Spotify has acqui-hired Brooklyn-based Mediachain Labs, a group behind a blockchain open-source protocol to deliver a decentralized network for sharing data critical to getting creators paid. According to Spotify, the Mediachain team will aid their "journey towards a more fair, transparent and rewarding music industry for creators and rights owners."
Mediachain was launched in 2016 with backing from Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
When applied to the music industry, blockchain technology resembles a secure-but-shared ledger that connects data "blocks" containing data about every song and its rights holders. The ledger is ownerless, with multiple participants able to contribute.
"A shared data layer is key to solving attribution, empowering creators and rights owners, and enabling a more efficient and sustainable model for creativity online," Mediachain said in a blog post announcing the move. "The opportunity to join an organization that shares this vision comes at a crucial time, when the relatively nascent blockchain community has few bridges to mainstream consumers, creators or the platforms they use to interact."
By onboarding this team of blockchain experts, Spotify is speeding up efforts to apply the technology to the music industry -- long plagued by messy and incomplete metadata -- which if solved could transform and streamline publishing and royalty payments to artists and rights owners.
Mediachain co-founder Jesse Walden also announced his new job on Twitter.
new job. same mission. so grateful to have been a part of the community around @mediachain_ and the other amazing projects in this space https://t.co/V62R65hdAq
- Jesse Walden (@jessewldn) April 26, 2017
Other companies developing blockchain technology include PeerTracks, Ujo and DotBlockChain, which announced in February it was partnering with Canadian performing rights org SOCAN, CD Baby, Songtrust and others to build a working model for the industry.