The digital music business is booming, representing more than 80 percent of U.S. recorded music revenue in the first half of 2017, according to the RIAA, with streaming alone accounting for 62 percent. But keeping this market growing — and keeping it diverse, so that one or two companies can’t dominate it — requires encouraging more startups to enter a market that’s generally perceived as difficult and complicated.
Could another startup have the answer? Crunch Digital, which helps technology companies handle accounting and payments for the music they use, today announced that it’s launching Crunch Digital Sandbox, a platform that will expedite for app developers the process of licensing music from big labels and publishers. The idea isn’t to negotiate the kinds of complicated contracts needed by big online music distributors — just to quickly create what Crunch Digital founder Keith Bernstein calls “an experimental license” so they can prove their concepts.
Crunch will not license music itself. Rather, it will bring together startups with rightsholders that are participating in the Sandbox program, including BMG Rights Management. “Sandbox strikes the perfect balance, allowing startups to properly license music while ensuring that songwriters are fairly compensated,” says Keith Hauprich, BMG general counsel and senior vp business and legal affairs, North America. “This new model squarely addresses a long-standing concern of the industry.”