Friday 7 Apil 2017
ASCAP, SACEM, and PRS for Music initiate joint blockchain project to improve data accuracy for rightsholders
- Societies partner to explore the potential of blockchain technology
- Seeking a unified industry approach to copyright data to improve efficiency for songwriters, composers and publishers
Three of the largest member-owned collection societies in the world – ASCAP, the American Society for Composers, Authors and Publishers; SACEM, the Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music; and PRS for Music – today announced a groundbreaking partnership to prototype a new shared system of managing authoritative music copyright information using blockchain technology.
The societies are working together to model a new system for managing the links between music recordings International Standard Recording Codes (ISRCs) and music work International Standard Work Codes (ISWCs). Establishing robust links between these two pieces of data offers a practical solution with enormous potential for improving the processes of royalty matching, which will in turn speed up licensing, reduce errors and reduce costs.
The goal of the project is to prototype how the music industry could create and adopt a shared, decentralized database of musical work metadata with real-time update and tracking capabilities.
Under the initiative, data and technology teams from SACEM, ASCAP and PRS for Music are working with IBM, leveraging the open source blockchain technology from the Linux Foundation, Hyperledger Fabric, to match, aggregate and qualify existing links between ISRCs and ISWCs in order to confirm correct ownership information and conflicts. While still at an early stage, the project is proving to be an exciting reference point for future industry blockchain solutions.
Blockchain has become well-known for its use in payments systems for its ability to manage records without centralized governance – a characteristic that will be harnessed in this project to resolve conflicts between conflicting identifiers for the same work across multiple rights holders.
Jean-Noël Tronc, SACEM’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are very excited about this joint initiative. SACEM’s vision is to ensure a diverse and sustainable future for music, where creators are rewarded efficiently for their work. We have a long history of constant innovation and this partnership represents the next stage in that story.
“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 decentralized with the rise in digital channels. By developing this blockchain technology in partnership with ASCAP and PRS for Music, we will unlock value to the benefit of music creators worldwide.”
Elizabeth Matthews, ASCAP’s Chief Executive Officer, added: “ASCAP is always looking for opportunities to exploit new technology platforms to specifically address the needs of our members and the music industry, which has been calling for greater transparency and accuracy.
“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.
“ASCAP is excited to partner with SACEM and PRS on this project on behalf of our members.”
Robert Ashcroft, PRS for Music’s Chief Executive, added: “Establishing authoritative copyright data has long been a goal of PRS for Music and is one of the biggest challenges the industry faces.
“Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies are opening up a world of new opportunities for all industries to address long-standing challenges. 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.
“We see huge opportunity for beneficial industry change and collaboration from this initiative.”
The Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music (Sacem) aims to represent and defend its members’ interests in view of promoting musical creation in all its forms (from contemporary music to jazz, rap, hip-hop, French chanson, film music, music for video, etc.) along with other repertoires (humour, poetry, dubbing-subtitling, etc.). Its key mission is to collect royalties and distribute them to authors, composers and publishers whose works are disseminated or reproduced. A private organization, Sacem is a non-profit entity managed by creators and publishers of music elected to its Board of Directors. It has 157,270 members, including 19,100 creators from outside France (4,080 new members in 2015) and represents over 100 million works from the global repertoire. In 2015, Sacem distributed royalties to 293,000 authors, composers and publishers worldwide for more than 2 million works.
The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a professional membership organization of songwriters, composers and music publishers of every kind of music. ASCAP's mission is to license and promote the music of its members and foreign affiliates, obtain fair compensation for the public performance of their works and to distribute the royalties that it collects based upon those performances. ASCAP members write the world's best-loved music and ASCAP has pioneered the efficient licensing of that music to hundreds of thousands of enterprises who use it to add value to their business - from bars, restaurants and retail, to radio, TV and cable, to Internet, mobile services and more. The ASCAP license offers an efficient solution for businesses to legally perform ASCAP music while respecting the right of songwriters and composers to be paid fairly. With 600,000 members representing more than 10 million copyrighted works, ASCAP is the worldwide leader in performance royalties, service and advocacy for songwriters and composers, and the only American performing rights organization (PRO) owned and governed by its writer and publisher members. Learn more and stay in touch at www.ascap.com, on Twitter @ASCAP and on Facebook.
About PRS for Music
PRS for Music represents the rights of over 125,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers in the UK. As a membership organisation it ensures creators are paid whenever their music is played, performed or reproduced, championing the importance of copyright to protect and support the UK music industry. The UK has a proud tradition of creating wonderful music that is enjoyed the world over and PRS for Music has been supporting the creators of that music since 1914.
PRS for Music provides business and community groups with easy access to over 10m songs through its music licences. In an industry worth over £4.1bn PRS for Music is uniquely placed to be a voice for music and music creators. Collecting £537.4m in 2015, PRS for Music is one of the world’s most efficient combined rights organisations. With over 100 representation agreements in place globally, PRS for Music's network represents over two million music creators.