BerkleeICE Aims to Solve Music Licensing Issues in Unprecedented Industry Partnership

By 
Bryan Parys
June 13, 2016
Abstract image of a tape cassette

Announcing the Open Music Initiative

The Berklee Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship (BerkleeICE) has recently brokered a collaboration previously unheard of in the music industry aimed at addressing a major issue that has plagued the industry throughout the digital era: music licensing. The partnership, dubbed the Open Music Initiative (OMI), pairs the academy (Berklee, the MIT Media Lab) and consultants (IDEO) with the world's leading record labels and music services—including Universal, Sony, BMG, Warner, Spotify, Pandora, and Soundcloud, among many others—to tackle the issue in an innovative and holistic fashion. Put simply, OMI will dramatically simplify the way that music creators and rights owners are identified and compensated.

Turning Struggle into Opportunity

Panos Panay, founding managing director of BerkleeICE and cofounder of OMI, points out the paradox OMI aims to address: in an age where music is more widely created, disseminated, and enjoyed, "incomes for all those involved in the music-making and producing process have dropped precipitously in the last two decades," Panay says. Rather than seeing this as an impasse, Panay views this as a chance to innovate. In a recent blog post, he notes that this is "an opportunity to jointly modernize the framework on which our business operates so that we can all reap the benefits of tomorrow."

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