Public service broadcasters establish monitoring process for music reporting to GEMA and GVL

Version as at:  July 2020


1. What is the background to this change?

In the existing reporting process of the public service broadcasters, the collective management organisations GEMA and GVL received partially incorrect or incomplete reports of the musical works used. The new music reporting system will, based on a digitised process, significantly improve the quality of these reports. Public service broadcasters can thus meet their reporting obligations under optimised conditions. The obligation of broadcasters to report music uses to GEMA does, however, remain unchanged.


2. Who controls the changeover to the new monitoring and music reporting system?

The changeover takes place as part of a project of the public service broadcasters. The broadcasters are both principals and customers of the new music reporting system. As recipients of the usage reports, GEMA and GVL work closely with the public service broadcasters in the interest of their rightsholders.


3. How does the monitoring reporting process work and who are the parties involved?

The public service broadcasters have commissioned the Spanish company BMAT to provide and operate the new reporting system. The so-called "audio fingerprint technology" is used. In this process, a digital fingerprint is created from an audio file (Fig. 1), which, in an ideal case, is recognised during the transmission of a broadcaster. The music that has been detected is enhanced with details on work title, author, etc. and forwarded to GEMA and GVL in the form of a music report (Fig. 2).


4. When will the changeover to the new music reporting system take place at the public service broadcasters?

The GEMA distribution of the broadcasting rights' categories (R, R VR, FS, FS VR) as of 01/07/2020 for the 2019 financial year includes, for the first time, work usages that have been reported to GEMA by the public service broadcasters ARD, ZDF and Deutschlandfunk with the support of monitoring technology . The changeover in the reporting process by means of which broadcasters fulfil their obligation to provide GEMA with a usage report, is a major step in the cooperation between the public service broadcasters and GEMA.


5. Why is it important for authors to upload the recordings of their works?

The upload of commissioned compositions ensures that these works are detected by the monitoring process and included in the usage reports of the broadcasters. The upload is therefore the necessary basis for participation in the distribution on 01/07/2020 and for subsequent distributions.

The ZDF has contractually obliged producers to upload soundfiles for new productions from 01/06/2019. From last year onwards, producers have also become contractually bound to upload all commissioned compositions and live music as well as to supply the correct metadata to ARD.

The upload of existing music to the radio archives is simultaneously carried out by the broadcasters.

It is, however, not necessary to upload commercial music e.g. music that has been released commercially on sound recordings since these have usually already been submitted to the monitoring service provider BMAT.


6. Where can the recordings be uploaded?

There are three alternative options for the soundfile upload:

Option 1: The GEMA portal

GEMA members (authors and publishers) and GVL rightsholders (labels and producers) should use the GEMA soundfile upload service.

After uploading and authorisation for the purposes of "Monitoring of music use in television and radio programmes", the soundfiles are immediately transferred to the new reporting system of ARD, ZDF, DLR and DW.

To the upload

File formats: preferably WAV and MP3 (320 kbps)

This portal accepts soundfiles for all musical works that have already been reported to GEMA. It is accessible to all rightsholders of GEMA and GVL.


Option 2: The ARD portal

The programmes of the ARD as well as 3sat, KiKa, ARTE, DLR and DW have set up a new, joint music upload portal that can be accessed via the web. The upload of all commissioned compositions and musical performances of live music as well as the required details about the film, the recording and the work have been contractually binding for producers since last year.

To the upload

File format: uncompressed audio as PCM-WAV file, 16Bit/48 or 44.1 kHz

The ARD portal is suitable for the soundfile upload of music pieces in new and old commissioned productions of the ARD stations. It is primarily designed for the producers. However, the rightsholders of GEMA and GVL can upload their soundfiles here as well, provided that they are productions of the mentioned broadcasters.


Option 3: The ZDF portal

For television productions commissioned by the ZDF for the broadcasters ZDF, ZDFinfo, ZDFneo, 3sat, KiKa, ARTE and DW, a corresponding upload of commissioned compositions via the ZDF producers' portal is contractually binding from 01 June 2019. The music is stored in the ZDF music archive with details on the work and with a corresponding allocation to the television production.

To the upload

File formats: MP3, WAV, AAC, AIFF. Since the soundfiles are stored in a 'Watch Folder', other formats such as FLAC or BMF can also be converted manually.

The ZDF portal is suitable for the soundfile upload of music pieces in new and old commissioned productions of the ZDF. It is primarily designed for the producers. However, the rightsholders of GEMA and GVL can upload their soundfiles here as well, as far as they are productions of the ZDF.


7. Which decisive factors lead to a broadcast work to be recognised in the reporting process and to be taken into account for the GEMA distributions?

In addition to the upload of musical works, the details of the musical work are crucial. Therefore, the following information is mandatory when uploading soundfiles: Work title, author, GEMA work number (on the GEMA portal) and information whether the musical work is a commissioned composition. In the GEMA portal, this information can either be entered manually or uploaded as a CSV file.


8. Can several soundfiles be uploaded to a musical work? What should be done with cover versions?

Since different interpretations and recordings are possible for a musical composition, it is of course possible to upload several soundfiles with reference to a musical work. The file names of the soundfiles are not relevant; what is decisive is that the soundfiles are given the corresponding information (metadata) about the musical work (i.e. the musical composition). The same applies to the use of so-called cover versions; the soundfile of the cover version must be uploaded, whereby the information for the original composition and, if applicable, for the arrangement must be provided.


9. How do I deal with the music in the opening and closing credits?

If your own musical works were used in the opening and/or closing credits, the corresponding soundfiles must be uploaded separately.


10. Does a soundfile have to be uploaded before the respective broadcast?

No, because the music recognition is based on the recorded transmissions of the broadcasters.  However, the broadcasters cannot take the soundfiles into account indefinitely when preparing the notifications of use for an annual distribution by GEMA on 01 July. In this respect, it is recommended that the files be uploaded by January of the distribution year in order to be taken into account.


11. What is the procedure for works uses that are not detected by the monitoring procedure?

In such cases, it is planned that the public service broadcasters will carry out manual post-processing and the usage reports will be supplemented accordingly. GEMA supports this process by providing broadcasters with the so-called GEMA AVW numbers (GEMA identifier) for film productions.


12. What kind of music reporting is made possible by the new reporting system of public service broadcasters?

The new reporting system is run with the support of monitoring technology. Public service broadcasters generate reports for GEMA in various ways:

  • The broadcasters generate usage messages using audio fingerprint technology. In particular, usage of commercial music as well as production and commissioned music will be generated via the audio fingerprint technology.  As far as the relevant soundfile is available to the monitoring service provider BMAT, the process provides an automatic detection. The condition for this to happen is that the soundfile has been uploaded in one of the soundfile upload portals (GEMA, ARD or ZDF) in line with the applicable requirements.
  • GEMA provides the AVW numbers (GEMA identifier) to ARD and ZDF for film productions with high repetitive and/or takeover potential by other broadcasters on the basis of which the usage reports of the broadcasters are generated.  For film productions which have already been subject of previous GEMA distributions, the broadcasters can renounce on a detection via the monitoring process if they can already generate reports on the basis of the GEMA identifier (so-called AVW number).
  • The provision of the data for live and live recordings of all genres on radio and TV will be ensured by the broadcasters.        
  • Manual post-processing by the broadcasters in cases of unrecognised music usages in the joint music reporting system of the public service broadcasters supports the reports.


13. What usage duration is taken into account for distribution - the duration of music determined by monitoring or the information in the AVW registration?

The monitoring procedure determines the actual work duration used. This is submitted to GEMA in the broadcast report and is used as the basis for determining the distribution amount.


14. What is the procedure if the music recognition via audio fingerprint technology does not lead to a clear result?

Employees of public service broadcasters examine and resolve such issues.


15. Does the changeover to the monitoring reporting process at the public service broadcasters lead to a change in GEMA's claims & complaints process?

The provisions for making claims of the GEMA distribution plan remain unaffected.

Based on current and future procedures in the reporting process of the public service broadcasters the submission of the claims by GEMA members via the relevant soundfiles is not only necessary for the claims processing to be successful but in particular also of essential importance regarding the participation in subsequent payouts. This does not just apply to usage circumstances which had already been subject to the monitoring process in the current payout in the changeover year (particularly commercial music, production and commissioned music for TV and radio) but also for all further music uses via public service broadcasters.

Therefore, if you have not already done so, please upload the soundfile for each work you have submitted a claim for. The fastest way to do this is to upload soundfiles to our online portal at https://www.gema.de/portal.

In case of submitting a claim, please also complete the updated claims form as per usual and indicate where you uploaded the soundfile.

Should you not have access to the soundfile for the use of your work you can also submit a claim for the payout dated 01/07/2020 without a soundfile upload. Nevertheless, we kindly ask you to use the claims form for your claim in such cases. We have adapted the form accordingly.

Your data, including the uploaded soundfiles, will be forwarded by GEMA to the broadcasters for processing.

The claims form and any further details on the claims can be accessed at www.gema.de/claims-domestic.


16. Is the GEMA Soundfile Portal connected to the GEMA works database?

A connection between the GEMA soundfile upload service and the GEMA works database is being planned but is currently not yet available.


17. Who is my contact if I have questions?