Music is great, everyone loves it, but what about the music industry? That’s a bad name to take, and rarely would it get a positive response. The biggest issue here is money, royalties, cuts and commissions, followed by lack of opportunities for newcomers to make it big. The word that sums it all up is ‘exploitative’. But can blockchain, the magical technology that is shaking up virtually every industry and vertical, perform the same act in music too?
The monopolies of the music industry gobble up a large share of the revenues, something like 85% or even more. The artists, be it the West or the East, always get the leftovers. With cryptocurrencies, their decentralized, disruptive and democratic nature, there appears to be a ray of light.
Imagine the artist getting paid in bitcoins, ether or specialized tokens while their work is played around the world. This is happening in the content world already, with Steem and BAT tokens, or the Coil platform.
Another big issue that blockchain is supposed to address is censorship. Music by indies and amateurs can deal with political struggles big or small, and not likely to get avenues to publish and earn. Blockchain by definition is anonymous.
Blockchain music has another great feature: it can allow teams, as well as amateurs and freelancers around the world to openly contribute their creations — lyrics, beats, rhythms, or parts of musical works, and get recognized and paid. Today’s music production involves teams of writers and artists.
Today, there are a handful of blockchain ventures that offer artists and musicians innovative platforms that address one or more of these issues.
Ujo — Database, ownership rights and automated royalty payments
Audius — A decentralized music sharing protocol connecting musicians and fans
Open Music Initiative — Royalty for music makers
Smackathon — A competition of decentralized music platforms
Choon — Music streaming for creators and fans, with up to 80% of revenue shared with artist.
Voise — Ethereum based P2P music seller. Buy and listen, with up to 100% going to the artist.
Resonate — Streaming service, with ownership by people.
BitSong — Decentralized music streaming, pay per play model, where both artist and listeners can earn. Also supports donations.
More can be added to the list, like Viberate, Blokur or Musiclife. Napster is gone, and now music lovers have plenty of stuff on streaming services. The way technology has shaped every aspect of the music industry, it will continue to mold the future.
Cryptocurrencies could be the next big wave to hit the shores of music, and with billions worth of money at stake, this frontier should be watched out in the near future.