We become numb to huge numbers after we hear them often enough. Like hundreds of millions and trillions, the number of reported performances of music that some performance rights societies say they are currently receiving and the number that they are bracing themselves to deal with in the near future, respectively. The numbers are just too big for most people to truly grasp their significance. And yet these numbers as they apply to performances—streams—of music and to performers are at the very heart of the issues of transparency (clarity) and fair remuneration bubbling up in talks among (demands from) music trade groups, in business negotiations and in proposed legislation because rights holders want and often need to know what is going on with each and every one of those transactions.
There is a group of individuals who represent companies and organizations from every link in the digital music supply chain around the world who really ‘get’ the impact of these numbers. After meeting their day-to-day business obligations, they spend a lot of time participating in work groups and in strategy meetings to come up with ways to help everyone meet the demands of the explosive amount of music consumption—to help make sure that music and music use can be identified, tracked, reported and paid for, among other things. They are members of a group called the Digital Data Exchange (DDEX). The way they address some of these challenges is by working together to come up with standards that every business in the digital music chain can use to communicates vital information with one another.