This Is Not a Test: New Alliance Makes Music Rights Data Sharing Real

The music industry’s legacy of sloppy, archaic and indifferent data management, particularly with respect to who owns what, has proved a major liability in the age of streaming, when billions of individual transactions need to be tracked, reported and paid out on every day. But repeated efforts to improve the situation through data sharing and collaboration throughout the value chain have floundered, mostly on fears of loosing proprietary control and leverage.

Earlier this year, however, a breakthrough came with the announcement of the Verifi Rights Data Alliance, (VRDA). Spearheaded by the blockchain-based data management platform Verifi Media, inaugural members of VRDA include Warner Music Group, FUGA, Spanish CMO Unison and Deezer, covering all sectors of the value chain: label and publisher, distributor, CMO and DSP. According to Verifi CEO Ken Umezaki, the initiative, which has taken several years to develop, beginning when Verifi was still known as Dot Blockchain Media, is out of the testing phase and operating in the real world.

“All of the members of committed to sharing all of the data they have on the artists and rights owners they represent, they are all paying to participate, this is real,” Umezaki told me. “We now have real world results we can show other companies as we look to expand the alliance.”

Part of the goal is to create a two-way data pipeline, between the label and publisher end of the chain and the DSP end, to provide transparency throughout.

Umezaki discussed the early days of the alliance at a Let’s DEW Lunch RightsTech Roundtable last here, along with FUGA CEO Pieter van Rijn, and he will join me again this Thursday (April 28) to discuss the full launch and the plans for VRDA going forward.

We’ll discuss the structure and goals of the alliance, the challenges in normalizing and reconciling very large data sets, the state of data knowledge within music companies and the industry as a whole, Verifi’s work with the MLC Data Integrity Initiative, and what data sharing really means, both operationally and strategically within the industry.

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