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ICE, baby: Copyright collective hires new CTO amid data demands

ICE, a music copyright administration and online licensing company, has hired Govinda Fichtner as its new CTO, effective April — as the company looks to “stay ahead of the modern data challenge”.

Fichtner has held a range of CTO and cloud architect roles, including building the AWS business for IBM Business Services in Germany, Switzerland and Austria and at cloud infrastructure provider IONOS.

New ICE CTO Govinda Fichtner

ICE holds a copyright database of over 45 million works and represents 330,000+ rights holders around the world — to whom it has paid over €2.3 billion in royalties in the past six years — while its online processing services support the repertoires of SonyATV (via Solar) Warner Chappell & BMG (via ARESA).

Based in the UK, Germany and Sweden, ICE is owned by Collective Management Organisations PRS, STIM and GEMA and was set up to “ensure composers and songwriters are compensated accurately and fairly for the use of their works.”

Govinda Fichtner, CTO at ICE said: “From the start I was attracted to this unique opportunity to help evolve ICE for the future.

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He added: “A key part of this exciting mission is the strategic capability to work efficiently with huge amounts of data – be it copyright or DSP usage. Clearly, the best IT foundation to support a scalable 24/7 system has a cloud-based infrastructure and with over 15 years’ experience in building cloud-based solutions, I am really looking forward to applying this experience to create a very strong technology foundation for the future of ICE.”

Asked why ICE was making the hire and what its challenges are currently, CEO Peter de Mönnink told The Stack: “Solving the music industry’s data puzzle is vital for songwriters to secure a living from their artform.

“The explosion in music creation and omnipresence of digital music have rocketed the scale of the industry’s data challenge. ICE plays an central role in combining music industry know-how with technology to modernise accurate royalty capture on behalf of many hundreds of thousands of creators,” he added by email.

“In 2021 alone, we processed more than 77.6 billion royalty claims (+87% year-on-year) and 27 trillion music streams/downloads from across the globe. That’s a 24x increase in data volumes compared to 2017”

The new ICE CTO — CEO Peter de Mönnink added — would “lead us in envisioning the technologies we need to crack tomorrow’s data puzzle which will be even greater and more exciting than today’s.”

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