Speed of Blockchain Adoption

How Blockchain Can Revolutionize the Music Industry

A major pain point for creatives in the music industry — such as songwriters, producers and musicians — is that they are the first to put in any of the work, and the last to ever see any profit. They have little to no information about how their royalty payments are calculated, and don’t get access to valuable data about how and where people are listening to their music. But a growing number of musicians and bands are pushing toward transparency and fairness in their own ways — for example, Paul McCartney’s lawsuit again Sony, Duran Duran’s lost battle with Sony, and Taylor Swift’s dust-up with Spotify. It’s within this climate that an alluring seed of an idea is being planted: blockchain technology has the potential to get the music industry’s cluttered house in order.

One of the biggest problems in the industry right now is that there’s no established global registry of music creative and their works. Attempts to build one have over the years, largely at the expense of some of the collective management organizations (CMOs) — the agencies (such as ASCAP, PRS, PPL and SOCAN) who ensure that songwriters, publishers, performers, and labels are paid for the use of their music by collecting royalties on behalf of the rights owners. This has become a real issue. The inter-organizational cooperation that blockchain is providing for the fintech sector should inspire these “collecting societies” to use the technology to create an open (or partially open) global registry if they hope to remain relevant, which would help organize the immense amounts of new music being uploaded every day. Music creatives could build upon such a registry to directly upload new works and metadata via blockchain-verified profiles.

Blockchain has the potential to provide a quicker and seamless experience for anyone involved with creating or interacting with music. For example, listening to a song might automatically trigger an agreement for everyone involved in the journey of a song with anyone who wants to interact or do business with it — whether that’s a fan, a DSP (digital service provider such as Spotify or iTunes), a radio station, or a film production crew.

The blockchain has drawn the attention of investors and professionals in different industries, and is now showing promising signs to change the music industry in ways that might fulfill the needs of everyone.

Well, almost everyone.

Is blockchain the music industry’s silver bullet?

As with any solution, blockchain will not be a perfect answer to all the problems that the music industry is facing. But at the very least, it will level the playing field to some degree. And artists, songwriters, performers and musicians — the real owners of the industry — will be the main benefactors, for they will finally be able to own their creations and get their due for their efforts.

However, it will likely not be welcomed by those who profit from a lack of transparency in the music industry, or big tech companies that prefer to monopolize rather than share. And clashes are likely to ensue if the idea actually gains traction and real momentum.

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