Music publishers are building a song rights database which will make it easier to launch online music services - and fight piracy.
The global repertoire database will detail which publisher or song writer owns which rights.
That will enable the rights owners to get paid each time their song is played online or via mobile services.
The music-industry backed database could be up and running within two years.
The new system - known as the global repertoire database - will include details on who has worked on creating a song along with who has licensing rights.
It is being built by global consultancy Deloitte, which will work with publishers such as EMI Music Publishing and online music stores such as iTunes and Amazon.
It will make it easier for new music services to get started by ensuring that artists' work can be easily licensed for the internet, mobiles and streaming services such as Spotify, said Neil Gaffney, executive vice president at EMI Music Publishing UK, which is backing the scheme.
That's needed to make sure that all those that created a track get the royalties due to them, said Mr Gaffney.
"One of the complexities for new services is people say they didn't know who to pay," he added. "It gets rid of one of the fundamental issues and means we can turn our attention to those people who use music illegally."
A similar scheme is being considered for the recorded music business.
The thorny issue of music publishing rights makes it much harder for new music services to establish themselves in the UK.
This led Prime Minister David Cameron to promise last year that Britain's intellectual property laws would be reviewed "to make them fit for the internet age".