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How and why Teosto, the CMO of Finland, supports exchange of metadata of musical works

Teosto, the collective management organisation of Finland, finished the first phase of a project with Bloomen-partner Kendraio. The goal is to extend the usability of APIs for musical works and add user interfaces for data exchange. 

Reliable and updated data about musical works is the foundation for fair exchange across all stakeholders. Collective management organisations (the commonly used acronym is: CMOs) are key players and cornerstones of the music industry. They not only collect money and distribute it to musicians, but handle a lot of data. The more effectively this data is understood and worked with, the better for the members and their royalties.

Changing role of CMOs

Though, because of streaming platforms and the rising digital use of music the role of CMOs is changing. There is a growing need to be open, develop and innovate. This is the heart of the project between Kendraio, a partner in the Bloomen project, and Teosto, the CMO of Finland. 

In the first step of the collaboration the focus is on a new user interface designed to make the exchange of data simpler and more manageable in day-to-day business. Further, the goal is to to create value from the data, for all parties involved. 

Exchanging data is so far not common everywhere

Being open to exchange data is not common everywhere. In many industries organizations are accustomed to be protective of their assets and inner working, which usually includes data. As a result data is often in closely guarded silos, without options for easy updates or exchange with the outside world. As a result, even a small change or update for data elsewhere might have to be tracked, manually updated, etc. in a national music database. Or it is not updated at all, leading to considerable problems witch consistency. 

The collaboration between Teosto and Kendraio is a step to show why being open can open new avenues for collaboration. Music after all does not stop being popular at a border. This then calls for new approaches to exchange data about media assets. 

In the this particular project the task of Kendraio is to develop and implement an API (Application Programming Interface). APIs enable the creation of multiple “bridges” between different databases. Once introduced it is possible to to let one database talk to the other. Everything can be updated. Workflows can be re-tooled. One illlustrative example: Ideally a solved claim by an artist related to a musical work can be updated not only in one, but multiple national databases. 

Polaris Works API

One important foundation of the current project is the Polaris works API. Started in 2018 Polaris is a copyright API and data sandbox. The project is the result of a collaboration between the Nordic music collection organisations Koda, Tono and Teosto. Polaris was developed together by Teosto and Revelator. Polaris enables storage of data in a repository of musical works. This data can then be shared with third parties. The sandbox enables experimental development and testing, for example to see whether a certain query to the API gives the expected results. The whole effort aims to better (and faster) collaboration between CMOs and their clients.

The project between Teosto and Kendraio, started in 2019, aims to add user interfaces for different users of the Polaris Works API. The first phase was finished by the end of 2010. The project will be ongoing, currently preparing the next phase. If you are a CMO or otherwise in this field of work, feel free to get in touch with Kendraio directly.

Quote from the press release of Teosto:

“Both Polaris Works API and Kendraio App already existed prior to the project. During the pilot, a Polaris Works Adapter (API client) was developed in order to access the API via Kendraio App. A series of workflows was then created within Kendraio App to provide a user interface (UI) which can search the API, display and analyse results in various, highly flexible ways. These efforts have been supported by the European Commission as a part of the Bloomen Project, funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme.”

Next steps are to involve Yleisradio (YLE), of the Finnish Broadcasting company, as a pilot partner. In spring 202 Teosto will evaluate the use of both the API and the user interfaces.

For Kendraio, founder Daniel Harris added: “The Kendraio team are super excited to join forces with such a forward-thinking company as Teosto. We are thrilled that Kendraio App can be used to quickly and collaboratively create dynamic workflows which integrate, interact and visualise the Nordic music industry data API in real time. Seeing how Teosto use Kendraio App is giving us lots of inspiration for future enhancements and development”.

About Kendraio and the Bloomen project

Kendraio is an international alliance. The mission is to foster an open distributed marketplace for digital media (including films, music, images, games and text). Kendraio was established in the mid-90s and has been funded by a number of UK, EU and Google grants to enable it to continue its mission. Kendraio is currently building a dashboard application for music/media industry users to manage their rights and assets. The app simplifies the configuration of complex workflows, utilising multiple data sources, to enable the user, be they an artist, a manager, a record label or a CMO, to save time, money and resources.

Kendraio is one of the technology partners within Bloomen – an EU H2020 funded project. The project partners are investigating and creating a blockchain-based platform for media management, collaboration and distribution. There are three pilots (Music, Photos and WebTV) which are testing some or all of these aspects. The project is funded to the tune of 2.7M EUR and is running from the start of September 2017 to the end of August 2020.

For a direct contact to Kendraio: press@kendra.io

Photo by Namroud Gorguis on Unsplash