By Anna Miceli, Songtrust Royalties Coordinator
There has been significant buzz around three of the world’s largest member-owned collection societies – ASCAP, SACEM, and PRS. Together they have announced a partnership to prototype a shared system of managing copyright information using blockchain technology.
These American, French, and British societies have also included IBM in their partnership. Elizabeth Matthews, CEO of ASCAP, noted, “ASCAP is always looking for opportunities to exploit new technology platforms to specifically address the needs of our members and the music industry.”
The partnership aims to model a new system for managing the links between music recordings and song compositions via ISRC (International Standard Recording Code) and ISWC Codes (International Standard Music Work Code). Although these two pieces of data were intended to create unique identifiers for music, there are issues of duplication. The blockchain initiative will help increase the accuracy of the data that both codes provide.
So what does this mean for songwriters? The stronger link blockchain aims to create between ISRC and ISWC info will speed up the process of international royalty matching, reduce errors and lower costs, ultimately improving speeds that publishing royalties are paid to songwriters.
The blockchain prototype also allows for greater transparency and accuracy of music usage by third parties, especially across streaming services. Songwriters and artists would potentially be able to view accurate data of what music is being used and played, and when it is delivered across new music formats.
All three societies involved have agreed “the project is proving to be an exciting reference point for future industry blockchain solutions.”