Spotify acquire Mediachain to help solve artist attribution issues on tracks

Spotify have purchased blockchain startup ‘Mediachain’ to help to credit the correct artists and rightsholders on tracks within Spotify, solving one of the industry’s biggest issues with them.

The startup based in New York has been designing systems that attribute artists to various pieces of media so that they can be credited and earn revenue for everything they’re responsible for, no matter where it ends up. Spotify have acquired Mediachain to make their platform fairer for creators with attributions for songs on compilations, cover songs and more.

One of the issues with Spotify, that has been the source of a fair deal of their media backlash over the years, is that whilst they payout for every stream of a song, there isn’t always a clear payee. This isn’t such a problem for major labels and artists but smaller and independent musicians and labels can sometimes miss out if there isn’t a clear credit for who owns the music. Spotify recently paid $30 million to a publishing group to make up for unpaid royalties. They also claimed they will make a “reasonable effort” to match unclear streams in the future, a move they’re clearly taking with their new acquisition.

Spotify are bringing the Mediachain team over to their part of the city so that they can begin work on integrating each others systems as soon as possible. In a press release Spotify said: “The Mediachain team will join our New York City offices and help further Spotify’s journey towards a more fair, transparent and rewarding music industry for creators and rights owners.”

In their own press release Mediachain spoke on how big a move Spotify’s purchase of them is and what it means for the future:

Today we are excited to announce that Mediachain Labs, the core team behind the open source Mediachain protocol, has been acquired by Spotify to further the streaming leader’s journey towards a more fair, transparent and rewarding music industry for creators and rights owners.

Over the last three years, we’ve developed open, decentralized data infrastructure, built open-first applications to surface attribution for creators, and even prototyped our own cryptocurrency to reward creators and curators for their contributions to culture. All of these efforts have been driven by the passionate community of creators, developers, blockchain enthusiasts, media organizations and investors who have shared our vision for a more open and programmable world for media metadata.

Spotify is very much a part of this community, a champion of transparency and open data for artists. 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.

Head of Social Media and Marketing, RouteNote