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Top PROs partner for blockchain database

Sacem, Ascap and PRS join Canada's Socan in throwing their weight behind blockchain, hoping to establish a "shared, decentralised database of musical metadata"

By Jon Chapple on 07 Apr 2017

Jean-Noël Tronc, Sacem

Sacem CEO Jean-Noël Tronc

Three of the world’s largest performance rights organisations (PROs) are to prototype a blockchain-based system for royalty collection, in the biggest boost to the technology so far from the global music industry.

The goal of the project, which is backed by France’s Sacem (Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music), Britain’s PRS for Music and Ascap (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers), is to explore how blockchain could enable the music industry to “create and adopt a shared, decentralised database of musical work metadata”, potentially streamlining the licensing process and ensuring faster and more accurate payments to rightsholders.

IQ last month examined the potential benefits of blockchain to the live industry, outlining additional applications for the technology – which also powers cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin – in ticketing, live streaming and virtual reality.

“Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies are opening up a world of new opportunities for all industries to address long-standing challenges”

While the PROs’ new project is “still at an early stage”, the three say it is “proving to be an exciting reference point for future industry blockchain solutions.” Socan – the equivalent body in Canada – has already signed up to Benji Rogers’ dotBlockchain Music, with CEO Eric Baptiste saying he is “convinced that [with blockchain] it is possible to address payment and rights inefficiencies […] that have been a drag on the entire ecosystem for far too long”.

Jean-Noël Tronc, Sacem’s CEO, comments: “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.”

“Establishing authoritative copyright data has long been a goal of PRS for Music, and is one of the biggest challenges the industry faces,” adds PRS’s Robert Ashcroft. “Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies are opening up a world of new opportunities for all industries to address long-standing challenges. […]

“We see huge opportunity for beneficial industry change and collaboration from this initiative.”


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