Streaming services and major labels join initiative to streamline royalties
A new initiative led by Berklee College of Music’s Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship (BerkleeICE) may finally spur tangible improvements in the way that rights-holders are paid for music. The three major labels (Universal, Sony, and Warner) have joined forces with streaming services including Spotify, YouTube, Pandora, Netflix, SoundCloud and SiriusXM to update and streamline digital music distribution and copyright issues’ resolution. BerkleeICE and the MIT Media Lab will lead the Open Music Initiative (OMI) in collaboration.
More than 50 media entities, including the major labels and streaming services, will work together on the open-source platform. Ultimately, OMI looks to improve accuracy in tracking music creators and reform how rights owners are identified and compensated for the use of their music. Other media entitles who have pledged their participation in OMI include CD Baby, Tunecore, Downtown Music Publishing, Featured Artist Coalition, Music Managers Forum, Future of Music Coalition, Boston NPR affiliate WBUR, and several music licensing startups.
OMI’s co-founder and the founding managing director of BerkleeICE shared in a statement: “We want to use the brainpower, neutrality and convening ability of our collective academic institutions, along with broad industry collaboration, to create a shared digital architecture for the modern music business. We believe an open-sourced platform around creative rights can yield an innovation dividend for creators and rights holders alike.”
Zoë Keating, a cellist who has been vocal online about the challenges of collecting online royalties corroborated in her own statement that was shared alongside BerkleeICE’s announcement: “[The] issues we face across the music industry are complex but what we want is simple: a thriving creative economy that benefits everyone, from creators to companies to consumers. Open Music presents an opportunity to solve some intractable problems and to change the narrative between music and tech.”
If OMI is successful, it may usher in a new and revolutionary chapter in the music industry, where rights-holders are able to fully benefit from technology in the same way that music listeners have enjoyed.