With this week’s announcement of the Open Music Initiative (OMI), the music industry is once again embarking on an effort to solve a problem that has long-vexed the business, but particularly since the rise of streaming services: the lack of a shared, secure and trusted way of knowing who owns what and what they’re owed for the use of their music.
Spearheaded by the Berklee College of Music’s Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship (BerkleeICE), along with the MIT Media Lab, brings together a wide range of music industry stakeholders, including the major record companies, music publishers, streaming services, rights organizations, artists representatives and technology developers, among others, to develop a technical framework for data exchange that will enable interoperability of systems and services throughout the music rights ecosystem.
“It’s not a secret that the infrastructure of the music industry, especially the one around creative rights, has not evolved to accommodate for the ways that music is being created and consumed today,” BerkleeICE founding managing director Panos Panay said in a statement. “We want to use the brainpower, neutrality and convening ability of our collective academic institutions, along with broad industry collaboration, to create a shared digital architecture for the modern music business. We believe an open sourced platform around creative rights can yield an innovation dividend for creators and rights holders alike.”
Another key objective of OMI is to avoid the mistakes and pitfalls that have sank previous industry efforts to establish a standardized rights-management infrastructure, such as the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) and the Global Repertoire Database (GRD).
“There are a couple of words that a verboten around here,” Context Labs CEO and Berklee Trustee Dan Harple told RightsTech.com. “One of them is ‘database.’ We are not building a database. A ledger is not a database. There may be databases that interoperate with OMI, but we’re not building a database.”