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A number of Cells are marked as being “mandatory” in the DSR and CDM standards. 

This is because the information from these Cells is essential for the recipient in fulfilling their business function in the music industry value chain. One such example are title and artist information for sound recordings and releases in the DSR standard. Licensors have to have access to this information in order to match a sales transaction to a musical work.

However, in some cases, it may be possible that a message sender does not have the information required to populate a mandatory Cell. In the above example, there are cases where a DSP may not have title or artist information – e.g. when reporting user-generated content.

In such cases, and only in such cases, may the Licensee use the token #unknown# instead. It is not permitted to just leave such mandatory Cells empty. The token may also not be used in Cells marked as optional or conditional – those should just be left empty if no data is available.

The use of such a token is a pragmatic approach to addressing a business need. But users of the DSR standard should note that it is no longer possible to communicate a band name or title called #unknown#.

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