What Is OMI and What Does It Mean to You?

At Adva Mobile, we’re excited to have joined the roster of music industry giants, innovators, and educators who have come together to help solve the problem of freely distributed media devaluing and even directly taking away income from the artists who have created that media.

As the internet took the world by storm, enabling the transfer of media from business to consumer, person to person, or via endless streaming, it became increasingly difficult to monitor what was being distributed where or who it came from to begin with. As we’ve all seen, this has meant a big hit to the pockets of artists, writers, and performers everywhere.

OMI, or Open Music Initiative, is a nonprofit initiative aimed at changing this model by providing an open-source protocol that allows for the “uniform identification of music rights holders and creators.” Open-source, of course, means that the purpose of the code is to be shared and freely implemented across applications and platforms; for OMI specifically, this means that media files can be tracked and accounted for regardless of how or where the files are being distributed.

The means of accomplishing this may be surprising. It goes back to the days when Bitcoin was invented, that innovative (and sometimes nefarious) virtual currency which was designed with the unique ability to validate a transaction at every step (or “node”) along its path. Known as blockchains, the transaction logs created in this process are passed along with the currency, making it secure and traceable.

Well, it didn’t take long for people to figure out that the blockchain could be applied to other things than currencies, and this is where OMI comes in. If a bitcoin can be traced from place to place with a complete record of where it’s been, why not a media file like a song? Before a song is distributed, the file is given a digital signature of sorts, which includes all the pertinent copyright information and who gets paid for what. The song never goes anywhere without this information attached, so you, the creator, will always get credit for your work. Brilliant, right?

There are two things that are particularly encouraging about this:

  1. The folks at the Berklee Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship, MIT Media Lab, and their partners have put together a team of geniuses who care about music—not only are they dedicated to providing a solution that rectifies the technology-induced injustices experienced by underpaid artists everywhere; they also have the smarts to make this happen. Though attempts to manage media with blockchain technology may have fallen short in the past, the OMI team has rooted out the old flaws and built a robust protocol.
  2. What may be even more exciting than the technology itself is who is backing it. So far, OMI’s approximately 170-strong member list includes Avid, Bandsintown, CD Baby, Napster, Netflix, The Orchard, Pandora, SiriusXM, Sonos, Sony Music Entertainment, SoundCloud, Spotify, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and YouTube. What does this list of heavy hitters mean? It is going to take pretty much zero convincing for this technology to become the standard for media creation and distribution in the near future.

No more chasing royalties or trying to prove that your song is being used somewhere that you’re not getting paid for. You’ll have access to accurate and transparent reporting so you can rest assured that your hard work is truly being compensated.

At Adva Mobile, we wanted to get in on the ground floor of this exciting technology so we’d be ready to implement it as soon as it’s in place. Whether you’re selling your songs directly from your Adva artist page, doing giveaways, or streaming, you’ll be able to keep track of every play. We want your experience on our platform—and all the platforms you use—to be as seamless, profitable, and worry-free as possible, leaving you with more time and energy to focus on making great art . . . which is the reason we’re all in this business in the first place.

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