Music has long been a unique, universally understandable way of self-expression. But it also goes a long way beyond art — music is also a large business which gives jobs to thousands of artists, producers, stage operators, designers, to mention only a few. Today, the music industry is shifting into the digital realm with a pace previously unseen.
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The wave of digital change already embraced all aspects of the music industry — and this goes not only for the digitally-native stage of production, which is impossible to imagine without technology from in the definition, but equally for the post-production aspect and distribution too.
Nowadays, all music lovers around the world prefer to use a popular convenience mode — subscription. The likes of Spotify and other music subscription streams became a new trend which provides hustle-free access to all of the latest compositions, in addition to carefully-crafted playlists. The company offered a solution which did not exist up to then — in the high times of online media piracy, it did not wrestle against the wave of the internet but instead came up with the answer in a form of legitimate distribution model. This consequently transformed the way music is distributed, and many of the forms — CDs, DVDs and cassettes — were sent into oblivion.
The wave of digital finance can only be compared to the scope of transformation brought by the internet. As blockchain solutions gradually advance, music industry owners already think about how they can leverage the new technological solution to bring the best out of their business. While the number of pioneers is still proportionally small, it is anticipated to bring a big push to change the status quo in the upcoming years.
Blockchain has the power to revise the music industry
The music industry has a long-standing tradition of relying on contractual obligations and partnerships, the vast majority of which are centralized in their nature. However, with the arrival of blockchain, it may all change. While providing an infallible track of records, the technology is able to turn upside down the pillars on which the current music industry rests, thus making it a more liberal and open space for everyone.
Here’s what Christina Löwenström, a serial entrepreneur, music writer and former suppléant to the Swedish parliament, stated :
“The music industry is driven by technology shifts. Piracy and illegal streaming services used to be commonplace in the past, but now the blockchain came in to address these issues.
Nowadays, the music industry has come to a new stage, and this is a part of a new industrial revolution. Blockchain is here to ensure ownership and create more value of the music rights. It will give more opportunities to reorganize and share copyrights with more than just one organization or label studio. From now on, it will give the possibility to address the audience directly, and for the audience to engage and acquire a share of ownership rights.”
Here are just a few examples of how blockchain can upturn the existing status quo.
#1. Protection of copyrights
Traditionally, the safety of IP rights in music has been one of the main concerns and which has been staying there since the very inception of the industry. Artists are often not able to prove their authorship of a musical composition, and frequently become accused of stealing from another stage counterpart. This is exactly why the matter of intellectual property has always remained keen and stays as an ongoing worry for many artists.
Nowadays, with blockchain technology coming into the mainstream, these matters can be solved. Traditionally, in cases when it is difficult to prove the authorship of a music piece, artists initiated a legal hearing. However, it is a common practice that all court procedures are lengthy and lack clarity on results. What to do in this case? For this, blockchain gives a clear answer — it can facilitate the enforcement of law and, in case of necessity, can even be leveraged as proof of a legal case in the court.
Here’s what Christina points out in this respect:
“Intellectual property rights will become even more valuable in the future. This is why it is essential that composers and music artists have ownership over their copyrights. The solution for this came in the form of Artificial Intelligence (AI) combined with blockchain — it allows to track the history of music rights of each record. By tokenizing music rights, everyone who desires may own a particular share of ownership.”
#2. Direct rewards for artists and musicians
In a world where blockchain will be the starting and the ending point of all contractual obligations, artists will not anymore rely on production studios to distribute earnings. They will no longer be facing the intermediate agency/studio which typically deducts a share of their payments or the likes of Spotify platform which pays artists only the fraction of what they actually earn.
Christina further elaborates: