artists played.

How does DJ Monitor collect audio fingerprints?

An audio fingerprint is a condensed digital summary of an audio signal used to quickly identify a song. DJ Monitor's database is frequently updated with new releases by certain Digital Distributors (DSPs), record labels, and publishers. If your song is available for purchase and streaming worldwide, chances are your song’s fingerprint is in their system. However, songwriters can upload their tracks directly to DJ Monitor to ensure their metadata is in their database.

How MRT impacts APRA members:

MRT allows for more accurate music reporting at DJ events and festivals. If you have a released song that is being played by a DJ at large-scale events/festivals and MRT is in use, APRA can appropriately distribute performance royalties based on what songs were played.

DJs can also be assured that the writers and publishers of the songs they are championing in their sets are receiving the royalties they are due.

What happens if MRT isn’t in use and my song is played?

If MRT isn’t in use at a “promoted event” (this is the phrase APRA uses to describe an event where the ticket price is above $35), promoters are asked to supply APRA with the setlists or DJ playlists of all the performers at their event or festival. If the event’s ticket price is less than $35 (and therefore it’s not considered a “promoted event”) each performer/band/artist needs to submit a performance report to get paid performance royalties for that gig. Learn more about performance reports here.

NOTE: MRT only works with original audio files so if your song is performed live (by a band or acoustically), it won't necessarily be recognised by the MRT device.