In this post I’m going to write about AudioLock, an anti-piracy company founded by Ben Rush in 2009. Aiming to make it harder to pirate music, the company is offering two services, 24/7 Scanning & Takedown as well as Watermarked Promo Delivery. What to these services entail and how can they help the music industry against piracy?
AudioLock’s 24/7 Scanning & Takedown service includes removal of copyright infringing links from search engines such as Google and Bing as well as from torrent and piracy sites. It provides continuous scanning for theses links and automated DMCA takedown notice sending. This technology is developed exclusively for AudioLock and they have a patent pending which helps them stand out from the competition.2
Their second service is aimed at protecting promotional material from leaks, regardless of format. They promise to ensure that “our watermarking service ensures your promo material is protected from the moment it leaves the studio. Our watermarks are highly robust and virtually indestructible ensuring your pre-releases sent to tastemakers, press and influencers are secure.” Through this technology, not only is the material protected, it also enables tracking of the leak, so you know who is responsible for it.
Aimed at artists, producers, labels and other copyright holders, the company has a huge potential market, the question it will be the go to service? While major labels have a lot of resources in house, AudioLock could be the answer for independent and smaller labels and unsigned artists. The price for Scanning & Takedown is £6 per track per month for new releases, with back catalogue coming in at £1 per track per month (though this is only scanned once every two weeks), while the price for watermarked promo delivery credits is as seen below:
“Purchased as required; each credit protects an individual track with a unique watermark which enables it to be sent to a single recipient. If that recipient leaked their watermarked release onto the internet it can be traced back to them, so ensuring accountability.
Watermark credits do not expire and can be used at any time.” While this may seem expensive for artists who are just started out, AudioLock do offer a one month trial where you get 10 delivery credits and can upload 2 high priority tracks. This can be a good way to see if anti-piracy measures is something you need at that stage of your career, and it’s also a possibility to compare these services with those of AudioLock’s competitors.
Looking at the services that AudioLock provide I can see mainly positive things with their business idea and their services. They are specific and targeted to do a few things, which ideally should mean that they do them well, rather than try to encompass more of the music industry than anti-piracy and only that. Having used mainly AudioLock’s own website as a source, I have only read impartial information, but I do believe that the focus they have on only a few services is a good thing. Having developed their own anti-piracy technologies in house is also something that I think is positive.
Speculatively, one possible development could be partnering with digital aggregators directly, so that the artists when utilising an aggregator would get the anti-piracy services as part of that. Though this would most probably mean higher rates, it could end up being cheaper for the individual artist than paying an aggregator and (for example) AudioLock separately. Mainly it could provide an even bigger scope to anti-piracy, if every artist using an aggregator meant an anti-piracy scheme was automatically put in place for those tracks.