Every industry has its challenges. The music industry is known for its legal complexities. Rights’Up is a contract management app that is intended to help small record labels collect and distribute royalties. It uses computation-intensive algorithms and processes to compare contracts with sales data from various sources.
Larger record labels will usually develop their own software inhouse to track contracts and process royalties. However, smaller labels often suffer from poor visibility of performance and inability to collect royalties from many sources.
The founders of Rights’Up saw the need for a way for smaller labels to process music royalties. They also had the vision for a reporting dashboard that would give small record labels better insight into their portfolio performance. This would be made affordable on a subscription basis as a SaaS solution that values ease and transparency.
They knew they needed an experienced team to execute an idea this complex. They approached Belighted knowing our unique methodology would be a good fit.
Rights’Up needed to create software that could assess the amount of royalties due to each party (artist, composer, producer, etc.) by pulling sales data from various sources and computing the share of each rightsholder based on the terms of a contract.
To further complicate things, the terms of every contract are different. For example, royalty percentages increase when sales increase in some cases - but in other contracts they may decrease. Royalty shares can be impacted by advertising or the release of a compilation, and some rightsholder shares are deducted from the main artist’s share.
The Rights’Up founders held legal expertise in contracts and technology, but they were not equipped to handle all facets of a project this size.
Working with product development experts like Belighted is one of the most effective ways to get a startup off the ground quickly.
A Belighted team consisting of project manager and developers set to work creating a prototype app that the founders could show to potential users to validate their idea. We typically do this in a Design Sprint over just five days, because it lets a business gain maximum traction with minimum resources. If feedback from the market points to further changes, it’s easier to incorporate incrementally than to go back and make changes once an MVP has been developed.
Its first functional version was ready only eight months after we began working together, a very fast timeline for such a complicated application.
The app was received favorably by the users who reviewed the prototype. The overwhelming response was that it was a “simple and cool” way to manage contracts.
After validating the prototype app with users, Rights’Up and Belighted have then moved confidently into development of a SaaS MVP (minimum viable product).
The user stories and design originally created in the Design Sprint did not require many changes. In our experience, this comes from a deep understanding of market needs. This is one thing we probe for when beginning work with a new client in a Strategy Workshop.
Because of the complexities of dealing with a variety of contract formats and data sources, Belighted is approaching the project with Rights’Up in a multi-stage process. The plan is to get as quickly as possible to a minimum sellable product and then continue to improve it.
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