How do you use Music Recognition Technology to track DJ performances?

What is Music Recognition Technology (MRT)?

MRT refers to technology which is used to help identify music through sound. Shazam is the best-known consumer facing example of an MRT service where users can record a short sample of music, and software will match it to a database and identify the song.

Which supplier is providing the MRT?

After a lengthy evaluation process, where over 30 companies that specialise in the deployment of MRT were approached and a shortlist of vendors were trialled, DJ Monitor was selected to provide monitoring services for the pilot phase of the project. 

How do the MRT monitoring boxes work?

In partnership with venues around the UK, we installed a number of MRT monitoring boxes which generate a ‘fingerprint’ for each track played during a DJ set. A fingerprint is a digital summary which represents the sound. This fingerprint is then run though the library of fingerprints to see if a ‘match’ can be found. We then receive a report from our MRT supplier of all the identified tracks which we use to match to our database of musical works to then pay members.

Audio fingerprint technology can recognise a recording within a performance, even if it is only a couple of seconds long. This makes it incredibly useful when recognising musical works within remixes.

How many licensed premises are being monitored?

Currently we have 32 devices installed in 19 venues.

What does it mean for DJs?

The spontaneous nature of DJ sets makes it difficult for DJs to document their set lists, however MRT can capture this information in the most effective way possible with absolutely no impact on the DJ’s performance. The system is completely secure and there's no way it will compromise the privacy of a DJ's set list, and it will support fair and accurate royalty payments to the people whose music is played.

Are live performances monitored?

No. The technology deployed currently can only identify recorded music.

Has the performance information collected been used to distribute royalties?

The data collected during 2017 was found to be of sufficient quality to be considered for use to distribute royalties. The data collected from individual venues provided an accurate record of the music used in those venues and was found to better reflect the music played across the related venue chains and brands than current distribution methodologies. As such, the performance information collected during the pilot in the final quarter of 2017 will be matched to our database and paid in the main October 2018 distribution. On an ongoing basis, data collected from the pilot devices will be used for distribution of the licence revenue collected from those venues with devices installed.  

Does this supplement or replace any existing methods used for distributing royalties for public performance?

We will continue to test how we can use the data collected via MRT to supplement and inform the current distribution methods used by PRS for Music in a way that is fair and accurate. With thousands of licensed premises across the country, installing monitoring equipment everywhere would not be cost effective or operationally viable. We will use the data as a direct source of usage where we can and then aim to supplement existing distribution methods (including samples and analogies) in an effort to make them more accurate and representative of the music played by DJs.

Is the cost of this new technology worth the returns delivered?

So far, the new technology and the way we have used the reporting data to accurately distribute royalties is proving worthwhile. We are working to progress the technology further to ensure that we gain maximum returns for the investment made. We will refine the type of venue, the frequency of event, the suitability of the audio set-up for a permanent installation and connectivity options to ensure easy collection of the data. Our Distribution Committee has endorsed the ongoing use of this technology, and we will continue to ensure that it remains cost-effective versus the benefits gained.

Will the cost of this project be passed on to members?

As with all projects of this nature, the costs are covered by the admin fees we deduct from licensing revenues before distribution to members and are budgeted for annually.

How are you planning to roll out this technology? 

We are still considering our findings and how they will inform future decisions about a wider roll out of MRT into licensed premises.  We now have a better understanding of where the devices should be placed to get the best spread of results and we have taken our first steps to make changes to our current distribution policies. Further policy changes will be proposed to our boards/committees where relevant, and this will determine the number and focus of venues to be monitored. 

We have also started to use MRT to identify music performed at festivals and events which are predominantly DJ-led. We have monitored 5 festivals during the 2018 season and hope to increase the numbers of stages and festivals where we use MRT to collect DJ setlists in 2019.  

Will I need to upload audio files of my recordings?

DJ Monitor actively works to ensure that its audio database is as comprehensive and up-to-date as possible to represent the music played in venues. However, with new music being played in venues all the time this can always be improved so if you think your music is likely to be played by DJs in licensed venues we would encourage you to upload your audio files and associated metadata to DJ Monitor. If you already work with a record label, publisher or music distributor it is worth asking them if they can or already do provide your audio and data to DJ Monitor.  Audio files are accepted in a wide variety of formats including WAV, MP3, AIFF, and FLAC.  Should you need to upload your tracks to DJ monitor, please contact them as below and they will provide further instruction:  +31 6 54374096  +31 6 11040448

Will I be able to bulk upload audio files of my recordings?

Yes. DJ Monitor provide a number of solutions to enable the batch upload of audio files and metadata.

What genres will this technology cover?

The music performed in the venues we are monitoring is wide-ranging, including everything from underground dance/electronic music to commercial chart hits and club classics. As a result, DJ Monitor uses a database which contains over 46 million tracks covering a huge variety of genres.

Do I still need to submit my setlists to PRS for Music?

The way in which we collect public performance data will continue. You can and should continue to report DJ sets on our live performance reporting page.

Is any personal data stored by DJ Monitor?

In terms of the tracks, DJ Monitor only hold metadata that is provided with the audio of the tracks in their database. If you are uploading your material, DJ Monitor will only need: 

  • File name
  • Artist
  • Title (version)

Only your email address is required, which is processed in accordance with DJ Monitor’s Privacy Policy, to find out more please contact

Do I still need to register my works with PRS for Music?

Yes, this is absolutely essential in order for us to match the works and recordings identified by DJ Monitor with the records we hold (or indeed other societies that we work closely with). If you are aware of the ISRC number(s) identifying recordings of the work please ensure you include these in your work registration.