A group of musicians, entrepreneurs and blockchain advocates is set to gather at a festival in Germany later this week with the aim of testing how the technology can change the music industry.
The Music Tech Fest Berlin is set to be held from 27th to 30th May. During this time, the MTFLabs: Blockchain initiative will bring together participants including Grammy Award winner Imogen Heap, who has been advocating for blockchain applications in the music industry since last year.
Also participating in the event are Vinay Gupta of Ethereum, music production platform PledgeMusic founder Benji Rogers and blockchain startups Ujo and Ascribe. About 25 participants total are set to take part.
Notably, attendees intend to write a policy report based on the event's findings and submit it to members of the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union.
In interview, organizer and moderator Peter Harris, who founded music streaming platform Resonate.is, said that participants are hoping the policy and strategy discussions set to take place at the event will form a springboard for meaningful applications of the technology.
Harris told CoinDesk:
"While we do have a number of developers here, this isn't about writing code. It's pointless to write a software app unless you've really done a thorough analysis of how it's going to be used and who it's going to impact."
Focus on strategy
Specific areas of focus will include metadata storage, identity verification and establishing formal ownership of music for use by third parties.
"If you're a film producer and you want to use a song, that process can be exhausting," said Harris.
While Harris noted that there will be developers in attendance, the focus of the event is on how legacy members of the music industry, including music labels, collection agencies and publishers leverage tight control over information to increase their profits.
"I don't think there is intentional evil being conducted in those organizations – there may be, but I don't think so," said Harris. "But the biggest issue is that there are silos of data."
More work to follow
After the festival ends, multiple plans are in place to ensure the work continues.
In collaboration with Amsterdam-based Hack in the Box, the participants will collectively produce a whitepaper set to publish on 28th May.
The white paper will in turn lay the foundation for a report the event's director, Andrew Dubber, plans to submit to members of the European Commission.
"We're going to tailor the white paper as a piece of policy and industry advice," Dubber told CoinDesk.
Then, on Monday, event participants including representatives of music streaming platform Soundcloud, the Berklee Institute of Creative Entrepreneurship (BerkleeICE) and others are invited to discuss the results with the European Alliance of Internet of Things Innovation (AIOTI), hosted by the conference and design firm, Funkhaus.
The event is intended to bring together the European policymakers and industry industry leaders including Samsung, Siemens, Bosch, Philips and Intel.
"There's a lot of interest here by the parties to keep this moving forward. We're going to start with a white paper but there's some concrete ideas too."
Image of Peter Harris courtesy of Filip Koludrovic and Karlo Hecimovic