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Revelator launches blockchain-powered Artist Wallet for rights holders

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Rights management company Revelator has launched its Artist Wallet, a new web app for music distribution and royalties, powered by its new decentralised Original Works platform. 

The system is described as "the most advanced B2B layer of its kind for music and will enable millions of dollars to flow directly to rights holders’ non-custodial wallets."

The Wallet will allow for direct payout between creators and right holders, and the benefits for artists are mu...

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Emmanuel is a Washington, DC-based freelance journalist, blogger and media consultant, specialising in the entertainment business and cultural trends. He was the US editor for British music industry trade publication Music Week. Previously, he was the editor of Impact, a magazine for the music publishing community (2007-2009), the global editor of US trade publication Billboard (2003-2006), and the editor in chief of Billboard’s sister publication Music & Media (1997-2003).

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Bruno Guez (Revelator): ‘NFTs will become a commodity so we expect to see more platforms using them as utilities’

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Revelator has been building a data and asset management infrastructure for the past decade, to help rights holders navigate the new digital paradigm, and it is now moving into the NFT sphere.

Jerusalem-based Revelator was founded in 2012 by Bruno Guez, who had been in the music industry for the past three decades, working alongside such industry legends as Chris Blackwell or Guy Laliberté‘s Cirque du Soleil. He is a musician, an industry executive, a tech buff and a data obsessive.

After a life as an international commuter, Guez settled in Isreal after an accident that left him paralysed. There, he built the Revelator team, tapping into his country’s vast pool of experienced IT executives.

The first incarnation of Revelator was more of a rights management company. But in the past three to four years, Guez’s focus has switched on cloud-based blockchain-powered tools, and he is now turning his attention to NFTs and other digital assets.

Eight months ago, Revelator has launched an Artist Wallet, a new web app for music distribution and royalties, powered by its new decentralised Original Works platform. The Wallet allows for direct payout between creators and right holders, and the benefits for artists are multiple, according to Guez: daily payments; control and transparency; income tracking with an estimated pipeline; and assets and royalties management.

Original Works, in turn, is a decentralised protocol for music IP offering a full suite of Web3 products to distributors, record labels, publishers, platforms and brands.

As he reveals in this interview, Revelator’s new pet project is Creator Studio, an all-in-one solution that enables creators to mint, manage and sell NFTs across marketplaces, and easily create custom storefronts to power Web3 commerce to fans and collectors. Powered by Revelator, the Creator Studio web application and the Artist Wallet mobile application are connected through Original Works.

The day Creative Industries News caught up with Bruno Guez to talk about Creator Studio, it was Israel’s national day and Guez was relaxing playing some music with his ProTools software. “I doing some sort of reggaeton dancehall with a Latin twist,” he explained.

For an hour, he left ProTools and took us through his latest project. Here’s an edited version of the Zoom conversation.

Revelator has always been at the intersection of technology and rights management. So what new development are you working on?

Bruno Guez: We’re working on the Creator Studio web3 app, enabling the easy creation of NFTs and the ability to list and distribute them on marketplaces. But more importantly, its function is to manage digital assets. The evolution of the marketplace means that digital assets are becoming a commodity but there are no tools to manage a roster or a catalog of digital assets. What’s missing is  the B2B aspect. Companies like The Orchard or FUGA or lack the tooling for digital assets management. So we’re adding this new layer to Revelator to manage digital IP in the form of NFTs. We are really trying to follow the music business playbook in ways royalties are managed and that’s something no one is doing at the moment. When an NFT is sold, money is paid into somebody’s wallet but all existing solutions don’t take into account the splits between band members, the label, the designer, etc. It’s not easy to do that.  We enable the splits of assets through smart contracts — we’ve been doing that for three to four years — and then split the money on the blockchain between all the parties. We’ve built a music business management layer for digital assets. In fact, we are even more advanced than that: we power storefronts to create marketplaces and enable rights holders to sell digital assets to fans, and facilitate the buyer experience. People can pay with credit cards and don’t need to know anything about crypto. The more we democratise this, the more the music market will adopt new types of formats. We look at NFTs like we looked at MP3 music files: it’s a new format with new distribution channels.

When are you launching Creator Studio?

Bruno Guez: We are launching it at the end of June. We have it working on the wallet. You can easily create and mint NFTs, and distribute them across the ecosystem. The market needs simple solutions. First, there’s a lack of digital assets accounting tools. If Warner or Believe want to sell NFTs across the marketplace, they have no infrastructure for any accounting for crypto assets; they cannot support crypto in their accounting system. And that’s something unique we are providing with the consolidation in any type of currency, Ethereum or other cryptocurrencies. It’s not easy for music companies to hold 2,000 Ethereum on their balance sheet, and create an entry in their ledger to keep track of their digital asset transactions. Second, in the same way we provide other B2B services, we can enable a label or distributor to offer NFTs to their artists and get into the marketplace without developing anything..

Minting NFTs with Creator Studio

Have you started presenting the service to potential users?

Bruno Guez: We have started speaking to independent distributors and aggregators and everyone is interested at this stage. It is still early days with NFTs, so they are experimenting and trying to learn how things work, what are the challenges, how do you manage the assets, and what do you do with crypto assets on your balance sheet when you are a public company. They don’t want to have exposure to crypto asset volatility, they don’t know how to manage these financial assets in their systems, which were not built for web3, and don’t understand how digital assets can coexist side by side with traditional music releases.

How will you monetise the service?

Bruno Guez: Our business model is to be a SaaS company. For us, it’s about selling subscriptions and different tiers of subscription, depending on the needs of our customers, and also to have a transaction fee on primary market transactions.

How does the new service work?

Bruno Guez: The first application is our digital wallet. It shows users their balance and the pipeline of royalties coming into the wallet. Rights holders can see how much revenue is coming, easily request an advance and also see which song they want to request an advance for. They then submit a request for an advance. It creates a smart contract that will repay itself from the royalty flow. So first you have the wallet for music and media assets. You can also create NFTs and manage your assets on different blockchains. Additionally with the platform, you can manage registration of music IP on the blockchain, mint NFTs and distribute to marketplaces. Both applications have incredible user experience and design for creators and rights holders to easily onboard to web3.

How do you create an asset?

Bruno Guez: It’s basically a five step process. First, you choose a digital file and upload it. Second, give it a title and a description. Third, define the creator’s info. Fourth, choose if it’s a limited or single edition. Finally, define the selling price, say $25, and the royalties you want to receive from secondary sales. That’s it; you mint it from the phone or web application in three minutes. Once that’s done you put it up for sale on a custom storefront, making it available to whomever you want. That’s the marketplace layer. The simplicity allows artists to fully own and sell their digital assets. Our applications support 20 languages from English, Spanish, Chinese to Arabic or Hebrew. For Original Works, anyone can manage assets straight from the Wallet. Assets are recorded on the Ethereum blockchain. An artist today can’t monetise music on blockchain with existing distributors, but they can do it now with our web3 application. You don’t need to worry about who owns which shares because the agreement splits are kept on the ledger. 

How do artists advertise that they have put out a series of NFTs?

Bruno Guez: In the same way that you send people to your music on DSPs. I look at it like digital commerce; digital assets are no different from other assets. There is still the element of marketing. You have to create a campaign, like when you have a new track coming out. 

What about people who think NFTs are just a fad?

Bruno Guez: There is a future for digital assets. We believe the main value will come from the utility and not a collectible. A utility NFT unlocks a digital experience.

How do you know that the IP you are using is not someone else’s?

Bruno Guez: That’s why we work with businesses, not individuals. We know the record labels and distributors we work with are mindful of contractual relationships with rights holders. We also provide metadata inspection mechanisms for labels or distributors to review an NFT before the artist mints it. They have obligations not to mint fraudulent assets. Another protection against fraud is content identification. If an audio fingerprint is unique or matches pre-existing copyrights, it will get flagged. There is no way to totally eradicate fraud but we can put quality control measures in place within the chain. If it is part of the process, you can make sure it is part of the assets you own. This is what we don’t see in systems today: the ability to transfer shares and access data to access micro financing. This is facilitated by embedded information in smart contracts. 

What do you think of platforms that sell digital assets without having the IP?

Bruno Guez: There should be more regulation. Those sales are usually marketing stunts to get people to sign on and ultimately, they do not have a lasting quality as a business. Digital assets are here to stay, so more controls will be put in place, either by regulators or through compliance from companies. There are lots of questions from a regulatory perspective: are NFTs a security? The problem is not the NFT but what you do with it. If you create a digital collectible with a concert ticket, it is not a security. NFTs will become a commodity so we expect to see more platforms that will be using them as utilities. That’s also why the platform we build is useful.

What would you advise to labels that are interested in digital assets but don’t know what approach to take?

Bruno Guez: First, you have to understand what you want to get out of it. What are you offering to the fans? Is it a collectible or a way to unlock premium content? You can also use it to do community activation and build a community around the artist. Then it is less about the sale and more about the engagement. It is not just about buying an expensive jpeg but using it to unlock the artist-fan relationship. You have to have a clear sense of what you are offering.

Is the audience ready for that?

Bruno Guez: If it’s easy to purchase, yes. If it involves a crypto wallet, it will take time. Most people still purchase things online with credit cards, so you have to make it available this way. And if an NFT gets you something like tickets, or new music before anyone else, then it creates this direct fan engagement.

Are NFTs going to last as speculation tools?

Bruno Guez: The market will correct as it always does, and it is already flatlining. Prices will find market value, such as $20 for a NFT, and those that ask $600 for NFT will be few and far between.

Selecting a network

There’s also the issue of scale and the inability for blockchain-powered systems to deal with large volumes of data. Is this going to be an issue?

Bruno Guez: It depends on which blockchain. The first layer, like Ethereum can at times be a bottleneck on the network, which makes it hard to scale, but new L2 networks are getting easier to scale, like Polygon. If you look at the wallet as a multi chain tool, you can mint on Polygon where scale and speed is not an issue.

What will the next generation of tools for digital assets look like?

Bruno Guez: It is still a problem to pay people faster. For us, increasing the speed of estimating royalty value and the delivery of money is our main focus. For that, we need a full data infrastructure that can look at your song and say how much you make at any given time, and speed up payments. We can deliver payment to the wallet every day. Seeing how much money you have and getting it to you almost in real time is our goal. What I want to create is a system that delivers something faster and directly to people’s phones.

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Copyright Clearance Center has acquired Ringgold providing ‘persistent identifiers’

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Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) has acquired Ringgold, which provides “persistent identifiers" or PID, to give an object or an intellectual property persistent identification across a range of platforms and context. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. 

PIDs add another layer to books metadata, identifying works through multiple scenarios, functions, and databases. Ringgold’s IdentifyDB identifier database contains more than 600,000 organisation IDs and related metadata. Ringgold wi...

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SoundExchange and VEVA Sound sign data partnership to improve royalty payments

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US neighbouring rights society SoundExchange has sealed a data partnership with VEVA Sound "designed to increase the accuracy and efficiency of royalty payments."

The two companies said the partnership "leverages the latest in cloud-based technology and makes it easier for creators registered with SoundExchange to receive the royalties to which they are entitled."

Nashville-based VEVA Sound, founded in 2002, provides tools for producers, songwriters, and engineers to easily collect their ...

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