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The Musical Work Notification request/response choreography supports a number of use cases. These include:

  1. A licensee requesting information on a licensor's claim(s) to musical work(s)
  2. A licensee wanting to augment and enrich the data they have on musical work(s)

It should be noted that first use-case may be the first step in a larger process of a licensee requesting licence(s) for use(s) of musical-work(s).

As well as the share information at the heart of the process, the choreography allows for (and indeed encourages) the exchange of many data elements which should provide significant value to both licensor and licensee. In particular, the process allows for the licensee to supply sound-recording and release data to the licensee, along with the associated, ISRCs, UPCs, catalogue numbers etc. In exchange, the licensor can supply the licensee with IPI, ISWC and other similar works data.

As well as industry standard identifiers, it is also highly recommended that both licensee and licensor ingest each other's proprietary identifiers. Exchange and usage of identifiers allows for much greater automation of this and other licensing processes.

A sample MWN Request Message is available here. Depending on the circumstances, the response can look very different:

  • The licensor may have an interest in the work, and will describe its interest in the response. Clearly, the complexity of the ownership can vary greatly and can range from
  • The licensor has no interest in the work, and the work is in the licensor's system; or
  • The licensor has no interest in the work, and the work is *not* in the licensor's system.

Core Concepts

Many of the concepts listed below will be familiar to most readers already, but a common understanding of core concepts is essential for the ensuring that all implementations of the DDEX standards are coherent:


Licensor is defined by DDEX as “An Agent granting permission to use a Creation in a License Agreement.”

In the context of works licensing, the Creation is a Musical Work, i.e. a composition, lyrics or adaptation.

Licensors are typically music publishers, licencing agencies (such as HFA or CMRRA), or collection societies (such as ASCAP, BMI or SACEM).

Licensee is defined by DDEX as “A Party to whom permission to use a Creation is granted in a License Agreement.” In the context of works licensing, the Creation is a Musical Work, i.e. a composition, lyrics or adaptation. Licensees are typically record companies and/or music retailers.
 Manuscript Share

The Right Share of a Musical Work as agreed between the Writers (and before the involvement of publishing or publishers). The sum of all manuscript shares on a Musical Work equal 100%. It is possible (though unusual) for Manuscript Shares to vary by Territory or Rights Type.

Manuscript Shares are often referred to as Writer Shares.

 Original Publisher Share

The Right Share of a Musical Work as represented by the first publisher in the chain of title.  The Original Publishers of a work can therefore change over time.  The name "Original" is therefore contractual (rather than meaning the "first" publisher in a temporal sense.)

 Collection Share

A RightShare as calculated for the collection of money for Right Shares.

Manuscript Shares are often referred to as Final or Payable Shares.

In the context of the Letters of the Direction Choreography Standard, Collection Shares are the Right Shares that are being transferred from a Relinquishing Publisher to an Acquiring Publisher.

Identifiers of note for the DDEX Licensing messages

Many of the identifiers listed below will be familiar to most readers already, but a little more information follows on identifiers that may be less familiar:

 Party Identifiers
 IPI Name Number
IPIs are identifiers assigned to writers and publishers by SUISA o/b/o CISAC. It is very widely within the music publishing world by both publishers and CISAC members. It is a well maintained and reliable identifier (and is of sufficient quality that it is used within the ISWC standard).
 International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI)
ISNIs are ISO identifier for public identities of people and organisations. At the time of writing it is not widely used within the music industry, but DDEX expects that its adoption within music will increase significantly over time.
 Musical Work Identifiers
 International Standard Work Code (ISWC)

ISWC (International Standard Musical Work Code) is a unique, permanent and internationally recognised ISO identifier for the identification of musical works, including compositions, lyrics and adaptations.

ISWCs are allocated by music rights societies at the time of a writer or publisher registering the work.


 Collection society proprietary identifiers
Such identifiers may be helpful where an ISWC is not available and parties need to reconcile a number of work claims together into a single consolidated picture of a work – YouTube for example use the HFA Song Code for this purpose. Since DDEX's MWL standards work currently focuses on the US and Canada at present, it is likely that identifiers from the music rights societies in the US (HFA, ASCAP, BMI, SESAC) and Canada (CMRRA, SOCAN, SODRAC) are most likely to be relevant.
 Identifiers for Sound Recordings & Videos
 International Standard Recording Code (ISRC)

The International Standard Recording Code (ISRC) is the international identification system for sound recordings and music video recordings.

ISRCs are allocated by the record company that wishes to market a sound recording or music video recording.

 Release Identifiers
 International Code Product Number (ICPN, better known as UPC & EAN or Barcode)

ICPNs, also called Global Trade Item Number, are bar codes for products defined by GS1. ICPN can be allocated by any organisation that wants to trade such an item.


 Catalogue numbers

Catalogue numbers are unique numbers typically allocated by a record label for a product. They follow no prescribed syntax.


 Global Release Identifier (GRid)

The Global Release Identifier allows the unique identification of "Releases" of music over electronic networks, so that they can be managed efficiently. A Release is defined precisely in the Standard but can be understood as a collection of recordings or other media that are grouped together for commerce. Products can be made from Releases by, for instance, choosing a technology to encode the recordings (such as MP3 or AAC) or a business model (such as sale or rental).

By assigning a unique GRid to a Release, it can be identified without ambiguity in, for instance, reports of sales of products based on the Release.

MWN and the Common Works Registration (CWR)

There is some overlap between DDEX's MWN standard and the Common Works Registration (CWR). Details on this overlap are detailed here.







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