Audio Fingerprinting vs. Watermarking

Daily Tip #102

Two relatively new technologies have emerged to help artists, labels and publishers to identify copyright ownership from an audio file, and to allow those rightsholders to get paid more often: Audio Fingerprinting and Watermarking.

Here’s what you need to know about both…

Audio Fingerprinting is a technique where the unique signature of a music file is listened to and stored in an archive. When playback of that audio is ‘recognized’, it can be matched against a database that contains all the artist and copyright ownership information. When copyright ownership changes hands, that database is simply updated.

Watermarking on the other hand embed that information right in the audio file in a frequency range well above what can’t be heard by humans, but can be heard by decoding software. The advantage of watermarking is that it isn’t affected by voiceovers, poor audio and edits. It also allows you to identify multiple versions or edits of the same song or track individually, to get better insights into which version is used where.

Tunesat, Digimark and Shazam are well-known names offering these technologies.

For a more detailed (and technical) explanation, check out this link.

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