If Steve Jobs remains the most famous disruptor of communications and entertainment, that does not mean he is the last or latest revolutionary within the music industry, for example.
That title belongs to Songistry (more about below), as it complements the spirit of Jobs’s passion for great — “insanely great” — technology, in addition to his demand for purity of design and simplicity of use.
Think of Jobs as the icon he was, and continues to be, by virtue of his transformation of the hardware and software of music; with the iPod, on the one hand (or in the literal palm of your hand), and iTunes, on the other; with a device thinner than the width of a pencil, with a backlit screen of brilliant luminescence, with its image of Apple’s logo, with its double note symbol for this consumer electronic and this signpost of electronic commerce, with its physical connection — and the subsequent downloading of songs — to this self-contained universe of Jobs’s preference.
That paragraph summarizes a decade of disruption by Jobs, but it does not mark the end of disruptive technology within the music industry, only the end of a very dramatic beginning because of the rise of new demands and challenges.
Among songwriters there is a need for community and collaboration, as well as a craving for information — an appetite for data — so these artists can better monetize their intellectual property and have access to a robust marketplace for their music.
According to Curtis J. Serna, President and CEO of Songistry:
“The music industry faces an ongoing struggle over transparency and the validation of copyrights, for which several class action lawsuits by songwriters against digital service providers (DSPs) such as Spotify, Tidal and Rhapsody are the most notable examples of this phenomenon.”
And, though Spotify has since reached a $30 million settlement with the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA), there are still unresolved copyright issues in which an estimated 22 percent of all content on DSPs (so-called “black box royalties”) does not result in payment.
Songistry clarifies this matter, given the problems users of copyrighted music have with finding the right people to compensate. The platform takes a bottom-up approach to the management and dissemination of metadata, courtesy of a “centralized” system and collaborative marketplace. Songistry distributes up to 90 points of metadata per track, while alerting owners, publishers, and labels about changes concerning their material, creating a platform that facilitates fair trade and furthers trust for everyone.
Consider Serna’s description within the following context. If we look at Steve Jobs as the great disruptor of songs, of their pricing and availability, we should view Songistry as the even greater disruptor for the good of songwriters, most of whom make very little money because of their physical and fiscal isolation from one another.
Where the disruption happens, and this is as true for the users of iTunes as it is for members of Songistry, is at an online destination: A site that is, among other things, a global meeting place for the respective advertisement, promotion, and sale of music.
In the case of Songistry, the site ends the isolation of individual songwriters.
It is this virtual ingathering toward a single place, on behalf of a singular platform, that empowers songwriters.
It is this combination of community and creativity, it is this marriage of technology and the liberal arts, it is this marriage of the humanities — it is this intersection of so many forces, of so many principles the public associates with Steve Jobs, that defines the most disruptive ideas.
That is the music of change.