PRS For Music, ASCAP and SACEM have launched a joint project to improve data accuracy for songwriters, composers and publishers.
Using blockchain technology, the new system is designed to manage the links between music recordings International Standard Recording Codes (ISRCs) and music work International Standard Work Codes (ISWCs). Establishing connections between these two types of data will provide a practical solution with the potential to improve the processes of royalty matching, which will speed up licensing, reduce errors and reduce costs.
The ultimate aim is to ascertain how the music industry could create and adopt a shared, decentralised database of musical work metadata with real-time update and tracking capabilities.
SACEM, ASCAP and PRS For Music are working with IBM, leveraging blockchain technology from the Linux Foundation, Hyperledger Fabric, to match, aggregate and qualify existing links between ISRCs and ISWCs to confirm correct ownership information.
Blockchain has become known for its ability to manage records without centralised governance, something that will be harnessed in this project to resolve conflicts between identifiers for the same work across multiple rights holders.
Elizabeth Matthews, ASCAP’s chief executive said: “ASCAP is always looking for opportunities to exploit new technology platforms to specifically address the needs of our members and the music industry, which has been calling for greater transparency and accuracy. Blockchain has become well-known for its use in payments systems because of its ability to capture real-time data and transaction updates that can be shared with multiple parties, and in the process, dramatically improve operations by reducing costs. ASCAP is excited to partner with SACEM and PRS on this project on behalf of our members.”
Robert Ashcroft, PRS For Music’s chief executive, added: “Establishing authoritative copyright data has long been a goal of PRS For Music and is one of the biggest challenges the industry faces. Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies are opening up a world of new opportunities for all industries to address long-standing challenges. The digital market requires real-time reporting on behalf of multiple stakeholders across the world. If blockchain can help us achieve this, it will unlock opportunities for developers of new digital applications, increase accuracy of royalty payments and release value for rights holders. We see huge opportunity for beneficial industry change and collaboration from this initiative.”