Spotify's just acquired blockchain startup Mediachain


Putting music on the blockchain? Apparently Spotify has plans (Source: Getty)

Spotify has acquired a startup that uses blockchain technology to manage global rights.

New York-based Mediachain uses the bitcoin blockchain to add a digital stamp of sorts to media to verify the provenance of the work such as images and music.

But the startup has been snapped up by the music streaming site for an undisclosed sum, with Spotify saying the project is working on protocols to manage data that is "critical to the health of the music industry".

Read more: IPO ahoy? Spotify's finally agreed a deal with Universal Music

"The Mediachain team will join our New York City offices and help further Spotify’s journey towards a more fair, transparent and rewarding music industry for creators and rights owners," it said in a short statement.

In a blog post on Medium, Mediachain founder Jesse Walden detailed the music industry's problems with having no central database of music that can be used to ensure royalty payments

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"A music blockchain would be a single place to publish all information about who made what song, without having to trust a third-party organisation," he wrote.

Mediachain is backed by top venture investors to the tune of $1.5m, including Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures.

Spotify has recently secured deals with Universal Music and the world's biggest group of independent record labels, overcoming what's seen as one of the major hurdles to an IPO. It has had several high-profile rows over rights and royalties with artists, most notably Taylor Swift.