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Over the years, blockchain technology has proved its utility in various industries. However, some sectors seem to have eluded the new technological advent. One of them is the music industry, a multi-billion-dollar market that could benefit significantly from decentralized public ledgers. Read on to find out how music and blockchain could merge successfully!
What Is Blockchain?
In 2008, a mysterious person or group of people using Satoshi Nakamoto pseudonym introduced blockchain technology in the Bitcoin whitepaper. Since then, many regard the document as one of the most influential pieces in cryptocurrency history.
The blockchain part of its name derives from a fundamental concept: blocks. In cryptography, a block is a sequence of data that can hold encrypted messages. Also, it can verify its integrity without revealing any information except for its value.
Each block on the Bitcoin blockchain typically contains two important things:
1) Metadata about transactions (e.g., sender, receiver, and transaction amount)
2) Proof-of-work (i.e., the computational effort required to produce)
The blockchain is distributed, meaning no single computer controls its existence or use. For example, no single institution can take away the users’ coins or manipulate financial activity on the ledger. Meanwhile, users maintain complete control over their private keys and addresses. This way, they can transfer their funds as they please without the approval of a centralized authority.
Even if several computers fail, the blockchain survives because its data remains on multiple nodes worldwide. This decentralized network cannot operate on a single node because it doesn’t have enough storage to support it. Instead, all nodes work as copies of the blockchain, validating its consistency every few minutes.
How will blockchain change the music industry?
In music, people often refer to blockchain as an artists’ rights database or a digital rights management system (DRM).
Why would an artist want to upload their intellectual property on a public platform?
Why would they choose one blockchain over another?
And why might they need their blockchain in addition to any other existing ones?
As artists answer these questions, they begin to understand that blockchain provides many additional opportunities for musicians. As a result, they start to use them.
These opportunities include licensing songs directly to users instead of going through a third-party service like Spotify. Also, blockchain enables them to collect micropayments from streaming instead of having their song streaming for free on other services. Lastly, this technology allows them to verify fan tribute payments as proof-of-play vs. proof-of-listen.
Blockchain Benefits for the Music Industry
Blockchain opens plenty of possibilities for analytics, marketing strategies, and building up fan bases. Also, it enables them to monetize multiple streams, such as crowdfunding concerts or pre-sales for albums and songs.
Other benefits of blockchain in the music industry include:
Eradicating the role of middlemen
The music industry has been in a period of flux for years now. For instance, album sales have been declining dramatically. Meanwhile, streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music continue to overgrow. Also, fans prefer going online to find new artists, which reduces income from concerts and gigs. Lastly, big recording companies are benefiting at the musicians’ expense with higher contract and copyright fees.
On the other hand, blockchain aims to change the status quo by eliminating these gatekeepers once and for all. Through this technology, any musician can launch an ICO and allow people to buy digital tokens representing songs or albums. Also, they could get passive income every time users play one of their songs. And, all of this would take place without additional fees to recording companies, managers, or streaming services.
Easier Collaborations between Artists
Blockchain makes music collaboration easier. Before blockchain, artists or songwriters often had to rely on third parties like record labels to publish their work. Also, that practice required paying high fees and handing over part of their rights.
Now, musicians can independently upload their work to a decentralized platform using smart contracts. These contracts automatically transfer payments directly to them when their work sells without any third-party involvement.
Smart contracts also avoid potential problems like delayed payments. Simply put, blockchain makes it easier for musicians to share content more directly and get money for it faster. Also, artists are free to collaborate with whom they want without their managers or producers’ approval. Blockchain gives them complete freedom of association.
More Incentives for Creators
Blockchain offers incentive schemes to music artists. For instance, this technology lets them license content to fans and receive payments in real-time. Conversely, streaming services pay musicians in pennies every time users play their music. All of that could change as blockchain can provide artists with a substantially higher income from play-to-earn practices. Most importantly, this could motivate musicians to create more high-quality content.
Blockchain is proving to be a successful means of monetization for many industries. Fortunately, the music sector is slowly warming to this technology. As more artists use the blockchain to reach their fans, they access higher revenue streams and newfound creative freedom. We can only hope that this merger between musicians and decentralized ledgers will happen sooner than later.