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Imogen Heap allies with Downtown as her Mycelia project gains momentum

By | Published on Wednesday 16 December 2015

Imogen Heap

Imogen Heap has signed a worldwide agreement with independent publisher Downtown Music covering a number of her songs, including a co-write with Taylor Swift on ‘1989’ track ‘Clean’.

Though this isn’t just another deal where a songwriter appoints a publishing firm to administrate their copyrights. It is part of an initiative set up by Heap earlier this year to explore new approaches in administering music rights and royalties.

Downtown will support Heap in this rapidly evolving project, which operates under the name Mycelia, and which seeks to capitalise on the potential of the much discussed-of-late blockchain to create a fairer more transparent way for music to be monetised and monies to be shared between all the stakeholders in the music community.

Confirming the deal, Heap told Billboard that she started discussing these ideas with Downtown president Justin Kalifowitz about eighteen months ago, and that she likes the firm’s flexibility, especially when it comes to the potential of new technologies. “It’s really a great opportunity to work with a forward-thinking publishing company when the future is so wide open at the moment”, she said.

Meanwhile Downtown’s VP Technology Joe Conyers said the firm was pleased to be advising on Heap’s Mycelia venture, noting that “she is a true engineer [and] it’s great to partner with somebody like that, who’s really going to be a builder with us. That’s the spirit of this”.

Heap is planning a number of events in the new year to further the Mycelia project, playing with technologies that could power a more transparent and efficient system of music distribution, while also meeting the existing gatekeepers in the industry whose data and participation would be required to make her ambitions a reality.

She has also recently thrown her support behind the DotMusic organisation that is bidding to control the .music domain, which is one of those new-fangled domains still to be allocated by domains overseer ICANN.

Heap hopes that if DotMusic, rather than a Google or an Amazon, gets control of that domain – with a plan to only allow artists to register – then that system could also be used to house a new artist-led hub of music data. ICANN is expected to decide whether to give the domain to DotMusic – or to simply sell it to the highest bidder – early next year.