Unlocking the Future of the Music Industry

Two months ago, we publicly launched Trustream. Here, I share our industry point of view and thesis for starting the company.

The music industry is transforming and poised for tremendous growth, driven by streaming, bundling and the hundreds of digital service providers (DSPs) worldwide. It’s never been easier to find what you want as a music consumer.

At the same time, rapid growth and fragmentation of distribution puts pressure on music’s market value, pricing and margins. This means less money to rights holders.

So, we asked ourselves: what is the key to unlocking breakaway growth in the music industry, equitably, for all parties? Our answer: trust.

Compared to most industries, where data is shared more openly and used to build consensus, lack of trust continues to create an asymmetry of data and negotiating leverage in the music business. With DSPs generating billions of data points every day, the rest of the value chain is falling farther behind – which means missing the big picture and missing money.

As a result, we believe that the commercial value of content is now matched by that of data. Today, however, this data is disjointed and comprised largely of vanity metrics: they feel good, but we cannot navigate the future by them, and they don’t inspire trust.

Assuring that rights holders have access to timely, trustworthy rights and royalties data and that DSPs can flourish without immense legal risk has never been more challenging or more important.

Imagine a world where the countless time, money and energy spent collecting, correcting, re-entering, manipulating, arguing and litigating over data (and money) were spent making and marketing more great music.

To bring about this future, new thinking, new tools and shared standards are needed. In order for the big wheel to keep on turning, the music industry must be powered by data and business practices that are worthy of trust.

We believe it’s possible. In building Trustream, we’re working hard to do our part.