This MBW commentary comes from Ran Geffen (pictured), CEO of Amusica Song Management in Israel and founder of OG.studio, an AR content and business development agency facilitating web3 transitions.
Music companies have demanded that Twitter fully license music.
But as the potential new owner of the platform, Elon Musk won’t be playing the music industry’s game; instead, the music industry has to play its part.
That said, a music DAO initiative by Musk (we’ll call it MuziX, given the history of Musk’s brand) could be the answer to his request: it would be a decentralized licensing and copyright management platform based on on blockchain that would democratize the way music is. with license
Big potential losers should Musk decide to enter the world of music? Collective rights management entities and, by delegation, their respective members. To survive in Musk’s world, they must be the architects of their own (current) demise.
Let’s take a closer look at Twitter’s position in the landscape in a music business context: it’s a meeting space where musicians interact with each other and their fandom, and where web music projects are launched and managed3.
It was labeled by the IFPI as “a major concern for the music industry”. presentation in European The Commission and PRS CEO Andrea Czapary Martin urged the company to “take responsibility for the music they share with millions of people around the world”.
Twitter’s response was, “We’re always looking for ways to support our community of creators.“
Now let’s take a closer look at Musk.
Seve TED Talk about the future it gives a good insight into their way of thinking and operating. Your main interest right now? AI. Self-driving car AI took time to learn how to use roads designed for humans.
It had to understand and mimic human vision and interaction. Optimus, Musk’s humanoid AI robot, also needs to understand humans in order to interact with them.
Twitter is the perfect place to analyze human interaction based on short statements and reactions. Musk would increase this interaction by allowing his users to see if the algorithm changed any tweets and suggest corrections. In short: Musk is turning Twitter customers into collaborators in his mission to improve human-machine interaction.
Amy Thomson of Hipgnosis suggested the same solution in a recent MBW podcast – a global copyright database that is checked by the creators themselves. It also highlights the lack of transparency as a major problem in today’s ecosystem. Transparency is at the core of blockchain technology.
Tom Allen of Curve Royalty Systems gave a time frame of 10 to 15 years for the industry to adopt blockchain as a solution. (giving self-driving cars as an example) and talked about the scale and high transaction fee on Ethereum.
Musk promised to launch self-driving cars next year. Processing the music transaction would be a walk in the park for him. Transaction costs, which have been flagged as a concern, can be reduced simply by switching to a green, reliable and low-cost blockchain.
So what would be the components of MuziX?
- A registry for all players in the music industry that would provide a unique international ID number and connect them to a dedicated e-wallet that would give them an overview of all their assets and income generated in the music ecosystem by type of use .
- An open database of music composition contributors with divisions recorded on the blockchain and smart contracts that would set the terms that would allow recording artists, DSPs or anyone else who wants to use the music to play, sync or to sample
- A recording management tool based on a recorded composition attached to it that would record all participating contributors (producers, performers, and session players) to the blockchain and the terms that allow a recording to be used for any purpose.
- A digital vault of recordings that would include a demo of the new recording to complete the recording of the composition. The demo recording would be analyzed using fingerprint technology to ensure the composition is original and would allow sampling requests. The system would also allow uploading logs that can be used according to the terms of the smart contracts and a fingerprint of the recoding.
- I would create the same for any visual/audio visual work attached to a recording or any contributor.
- A switchboard that would connect all data with APIs that would allow anyone who wants to use the copyrighted material personally or aggregate it to third parties under the terms of smart contracts.
In this new world, composers and publishers would be at the center of creation with the tools to dictate the terms on which their compositions could be used. Recording artists and master owners could also set their own terms. Creators could get an immediate license to use logs to create new work and new income for the original creators.
The same goes for AI-powered music creation tools that could give fandoms access to licensed elements of the music they love. Freedom of creation, transparency and immediate compensation as established by music creators.
The infrastructure is already there, evolving and taking shape. Take a closer look at the NFT musical landscape, visit their websites, join their Discord channels, read their roadmap and white papers, talk to them and connect the dots. Streaming is the main source of income for artists and songwriters. Because 80% of artists on Spotify have less than 50 listeners per month, they have to make money elsewhere – in the web3 and NFT space, they can set their own rules and terms of engagement with their fans.
“The music industry is investing heavily in metaverse entities in an attempt to control current trends and align them with the old world. Social media and streaming platforms are adopting NFTs as a commodity for sale rather than a utility to pay royalties”.
But as things stand, PROs, major labels and publishers are not part of this equation.
Instead, the music industry is investing heavily in metaverse entities in an attempt to control current trends and align them with the old world. Social networks and streaming platforms are adopting NFTs as a commodity for sale and not as a utility to pay royalties.
(And by the way, I’ve talked to a lot of web3 players and they are more than willing to play ball with the traditional music industry the right way.)
Musk can change that in an instant and invite his fellow crypto-natives from the music industry: disruptive players like the members of the Song Guild of America (supported by Hypognosis, supported by Blackstone) and other early adopters in the decentralized zone, to create a better place for copyright holders.
Musk successfully did this with the auto industry, forcing them to develop electric cars. In his TED talk, he described this as an “act of philanthropy.” It can do that for the music industry. If you build MuziX, they will come.
A simple tweet from Musk pondering such a venture could finally unite the music industry in an attempt to save themselves… from themselves. The impressive amount of money that will be saved in IT development, data storage and administration costs by PROs, labels, music publishers and DSPs could be used to better serve their customers and redistribute the wealth for the benefit of music creators Remember that without writers and musicians there is no music business). The writers and their respective editors (if any) own the PROs and the change must start with them.
“The PROs will have to be thinner. We don’t need them to be these big, bloated organizations. Their role in this new world, if they want one, should be to get the best deal for writers through legislation and negotiation and, most importantly, education.”
In 1993, my first mentor in the music industry, Sam Trust, the legendary head of ATV, taught me my first lesson in music editing: “Go to the pickup society, spit on the floor and don’t stop yelling until you get paid shut up”.
Much has changed since then. PROs have taken a giant leap to provide better service and transparency to their members. The problem is that they have done it separately. Because? Ego.
Ego has driven PROs to spend a lot of money recreating the same systems in territories around the world. From the GRD to the ISWC and beyond, they have stumbled again and again. ICE, SACEM and MINT compete and take away clients from each other, all at the expense of their members/owners. All of the above are not equipped to deal with the web space3. Instead of creating an environment to support it, they’re trying to shut it down, just like they tried with Napster.
PROs can either continue doing the same thing and expect different results (Einstein’s definition of insanity) or have CISAC pool all the valuable information stored in their members’ systems and use it as a global hub for all collection societies ; create your version of “MuziX” with your members as co-owners. If they don’t, other players will step in and allow their members to obtain licensing rights using blockchain technologies. Some of the players in the NFT music scene are actively doing great work preparing this infrastructure to support the likes of Alan Walker, as described in a recent MBW podcast.
PROs will need to be thinner. We don’t need them to be these big, bloated organizations. Their role in this new world, if they want one, should be to get the best deal for writers through legislation and negotiation and, most importantly, education. It can only work if they work together and there are some good smart leaders in the music industry. Putting ego aside will allow them to take the right action.
As for Musk? Let’s see what happens if and when he tweets this to his community. Worldwide music business