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Trust & Safety in 2024: Andreea Gleeson, Dan Runcie, Jorge Brea & Josiah Albertsen

February 26, 2024 by Team Downtown

Trust & Safety 1
Andreea Gleeson (CEO, Tunecore), Dan Runcie (Founder, Trapital), Jorge Brea (CEO, Symphonic Distribution), Josiah Albertsen (Senior Partner Manager, Catalog Specialist, Pandora)

In January 2024, Downtown ran the music industry's first-ever event dedicated to Trust & Safety. Organized in partnership with Music Biz, the Trust & Safety in Music Symposium featured experts from all corners of the music industry, who analyzed the historical issues of trust and safety and how they now affect the modern music industry.

As part of a limited series on Trust & Safety, the Downtown Journal invited the experts to give their opinions on the past and present issues facing the industry and how events like the Trust & Safety in Music Symposium can change the future of the music sector.

First up, we welcome:

Andreea Gleeson (CEO, TuneCore)
Dan Runcie (Founder, Trapital)
Jorge Brea (CEO, Symphonic Distribution)
Josiah Albertsen (Associate Director, Music Licensing, Pandora)

1. What is your biggest Trust & Safety takeaway from 2023?

It was inspiring to witness members from all over the music industry—artists, executives and more representing the self-releasing, independent label, and major label sectors —coming together to forge a path forward in the fight against fraud. It’s gratifying to see the threat of streaming fraud taken seriously on such a large scale so that we can work to create a healthier music industry that benefits legitimate creators.

A majority of streaming fraud is often done by professional hackers. These fraudsters aren't trying to artificially enhance a particular artist's streams so they can top the charts. Instead, these fraudsters see streaming as an opportunity to hack a financial system, no different than trying to hack PayPal or Venmo.

There is a hunger for collaboration amongst competitors to solve the problem. That is incredibly positive to see.

The biggest takeaway was that the industry is starting to all take this issue very seriously. Big or small, label or DSP. It’s no longer everybody fighting this alone in their own siloes.

2. Regarding fraud, how can the industry make the most significant impact in 2023?

In the fight against fraud, our greatest weapon is collaboration. The most significant impact will be made by joining together, through groups like Music Fights Fraud, to foster a free exchange of information and stop known fraudsters from evading detection across platforms. Effectively fighting fraud takes coordination and participation from every platform that can be exploited to commit fraud—from distributors to streaming platforms, marketing agencies, and record labels—and if we work together, we can stop those who manipulate the streaming economy to take money out of the pockets of hard-working legitimate artists.

Each player in the industry needs to be involved in this effort. The DSPs, major record labels, distributors, indie labels, social platforms, startups, and more. This type of effort takes each stakeholder to put their best. foot forward. The sooner we improve this, the more value that gets created for of all the above stakeholders.

I believe that greater emphasis on KYC (Know Your Customer) is important. The more we know about them, utilizing tools such as Identity Verification, the easier it will be to identify individuals committing fraud and report them. In addition, it will ensure that some individuals will not want to partake in your service if they have it. We need to add friction to eliminate the fraudsters.

We need to look at this problem as an industry-wide problem that even affects the largest artists now. It is no longer relegated to small and indie artists or solely issues with fake artists. The coalitions being built need to continue taking action cohesively.

3. Why are events like the Trust & Safety Symposium important?

Events like the Trust & Safety Symposium provide the opportunity to raise concerns, discuss solutions, and share best practices for fighting fraud across the digital music landscape. They allow us to unite in the fight against fraud as an entire industry rather than individual companies. I applaud Downtown for taking this step to mobilize the industry in pursuit of a fair, equitable, and sustainable future for music creators and fans around the world.

Events like Trust & Safety are a great way to show how involved various stakeholders are. I expect that interest and urgency will continue to grow because of events like this.

Fraud isn't only an indie problem however, as usual, the indies figure out solutions and methods to bring people together to find such solutions. It's important to be able to discuss a problem and discuss methods for how to solve them and to be able to do that without fearing from a competition perspective is great.

A couple of years ago we were barely able to put a panel together on this topic because everybody was so scared of discussing it. That has now changed, entirely. This symposium allows us to meet on an even field and address this situation as the shared threat that it is.

Read more about the industry's first Trust & Safety Symposium here.