What Exactly is CWR?
Putting it simply, Common Works Registration (CWR) is a protocol and data format for the registration of musical works. It is a standardised method to share metadata between parties in the publishing industry. But what does that actually mean and why do we need it?
In short, CWR will:
● Provide all of the data elements necessary for a Publisher to register a work at a Performance or Mechanical Rights Organisation;
● Deliver a means of tracking registration status;
● Allow for standardised communication between publishers and collection societies.
The clue is in the name – by providing a ‘common’ standard both the publisher and the collection societies benefit from an accurate and precise supply of song data. This therefore increases the accuracy of royalty payments.
CWR aims to create a synergy between publishers and organisations to collaborate and exchange information, creating one method across the board. Whilst other formats are still available, CWR is by far the preferred method.
Who does it benefit?
● Publishers can send their repertoire’s metadata to their society & sub-publishing network in a single file format;
● Collection societies receive the same standardised registration file from publishers.
Put it this succinctly and it’s not difficult to see how this system benefits everyone.
Who monitors it?
CWR standards is currently upheld by CISAC (the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers). Whilst CWR is a standard format, the music industry is far from static and as such, CISAC regularly review and evolve the registration process to keep up. New versions are not uncommon and CWR users are notified when changes are made.
How does it work?
Publishers can use catalogue management software like Curve to store their Works’ metadata in a CWR file. This file can then be delivered to the society or publisher via an FTP or simply via email.
The file itself is stored in a text format and can be opened in a notepad. A CWR format is generally rather difficult to make sense of with the human eye. So, we are providing an example below to briefly explain how these files are structured and how to interpret the most common data points.
The first three characters of each row, named the Record Type, identify the type of information we can expect to read on this row. Each Record Type has its own set structure, with a consistent number of characters allowing computer algorithms to expect which type of information to read in any given position in the CWR file.
Once a society has received your CWR file and has registered your songs, they will provide you with an Acknowledgement file. This file, which is structured very similarly to a CWR file, will highlight which songs have registered successfully or which songs have not and why. Furthermore, it will hold useful information such as the song code that is assigned to the song by the society.
How can Curve help?
Our Royalty Management Software enables you to store your repertoire’s metadata securely in the cloud in a clear and concise format. All the data points relevant for CWR deliveries are stored, and CWR files can be created and instantly delivered to all societies worldwide. Curve can read the returned Acknowledgement files, inform you which songs need to be corrected and redelivered, and store the society’s song identifiers. All that along with processing your incoming sales files and creating royalty statements for your songwriters.