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Music rights data start-up confirms pilot with Warner, BMG, Sentric and GMR

By | Published on Thursday 3 May 2018


London-based JAAK – a start-up business seeking to address the music industry’s big data problem with a funky blockchain solution – has announced that a pilot project is underway involving a bunch of music rights owners, including Warner, BMG, Sentric and US collecting society Global Music Rights. It will soon be looking to collaborate with other music companies as it further expands the pilot platform.

JAAK is seeking to faciliate the building of the as yet elusive publicly-accessible global database of music rights information that would make it easier to identify who controls the copyright in any one song or recording.

The lack of such a database has created huge issues and inefficiencies in the licensing of streaming services and the processing of digital royalties, meaning monies may go uncollected or be paid to the wrong people. A decent database of this kind would also open up new opportunities in sync and micro-licensing.

JAAK is building its database – using its technology KORD – on the much discussed and occasionally understood blockchain – the Ethereum blockchain to be precise. Given the many sources of music rights data, often in relation to single songs, it reckons that a blockchain solution – as opposed to a single central database sitting on one entity’s server – is a better way of tackling the music industry’s big data problem.

Various other organisations – including start-ups, collecting societies and music companies – have also been trying to address these data issues. The challenge for start-ups in this space is accessing initial music rights data to populate their networks. Hence why JAAK securing partnerships with the likes of BMG, Warner, Sentric, GMR and others is so important.

In JAAK’s own words, by using KORD “users will be connected to a shared data network where they have the sole authority to insert, update and remove their own information, creating a public record of rights and an immutable audit trail. KORD will include a framework to detect conflicting information in the network, allowing users to resolve conflicts and converge on a global view of intellectual property rights”.

JAAK CEO Vaughn McKenzie-Landell says of the pilot project of his KORD system: “We have developed the pilot in collaboration with the music industry to directly address their needs. The goal of KORD is to harness blockchain technology to make the world of IP rights better for everyone, starting with the music industry. We’d like to thank our pilot participants for their continued support and valuable insight”.

Both the Warner record company and the Warner/Chappell music publishing business are involved in the pilot. EVP Global Operations of the latter, Steve Clark, said: “Warner/Chappell is committed to ensuring our songwriters are paid as quickly, accurately and transparently as possible. We’ve invested heavily in our own systems, but we’ve also worked with pioneering partners, such as JAAK, to help us keep at the cutting edge of technology in this area. The pilot is going well and we look forward to continued collaboration to harness blockchain technology to the service of our songwriters”.

Meanwhile BMG’s CTO Sebastian Hentzschel added: “Metadata is the lifeblood of today’s music business. From studios to streaming sites, a clearer picture of recordings and copyrights could yield untapped benefits for artists and writers – and JAAK is pushing an exciting frontier”.

And Sean O’Malley over at collecting society Global Music Rights chipped in: “Regardless of format, Global Music Rights is committed to clear and concise intellectual property metadata, especially the information surrounding licensing and rights ownership. KORD is technology that enables stewards like us to collaborate on the dynamic picture of every song and ensure the correct writers and publishers are accurately and efficiently compensated”.

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