Maria José Schmidt-Kessen to Collaborate on Recently Launched Fair MusE Project

An EU-funded project – Fair MusE – has been launched to help the music ecosystem become more fair and transparent at a time it struggles with the over-dominance of social media platforms and streaming services in a post-pandemic Europe. Collaborating on the research, Maria José Schmidt-Kessen, Assistant Professor in Central European University’s (CEU) Department of Legal Studies, will contribute an analysis of business practices in the digital music industry from a competition law perspective. 

The consortium held a two-day kick-off meeting in Lisbon on April 13 and 14 to launch the project. The meeting included a public roundtable discussion hosted by Catolica Global School of Law, moderated by Executive Dean Tito Rendas, from the Católica Global School of Law. During the discussion, Fair MusE’s research leaders discussed the key challenges and the potential outcomes of the project.

The project, led by Catolica Global School of Law at Universidade Catolica Portuguesa, will provide law and technology tools and practical resources for creators, companies and other professionals to better understand the music industry and to take advantage of its continuous growth. Fair MusE aims to provide European and national policy makers with policy recommendations and practical solutions for a more transparent ecosystem where music creators and professional industry partners can thrive, having a clearer view of how a data-driven economy is changing this sector, commercially and legally. 

“Fair MusE is expected to provide answers to a number of questions, the most important of which is whether or not the digital society is giving music creators – which is a broad category that encompasses individual creators but also small and medium-sized publishers and record labels – a fair share from all the money that is being made by music platforms these days in Europe,” commented Giuseppe Mazziotti, Abreu Professor in Law and Innovation at Catolica Global School of Law and Fair MusE’s Project Coordinator. “The project will develop practical tools, solutions and policy recommendations to help create a fairer music environment in terms of royalties, copyrights, and data collection.”

With a total budget of €3m from the EU’s Horizon Europe programme and 11 partners from 9 different countries, FairMusE will provide a timely response to the increased dominance of the biggest online music platforms and their algorithms, highlighting how the music sector can become more competitive, fair, and sustainable in Europe. The project’s consortium includes academics and industry experts who belong to four research hubs focusing – respectively – on political, legal, economic and data-driven aspects of the music sector.

During the second phase of Fair MusE, concrete and implemented results will include accessible, innovative, and future-proof solutions: a data-sharing model enhancing the level of transparency in the European music copyright infrastructure; a Music Data Dashboard providing statistical insights on the economic value of Europe’s music sector; a digital toolkit helping to rank streaming services and social media platforms according to their fairness; and a White Paper with general policy recommendations for EU and national lawmakers.