This interview is part of our new Blockchain In Publishing series, where we interview the world's leading thought leaders on the front lines of the intersections between blockchain and publishing.
In this interview we speak with Ken Umezaki, CEO of Dot Blockchain Media, to understand how his company is using blockchain to transform the publishing business, and what the future of the industry holds.
1. What’s the story behind Dot Blockchain Media? Why and how did you begin?
KU: Five co-founders started the company about three years ago to build solutions to modernize rights data management for the recorded music business across labels, publishers, rights societies and streaming services. We felt it is essential in the digital world that there is a robust and persistent answer to the question “who owns the rights to this song?” and creating a technology service that supports that answer. We felt there was an opportunity to normalize how audio files, metadata and ownership information is used by all parties, and we felt we could leverage 21st century technology and tools, like algorithms, blockchain, data repository services etc. to create a much more robust solution than what is available or being used currently.
2. Please describe your use case and how Dot Blockchain Media uses blockchain:
KU: One way to look at dotBC is to think of it as a solution that:
- “Bundles” disparate datasets (audio file, meta data, ownership/publishing information, etc.).
- Ensures changes to that dataset are recorded systematically.
- Allows multiple parties to improve and correct the data in a coordinated way.
- Provides ways to communicate that bundled data efficiently to all.
The blockchain is actually really good at recording changes, synchronizing data, and broadcasting events to their community. We currently are using Intel’s Hyperledger Sawtooth Lake as our primary blockchain. Importantly, we are not a blockchain solution for rights management; rather a rights management solution that utilizes the blockchain as part of the service for what it does best.
These dotBC bundles allow the media to be “smart,” as in: a. comprehensive and accurate data; b. that always has the most current information; c. travels with the underlying media file; and d. appropriate users can see a version history of how the data changes over time.
3. Could you share a specific customer/user that benefits from what you offer? What has your service done for them?
KU: We are working with a number of publishers, including one of the 3 global major publishers. From the publisher’s perspective, our solutions include the ability to:
- Match works (ISWC, if you will) to recordings and releases (ISRCs, if you will) utilizing the dotBC interface, or by utilizing an algorithmic metadata service, from our partner Exactuals Music.
- Work with other publishers, labels, societies etc. to create a more comprehensive data and deal with data discrepancies through our platform.
- Provide a data score that allows you to get a feel for “how good is this data”?
- Associate audio files, not just metadata, to the composition dataset.
- More quickly get publishing information to streaming services to allow for proper royalty attribution.
- Subscribe to a feed of dotBC data changes over time, and integrate the data feed into internal workflow.
And many other benefits to publishers and other music companies.
4. What other blockchain use cases in the publishing industry are you excited about?
KU: We believe at scale, our solution will significantly aid the efficiency of global royalty collections and distributions for publishers, as our solution provides a way for publishers to much more efficiently associate their works to the recordings that are being monetized. Our platform will enable much more efficient licensing of musical works, especially for specific use licenses (such as UGC, gaming, sync etc.). Our solution only uses the blockchain for “what it’s good at doing”.
5. Where will Dot Blockchain Media be in 5 years?
KU: We hope to be a trusted data partner to a large portion of the global music business. Our platform is designed to be applicable for many use cases across the music business, so we hope to build additional services that help the music business grow more efficiently. We are beginning to develop tools for independent artists to access our platform. We believe our solutions are applicable to other media types, and hope to expand in that direction.