Open Music Initiative Creates Wide Coalition for Music Rights

The Open Music Initiative (OMI) just opened, with the goal of simplifying how music creators and rights owners are identified and compensated. Founded by Berklee College of Music’s Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship (BerkleeICE), OMI also relies on the MIT Media Lab Digital Currency Initiative to develop open source frameworks, University College London researchers and faculty, global design company IDEO’s operational and strategic guidance and Context Labs, which is coordinating the technical platform.

The OMI press release says that, although “initiatives like this have been attempted in the past,” OMI is the first one to draw in a coalition of “more than 50 leading founding entities, organizations and startups across the music industry ecosystem.”

Among them are Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, BMG, Spotify, YouTube, Pandora, SoundCloud, Netflix, SiriusXM, CD Baby, TuneCore, Downtown Music Publishing, and Rumblefish.

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“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,” said OMI co-founder Panos Panay, who is also BerkleeICE founding managing director. “We believe an open sourced platform around creative rights can yield an innovation dividend for creators and rights holders alike.”

MIT Media Lab Digital Currency Initiative director of research Neha Narula points out that, “we now have the tools to build an open architecture for music rights, using a decentralized platform.” Universal Music Group CTO Ty Roberts adds that, “Innovation is critically needed to address the myriad opportunities and challenges facing artists as technological change transforms every aspect of the digital music ecosystem.”