Blockchain and Nft’s (Non Fungible Token) are all the internet rage these days. Ever since Bitcoin rose in popularity and took the world by storm, countries, companies and individuals have jumped in on the bandwagon and to some extent have started to implement it in their respective fields.
For those still trying to figure out what exactly blockchain is , it is essentially a digital ledger of transactions that is duplicated and distributed across the entire network of computer systems on the blockchain. Each block in the chain contains a number of transactions, and every time a new transaction occurs on the blockchain, a record of that transaction is added to every participant’s ledger. The decentralized database managed by multiple participants is known as Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT).
As a highly promising alternative to fiat currency and transactions controlled by centralized institutions Blockchain technology/currency can be used for a variety of interpersonal transactions, make smart digital contracts, be used as a secure platform for the healthcare industry for the purposes of storing sensitive patient data, make quick payments and so on. In fact the possibilities of using the technology in so many areas for seamless transactions is endless and is growing at a rapid pace with quite some reputed organizations, already accepting Bitcoin, Ethereum and other tokens as a form of payment. Currently over 50 countries also have Bitcoin Atm’s.
So how does Blockchain benefit artists and the music industry ?
One of the biggest issues that is hampering the music industry is the case of Royalty. An artist’s music is usually published and sold on numerous platforms and because of this, there is usually no complete consensus over how much money was made. This often leads to artists complaining that they have not been fairly paid for their work. Major companies such as Spotify, Apple Music are constantly under pressure from the industry for their miserly treatment of artists in terms of revenue share.
It is precisely in this area where blockchain can be highly beneficial. Blockchain technology can overcome this by keeping a record of all sales across company platforms, which will give a complete picture of how much a song or an album made. By being visible on a blockchain, the information will be public for all those involved, potentially including the artists themselves, so they can be aware of how much money they are owed, as well as the percentage taken from them by third-parties who distribute their music.
It is a known fact that artists mostly are not always paid in time, sometimes even waiting years to receive their earnings for their work. If blockchain technology was utilized by the music industry, smart contracts could be implemented that instantly pay artists once certain requirements are met.
Companies championing the cause
One company, amongst others, has been quiet on the news of late looking to revolutionise the music industry through blockchain. Audius (http://www.audius.co) is a fully decentralized streaming platform with a community of artists, listeners and developers who collaborate and share music. As a blockchain alternative to Spotify or SoundCloud after artists upload their content onto the company's platform, it will then generate timestamped records to ensure that all work is correctly recorded. Audius eliminates the need for third-party platforms by connecting artists directly with consumers. Additionally, Audius uses blockchain to ensure that artists get paid fairly and immediately via smart contracts. The platform's cryptocurrency token, $AUDIO, has hit a new all-time high after Audius surpassed 3 million active users, according to Cointelegraph.
With the amount of users increasing daily and the likes of heavyweight artists such as Deadmau5, Nero, Skrillex and more joining the platform , Audius is surely poised to be an important player in the space, especially for indie and independent artists looking to make a living by cutting out middlemen and focus on direct artist-consumer relations.
Vibrate (http://www.viberate.com) is another company that is also quite often in the news. It is currently the world’s largest live music database, featuring more than 460,000 artists, 5,000 music festivals and 500,000 global music events. Co founded by legendary techno artist, UMEK, Viberate uses blockchain to manage millions of crowdsourced data points, with real-time rankings and profiles. It rewards community participants with VIB tokens, it’s in house digital currency.
Builtin has a notable list of companies on their article , who could play a major role in the years to come https://builtin.com/blockchain/blockchain-music-innovation-examples
It is still early days for Blockchain to be fully implemented and embraced by the general public. So it is not without problems, considering that the blockchain space itself in general has certain challenges that are constantly being questioned by authorities and commercial media.
Audius has also faced copyright issues in the recent past with some of its content uploaded in the recent past. But the rapid growth of such platforms , the soaring popularity of Bitcoin and NFT especially in the last year shows that the upcoming generation is ready to embrace change. They are after all the ones who will decide how music, art and media will be consumed in the future. In the coming years it is safe to say that Blockchain will play a very important role in transforming the lives of many aspiring musicians and artists. It is here to stay.