We live in the age of cloud music services, with platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and SoundCloud offering a wide variety of music for a modest monthly subscription fee. In theory, part of these fees is transferred to the artists. In practice, however, the system in place is a huge mess.
The artists that are available on cloud platforms are supposed to get a certain sum of money per play. All other parties involved also claim their share of revenue, and there are many of them: music labels, producers, individual musicians. The calculation of the revenue relies on metadata included in the tracks. However, this way of storing copyrights is highly unreliable, as the data can be easily altered or erased altogether. This leads to loss of profits for the artists, many of whom have to seek other employment opportunities.
The introduction of blockchain can the solution to the task at hand. The smart contract feature allows specifying which percentage of generated funds goes to a particular member involved, be it a music label or a member of a band. It also offers a fast way to deliver licensing queries to the right holders.
After putting all the copyright data on the blockchain, one large database will emerge, accessible to anyone at any moment. Artist will get a unique opportunity to get paid instantly, instead of waiting for months or in some cases even years. The project that tries to achieve all these ambitious goals is called Musicoin, a streaming platform with its own cryptocurrency.
The platform is ad-free and doesn’t charge the users for listening. Instead, it motivates the listeners to tip their favorite artists and buy their merchandise. Another exciting feature for the artists is the ability to share the revenue with fans who shared their songs, which functions as an effective referral program.
Björk is one of the pioneering artists experimenting with blockchain. Her latest release “Utopia” has integrated blockchain and is available for purchase by cryptocurrency. The fans will be given “Audio coins” for the promotion of the album on social media.