Berklee Report Proposes Blockchain Royalty Network for Musicians

A study published by the Berklee College of Music outlines how a blockchain royalty system could improve working conditions for musical artists.

Jul 15, 2015 at 8:10 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 11:46 a.m. UTC

A research study published by Boston's Berklee College of Music outlines how a blockchain-based royalty payment system could improve working conditions for musicians.

Published by Rethink Music, an initiative under the auspices of Berklee's Institute of Creative Entrepreneurship, the report outlines the current state of payments and revenue in the US recording industry and proposes a series of recommendations to improve transparency, reduce friction and provide a greater degree of fairness to working artists.

Among other recommendations, the report calls for the creation of a distributed rights database. This database "would each have separate servers, synchronized with a main database, where they enter information about musical works, which would then be propagated around the world".

The authors suggest that an implementation of the blockchain be used to create a payment network for artists as part of that database concept. The system, if built, would be programmed to split payments between parties whenever a work is purchased.

The Berklee report states:

"The label would receive ¢68.175, and the recording artist would get ¢22.725. The blockchain network could also further divide this ¢22.725 between the members of a band, if applicable. This entire process would take place in less than one second, allowing all parties to access their money immediately after it is generated."

Such a design would cut third parties from the process, ensuring that artists receive more revenue directly as a result of work sales and creating a transparent ledger of music industry payments.

The report also calls for education and certification programs for record labels that focus on fair music practices and the creation of a bill of rights for performing artists.

Concert silhouettes via Shutterstock

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