For decades, recording artists have lost money that fans pay in good faith, expecting it to go towards supporting their favorite musicians.
Between unfair contracts and endless amounts of intermediaries taking their cut, the average musician can expect to see very little of the profits generated from their efforts. A hidden problem underneath all of this is the complexity of payment in the age of streaming.
Since recording artists typically receive most of their share in the form of advance payments, it’s easy to overlook how royalties after this has been recouped are handled. However, once a recording artist reaches this stage they are even more financially vulnerable. The time it takes for royalty payments to be processed can mean that a company, such as a record label, holding that money could lose all of its assets before they ever reach the artist’s accounts.
Blockchain technology could solve these problems.
On the consumer end of a streaming app such as Spotify, it seems like as soon as you press play, those who own the rights to the song would instantly get their share.
However, the current state of affairs isn’t like this. The lack of up-to-date information, additional fees, and the slow pace of accounting and payment methods means that a band could go months, or even years, without seeing a single penny.
The decentralised nature of blockchain technology allows for the speed of payment to reach near-instant levels. They remove the need for human involvement, and by combining the basics of BlockChain with smart-contracts, a recording artists with music promoted on a streaming service would be able to receive instant payment every single time one of their tracks is played.
The applications for blockchain technology are only just beginning to emerge, but they herald an exciting new future for the distribution of content online. As more and more of the world around us become connected, the importance of a solid framework supporting those who provide us with the information and entertainment is paramount.
Perhaps the developments seen in the music industry will inspire and embolden a new generation of musicians and many others to dedicate themselves to their craft without fear of predatory business models.
Also published on Medium.