The unsurpassed reach of the internet and the emergence of a range of new digital technologies have transformed virtually every corner of the music industry for fans and creators alike. As the current disruptions present a range of important challenges for creators, producers, and distributors, the Rethink Music Initiative at the Berklee Institute of Creative Entrepreneurship has sought to identify the underlying barriers to progress and propose solutions to increase transparency, accelerate transactions and cash flows, and reduce inefficiencies in the $45 billion global music industry.
Rethink Music identified several sources of concern for music professionals:
– The need for greater transparency: it should be possible to give electronic access to real-time royalty information. The industry has yet to require services and intermediaries to provide complete, readable, up-to-date data about music sales and uses in an industry-standard format
– Data provided to artists with royalty payments is often opaque and artists often don’t understand the payments and accountings that they receive. This opacity may benefit intermediaries.
– Large pools of royalty revenue end up outside the artist’s reach in a so-called “black box”—where rightful owners of royalty revenue cannot be accurately identified because of a lack of an industry-wide system for tying usage to ownership.
Based on this analysis, Rethink Music’s study proposes recommendations, among which a “Creator’s Bill of Rights”, a “Fair Music” seal, a decentralised rights database, blockchain technology and education initiatives for all music creators.