Leveraging my 25 years of institutional knowledge and business experience in the music technology space, I ensure my clients avoid common pitfalls (and wasted resources) while ensuring they are maximizing their technical and financial resources.

I provide business and technology consulting services in areas ranging from metadata, new formats, technical standards, music copyright, and royalty collection to applications of artificial intelligence in the music and entertainment space. In addition to high level strategic business  and technology consulting, I can also provide ‘General Contracting’ services to technology companies and social media platforms integrating music onto their platforms.    

“General Contractor” for Music Integration onto Tech Platforms  

Strategic Business and Technology Advisory Services for music integration onto new and existing technology platforms

  • Advise on business, technology, and copyright  issues
  • Oversee the development and implementation of an overall integration plan including:
    • Acquisition of necessary copyright clearances
    • Ingestion of metadata and sound recording files
    • Implementation of industry data standards
    • Accurate monitoring of music usage
    • Calculation and accurate payment of royalties
  • Make full use of available technologies and existing standards
    • Avoid wasting resources by “re-inventing the wheel”
  • Help identify and outline scope of work for specialized advisors and contractors to perform all or portions of the work.


Three decades of experience in digital business strategy

I have thirty years of experience in digital business strategy, focusing for over 25 years on online music distribution. I began my career at Sony Corporation in Tokyo in 1993 and first became involved in the digital distribution of music in 1996. In 1998 I moved to Sony Music in New York where, as Vice President of Technology Strategies and Digital Policy, I created and ran the industry’s first online distribution department. My responsibilities included the creation of all aspects of the technical and business infrastructures required to enable mass online distribution.

In 2006, I joined the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in Washington, DC where for almost 15 years I represented the major recording companies’ technology interests as Chief Technology Officer. My responsibilities included coordinating the development and promotion of numerical identifiers, technical standards, emerging technologies, and new formats, as well as outreach to the broader technology and internet community.

Since April 2021 I have  been an independent strategic consultant advising clients on business and technology issues ranging from identifiers and metadata to applications of emerging technologies including content recognition and artificial intelligence. Current and past music industry clients include the RIAA, SoundExchange, Jaxsta, Veva Sound, Switchchord, and Song Sleuth, as well as companies working on new technologies, products, and services both inside and outside the entertainment industry.



I have contributed to the development of a number of formats and standards including MPEG, DVD-Audio, SACD, Blu-ray, Ultraviolet, the International Standard Recording Code (ISRC), the International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI) and the music industry’s suite of Digital Data Exchange standards (DDEX). I have also been very active in the promotion of Hi-Resolution and Immersive music formats.


I earned a B.A. Honours in East Asian Studies at the University of Alberta in Canada and Keio University in Tokyo. I earned a Master of Management Science degree from the University of Tsukuba in Japan, researching, writing and defending my thesis in Japanese.


I am a member of the Audio Engineering Society and the Recording Academy, sit on the Library of Congress’ National Recording Preservation Board, and am inventor of over a dozen U.S. and international patents.


For more details please see me on LinkedIn



“Pretty much every job in the music industry that requires expertise and/or creativity will be impacted by AI.”

I have closely followed the development of AI and ML for years – with particular focus on the potential applications for, and impact on, almost every aspect of the music industry. Many of my current clients are companies applying Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to problems both inside and outside of the music industry.


I have been interviewed about AI and ML for both academic and commercial publications including Dr Martin Clancy’s forthcoming book Artificial Intelligence and Music Ecosystem (Focal Press/Routledge).



At the Copyright in the Age of Artificial Intelligence conference, presented by the United States Copyright Office and the World intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), I was asked by the organizers to explain the potential impact of Artificial Intelligence Machine Learning on the music industry.


Where I was quoted as saying:
“Pretty much every job in the music industry that requires industry expertise and/or creativity will be impacted by AI.”


“Country music is perhaps the biggest paradox for AI because the underlying melodies are very formulaic, but the lyrics are based on human experience. I’d be very interested to see how long it takes an AI to come up with [the Bobby Braddock composed] Tammy Wynette song, “D-I-V-O-R-C-E.” Unless that AI spent time in a kitchen fighting with its AI spouse in front of their 4-year-old AI child, it probably wouldn’t happen [at least not for some time.]”

You can stream the panel here.


  • Digital Media Distribution Technology
  • Digital Business Strategy
  • Corporate Technology Policy
  • Monitoring and Collection of Music Royalties
  • Emerging Digital Technology
  • Intersection of Technology and Copyright
  • Digital Asset Management
  • Metadata
  • Applications of AI and ML in the Music Industry
  • Audio Content Recognition
    • (Fingerprint & Watermark Technologies)
  • New Media Formats
  • Technical Standards


  • High Resolution Audio
  • Immersive  Audio and Surround  Sound
  • Metadata
  • Virtual Reality 
  • Augmented Reality
  • New Media Formats
  • Vinyl Production
  • Audio Preservation and Archiving 


1. Interviewed by Martin Clancy for his new book Artificial Intelligence and Music Ecosystem (Focal Press/Routledge – Sept 2022)

2) Panel Moderator: Rights Tech Summit (September 22, 2022) The Price of Rights: Will the Deals Keep Coming?

3) DDEX Big Summit: Mixing Up the Board, Discussion with Susan Butler (June 13, 2022)

4) The Smartest People in The Room – Regina Joseph & David Hughes (April 27, 2021) Presentation of the early history of the digital distribution music from about 1990 to 2000 – YouTube link

5) The U.S. Copyright Office and the World Intellectual Property Organization present Copyright in the Age of Artificial Intelligence (February 5, 2020)   Session 6 – AI and Creating Music or on YouTube

6) Love of Music Magazine® visited with CTO David Hughes in his office at the RIAA (2018)


8) On Hi-Res Audio

9) Lastly, I’m a also a futurist. As “proof” please see this article by Sci-Fi author Cory Doctorow, who back in 2008, ridiculed me for insisting that people “will all shift to DRM-backed subscription streaming music services à la Spotify.” Interestingly, Midia Research estimates there were 616 million paying music subscribers globally at the end of June 2022.


Let's get in touch.

Send me an email: consulting@davidhughes.ca


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