Rights on the Block: Music - Blockchain - Copyright Management

Søren Stensby Hansen & Mads Wittendorff Feldt

Student thesis: Master thesis


The purpose of this thesis is to uncover potential effect of blockchain based systems on copyright management efficiency. Hence, the study set out to investigate the influence of this new technology within copyright management in a music industry currently marked by an increased focus on efficiency driven by digitisation. The research of the potential effectis conducted through a qualitative comparative case study of four cases aiming at building blockchain based systems for the music industry. Taking a pragmatic approach, the thesis builds on literature from the fields of blockchain technology within the music industry and copyright management after the digitisation. Based on this theoretical foundation, the four cases were analysed according to four operational and measurable indicators in order to evaluate the potential effect of the blockchain based systems. These indicators were 1) data consistency regarding copyright ownership data, 2) transparency of royalty transactions and ownership data, 3) transaction costs regarding copyright licensing and royalty payments and 4) turnaround time for royalty payment from the use of music. Through the analysis of the four cases directed by the aforementioned indicators, the thesis shows that blockchain based systems can have a positive effect on copyright management efficiency in the music industry by improving data consistency and transparency and reducing transaction costs and turnaround time. The findings, however, also show that these potential effects are highly influenced by several factors. These are e.g. the business structure behind the system, scalability issues of Ethereum, the volume and type of data included, and the value loss caused by disintermediation. The thesis contributes to the existing literature with new insight regarding the factors that need to be in place in order for the effects to unfold. Moreover, the findings have important implications for businesses within the field, emphasizing the need for an incremental approach, inclusion of historical data, and a narrow stakeholder focus in order to benefit from the possibilities of the technology

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages134
SupervisorsMichel Avital