There are many people who believe the music industry is broken. With physical sales plummeting to non-existent levels, digital and streaming music is the way the system operates today. However, artists are receiving only pennies for millions of plays and as much as 70% or more goes to the labels and distributors. A service called PeerTracks and a blockchain-based platform MUSE wants to change the way the music ecosystem works.
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“People are willing to pay for digital streaming is good news. Everyone should be celebrating — but many of us who create, perform and record music are not.”
— David Byrne, Talking Heads
The platform OpenLedger and Danish-based Bitcoin exchange CCEDK have partnered together enabling musicians to access a peer-to-peer network with better content monetization. The companies are implementing the MUSE platform, which is what they call a “brand-new third-generation blockchain based on the Graphene Toolkit.” MUSE allows its clients the ability to use its global database so they can apply copyrights, a royalty payment system, merchandise, and concert monetization, all within its distributed ledger. Artists’ revenue can now go more directly to the creators as opposed to a majority of the funds going to labels, and streaming companies like Spotify, or Pandora.
The streaming music platform PeerTracks will be the first business to use the Muse network with its CCEDK and OpenLedger partnership. The companies claim that artists can receive upwards of 90% of their sales income instantly with the service. The publicly verified blockchain database makes the difficult task of managing royalties and merchandise revenue more efficient. This gives an advantage to artists who cannot afford to pay someone to do this. “All artists need to do is create their profile, get their account verified and begin to upload content,” says the company.
This past summer Musician, David Byrne from the Talking Heads, wrote in the NYTimes that he believes the streaming music industry is unfair to artists. “I have my own label and own the copyright on some of my albums, but when I turned to my distributor, the response was, ‘You can’t see the deal, but you could have your lawyer call our lawyer, and we might answer some questions,’” he explained.
Byrne says artists are typically only getting a cut of 15% while labels and distribution giants are reaping in the rest of the profits. He believes we live in a digital age where people still pay for musical content but the way the system works today is seemingly unfair.
“This should be the greatest time for music in history — more of it is being found, made, distributed and listened to than ever before. That people are willing to pay for digital streaming is good news. Everyone should be celebrating — but many of us who create, perform and record music are not,” Byrne adds.
The significant difference that blockchain technology adds to the music industry is the level playing field it enables artists to compensate from. Getting royalty payments instantly and having sovereign ownership over musical content produced should be attractive for all music artists. What the platform PeerTracks allows is quite versatile to the user giving its clientele the opportunity to input licensing procedure and enable them to attach smart contracts for material. Another feature PeerTracks is adding to its network is “limited and tradable” tokens that artists can give directly to their fans. This reward system can add additional discounts to patrons of the service and the musicians following adding more engagement with the fan base.
Cédric Cobban, President, and Founder of PeerTracks explains:
Everyone is excited about an instant and transparent royalty payment system coming into existence. They can all imagine it quite clearly with little to no explanation. The Token system on the other hand, although more difficult to grasp, allows for things that have never been done before. It translates to Crowdfunding, fan engagement, talent discovery and community building on scales we’ve never seen before.
The collaboration between OpenLedger, CCEDK, MUSE, and PeerTracks shows that innovators would like to change the legacy architecture of the music industry. The tools are there to start experimenting with a new system, and distributed ledger technology will help drive this transition. With OpenLedger and CCEDK anyone can access its fiat gateway which allows users to buy and sell MUSE for U.S. dollars with its OPENMUSE/OPEN.USD market. This will resolve issues with volatility in the industry.
“On platforms that make use of the MUSE network, such as PeerTracks, all payments by consumers, and income generated by artists, are in crypto-USD,” explains the company. “So there is no confusion about how much a track costs – and no issues with crypto’s trademark volatility.”
Platforms are coming that may fix the issues within the music industry’s current standards and practices for the benefit of the artists and consumers. Blockchain technology may be able to replace stagnant operations, and parasitic behavior often involved with labels and distribution giants. It appears that the disruption of the music industry is not slowing down any time soon.
What do you think about blockchain tech disrupting the music industry? Let us know in the comments below.
Disclosure: Bitcoin.com is not affiliated with any of the above-mentioned companies.
Images courtesy of PeerTracks website, CCEDK, and Shutterstock