Spotify announced Wednesday that it has acquired Mediachain Labs, a Brooklyn-based startup, to help better attribute songs on the music streaming platform to artists and rights holders.
Mediachain Labs operates on the blockchain, a technology that offers a distributed database most often associated with Bitcoin. The hope is that this technology can be leveraged as a source for tracking music rights via a decentralized system.
Mediachain will “help further Spotify’s journey towards a more fair, transparent and rewarding music industry for creators and rights owners,” Spotify wrote in a blog post.
Attribution is an abhorrent flaw in Spotify’s system and a fix is much-needed especially as competition in the music streaming industry grows, with Apple Music, Amazon, and Google Play. Last year, Spotify paid more than $20 million to music publishers and a$5 million penalty to settle a licensing dispute with the National Music Publishers Association.
As TechCrunch noted, Mediachain has expertise in the music industry. Arkadiy Kukarkin, Mediachain’s chief technology officer and first engineering hire, used to work at Hype Machine, a music curation aggregator beloved by Snap CEO Evan Spiegel. Mediachain co-founder Jesse Walden previously ran an artist management company.
“I was entrenched in a host of problems to do with music data, which can be summarized by saying that all the information about who made or owns music is fractured across zillions of proprietary databases, preventing artists from being paid and making life difficult for services wanting to pay them,” Walden told Forbes last year.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Mediachain’s team will join Spotify’s offices in New York.