Universal Music, Sony Music, Warner Music, are joining with the likes of over 50 streaming services that include Spotify, YouTube, Pandora, Netflix, SoundCloud, and SiriusXM in an effort to overhaul the practices behind crediting and compensating artists, writers, and song creators. According to Pitchfork, The Berklee College of Music’s Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship, aka BerkleeICE has formed the Open Music Initiative (OMI) and partnered with the MIT Media Lab to create an open-source platform to better track creative rights owners to ensure fair compensation for digital music.
Other companies have joined the effort: CD Baby, Tunecore, Downtown Music Publishing, Featured Artist Coalition, Music Managers Forum, Future of Music Coalition, WBUR, and a number of other licensing startups have all signed agreements.
Cellist and composer Zoë Keating has caught the attention of many over the years for more than just her music. The artist has released her yearly income over the years, complete with breakdown by streaming services. The documents reveal the stark differences in payment between services such as Spotify, Apple, and Youtube. At a Virgin Disruptors Keating has stated that she does not blame streaming services for the struggle for artist to make sustainable incomes, although they must work harder to realize this reality for those to help their services thrive. He has recently made another statement on the issue.
“[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 presents an opportunity to solve some intractable problems and to change the narrative between music and tech.”
The Fader has reported that OMI co-founder Panos Panay has stated that the initiative will allow the music industry to catch up with the rapidly-shifting listening methods of audiences today.
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.
If successful, the initiative will be groundbreaking in progressing longstanding digital music rights and distribution issues that have plagued writers and other creatives.