A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to participate in the RightsTech Summit in New York City (full disclosure: Orangenius was a sponsor) where I spoke on a panel about “Rightstech in the Enterprise.” Several of my Orangenius colleagues also attended, including Steve Schlackman, who discussed “Rightstech Marketplaces,” Paul Jessop, who spoke on “Restoring Registration to the Copyright Equation,” and Jim Griffin moderated a panel on smart contracts.
A joint venture between Digital Media Wire and Concurrent Media Strategies, the conference featured an eclectic mix of lawyers, technologists, and businesspeople from all sectors of the creative economy — music, film and television, book publishing, and the visual arts. While the nature of the creative endeavors and associated business models represented at the conference were diverse and varied, it was striking how similar each industry’s rights management issues are. Fundamentally, each business is after the same thing: an accurate, dependable way of managing rights in creative works, and ensuring accurate, appropriate compensation for uses of those works.
Guest post: Last week at the terrific inaugural RightsTech Summit, a wide range of very knowledgeable people came together to discuss the current state of digital rights management, and more importantly, the direction that new technologies are taking this field.
If I had to sum up the common themes from the event in two words, they would be: Metadata and Standardization.
Figuring out if, how much, and which metadata about digital assets – such as a song, or an e-book – can be shared, especially among companies with different goals and interests, was one sub-theme. Also discussed was the right mix of technologies to facilitate sharing and tracking of metadata; of course, blockchain technology was a key topic of discussion. But we also covered other distributed technologies that address not just the management of the metadata, but also of the underlying content.
Something that struck me was the extent to which there was agreement among participants — ranging from start-ups to established industry players — that many of the best new use cases being proposed for the “rightstech” industries depend on contracts for digital assets being standardized and simplified, and ultimately rendered in machine-readable code. Continue reading “Making the Creative Commons Smarter”
Songwriter and producer, former record label and ASCAP executive, and “recovering CPA” Tim DuBois sat for a fireside keynote chat with RPG Strategies principal Jon Potter at the inaugural RightsTech Summit on July 26 in New York. Among the topics they discussed was the critical role that technology can play in making sure the right people get paid for their work in the music industry.
“I’ve been lucky enough to sit at just about every chair at the table,” within the music business, DuBois recalled. “Anytime that money passes through an organization unnecessarily I get scared. And I have a right to get scared because I’ve worked at most of those organizations. So I know whereof I speak.”
Dozens of technology, law and music professionals gathered at the Japan Society in New York on Tuesday for the inaugural RightsTech Summit, determined to brainstorm how partnerships between tech companies and content creators could drive smarter rights management and monetization.
Rights tech, like freight forwarding and other under-the-radar industries, is unsexy but wholly necessary, and profitable if done right. Most music-tech startups tend to focus on “first-mile” problems in artists’ careers, such as discovery, marketing and crowdfunding. The last mile—what happens when finished musical works are digitized and, in Rogers’ words, “drop off a data and revenue cliff”—has remained largely untransformed.
On July 26, Digital Media Wire (DMW) and Concurrent Media Strategies will present a RightsTech Summit in NYC to address a digital blind spot you may not know about.
If you think attribution when the term “Rights” comes up in the context of digital media, then you’re not seeing an important aspect as far as how tech breakthroughs have impacted content distribution. For now, let’s chat with conference co-chair Paul Sweeting, Principal of Concurrent Media Strategies, LLC, to get a download on the subject.
Last week’s announcement that the U.S. Copyright Office had successfully accepted a bulk submission of notices of intent (NOIs) for compulsory mechanical licenses in electronic form marked a major milestone, both for the Office and for Music Reports Inc., which delivered the NOIs on behalf of music streaming service Guvera.
Music Reports has been working with the Copyright Office for more than a decade as part of the Office’s fitful, and at times halfhearted, effort to upgrade the creaky, pre-digital process for submitting and accessing music publishing information to at least 20th century standards if not quite 21st. Last week’s successful test run on the Office’s new, electronic submission system, involving about 100 tracks, is believed to be the first such hand-off.
“We’re now ready to start doing this at scale. It’s a big, big step,” Music Report’s VP and general counsel Bill Colitre told RightsTech.com.
But it was only one step toward solving what Colitre says is a much bigger problem: the vast and fast-growing amount of music being released on digital platforms today for which publishing information is not available, if it was ever collected in the first place. Continue reading “Wagging Music Publishing’s Long Tail”
Venture capitalist and former music startup founder David Pakman has compiled some grim statistics on the survival rate of VC-backed music services.
“Since 1997, according to PitchBook, approximately 175 digital music companies were created and funded by venture investors. Of those, approximately 33 were acquired by larger companies, often for less money than their investors put in,” he writes in a blog post on Medium, taken in part from testimony he gave last year before the Copyright Royalty Board. “Of those who have exited, I believe only seven achieved meaningful venture returns for their investors by returning more than $25 million in profit to their investors (Last.FM, Spinner, MP3.com, Gracenote, Thumbplay, Pandora and possibly The Echo Nest), representing an investor success rate of only approximately 4%, far below that of other internet and technology market segments. Only two have achieved an IPO, and at least 15 companies have resulted in a distressed exit and/or filed for bankruptcy so far, for an 8.6% failure rate to date.”
Music business and technology consultant Andy Edwards offers a similarly dire analysis in a post on Music Business Worldwide, concluding that only one fully licensed music startup has managed a successful exit since 2004, and that was Last.fm, which only became fully licensed ahead of its $280m sale to CBS in 2007.