IBM Blockchain for Digital Rights and Royalties

IBM Blockchain for Digital Rights and Royalties

Blockchain has the potential to save the music industry billions by transforming the rights and royalties process and by nurturing the relationship of artists with their communities of fans.

Explore the turntable to learn more about challenges and solutions.


Streaming services require intermediaries to ensure fairness in the artists' rights management process. Consequently, music creators need multiple contracts and middle men to protect copyrights and to distribute their music. The lack of a verified global registry of music creatives and their works and the mistrust of organizations who own relevant data make identifying music copyright and how royalties should be split between all involved parties a difficult task. Fans have a multitude of tools at their fingertips for consuming and distributing music, while music professionals only have a partial view of the way in which their music is shared and consumed. With so many ways to access music, piracy is a never-ending struggle, eating into royalties and revenue for everyone involved in the music business.

See the solution

With blockchain:

Blockchain can simplify digital rights management through ‘smart contracts’ - enabling all proceeds to directly reach the music professionals involved with the content. The shared transparency provides a trustworthy ecosystem where all stakeholders receive their fair share of royalties. Relevant information (such as composition, lyrics, liner notes, cover art, licensing, etc.) can be encoded onto the blockchain, creating a permanent and encrypted record into each participating device. Machines talk to each other and make this information accessible and transparent across the ecosystem. With the help of other next generation technologies, the blockchain can enable artists to intimately know their fans and address their music habits accordingly, with targeted incentives or offers. Combined with other technologies, the security that the blockchain provides can be leveraged to prevent unauthorized distribution or “ripping” of the content.