- Blockchain technology is poised to usher in significant improvements in the music industry, addressing issues like trust-based contracts and centralization of distribution.
- Its implementation could potentially shift power from traditional intermediaries, enabling artists to have more control over their work.
Undoubtedly, blockchain may seem like a drab data structure, but it’s this seemingly monotonous design that provides an incredibly secure technological backbone. Its transformative potential extends far beyond enabling cryptocurrencies and decentralizing monetary systems. In fact, it has the capacity to revolutionize various domains, including business, community, and culture – music industry being one of them.
In any industry, the foundation is built on contracts, and music is no exception. Musicians, listeners, and intermediaries like labels, distributors, and streaming services form the vertices of this industry’s triangular framework. However, the existing contract system faces its fair share of challenges.
Previously, distributors held considerable power in crafting contracts, often in their favor. But with the emergence of multiple new platforms, artists can handle their art, business, and distribution without heavily relying on these traditional gatekeepers. Current contracts, reliant on trust, often lead to delayed and complex payment processes, introducing additional costs.
Unfortunately, reshaping contracts to benefit artists more isn’t in the interest of intermediaries who control the interface between creators and consumers. They possess the ability to dictate terms and even entirely exclude artists. Complicating matters further, the internet, the arena where music lives, can essentially duplicate any content with ease, adding to the trust and copyright issues.
Historically, contracts have been based on trust. While this worked when contracting parties were acquainted, the modern era of strangers making contracts necessitates a neutral party to ensure that trust isn’t violated. Here is where blockchain steps in.
Relying on cryptography instead of trust, blockchain technology, often referred to as a “trust machine,” substitutes traditional business trust. It offers unique characteristics: absence of a self-interested governing body, immutable records that even the original creator can’t modify, and autonomous and straightforward data verification.
Smart contracts, incorporating a transaction’s conditions or behavioral logic on the blockchain, further enhance the potential of this technology. These contracts follow a simple ‘if x then y’ rule, opening limitless possibilities for music distribution and fan interactions.
So, what does blockchain promise for the music industry? It proposes the elimination of middlemen, the resolution of trust issues, the fostering of direct artist-fan contact, the generation of new revenue streams, and the protection of creators’ ownership rights.
Several blockchain music apps have already made their mark, including Muzikie, Royal Blockchain, Openmusic Initiative, and Blokur, offering innovative ways to streamline music streaming and rights management. As blockchain continues to seep into the music industry, the opportunities for musicians, fans, and creators to join this revolutionary movement are more inviting than ever.