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This blockchain startup plans to empower creators and democratise the music industry

SphereTrax co-founder and CEO, Self Carmel
Image credit: SphereTrax

SphereTrax has secured a £250,000 investment from Jenson Funding Partners to back their mission to put creators back in charge of their music. The licensing platform helps musicians, both big and small, succeed in a marketplace where traditionally the labels would get the lion’s share of the rewards.

The blockchain-backed system allows creators to keep up to 75% of their royalties, benefiting both big names and up-and-coming talents. Meanwhile, those licensing the music benefit from SphereTrax’s commitment to quality and a seamless system that can automate the creation of contracts, including the purchase of NFTs to give outright ownership.

Founded by creatives for creatives

SphereTrax was founded by two industry insiders. Co-founder and CEO Sefi Carmel is an award-winning composer whose credits include blockbuster films, TV shows, commercials, and computer games and is joined at SphereTrax by Isaac Short, a composer, sound artist and product designer.

Both have seen how the current system leaves composers and musicians short-changed. Carmel told us, “we’re levelling up the music library as we know it into something more accessible, current, and suitable for the creative industries.” The platform disrupts the current model where the labels act as gatekeepers. “SphereTrax is designed to revolutionise the way music is placed, synched and licensed in the entertainment industry, whilst securing the best deals for artists and creating more flexibility and freedom for them,” Carmel said.

Its disruptive impact on the music industry was one of the attractions for Jenson Funding Partners, but they also recognised the inherent quality that SphereTrax could offer professionals. CEO Sarah Barber said, “SphereTrax isn’t just disrupting the entertainment industry with a platform that puts the rights of the creator ahead of anyone else, but also has a high quality threshold to ensure top industry professionals get the level of service and access to great music they expect.”

Traditionally, less-established artists can struggle to get the exposure they need. SphereTrax offers a powerful search engine that ensures new music is discovered, making it more likely their work is sourced for productions and soundtracks. And it empowers artists to manage their career, rather than having to rely on labels to act for them. “We want to democratise access in the industry,” said Carmel. “The platform acts as a community and social media hub. Artists can speak directly to buyers and generate their own bespoke networks.”

Artists can also automate the contracts and payments through the platform. SphereTrax is using Bitcoin SV, meaning that once an artist’s work has been onboarded by the SphereTrax team, transactions can be almost instantaneous. When a track is licensed, or even bought outright, the contracts and payments all follow in a transparent process. An artist would be able to withdraw payments immediately, in either cash or cryptocurrency. Meanwhile, the purchaser would be able to use the track straight away, knowing that all the licensing and rights were cleared for their use.

The platform also helps those looking for music. By curating the music that features on the marketplace, those looking for exactly the right sound will be able to search and easily identify a selection of high-quality candidates. Then quickly and easily secure the rights to use them. “Having worked for more than 30 years in the post-production industry, I realised how time-consuming and frustrating finding the right music track can be,” Carmel said. SphereTrax was designed to address all the pain points felts by those who had to source music. “Fast and easy to use, creatives can preview the music, then get it supplied in Dolby Atmos,” he said.

Putting artists in control

The funding will be used to expand SphereTrax’s offer. The team, currently eight-strong, is growing. They are currently uploading around 600 tracks a month, a process that includes not just the act of uploading, but also checking quality and tagging tracks to ensure discoverability. Like many other industries, they are looking at ways that AI can improve their business, Carmel said, “we are looking at expanding the artificial intelligence offerings in our product, with features such as automatic tagging.”

SphereTrax expects to launch on 1 April 2023 with over 10,000 tracks in place and are accepting applications from composers who want to be on the platform. For Carmel, the benefits to artists are clear. “The industry has always been weighted against creators, giving control and rights of their work to other stakeholders,” he says. “SphereTrax’s creator-first model guarantees fairness and equal opportunities, no matter where you are or how large your following is.”

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