Crunch Digital, a music metadata management service, announced a new licensing platform enabling developers to legally include music in their apps from participating record labels and music publishers.

Dubbed Crunch Digital Sandbox, the platform provides access to short-term developer licences to be used on apps without infringements. The company also claimed the platform can speed up what could otherwise be a lengthy process.

In a statement, Crunch Digital said the platform directly addresses problems and concerns surrounding music licensing, “which have stymied innovation critical to new business models and new revenue streams for the music industry”.

Summing up the current landscape, Crunch Digital said there are innovators and start-ups which need immediate access to licences given the fast evolving nature of technology, while on the flip side record labels and music publishers “are inundated with emails and pitches for licences, all vying for their attention”.

The company continued to state it was “unrealistic” to expect music labels and publishers to vet and assess all the licence requests, adding the fact new music companies could face “scary infringement lawsuits and high licensing transaction costs” was also putting investors off backing such companies.

Middle man
To use Sandbox, interested developers must submit an application to Crunch Digital, which will then be vetted. Once the application is approved, the company will present the idea to labels and publishers participating in the programme.

The next stage of the process sees Crunch Digital assist developers in requesting a “customised limited use licence for access to catalogues” for a certain period of time or until the developer in question hits a certain threshold with its app.

A long-term licensing deal could then be agreed, depending on certain growth metrics.

Keith Bernstein, founder of Crunch Digital, said the company’s platform enabled app developers to prove their concepts and features before engaging in “all encompassing music licensing negotiations”.

“They will have a better opportunity to gain market traction and attract potential investment for a full product launch,” he said: “For record labels and music publishers, the Sandbox helps them to focus their attention on viable opportunities.

Sandbox will officially launch in January 2018, and is currently accepting applications.