By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
Knoxville’s Joe Vangieri knows the music industry. He’s a songwriter, musician and, since January 2012, President and Chief Executive Officer of DigiTrax Entertainment Inc. The South Knoxville company is a creator, producer and distributor of digital audio-visual content that has also moved into the artificial intelligence (AI) space.
Today, DigiTrax is officially launching its first AI product. Named Music Fact Reports, Vangieri says the initial focus – what he calls the “first phase of our AI brain” – is targeted at the pervasive problem of protecting the music that a composer creates from those who infringe on the song or lyrics.
“It’s the CSI lab for musicology,” Vangieri says in comparing what the software will do to the popular series of television shows from several years ago where high-tech forensics helped solve crimes.
Is proving copyright infringement in the music industry that much of a challenge? Vangieri says it is.
“Most IP (intellectual property) law firms will not touch music because they don’t have the expertise,” he explains. Because of that reality, the industry is ripe with a number of well-known infringement cases that were highlighted in this Rolling Stone article from two years ago.
“If someone’s song sounds like yours, it will cost you a lot of money to hire someone to show they violated your copyright,” Vangieri says. “We offer a service to which our analysis engine will run a comparison, certify the results, and help you decide if you have a case.”
At its core, Music Fact Reports is built on music theory that compares several different factors in making a determination. The technology focuses solely on what can be measured, the extrinsic and objective portions of the composition.
“Songwriters have never had this powerful tool,” Vangieri says. That’s also the case for IP attorneys, including Richard Wolfe of Miami, an early client, who noted that “I think the technology is cutting-edge for purposes of identifying substantial similarity in two pieces of music in terms of rhythms, beats, and extrinsic similarity.”
Music Fact Reports is part of a larger platform named The Music Builder has literally been 10 years in the making. Roughly three years ago, Vangieri met Marcus Matusiak, a British software developer who had already spent seven years focused on the product. He is now Chief Technology Officer at DigiTrax.
Over the next three years, the team kept refining what Vangieri described as the “conversational AI.” Today, there are seven issued patents and the firm has validated its approach by producing reports on the top 10 infringement cases going back to the 1960s.
Music Fact Reports is available in three tiers. For $599, a client will receive a report examining a number of areas and answering the question, “Are there similarities?’ For $2,000, there’s the full report plus the opinion of a forensic theorist or musicologist who has examined the data.
“We believe the $2,000 report will suffice in many cases,” Vangieri says. However, if needed, Music Fact Reports also offers a $8,000 service that includes certification for a court hearing.
“We have a lofty goal,” Vangieri says. “We want to protect people.”
We first met Vangieri and his wife, Cathy, when the latter was competing successfully in the 2015 edition of Knoxville’s “What’s the Big Idea.” Her winning idea was “Sing & Spell,” as noted in this teknovation.biz article. We also spotlighted the work of Joe and DigiTrax in this article. Vangieri describes the vision for The Music Builder in this YouTube video that also includes a description of Music Fact Reports that begins at the 1:54-minute mark.