Music Business

Berklee Launches Ambitious Open Music Initiative, Major Labels and Top Music Streamers Sign On

image from pbs.twimg.comAfter a year filled with lawsuits and bad press over disputes resulting from the lack of a global music database, Berklee College Of Music's Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship has an announced an initiative to fix the problem. The efforts is so ambitious that it could be dismissed as just another academic exercise, if not for the fact that every major music group and streaming music service has signed on.


Berklee College of Music’s Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship (BerkleeICE) today announced an ambitious Open Music Initiative (OMI) designed to simplify the way that music creators and rights owners are identified and compensated. It will combine BerkleeICE’s expertise in the music industry with the MIT Media Lab’s expertise in decentralized platforms to to develop an open source framework for music rights and their associated uses in all media forms.

In layman's terms, OMI doesn't want to create a centralized database of music; but rather a standardized way of tagging and identifying music and rightsholders so that various databases can communicate with each other and verify information.  Better tracking means more money for artists, labels and publishers.

panos panay“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,” said Panos Panay, co-founder of OMI and Founding Managing Director of BerkleeICE. “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." 

image from musically.comCellist, composer and performer Zoë Keating added, “The issues we face across the music industry are complex but what we want is simple: A thriving creative economy that benefits everyone, from creators to companies to consumers. Open Music Initiative presents an opportunity to solve some intractable problems and to change the narrative between music and tech."

An Impressive List Of Partners

Impressively, OMI has received commitments to participate from than 50 to companies and organizations across the music industry ecosystem including: Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, BMG, Spotify, YouTube, Pandora, SoundCloud, Netflix, SiriusXM, WBUR (Boston’s NPR news station), CD Baby, Tunecore, Downtown Music Publishing, French PRO SACEM, HFA, Rumblefish, blockchain initiative RightsShare and trade groups Featured Artist Coalition, Music Managers Forum, Future of Music Coalition, as well as, startups in the developing area of music rights licensing.

In addition to BerkleeICE and the MIT Media Lab, the OMI working group also includes researchers from University College London and other academic institutions. Operational and strategic guidance will be provided by IDEO, a global design and innovation company, and Context Labs, a media tech company coordinating the technical platform for the project.


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