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What can blockchain do for music ?

In the last few years, blockchain technology has wrapped its tentacles around virtually any industry you can imagine, offering itself as a medium that could lift that industry from myriad of challenges. One of such sectors is the music industry. Musical key holders (songwriters, recording artists, record producers, promoters & agencies) are exploring blockchain to seize back control of the big business.

 

Imagine a single platform where you could search for a song and unearth a record of every single player that has a link with that song from inception to delivery. Imagine a transparent revenue-sharing model that pays every artist his/her fair share of revenue instantly. Imagine a world of increased accountability and trust between media organizations and artists. That’s what blockchain brings to the table.

For key players to reap the benefits, all stakeholders of the digital music value chain need to participate in creating a scalable distributed ledger framework. I’m happy, blockchain is getting us closer to making this innovation a reality.

 

How Blockchain May Disrupt the Music Industry:

Tackling Piracy: Music piracy is considered, one of the biggest monsters that crippled the industry over the past two decades. In those two decades alone, U.S. economy lost an estimated $12.5 billion to piracy. And this menace is cut-across all the nations of the world.

Indeed, it’s very easy to find pirated music free to download online. Ever since Napster started offering free music content in the 1990s, pirated music are littering all over the internet.

The music industry can take back control over piracy, if the key holders can utilize blockchain in enforcing intellectual property rights. Blockchain technology can be adopted to affirm the intellectual property rights of songs by using a distributed ledger.

Keeping records of ownership right: Blockchain can be used to establish ownership of songs and keep records of the ownership rights. By utilizing smart contracts, history of those ownership rights can be easily traced and users will have a transparent record of such history.

Payment of music rights: Blockchain could be used to compel companies such as film studios to pay for rights to use songs. There will be no more copyright infringements and loss of revenue.

Help in overcoming cross-border issue: By international rights, music crossing the border from one country to another do encounter some rights issues, as distribution companies involved in the trans-border deals have different laws guarding them. Blockchain eliminates such bottlenecks by acting as supra-international record keeper (distributed ledger) and all funds are accounted for in such transactions.

Paying Artists fairly & in timely manner:  An artist’s music is usually published and sold on many platforms without an accurate record of all the transactions. In most cases, the artist is under-paid for his work after much delay.

Blockchain can eliminate this by keeping records of all sales across numerous platforms, which will give a complete account of how much of a song or an album was sold. Not only will artists receive the right payment but also in a timely fashion.

 

How Blockchain May Impact Consumers

 

Shifting music to blockchain could:

  • Allow artists to reward fans with free concert tickets, early access to new recordings through tokens.
  • Strengthen bonds between artists and fans by helping fans to promote their favorites albums and get rewarded.
  • Help fans invest directly to the success of the artist of their choice by purchasing the promotional tokens.
  • With blockchain, consumers can easily buy an individual stems’ track (i.e., drums, strings, vocals, etc.)

 

Final thought

While technology has made it much easier for music lovers to listen to good music; the industry itself is bewildered with all kinds of challenges. The lack of development in the music industry before now could possibly be linked to, not having a decentralized platform to keep records.

With blockchain in place, revenues from album sales, streaming services, digital downloads, merchandise, concert tickets and other sources could be recorded and accounted for.

Copyright infringements and ownership rights issues will be a thing of the past, if all stakeholders embrace this distributed ledger technology.

If the technology can be fully embraced, the music industry will receive massive  boost to be a money spinning industry. Kudos to music companies such as Mycelia, Musicoin, MediaCoin and Ujo who have incorporated blockchain into their mainstream operations.