Project looks to use blockchain to improve copyright data efficiency for musicians

A new project is looking to use blockchain to create an innovative new shared system for managing authoritative music copyright information.

The project is a joint initiative between three of the largest member-owned collection societies in the world: the American Society for Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), the Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music (SACEM) and PRS for Music.

The goal of is to create a prototype shared, decentralised database for collecting, updating and tracking musical work metadata in real-time.

Establishing links between different recording industry codes and standards could improve the processes of royalty matching, and reduce errors and costs in licensing.

The database could also be used to resolve copyright conflicts.

‘Tackling a long-standing issue’

“We aim to develop new blockchain-based technologies that will tackle a long-standing issue with music industry metadata – a problem that has grown more acute as online music rights distribution has become increasingly decentralised with the rise in digital channels,” SACEM’s chief executive officer Jean-Noel Tronc said.

The project is working with IBM and leveraging technology from the Linux Foundation, Hyperledger Fabric. The new system will match, qualify and aggregate links between ISRCS and ISWCs. This will act to confirm correct ownership of material.

“The digital market requires real-time reporting on behalf of multiple stakeholders across the world,” Robert Ashcorft, PRS for Music’s chief executive said.

“If blockchain can help us achieve this, it will unlock opportunities for developers of new digital applications, increase accuracy of royalty payments and release value for rightsholders.”

“Blockchain has become well-known for its use in payments systems because of its ability to capture real-time data and transaction updates that can be shared with multiple parties, and in the process, dramatically improve operations by reducing costs,” said ASCAP’s chief executive officer Elizabeth Matthews.


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