This MBW comment comes from Ran Geffen (cropped image), CEO of Amusica Song Management in Israel and founder of OG.studio, an extended reality content and business development agency facilitating the transition to web3.
Music companies have demanded that Twitter fully license music.
But as the platform’s potential new owner, Elon Musk won’t be playing the music industry’s game — instead, the music industry has to play his.
However, a music DAO initiative by Musk (let’s call it MuziX, given Musk’s brand history) could actually be the answer to their request: It would be a blockchain-based, decentralized copyright management and licensing platform that would change the way how music is licensed would democratize.
The big potential losers should Musk decide to get into the music business? Collecting societies and, by proxy, 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 place in the music landscape: it’s a meeting place where musicians interact with each other and their fandom, and where Web3 music projects are launched and managed.
It has been labeled a “major music industry concern” by the IFPI Submission to the European The Commission and PRS CEO Andrea Czapary Martin called on 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 creator community.”
Now let’s take a closer look at Musk.
His TED Talk about the future gives a good insight into his way of thinking and working. His main interest at the moment? AI It has taken some time for the AI of autonomous cars to learn how to use roads meant 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 be able to interact with them.
Twitter is the perfect place to analyze human interactions through short statements and reactions. Musk would magnify this interaction by allowing his users to see if the algorithm changed a particular tweet and suggest corrections. In short, Musk turns Twitter’s customers into collaborators in his mission to improve human-machine interaction.
Hipgnosis’ Amy Thomson suggested the same solution in a recent article MBW Podcast – a global copyright database, checked by the creators themselves. She also highlights the lack of transparency as a major problem in today’s ecosystem. Transparency is at the core of blockchain technology.
Curve Royalty Systems’ Tom Allen gave the industry a 10 to 15 year time frame to adopt blockchain as a solution (using the example of self-driving cars) and spoke about the scale and the high transaction fee at Ethereum.
Musk has committed to launching self-driving cars in the next year. Handling music transactions would be a walk in the park for him. Transaction costs that have been flagged as a concern can be reduced by simply switching to a low-cost, reliable, green blockchain.
So what would be the components of MuziX?
- A registry for all players in the music industry that provides a unique international ID number and connects them to a dedicated e-wallet that gives them an overview of all their assets and revenue generated across the music ecosystem by usage type .
- An open database of musical composition contributors with splits registered on the blockchain and smart contracts that set the terms allowing recording artists, DSPs, or anyone else who wants to use the music to stream, sync, or sample.
- A recording management tool based on a registered composition attached to it, which registers all participating contributors – producers, performing artists and session players – on the blockchain, as well as the conditions that allow a recording to be used for any purpose.
- A digital vault of recordings that would contain a demo of the new recording to complete the registration of the composition. The demo recording would be analyzed via fingerprinting technology to ensure the composition is original and allow sample requests. The system would also allow uploading of stems to be used according to the terms of the smart contracts and a fingerprint of the transcoding.
- It would do the same for any visual/audiovisual work attached to a recording or collaborator.
- A switchboard that connects all the data to the API that would allow anyone to use the copyrighted material personally or aggregate it to third parties under the terms of the smart contracts.
In this new world, songwriters and publishers would be at the center of creation, with the tools to dictate the conditions in which their compositions could be used. The recording artists and master owners could also set their terms. Creators could get an instant license to use Stems to create new works and new income for the original creators.
The same goes for AI tools for creating music, which could give fandom access to licensed elements of music they like. Freedom of Creation, Transparency and Immediate Compensation as defined by music creators.
The infrastructure is already in place, developing and taking shape. Look carefully NFT music landscape, visit their websites, join their Discord channels, read and talk to their roadmap and whitepapers and connect the dots. Streaming is the main source of income for artists and songwriters. Because 80% of the artists on Spotify have fewer than 50 listeners a month, They have to make money elsewhere – in the Web3 and NFT space they can set their own rules and terms of working with their fans.
“The music industry is investing heavily in metaversities to get a handle on current trends and align with the old world. Social media and streaming platforms are embracing NFTs as a commodity for sale rather than a utility to pay royalties.”
But as things stand, PROs, big labels and publishers are not part of this equation.
Instead, the music industry is investing heavily in metaversities to get a handle on current trends and align with the old world. Social media and streaming platforms embrace NFTs as a purchasable commodity rather than a utility to pay royalties.
(And by the way, I’ve spoken to many Web3 players and they are more than willing to play with the traditional music industry in the right way.)
Musk can change that on the fly, inviting his music industry peers — disruptive players like the members of the Song Guild of America (powered by Hipognosis, powered by Blackstone) and the other early adopters in the decentralized zone to create a better place for copyright owners.
Musk did well with the auto industry, forcing them to develop electric cars. In his TED Talk, he called this an “act of philanthropy.” He can do it for the music industry. If he builds MuziX, they will come.
A mere tweet from Musk contemplating such an endeavor could finally unite the music industry to save itself… from itself DSPs saved could be used to better serve their customers and redistribute wealth in favor of music creators. Remember, without writers and musicians there is no music business). The authors and their respective publishers (if any) own the PROs and the change must start with them.
“PROs need to get leaner. We don’t need them as these big, bloated organizations. Their role in this new world, if they want one at all, should be to get the best deal for writers through legislation and negotiation and, above all, education.”
In 1993, my first mentor in the music industry – Sam Trust, legendary head of ATV – gave me my first lesson in music publishing: “Go to the collecting society, spit on the floor and don’t stop screaming until they pay you be quiet”.
A lot has changed since then. The PROs have made a huge leap to provide better service and transparency to their members. The problem is that they did it separately. Why? Ego.
Ego has caused professionals to spend big bucks to replicate the same systems in areas around the world. From the GRD to the ISWC and beyond, they’ve stumbled over and over again. ICE, SACEM and MINT compete and poach customers, all at the expense of their members/owners. All of the above are not equipped to handle the Web3 space. Instead of creating an environment that supports it, they’re trying to turn it off like they tried to do with Napster.
PROs can continue to do the same and expect different results (Einstein’s definition of insanity) or have CISAC aggregate all the valuable information stored on their members’ systems and use it as a global hub for all collecting societies – create their version of “MuziX ‘ with its members as co-owners. If they don’t, other players will step in and allow their members to license rights using blockchain technologies. Some of the players in the NFT music landscape are actively doing a great job preparing this infrastructure to support the likes Alan Walker as detailed in a recent MBW podcast.
Pros need to get leaner. We don’t need them as these big, bloated organizations. Their role in this new world, if they want one at all, should be to secure the best deal for writers through legislation and negotiation, and above all through education. It can only work if they work together and there are some good, intelligent leaders in the music industry. Putting the ego aside will allow them to take the right action.
Musk? Let’s see what happens when he tweets this to his community. music business worldwide