Bitmark Enables KKBOX to Pay Music Royalties More Efficiently — Musicians Get the Transparency they Deserve

In an era of global tech monopolies, the implementation of decentralized systems can’t seem to come quick enough; we need more transparency from large companies and more infrastructure that supports individual privacy and control.

Today, Bitmark is pleased to announce a partnership with KKFarm (investment group of KKBOX) and CTBC, to enable KKBOX to more efficiently record, track and transfer the rights of access to musician’s royalties.

Many publications are predicting 2018 will see large companies and institutions implementing digital currency, blockchain technology or property rights for digital assets; this initiative weaves all three together.

The issue at hand

KKBOX is the largest music streaming service in Asia, with over 80% market share and 10M+ paid users. (Think Spotify of Asia — yet KKBOX actually started before Spotify.) One of their biggest pain points is knowing who owns what rights for a given song.

Currently, this ownership information is stuck in excel files behind corporate firewalls and is thus opaque. Both the streaming platform and the artists (rights-holders) are aligned in wanting to clarify lines of ownership and streamline this process. Even though in the news streaming companies (eg: Spotify) are being constantly sued by rights holders, they also want more transparent accounting. Bitmark makes this possible.

Musicians who license their work to KKBOX will now be able to have their song rights recorded in the Bitmark blockchain. Initially there will be 50 artists who participate, but we intend it to be in the thousands by year end.

The main goal of recording music rights is to enable automation of the payout for royalties. Artists can then get their money faster and more efficiency. Subsequently, and in our second phase of the project, we will establish ways the rights can be traded and transferred, creating liquidity of the royalties associated with rights.

How it works…

Music rights will get recorded in the Bitmark blockchain. When royalties need to get paid out, CTBC will verify the digital signatures of both KKBOX and the rights holders before distributing payments. Royalties will be paid out based on whoever holds rights to the music.

Music rights and royalty payments flow

A system of transparency and efficiency

Problems associated with IP rights and digital property have been around since the dawn of the internet. Bitmark’s public protocol, paves a way to solve these issues, by creating clear and verifiable ownership of rights.

Because rights are recorded in Bitmark’s public blockchain, it will be possible for artists to always see who owns what rights (or for anyone to see who is holding rights to what music). It’s possible that artists will begin to get a larger share of their royalty revenue because this system is cheaper, more efficient and automated.

“Bitmark provides tools and services that make rights more clear in the digital environment. Making music rights transparent and transferable is central to both KKBOX and Bitmark. Pochang and I have been in conversation for quite some time and I know these long standing issues he has been working to solve in digital music. Together we are building a solution that will enable the music ecosystem to grow and thrive”

— Sean Moss Pultz, CEO Bitmark

What the future holds

Every digital medium is going to have problems verifying and authenticating digital property and clear lines of ownership. This partnership creates a clear path to a solution.

This project is a cheaper, more predictable, and much more efficient way for streaming service platforms to pay artists their royalties — introducing more options for revenue streams from these royalties in the future.

Bitmark’s mission is to record rights to the world’s assets and make them universally accessible for sharing and trading. Being able to do this with music rights is exciting to us because everyone knows the current royalty model is badly broken. We read articles about artists suing digital music companies all the time; Bitmark really sees a solution to this and we’re thrilled to be making it happen with such a strong partner as KKBOX.

We at Bitmark believe securing property rights can trigger a multiplying effect of opportunity: it creates social inclusion, economic stability, and even environmental stewardship. In the coming months you will see more announcements from us as we roll out even more tools that enable transparency and clarification of rights for many types of assets, and subsequently liquidity for the revenue associated with these rights.

By Bitmark Inc. on January 11, 2018.

I can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube, what I found when I downloaded my Facebook data

Above is the first post ever written on my Facebook wall. I’m sure it was intended as an innocent, warm welcome, but now it reads more like someone escorting me into my own personal version of the “Hotel California” line: “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave…”

I’m not so sure Facebook is such a wonderful addiction anymore. Since writing this post I’ve been off Facebook for two months and I want to make a commencement speech to all the youth out there called “It Gets Better.” Perhaps it will be subtitled: “I Didn’t Realize How Much Anxiety Social Media Gave Me Until I Quit It Entirely.”

I recently downloaded all of my Facebook data in preparation to delete my account. I’m not a super-user, I’m not addicted to it. I have genuinely loved using Facebook to connect with my personal network for 11 years, but it’s come to feel like the tide has shifted and now Facebook is using me. Namely Facebook is using my data against me — collecting my every move, likes, interests, conversations, all without my explicit consent or knowledge of how my data is shared, and with whom — I’m finally, really, actually not okay with that.

I have worked in marketing, advertising and public communications for the last 18 years (read: I know how to target communities with FB ads in my sleep). I have been a community organizer for various organizations in my local community (read: I’ve created loads of FB events and FB campaigns). I live in Silicon Valley (read: I’m an early-ish adopter). Plus I have an insatiable curiosity when it comes to stories, people and social trends. What all of this adds up to is I’ve loved Facebook — as a personal and professional tool to get connected to headlines, to culture, to people, to trends, to news, to events, to stories, to gossip, to all of it. Facebook has been a great platform for me to get the connection I desire: I can get the scoop, I can share my scoop, and I can freely lurk around the scoops that everyone else is talking about.

This year something changed. I began to realize the vast amounts of information that Facebook tracks, uses and shares with others. Sure, everyone has had the experience of doing a browser search for … I don’t know … “Best brand of skinny jeans” and then 2 minutes later, there are 5 different brands of skinny jean ads showing in your FB feed. Those targeted ads seemed creepy but mostly harmless, until I realized that’s just the surface. It dawned on me how much information I’ve freely handed to a massive private company, and I am just beginning to comprehend the dangers of not being able to put that toothpaste back in it’s tube.

Facebook has gathered years of my daily activities, online and offline (here’s a list of 98 points it tracks), and spread it across advertisers, companies, websites, lists, etc.

After doing a tiny bit of research on best practices for deleting a Facebook account, I promptly found that I can download all of my Facebook data.

Sifting through this download was astonishing. Remember, I’ve spent years of my life helping brands advertise on FB, I understand how to leverage the information folks list in their profile to target ads, but I was not prepared for what I found in my downloaded data.

Facebook stores literally everything that makes up your profile, everything on the devices you connect from, every move you make, from start to finish:

  • Of course there are all the videos, photos, birthday messages, direct messages, and ephemera you’ve uploaded. That’s great, thanks for holding those for me FB!
  • There is a log of all the times you signed in, including the IP address from where you logged in, and the geolocation from where you logged in. This means it always knows where you. Okay, fine, what’s the rub? Well, FB can make logical leaps based on the intersection between the things you “Like” on the platform and your location: stores you walk into, businesses you frequent, the gym, the market, the office, the bar, the ____ you’re in everyday. That’s a bit stalker-ish.
  • There is a list of all of the personal contact information that has ever been on a device from which you’ve connected to Facebook. (This is where it starts to gets super creepy.) My FB data download has every single phone number I’ve ever had in my phone, any of my phones, any of my devices. I know for a fact that I’ve never listed my phone number on Facebook (privately or publicly), not once. But yet, in my FB data download, I found contact information for all my friends and family members, not to mention loads of people I don’t actually know or care to know: my old landlords, my neighbor’s dad, the lady who bought my table from a Craigslist ad, the nail salon I went to once, phone numbers I know I’ve deleted from my contacts, literally every number is still stored in FB.
  • There is a giant list of all the apps you’ve ever connected to Facebook. Obviously it has a log from Spotify, and with that how many times I’ve listened to Billy Joel last 10 years, #notevenalittlesorry. But I don’t even recognize most of the app names in my Facebook data, and now I know all of these companies have my personal information, too. With some more digging (and research) I’ve learned that this web of my personal data extends even farther: the apps your “friends” are connected to also collect your information. Even if you rarely use FB or are strict about how you connect your profile, any of your “friends” might be soliciting your info out without you knowing it.
  • There is a longer list of all of the ads ever clicked. Honestly, I don’t remember clicking on a single ad while on FB, and yet the list in my data is loooooong.
  • Get this, there’s an even bigger list of all of the companies and advertisers who have your demographic and personal information. I don’t know half of the companies listed in my data, but apparently they know me! And with undisclosed data leaks in the news lately, this is alarming.

Some people say, “But I don’t have anything to hide! I don’t care if FB knows where I live.” You may not care right now, today. But this is an unprecedented amount of permanently undeniable information that we have about ourselves. When teenagers used to talk on the phone with each other all night there weren’t private companies tracking the content, location, diction, or patterns of their chats. This is a new age, and we have no idea in what ways this information will be used by Facebook in the future. What if this information is used against you 30 years from now, in a court of law, where you’re the main suspect in the murder of a coffee shop barista, only because you went to that coffee shop every day for two years straight, which FB knows because you always check FB when you’re waiting for your coffee? But you didn’t even know the barista who was murdered and you coincidentally stopped going two days after he was murdered because a better coffee shop popped up two blocks in the other direction. Maybe that’s far-fetched, but it doesn’t take much to imagine a circumstance when you will find yourself wishing you’d limited how much traceable information is available and beyond your control.

Currently, there are no settings that allow me to limit what data is collected, how, why, or when it is shared, and zero control with whom it is shared. This is the number one reason that I’m leaving Facebook: I’m not allowed to control which or how much data is collected from my profile.

Now, I’m no privacy vegan (thank you, Eva, for the term) — like I said, connection is key to my life. I don’t want to live off the grid, I don’t want to go away, I don’t want to miss precious pictures of my many nephews who live in disparate parts of the country, but I do see the speed train we are on here, heading toward a data economy, and I definitely want to be able to choose how, when and by whom my data is collected. I want a digital environment where I can exercise control over the data that I generate, over the conversations, preferences and interests I have. I’m not comfortable with a platform that knows so much about me and my daily habits and also uses that information at their private-multimillion-dollar-company whim.

This is my number two reason to leave Facebook: The data that FB collects is used without my knowledge or consent in whatever way the company chooses to use it.

Reading Facebook’s terms of service and privacy policy is disheartening. It states, “We use all of the information we have to help us provide and support our Services.”

Let me reiterate: We use. All. The information. We have.

There it is, their license to freely share, use, collect, keep, destroy, sell, manipulate my data, however they choose.

There’s one more reason that I gotta disconnect: Facebook has partnered with so many websites and data mongers that whether you are logged in or not, Facebook is constantly tracking your every move. “It’s alerted every time you load a page with a “Like” or “share” button, or an advertisement sourced from its Atlas network,” says the Washington Post. The Facebook eyes are everywhere, and I don’t want them watching me anymore.

Case in point, while I was researching and writing this article, I was served many “security” posts from Facebook:

Facebook, I’m sure, is set to serve these “security” notices when it notices you’ve been Googling “How to delete Facebook” and “What data does Facebook collect” and “Privacy policy, Facebook.” But these notices aren’t about security, or data, or the platform. They are about how to control who in your network can see what, which is a very superficial version of “privacy controls” and not enough for me.

Getting the latest scoop is certainly not worth the privacy concerns I have, imho.

Of course Facebook may not be the biggest or worst culprit of data manipulation, but surely it is in the top echelon because of the sheer size, reach, and global influence of the company. For me, closing this digital chapter is step one in choosing to live a more empowered digital existence. Seriously, it gets better.

By Maureen Walsh on January 05, 2018.