By Erin Schilling - Technology Reporter/ Atlanta Inno
January 21, 2021, 02:07pm EST
Licensing music has never been a simple process.
A content creator must first find who owns the rights to song, then negotiate permission to use it. With different production companies, record labels, performers and songwriters, that could mean getting permission from upwards of 10 different people or entities.
And if you do it wrong, you could face hefty copyright infringement fines.
That’s why Jarrett Hines and Bryson Nobles founded Music Tech Works, a digital indexing site that provides a record of who owns what music.
"Right now, it’s a painful process because there’s not any one place you can go to and find out who owns what,” Hines said. “We set out to change that and make it available and easily searchable.”
The index, rightsholder.io, is currently in a private beta mode. Hines said anyone can request an invite, and the founders approve them based on their music needs and the feedback they could provide on the platform.
The index is based on an algorithm that takes publicly available music rights information and cleanly catalogs and updates it as ownership changes, Hines said.
Hines, who worked in the music business, said he’s seen a lot of friends miss out on revenue because of licensing problems and saw this as a consistent problem across the industry.
“The process hasn’t kept up with the technology or demand,” Hines said. “The demand for video content has gone through the roof, but the process is still the same as it’s been for the last 30 years.”
Once the founders perfect the index, Hines said his next step is building out the platform so people can directly negotiate for permission to use the music without having to individually contact all the rights holders.
The index is available on a subscription basis, and Hines said Music Tech Works will also charge a small transaction fee once that feature is released.
Collab Capital, an Atlanta-based early-stage investing fund for Black founders, has helped the Music Tech Works founders since they started the venture a couple years ago. In October, Collab Capital led the startup’s $350,000 pre-seed round.
“They got to a great spot where they had almost 60 million song records indexed, normalized, useful and enriched,” said Collab Capital Managing Partner Justin Dawkins. “It makes for a very, very powerful product, and we think they’re a market leader in that way.”
Music Tech Works also received funding from the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund and have a few angel investors, Hines said.
MAIN IMAGE SOURCE: Music Tech Works founders Jarrett Hines and Bryson Nobles. Music Tech Works