Welcome Alex, nice to meet you and thanks for accepting this interview. You’re the man behind TrustedAudio.com, a very innovative audio sharing and distribution platform.
For those our readers who are unfamiliar with TrustedAudio − TrustedAudio is a service designed to help in the fight against music piracy. It enables you to share, deliver, and distribute music and audio files securely by means of watermarking and digital signing.
When did you start with TrustedAudio, and how did you come to the idea to build this service?
First of all, thank you for inviting me to this interview. My name is Alex Radzishevsky, I’m inventor and developer of audio watermarking technologies and solutions. Readers can refer to AudioWatermarking for information about technologies I developed. The idea of TrustedAudio was born as an answer to the growing demand from musicians and sound engineers for accessible watermarking and digital signing technology. In the modern world of digital distribution, musicians and content creators naturally want to have certain degree of confidence when they share their content with other people, such as their customers, promoters or just friends. Their concerns relate to the way of use and to a possible misuse of the content after it has been delivered to someone. TrustedAudio is designed to address such concerns. TA does not limit the use of the audio content in any manner, but it makes sure that the content owner can always back-trace the pirate in case of the content misuse. Additionally, TA allows the content creators to claim their authorship by signing their tracks with publicly extractable signature. In this case TA works as a public database of digital signatures. TA is a sophisticated service put in a simple shell offered on pay-as-you-go basis, without any subscriptions or obligations.
How large is the team behind TrustedAudio?
We’re just a few. TA is a SaaS (software-as-a-service) with all the back-end processes automated, so it does not require a large team of people to work on. We maintain the service and gradually add features. We believe in this service and advantages it brings to our customers, but we prefer to stay mobile and efficient, rather than growing to an awkward behemoth. And this philosophy allows us to keep the pricing so liberal.
Please tell us how TrustedAudio works and who it is for.
TA uses digital audio watermarking in its core engine. The idea behind digital audio watermarking is to embed and hide a secret and imperceptible digital signature inside the acoustic content so that this information cannot be removed without degrading the original audio quality. TA uses its own proprietary watermarking engine to embed inaudible information into the audio content. This information can be retrieved and used to authenticate the audio content, and verify the identity of its owner and the recipient.
Musicians, recording studios, and music labels, as well as private and corporate audio web-stores can find this service helpful in their daily work.
The service and the ideas behind it are covered in depth at the service description page (TrustedAudio – About).
How secure is this service for its users?
Security of our users‘ content has been our top priority from the start of the development. We know that those who decide to use TA give us a certain credit of trust with regard to the audio content they host and share via TA, so we take the security of it very seriously. We apply special technical means in order to protect our users‘ files and data. We securely encrypt connections and internals.
TrustedAudio pricing looks reasonable and fair, but it is also a bit unusual and may look cumbersome to some people. What do you charge for and why you selected this pricing scheme?
Majority of modern web-services are subscription-based. We wanted to let our users subscriptions-free and obligations-free, pay-on-the-go way of use. Much like usual house-owner’s bookkeeping, TA fees consist of “granular” charges such as for traffic, for encoding, for watermarking, etc. We believe this pricing is the most transparent and fair. Users only pay for what they used. There is a dedicated page explaining the pricing scheme here: TrustedAudio – Pricing. For convenience, it also features a simple cost calculator.
What’s the difference between a public and a private signature?
You can sign a track with private signature when you don’t want others to be able seeing the signature content, and don’t even want to reveal the fact of watermarking. No one can extract your private signature and even know that the file is watermarked, unless you advertise that. This type of signature is normally used to allow back-tracing the leak source / pirate. The public signature is visible and extractable for all. You can publicly sign your track in order to claim your authorship. Anyone will be able to extract the signature content from any even short fragment of your track and see your (authors) information.
Is it necessary to have an official record-deal or an own label to use your services for watermarking and digital signing, or could people use it also for unreleased songs?
TA services can be used by everybody. We do not require certificates or any other kinds of legal documents.
Is there a plan to expand or improve the service for the future, which features could we expect?
We have lots of plans. For the sake of example, we’ve just integrated TrustedAudio with a music recognition service which allows to identify music tracks even in case they have no embedded digital signature. Features and ideas in many cases come from our users. Everyone is welcome to drop us a few line of feedback.
Will there be an app one day for iOS or Android devices?
We plan to have such functionality in the future too.
Thanks for taking time to this interview.
More information: TrustedAudio