On Registries

Guest post from Jim Griffin, Managing Director of OneHouse

Rethinking the music and media businesses suggests we start at the beginning; when and where music is used and the report of use that is generated. The very initiation of that process should end with money in the pocket of a musician thus incentivized to create more music.

It's a good place to start to rethink the process because today the use of music is generally reported with ambiguity. That's right: The initial report often lacks specificity, listing what the user thinks is the artist name and song title without a unique identifier such as an ISRC (International Standard Recording Code) for the sound recording and the ISWC for the song.

Without precise reporting, payment methods become less relevant. After all, if we're not sure which song was played by the music-using service, payment fails whether made via block-chain, wire transfer, certified check, cash or gift card. Absent precision, market share splits become the norm, which is fine for some companies while it deprives others of revenue.

Reporting music use without ambiguity requires the use of globally unique identifiers in the reporting process. The music business has the identifiers (ISRC, ISWC) but lacks publicly accessible, comprehensive, authenticated databases of them, so they aren't used.

The first step in a rethink initiative must be to ensure unambiguous reporting of the music and media used such that creators involved in the value chain can be properly compensated for their contribution. A process that starts with uncertainty will never improve. When reporting is clear and unambiguous, progress can and will be made towards the accountability owed to creators.

Jim