Music streaming and licensing. In case you’ve missed it , licensing music is a HUGE deal these days. It is a billion-dollar industry and is growing every day. It will be one of the largest entertainment industry segments in the next few years outside of video games and movies. Yet the top organization that are responsible for tracking streaming media plays and compensating artists are woefully behind the times when it comes to technology. They invest heavily in marketing and recruiting members but neglect what should be a core competency of their business in today’s high-tech world.
Just how bad are these companies at technology? The hints are everywhere. Licensing agreements refer to archaic terminology that references an age when computers were only found in college basements. Corporate websites don’t work and are poorly maintained. Nearly everywhere you look you can see the hints of outdated corporations that changed just enough to give the appearance they are keeping up with the times but behind-the-scenes are likely listening to 8-track tapes or possibly wax cylinders while the rest of the world streams digital media to their iPhone.
In a brief 30-minute “tour” of the ASCAP website, one of the “Big Three” performance rights organizations in the United States slated with collecting performance royalties for songwriters and composers, you can find a heap of technology incompetency. ASCAP is quick to direct you to their online forms when inquiring about starting a new streaming media business. Within 10 minutes of doing so you will find all kinds of issues with their system.
Here is a brief view of my “tour of ASCAP” today.
We Cannot Handle Web Input
A basic feature of nearly every website since 1999 is the ability to allow the user to enter something like a phone number in WHATEVER FORMAT THEY CHOOSE. Stripping out dashes, parenthesis, and any other character to store it in the database on the back end is extremely easy. Anyone that has taken even the most basic programming class will learn this within the first week; possibly even within the first hour of taking a class.
ASCAP, it appears, has yet to figure out how to format data so you can enter a phone number that looks like a phone number.
For added fun they don’t tell you that you must type in just numbers until AFTER you’ve typed something like a hyphen.
What Do You Mean There Are New TLDs?
TLDs are the “top level domains” for the Internet. It is the .com in the web address. Or .info. Or .org. Today there are hundreds of new TLDs with more coming out every day. Guess ASCAP never got that memo. If you don’t input a TLD that has existed for at least 2 years they won’t allow you to register your domain. They also apparently think all websites must start with www as well. Within the next couple of years you will see very few websites start with www or end with .com. Websites will be called things like “Streaming.Music” or “My.Villa”.
Does Anyone Know How To Upload A PDF
For a company that is ALL OVER legal ramifications for misusing services and products, this is a huge oversight. Get ready to agree to the terms and conditions, but don’t ever click that link to actually read them. Their T&C is simply a single page with their logo on it. Shortest Terms & Conditions I’ve ever read. Sure, I agree you have a logo. Anything else?
Does The Webmaster Know What Year It Is?
While they are figuring out how to upload a PDF file, maybe someone should tell the webmaster that it is not 2015. Sure, it’s only June, so we’ll give them some slack. Maybe they’ll get it updated by Christmas.
Contact Us… Sort Of Maybe Not Really
Try to contact the webmaster to tell them about some of the problems, like not being able to register a domain or tell them the terms-and-conditions is empty. You get an archaic 1992 multi-step web form that doesn’t have any of the options you need to contact them. I love the part about “we will contact you at the email provided unless you provide a different email” but there is only one email address entry box on the form. There is no webmaster link unless you stumble across the page I found above. Lovely.
Wildcard SSL Cert. What’s That?
Here is a company raking in millions of dollars that they claim they use to better serve their members. Yet they somehow missed the fact that for a few-hundred dollars they could be running a wildcard security certificate. Every viable website should be running a security certificate. It protects the visitors to the website and the business itself. The easy way to do this is purchase a “single host” certificate for around $40, or get one for free. That means that a specific website like www.ascap.com can start with https:// . For a few-hundred dollars you get a certificate known as a “wild card certificate”. It allows ANY domain like https://ascap.com/ or https://www.ascap.com to be used; as long as the domain and TLD match – the ascap.com part, then the security certificate still works. Either ASCAP doesn’t know about that or they decided to save a few-hundred dollars on a certificate.
Do you trust them to track streaming media revenue fairly with their “cutting edge technology”? Really?