Resonate to launch a Co-operative Privacy and Trust system

Resonate is jointly owned and managed by artists, listeners and record labels.

Berlin based platform co-op Resonate is creating a Co-operative Privacy and Trust system using Open Source Community Credentials.

The system would enable members to get control over what they choose to share and prove digitally without leaking information or being tracked. The approach would ensure users share only what information they need to share to transact without having to prove the same information over and over again or use third party global social corporate platforms for authentification.

“Our Community Credentials project helps communities to award simple badge-like credentials that can be proven and recognised across organisations. Assuring safety, confirming identity, but protecting our data and private information,” says Resonate.

An online music streaming co-op, Resonate is jointly owned and managed by artists, listeners and record labels. Users pay to listen to a song and, after they pay and listen to it nine times, they can download it. With other providers, listeners have to listen to a song over 100 times to own it. 

For this project, Resonate has teamed up with Pavilion, a workers co-operative with a long history of working with open source community software frameworks, and VerifiableCredentials Ltd, a spin-out from the University of Kent, UK, led by Professor David Chadwick, a co-author of the W3C Verifiable Credentials Data Model Recommendation.

“Verifiable Credentials are a new web standard for proving things digitally, thanks to some clever cryptography. We are building to be the ‘Know Your Co-operator’ equivalent of KYC (Know Your Customer for business) for co-op social trust, all without reliance on centralised providers,” said the co-op.

Resonate argues the music streaming ecosystem needs better authentication and digital proof that respects privacy. “Credentials are essential for membership, music purchases, music copyrighting and gig ticketing scenarios,” says the co-op.

The project is funded through grants of up to €212k from the European Union’s Self Sovereign Identity Lab for the project and EU Next Generation Internet ‘TRUST’ programme.

Alongside this, the UK’s digital, culture, media and sports (DCMS) committee is running a call for evidence looking at the economics of music streaming through business models operated by platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and Google Play. DCMS acknowledges that while music streaming in the UK brings in more than £1 billion in revenue, artists can be paid as little as 13% of the income generated.

The call will explore how algorithmic curation of music or company playlists, influences consumer habits and tastes, what the impact is on all elements of the music industry, what the government can do – and whether or not alternative business models exist.

The call for evidence was supported by Co-operatives UK and its incoming chief executive, Rose Marley. “Too many artists and songwriters are struggling to earn an income from their music due to the way rights are administered,” she says, adding that music steaming doesn’t pay song writers and artists their due, “making it near impossible for anyone but the privileged to make a career out of songwriting and music performance”.

“It’s critical MPs on the DCMS Select Committee find solutions. The platform co-op model, pioneered by Resonate, reshapes the economics of music streaming so it works better for artists, listeners and businesses.”

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