Spotify has announced that it has acquired Mediachain Labs, in a move that could help the popular music-streaming firm address concerns about its artist attribution system. According to a statement on Spotify’s website, Mediachain’s development team will be relocating to Spotify’s offices in New York City:
“Today Spotify is pleased to welcome the team from Mediachain Labs to Spotify. Brooklyn-based Mediachain Labs has been the driving force behind the Mediachain project, a world-class blockchain research agenda and open source protocol to better manage data that is critical to the health of the music industry. 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.”
Mediachain introduced an attribution system last October – the Mediachain Attribution Engine – that was created to facilitate image searches and creative attribution tracking to ensure that artists receive credit for their work. In addition, the blockchain startup had also launched its own cryptocurrency, CCCoin, which was “designed to create a self-sustaining ecosystem capable of financially supporting millions of Creative Commons artists without centralized intermediaries, and to demonstrate how Mediachain’s decentralized, scalable datastore can help developers build an open, universal media library.”
Spotify's failure to provide proper attribution for songs it makes available to its customers has caused the streaming service more than a little discomfort in the past. In 2016, the company ended up settling a dispute over licensing concerns when the National Music Publishers Association accused the company of failing to get proper mechanical licensing for many of the songs it makes available through its service. That settlement cost Spotify more than $25 million, including a penalty of $5 million.
Spotify had argued that it simply lacked the necessary data to make accurate determinations about attribution, as there was no centralized system in place for determining who had claims to which songs. The acquisition of Mediachain Labs could be the first step needed to help the streaming service finally resolve that issue.