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BerkleeICE, MIT Media Lab collaborate to build open source and secure digital ledger platform for music industry

Berklee College of Music’s Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship (BerkleeICE), in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab, has announced a new ‘The Open Music Initiative’ (OMI), which aims to solve the most pressing issue in the music industry – the way that music creators and rights owners are identified and compensated.

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

OMI aims to establish a global, open sourced platform, providing technology for a shared ledger of music creators and rights owners. It will provide advocacy for all members in its operating model, promoting entrepreneurialism, innovation, transparency and expediency for all creators, performers and rights holders of music around the world. OMI will leverage technology to enable and support the creation of standards for data collection, data reconciliation and file formats.

BerkleeICE’s expertise in the music industry, coupled with the MIT Media Lab’s expertise in decentralized platforms, will help advance the development of open source frameworks and innovation related to music rights and their associated uses in all media forms.

“The internet led to an explosion of innovation precisely because of its open architecture. We now have the tools to build an open architecture for music rights, using a decentralized platform,” said Neha Narula, Director of Research, Digital Currency Initiative at the MIT Media Lab. “We’re excited to work with BerkleeICE and the Open Music Initiative to create a foundation for innovation, not only in rights management but in music itself."

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

OMI is actively seeking participation from various entities across the global music and media industry ecosystem. It has garnered broad support from over 50 leading founding entities, organizations and startups across the music industry ecosystem having signed agreements to participate, including, among others: Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, BMG, Spotify, YouTube, Pandora, SoundCloud, Netflix, Downtown Music Publishing, the French collective rights management organization SACEM, the trade groups Featured Artist Coalition, Music Managers Forum, Future of Music Coalition, and a wide variety of startups in the developing area of music rights licensing. The initiative has also garnered support from music publishers, managers and artists looking to increase transparency within the industry.

As part of its launch, OMI is going to host its inaugural gathering on June 22 in New York City with all OMI participants. The initiative will also include a three week innovation lab in Boston, July 11-29, run by BerkleeICE in association with IDEO, which will explore use cases and innovation models.

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