Real World Windows Azure: Interview with Declan Rudden, Director of Distribution at Irish Music Rights Organisation

As part of the Real World Windows Azure series, we talked to Declan Rudden, Director of Distribution at Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO), about using the Windows Azure platform to deliver the organization’s Online Member Services portal. Here’s what he had to say:

MSDN: Tell us about the Irish Music Rights Organisation and the services you offer.

Rudden: Founded in 1995, IMRO is a nonprofit national organization that administers performing rights and distributes royalties for copyrighted music in Ireland on behalf of its members. Members include songwriters, composers, and music publishers, plus members of other international copyright organizations to which we are affiliated.  

MSDN: What was the situation that IMRO faced prior to implementing the Windows Azure platform?

Rudden: In 2006, because of the emergence of additional radio stations as well as streaming and download music providers on the Internet, IMRO was faced with a massive growth in the amount of data it needed to process to serve its members. We hired Spanish Point Technologies, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, to build a system that would calculate royalty payments for music performances that take place in the public domain. The new system, launched in 2007, automates the royalty collection and distribution process. The system was a great success. It significantly improved the match rates and increased efficiencies therefore we were able to reduce headcount and save money.

MSDN: Describe the solution you built with the Windows Azure platform?

Rudden: We decided to develop the IMRO Online Member Services portal on the Windows Azure platform as a way to show tangible benefits to our members. Members heard that our royalty system increased matches to musical performances. With the Windows Azure portal, members can see the system’s benefits, and data is exposed in a very secure way.

 IMRO royalty distributions are based on the number of seconds of music a broadcaster plays in a given period.

MSDN: What makes your solution unique?

Rudden: One of the challenges that Spanish Point Technologies had to address when it built the Online Member Services portal was how it would protect sensitive member information in the cloud. We specified that we wanted data to remain largely on-premises. Only information needed to fulfill an interaction would be available through the portal. We used web services to connect the portal to the on-premises Microsoft SQL Server database, where the sensitive data resides.

MSDN: Describe how IMRO members interact with the Online Member Services portal.

Rudden: Members can sign in to the Online Member Services portal by using their Windows Live IDs. Available information includes an inventory of each artist’s works, how works are stored, any instance of the work being performed or played, what royalty payments were distributed, and how payments were calculated. It plainly illustrates how if something gets played, you get paid. This gives our members comfort because our calculations are transparent and precise. We also do crowd sourcing. We allow our members to match works that we’ve been unable to match.

MSDN: What benefits have you seen since implementing the Windows Azure platform?

Rudden: Our members are amazed by the Online Member Services functionality. Plus, the Windows Azure platform is hosted in one of the largest data centers in Europe, and it includes a stringent SLA [service level agreement] for uptime while enabling services to scale easily as needed by transaction volumes. It’s been a great success.

Read the full story at: http://www.microsoft.com/casestudies/casestudy.aspx?casestudyid=4000009116

To read more Windows Azure customer success stories, visit: www.windowsazure.com/evidence