Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ABC DJ (Artist-to-Business-to-Business-to-Consumer Audio Branding System)
Reporting period: 2017-07-01 to 2018-12-31
Several ICT tools were designed to enhance and facilitate the full gamut of audio branding processes. As the core entity of the ABC_DJ system architecture the Music Library Manager manages and stores music file metadata and standardises the communication methods and formats between the three other tools. These are namely: a) The Audio Branding Tool - an interactive browser application with the purpose of visualising criteria of a music selection to non-music-experts like marketing staff, and to make this music audible for communication processes, b) the Playlist Generator - enabling professional users to plan, manage and create sophisticated playlists, and c) The Cockpit Unit - enabling the branding agency personnel to control and manage in-store players remotely and from one single interface.
Besides the development of novel tools and services, continuous monitoring and regular market trends research was carried out on creative and commercial business fields regarding existing tools, applications, products and services. The project further entailed an analysis of a range of legal aspects, of the landscape of European music creators and their respective multipliers in an audio branding and in-store music context and offers novel monetising schemes for stakeholders.
Overall, ABC_DJ offers suitable means to include the high number of European creative micro-businesses and SMEs into a value chain. Here, many audio branding agencies shall be able to serve the diverse needs of many brands and counter the predominant 'one-sound-fits-all' situation. In doing so, the pool of music which is exploitable for branding services will be increased significantly. To guarantee the maximum impact of the project, final project results are disseminated and communicated to public, scientific, commercial, and artistic audiences.
A second area of research, carried out by IRCAM (FR), concentrated on the development of new audio features to predict the perceived musical expression as well as to characterise the audio quality of music tracks and to improve music mixes. These features have either been derived from previously estimated higher-level concepts (such as structure, key or succession of chords) or by developing new signal processing algorithms. These regression models explain up to 80% in the variation of the musical expression as perceived by the participants of the experiments.
Investigations regarding legal frameworks in the context of audio branding as well as entailed stakeholders, which are conducted by the partner Lovemonk (ES), have been accomplished. Among other things, all 91 EU-based Collective Management Societies have been included in a survey which for the first time gives a comprehensive overview on the various different methods and payment schemes in place to date.
Key software tool developments within the project have been developed by the partners HearDis! and FINCONS (IT):
- Music Library Manager ('iTunes for professionals')
- Audio Branding Tool ('communicating the invisible')
- Playlist Generator ('sophisticated music playlists along a dramaturgy')
- Cockpit Unit ('remote control for in-store applications')
All single developments as well as the overall system were evaluated by the market research partner INTEGRAL (AT) along 80 qualitative and quantitative KPIs, as well as with the help of sensor data collected in the store of the partner Piacenza (IT).
The final Playlist Generator incorporates an innovative algorithm capable of arranging audio tracks according to dramaturgic(!) rules set by a professional user like a music consultant. These rules refer to the appertaining metadata and enable desirable combinations of features or restrictions of combinations. The final Audio Branding Tool allows users to visualise various features of a music selection, like hard (low-level, e.g. BPM) and soft (high-level, e.g. instrumentation, semantic annotations according to the GMBI) features associated with a particular song.
As a result professional users can generate music playlists with a brand fit of unprecedented accuracy, in a fraction of the time. Agencies can monitor their players remotely. And, as all tools were developed as browser applications, operating system in use no longer constitute an obstacle.