MPG introduces BWAV format to mastering community

At an event at London’s Hospital Club, which was also streamed online, the Music Producer’s Guild put forth its initiative to replace the standard WAV format with the Broadcast WAV (BWAV) format.

Hosted by Barry Grint from Alchemy Mastering and supported by some of the top mastering DAW manufacturers including Magix (Sequioa), Merging Technologies (Pyramix), and Prism Sound (SADiE), the event was an opportunity for mastering engineers to get a firsthand look at how to implement the BWAV file format into their workflow.

“The start of this [initiative] was borne out of working as a mastering engineer and having to do projects more than once because I’d been supplied with the wrong mix,” commented Grint.

“You know how it is, sometimes there’s a clean version and an explicit version – same artist, same title, same duration – and they’ve sent you the wrong one and the only way you really get to know is by looking at the label copy and checking the ISRC that’s put on it. If you could only see that in the track they’ve sent you, you’d know straight away whether you’ve got the right version or not.

“It was from that that it occurred to me that broadcast WAV uses this and they carry lots of other information so why not carry a unique identifier?”

The BWAV format was developed by the European Broadcast Union (EBU) and offers the opportunity to embed ISRC information – a unique code that is allocated to each track and then registered with royalty payment agencies ensuring that recording artists and copyright holders are properly remunerated when their work is played on radio or TV.

While the implementation of the BWAV format in modern DAWs is relatively straightforward (along with the presenting companies Grint stated that it is available in Steniberg’s WaveLab as well as Sonic Studio), the ability to enter and, more importantly, change existing ISRC information raises a few ethical concerns. Because ISRC codes directly affect royalty payments, there is the opportunity to change the information for personal gains.

Despite the concerns, Grint and the MPG are confident that BWAV is the right choice moving forward and have already received support from the BPI and AIM.

“There are many more stages we need to go through before this is anywhere near a complete project. But we need your support and the software manufacturers need your feedback,” said Grint.

“The next stage is to let all of you, mastering engineers, know about it and how it effects your workflow every day so that when the record companies start asking about an ISRC in a Broadcast WAV you know how to deliver it to them.”

To get involved with the MPG visit: