Inspiring Women

Music in the Metaverse: Redefining Music Rights in the World of Web3

The next MBW release comes from Deborah Mannis-Gardner, Owner/President, Disney Music Group [20 articles]”href=”https://www.musicbusinessworldwide.com/companies/disney-music-group/”> DMG permits and global expert on music rights permits. After starting DMG Clearances, Inc. in 1996, since permitted releases for artists including This includes Drake, Tyler the Creator, DJ Khaled, Eminem, Pop Smoke, Logic, Justin Bieber, Kendrick Lamar, Lil Wayne, Frank Ocean, Jay-Z, John Legend, Megan Thee Stallion, Big KRIT, Brockhampton, French Montana, Big Sean, J. Cole, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Beyoncé, etc. Mannis-Gardner has also handled music licenses for the Metaverse Meta and Roblox platforms; Martin Scorsese films, The Coen Brothers, Richard Linklater; TV networks and streaming services such as HBO, Showtime, and Netflix [270 articles]”href=”https://www.musicbusinessworldwide.com/companies/netflix/”>Netflix, Disney+, Paramount+; Google’s advertising campaigns [710 articles]href=”https://www.musicbusinessworldwide.com/companies/google/”>Google, Ciroc, and Kmart; podcasts such as “Broken Record” by Rick Rubin and Malcolm Gladwell; video games such as Rockstar Games’ “Grand Theft Auto” franchises and “Red Dead Redemption”; and political campaigns such as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s 2020 presidential campaign. Mannis-Gardner has also served as award-winning music supervisor on HBO’s series Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine docu “The Defiant Ones”.


It’s like it was just yesterday when “metaverse” was just a hot new word, something from the distant future. Now, the music industry is catching up with the world of Web3 and the rapid pace at which it is changing and growing.

Whether it’s Lil Nas X performing in Roblox, AI musicians, or NFTs, Web3 opens the door to many exciting and new opportunities. However, it also comes with a subset of issues that the music and technology industries need to address as soon as possible.

Music rights are my life’s work and passion, and I’ve had the privilege of working with artists like DJ Khaled, Megan Thee Stallion, Drake, and more, as well as the film/TV and podcast projects of Rick Rubin, The Coen Brothers, Richard Linklater, Netflix and Disney+, among others.

I recently worked with Post Malone to handle music permits for his metaverse performance on the Meta platform, and something hit me.

In the early 1990s, when hip-hop artists were struggling to legalize sampling, music industry executives attempted to put square-hole hooking by applying existing licensing standards and terminology to a new field they considered “fashion”. Of course, sampling grew in popularity, and eventually, a new licensing framework was created to accommodate it.

Currently, we’re having the same problem with Web3, and after the Post Malone metaverse, I plunged into the world of Web3 to apply the lessons I learned from the early days of sampling into this new field. More specifically, my personal goal was to tackle licensing terminology, which in my experience was a very complex and confusing process for everyone involved.

It all starts with mechanical licenses, which cover the publishing side of a composition. The government sets mechanical royalty rates and is not subject to negotiations – if an artist wants to cover a song and release it on their album, they just have to file a notice and pay the government-imposed royalty fee.

When things get tricky is when a song is paired with a visual element, such as in an ad campaign, TV show, or movie. At this point, a sync license is required, which requires negotiations not only with the publishing company but also with the poster who owns the master registration for the work. Either party can ask for the amount they want, and they can stop the use completely by saying no.

However, over the past few years, mechanical licenses and synchronization licenses have quickly become obsolete. For example, the uses of music in audiobooks and podcasts are sometimes pushed through mechanical licenses, the argument being that there is no visual association with audio. But shouldn’t song rights holders get a chance to decide what types of audio content they want their songs to be associated with, and to what extent?

Now, Web3, the metaverse, and the NFT challenge these licensing definitions further. With traditional sync licenses, rights holders can see exactly what they agree to associate their music with. But in the metaverse, the vast majority of content is user generated, and that must be taken into account. Also, NFTs can take many forms, from an exclusive track that can fall under a mechanical license, or a video/audio combo to music, which requires a sync license. NFTs can also be resold, and rights holders must be able to receive a portion of each sale.

Well, how do we solve this problem? I would argue that the best way is to introduce the new licensing terms Art-Driven Mechanical (for mechanical reproduction into another art form) and Art-Driven Synchronization (to synchronize music with another art form). By creating these new terms for Web3 we can grant permission to music copyright holders to create at least two values ​​or quotes as a means of collecting appropriate compensation for uses of new Web3 music, whether or not music is the primary art form – and that art form will include the written word and other media .

For example, NFT will be subject to three fees: a mechanical royalty-driven, art-driven royalty rate for generating income from embedded songs over time, an art-driven sync fixed fee to cover any video/audio syncs, and an ongoing resale fee that provides a portion of future revenue to rights holders on a percentage basis. . Music uses in the metaverse will be subject to two fees: a fixed art-driven sync fee for using the song on the platform and a separate fee for User Generated Content (UGC), as well as performance fees for registration and compensation through PROs and CMOs.

To help make this a reality, I’m joined by fellow music industry professionals Jessica Vaughn (Head of Gun Music Synchronization and President of Head of Bitch Music), Stacey Haber (The Music Company), Vicki Nauman (Founder and CEO of CrossBorderWorks), and Jess Foreman (Senior Vice President of Strategy Synchronization at Big Noise Music), Brian Platz (Granderson Des Rochers attorney), and Donovan Brown (Venice Music’s largest community manager) to start Web3 Music Rights Group. Our goal is to share ideas and knowledge from our broad areas of expertise in music licensing, law, music technology, record labels, publishing, and more.

The music industry is always evolving, and it’s crucial that we have more discussions about embracing the world of the Web3 and the metaverse so that we always protect the art and everyone involved. Redefining terms can be intimidating and takes a lot of work to figure out, but we’d all be better prepared instead of playing catch-up. I encourage anyone interested in participating in this discussion to join the Web3 Music Rights Group by registering at web3musicrights.com.Music business around the world

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