(By Music Business Worldwide Staff | Published on April 26, 2017 for musicbusinessworldwide.com)
Spotify has acquired the team behind Mediachain Labs – a New York-based startup specializing in blockchain technology.
Mediachain was founded last year, with funding from Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures.
According to Spotify, the company is said to have launched ‘a world-class blockchain research agenda and open source protocol to better manage data that is critical to the health of the music industry’.
In a blog post, the Mediachain team explained that they had 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”.
They added: “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 Mediachain Labs team has experience of the music business: CTO Arkadiy Kukarkin was the first engineer hired by tastemaking site Hype Machine, while before co-founding Mediachain, Jesse Walden ran an artist management firm working with acts like Solange Knowles, Blood Orange and Majical Cloudz.
They will now move their professional home to Spotify’s New York HQ.
“This experience, as well as the rest of the team’s personal pursuits as creatives, has driven our conviction about the future of media metadata: 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,” added the Mediachain blog.
“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.”
The news comes little over a month after Spotify announced the acquisition of UK startup Sonalytic – a deal which it said would improve its ability to match songs with compositions “to improve our publishing data system”.
Three weeks later, it acquired ‘Tinder for television’ app Mighty.tv to help enhance its programmatic advertising efforts.
Earlier this month, collection societies PRS For Music, ASCAP and SACEM joined forces to launch development of a prototype blockchain copyright data system.