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ASCAP, SACEM and PRS for Music launch joint blockchain project


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Music collecting societies ASCAP, SACEM and PRS for Music are teaming up for an ambitious partnership based on blockchain technology.

The societies said the project will “prototype a new shared system of managing authoritative music copyright information using blockchain technology”.

That will include a new system for matching music recordings with song compositions – via ISRCs and ISWCs respectively in terms of codes – in an effort to solve the music-streaming world’s headaches matching label and publishing data.

This isn’t just a three-way project. The societies have also brought IBM on board.

“The goal of the project is to prototype how the music industry could create and adopt a shared, decentralised database of musical work metadata with real-time update and tracking capabilities,” explained their announcement.

“While still at an early stage, the project is proving to be an exciting reference point for future industry blockchain solutions.”

The ASCAP / SACEM / PRS for Music project joins various other initiatives trying to use blockchain technology for the music industry.

Startups like Dot Blockchain, Paperchain and Jaak (to name just three) are developing their own solutions, while the Open Music Initiative is trying to bring labels, publishers, digital services and other industry actors together to create open-source standards – including blockchain.

How the three societies’ new project will interact with what OMI is up to remains to be seen: SACEM is a member of that organisation, so there is hopefully potential for collaboration, or at least sharing knowledge.

“Through this partnership, 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,” said SACEM CEO Jean-Noël Tronc.

“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,” added ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews.

“Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies are opening up a world of new opportunities for all industries to address long-standing challenges,” said PRS for Music CEO Robert Ashcroft.

“The digital market requires real-time reporting on behalf of multiple stakeholders across the world. 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.”

Stuart Dredge

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