The three largest member owned collection societies (organisations which accumulate and distribute royalties on behalf of their members) are embracing the technology made famous by the successes of digital currency Bitcoin.
An investment in blockchain is being made by PRS for Music, the American Society for Composers, Authors and Publishers, and the Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music.
The three societies are working to combat the tricky issue of identifying and processing the metadata of music and sound recordings, which once classified accordingly, will help the collecting societies draw value from their members’ assets, and help prevent ownership conflict issues.
Blockchain is a decentralised, peer-to-peer database made up of digital records, arranged as groups known as blocks which are encrypted and subsequently grouped together in chronological order to form a chain of relevant and historical information- a block-chain, so to speak. Upon a new block being added to the chain, users that wish to access the information within that chain will automatically have access to the updated material, making forgery and inconsistency impossible, as any other computer in the network will prove that block’s addition is inconsistent with the records held everywhere else.
Such a resource would make the process of royalty matching more efficient, reduce errors, quicken licensing, and provide real-time updates, ultimately reducing costs.
The venture is being put together by IBM and Hyperledger Fabric, the former focusing on the development of the blockchain technology with the latter leading the matching, aggregating and qualifying of currently existing links between information networks.
Whilst in its infancy, the project hopes to make use of the technology in the same way digital currency and banking tools have, opening up the way information is stored, handled and exploited.