The state of the music industry, centered around streaming, cannot stand. On demand music has made it easy for fans to listen all they want, but not much of the profit ends up in the artists’ hands. Music artists, especially independent or niche ones, usually don’t even see enough revenue to stay afloat, and end up relying on merch sales, concert tickets, or donations through platforms like Patreon. If the current model is broken, you might ask, what can we do about it?
One solution comes to us in the form of blockchain, the same technology behind Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It’s a system that allows information to be securely stored on a peer to peer network, so that each copy can be checked against the others. That might not sound like much, but the real excitement is in how it can be applied.
By using blockchain to keep track of music purchases and streams, a platform can make the process more efficient and more secure, meaning that there isn’t as much need for managers and middlemen to keep track of transactions. This means that music artists get much more of the profit from their work. Emusic, a music platform that makes use of tokens that fans can use to buy music, gives artists 50% of the money earned by their songs. That’s an exciting prospect in a market where Spotify might only pay you half a cent per stream. It’s even possible for artists to be paid instantly for every second of their music that is streamed.
Fans can benefit from blockchain, too. The technology is evolving every day, bringing a constant stream of new innovations and functionality. Some are simple improvements for convenience sake. Take, for example, the way that Emusic has set up their tokens to make sure that one token will always be enough to buy at a least one song. Others can help with fan engagement, allowing them to directly crowdfund tours and other events, or to buy merch with their tokens. Last but not least, fans want their favorite artists to succeed! If they’re given the opportunity to help make that happen, most will take it, and prefer an independent platform to one that doesn’t pay its musicians a living wage.
It’s hard to say exactly how data management technology will advance from now on, or how its applications will change in the future, but it’s looking good for music artists and their fans. We can look forward to a world where artists get paid, music is harder to steal, and fan engagement can fund tours.