Guy Fletcher - Man of Music...

Guy Fletcher: Man of Music

A well-deserved tribute to Guy as chairman of PRS for music as he is stepping down.

Today his last day as chairman.

Monday, he is officially Executive chairman of Internet Music – the digital “equivalent” of PRS for music.

The whole article is about his journey in music, concluding with the future:

Recent years have seen some additional challenges for the collecting society, with PRS marking its centenary year in 2014 and moving location to its new King’s Cross offices.

‘Life has changed for PRS in the last six years probably more than any other time in its history,’ he notes.

‘We’ve moved from Berners Street, where we’d been since 1960, and that was quite something.

As was the centenary year.

But I think my main achievement has been reaching out to our members who need encouragement, counsel and advice.’

Now as his reign as chairman comes to an end, where does he think the industry is heading next?

And what are the biggest challenges for PRS for Music and the world of copyright?

‘The biggest challenge we have is fragmentation of the repertoire.

There’s a great benefit in collective management of rights, to keep it valuable.

But now there are competitors, people wanting to license themselves.’

However, he’s certainly proud of his work with PRS and how he leaves the society, arguably at a point where the organisation’s health has never been better.

‘We really have an altruistic love of the musical creative art form and that’s one of the great things about PRS.

We’re here to sustain this for our writers, composers and publishers.

We’ve got to continue being an essential part of that ecosystem.

The full article here:

Welcome Guy, we are looking forward to the great reboot…

A fantastic New Year and a prosperous 2017 to all of you.

Owners of 7 billion $ wanted - missing in the back catalogues.

The principle of global copyright management on behalf of music creators has been with us for over 150 years. Beginning in 1850 with SACEM in France, there are now 225 collection societies in 118 countries. The global music market, whilst dominated by Anglo-American repertoire requires bilateral, reciprocal agreements between ALL societies and an extremely complex set of rules and regulations in order to manage revenues from so many territories, each driven by local tariffs and legal frameworks.

The digital revolution has brought us an infinite choice of content, a massive choice of platforms and the ability for creators and music businesses to function without borders.

The public has seized the opportunity to access their music cheaply online thus rendering our hard-won, 150-year-old international copyright framework, with all its complexity, irrelevant in the online environment ……

The design of the collection society network has evolved in the physical world and has been woefully unable to keep pace with advancing technology or to help their members make a decent living in the online world.

Many things have been tried and the laws of copyright management in the UK and Europe have been tweaked to allow creators more choice in respect of the management of their online rights, multi-territory licensing, multi-society membership etc etc…… but still they are all operating in the same old framework.

These changes are all welcome but do not address some fundamental problems. For example the “back catalogue”!

Throughout the collection network there are probably 50 million or so titles with only 30% whose ownership is correctly defined and even fewer with correct metadata attached.

Revenues for these are often collected but the lack of good data renders accurate distribution impossible.

This produces an enormous loss of potential income to creators.

To make matters worse there are hundreds of different systems from large databases to small systems based on Excel spreadsheets operating in isolation and unable to “talk” to each other.

Internet Music has developed a set of services which go a long way to solving these problems…. Connecting all those silos of metadata and providing the means to begin sorting out the estimated $7 billion of “lost” revenues.

In short, we provide a bridge between the music industry as it is today to that of tomorrow.

Our mission is simply to provide a secure environment in which we can deliver more money, faster - for copyright owners.

Internet Music blockchains enables access to musical metadata across multiple providers: - smart contracts on Internet Music blockchains aggregate data pointers (references to metadata records that are stored elsewhere) into “publisher-label-retailer relationships.”

These contract data structures are stored on the blockchain and enable associated references to disparate music metadata with ownership and viewership permissions and record retrieval location.

This provides an immutable data-lifecycle log, enabling later auditing. We include a cryptographic hash of the record in the smart contract to establish a baseline of the original content and thus provide a check against content tampering. At the same time it is possible to store the physical music file on Internet Music Content Delivery and DRM (Digital Right Management) network.

If it doesn’t exist on Internet Music Network and in the log, it’s pirated and not licensed.

The raw music metadata record content is never stored on the blockchain, but rather kept securely in providers’ existing data storage infrastructure.

Internet Music blockchains facilitates reviewing, sharing and posting of new records via a flexible user interface, designed to reflect best-practices from the existing services.

Internet Music blockchains abstract away the blockchain technology to focus on usability for the metadata record. The interface includes a notifications system to alert users when a new record has been posted (music is streamed or downloaded).

From data rigidity to data sharing

Interoperability challenges between different provider systems pose significant barriers to effective data sharing. Music providers (copyright holders) face hurdles in authorizing data exchange (with other copyright holders or users/retailers) due to the lack of a common interface or standard system that orchestrates record access across multiple databases.

Internet Music blockchains provides streamlined data sharing functionality by updating viewership permissions on the relevant data pointers. With pointers to data aggregated in smart contracts on the blockchain, we can offer a single, common interface where copyright holders choose when, and with whom, - they share their data.

From obscurity to clarity

Whilst most valuable to the copyright holders/owners and retailers/providers, Internet Music blockchains also prove useful for many other areas like music charts etc.

With Internet Music blockchains, we can incentivize 3rd party stakeholders to participate in the blockchain network as “validators”. These validators can now obtain greater clarity in their use of metadata by earning census level, anonymized metadata in return for contributing the computational resources that sustain the network. I.e. Billboard can use it for their top 10.

So …… Internet Music blockchains enables the emergence of data economics between data consumer and data producer, as the system supplies big data to empower providers in the choice of how much metadata to release.

Registration - Release and Licensing.

The music industry continues to grapple with the world of digital commerce and appears to be struggling to make sense of it. …. It is extremely difficult for composers and songwriters to make a living.

Old industry conventions, based on the monetising of performing and mechanical rights have remained unchanged for many decades. In the online world, there is a massive creative workforce writing and producing pop recordings for the new global audience for whom these old business models simply DO NOT WORK.

INTERNET MUSIC can provide a simple and direct route to the online market thereby maximising the income due to music right owners.

By eliminating the middlemen and collecting societies in addition to reducing transaction fees payments to right owners will increase several times and time to payment decrease from up to 3 years to maximum of 30 days.

Securing more money, faster - for the owners of copyright.

The clearing of copyrights can be divided into 2  parts

  1. All new registrations and 100% owned copyrights,
  2. Massive back catalogues that basically are “all over the place”.

This paper will deal with new registrations.

When (back in 2006) I first started mulling over the complexity and opacity in all matters related to royalties and copyright, I was struck by the similarities between music copyright registration and handling of shares in a company on the stock market. (At the time we were a fast growing music distribution company with music on the mobile phone (launched 4 June 2004 with partners SonyMusic and Microsoft)

Why can’t this principle be implemented in the world of music copyright?

In 2006 the technology was not there to handle these questions, so the project was deferred.

Fast forward to 2014, the technology that brought all of my visions back to life was bitcoin and the underlying technology – blockchain.

Long story – short: Over the last 20 months we have put together a system that can be divided into 3 major services.

  1. Registration
  2. Release
  3. Licensing and payments

Registration.

Adapting the principles of an IPO (Initial Public Offering) on the stock market, you register copyright musical works uniquely with shares according to agreed royalty distribution. When that musical work is recorded the same principle applies, - a registration on the Internet Music Exchange is done. All parties involved will register their agreed shares.

Release.

When the song is released to the digital retailers (i.e. Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, YouTube etc.) the digital clearing kicks in. It’s released into Internet Music own digital cloud, that uses technology (based upon blockchain) that redefines all we presently know about Internet - makes it safer and more efficient. It’s basically Music as a Service (MaaS) and “everybody” has access to it (as long as they pay). It’s digital distribution and DRM (Digital Rights Managment) in one.

Simply put: If it’s not in the Internet Music MaaS – it’s illegal and pirated.

Licensing and payments

For Spotify to release the music to their subscriber they have to clear the licensing with the Internet Music MaaS.

That is done by “buying” a token valued in Internet Music own digital currency imCoin and ThorBits (I have to get something out of this ) there is 100 000 000 ThorBits in 1 imCoin. And almost immediately transferred to a Digital Wallet according to registries shares on the Internet Music Exchange (both in musical works and recordings).

Digital wallets on the mobile phone can be used to pay for goods or services immediately. Or transferred into a bank account within a day or two.

Bob’s your uncle…

The following video might give you a better understanding.

Rebooting the music industry...

It's time to be serious.

I have since 2006 carried a dream - all creators of music should get fully paid for their work.
In 2006 I called it (when first defined) "The digital clearing house" today it's called Internet Music and under Internet Music Now we will over the next year invite everybody with their own copyright to join the not-for-profit organisation Internet Music (now) starting early 2017.
We have been building the services since 2010 and for the last 20 months we have concentrated on the distributed ledger services and technology (aka block-chain).
I have had countless discussion and defining talks with major and central profiles in the music industry as well as participating in panels and groups all over the world. And we are now slowly emerging from self imposed stealth.
We have successfully defined and carried out trials for integrating the existing back catalogues in our services and are now starting to build proof of concept solutions. All new copyright registrations are in closed beta testing.
As we all know, - the major challenges is the failure of previous registrations to accurately register metadata and consequently correcting this will be the challenge of the next decade.
There is a lot of royalties floating around out there (typically 24% of recordings and 27% of musical works are correctly paid from the “long tail” according to a major music industry company).
It’s time for a reboot with Internet Music, providing more money, faster - for creators of music…

Thor and the Internet Music team.