Music is an essential part of our daily lives. It soothes us, supports us in difficult times, and entertains us. On the other hand, music is an art form and an important medium for cultural exchange. A few decades ago, the demand for music consumption created a new business covering music production, distribution, publishing, and sales.
However, the industry still has many unresolved issues in each of these fields. With the rise of blockchain technology, we are likely to solve these problems and reshape the future of the music industry. The strengths of blockchain, such as decentralization, immutability, and transparency, offer first-class opportunities for music producers, independent artists, and their fans.
This article discusses existing challenges in the music industry, the potential of blockchain for music, and prominent blockchain music platforms.
Before we delve deeper into the benefits blockchain could bring to the music industry, let’s first take a glance at the industry’s background.
Over the past few decades, the music industry has been in a state of constant change and even revolution. For decades, Sony BMG, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and other record labels have been monopolies in the music industry. These giants controlled the music rights and took most of the profits.
In the early 2000s, music streaming platforms came to light and took market leadership thanks to the advent of the Internet. Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and other streaming services have revolutionized the industry and made music more accessible to users.
Streaming is currently dominating the music industry. With the format seen as the future of the field, competing services are trying to attract as many users as possible. Here are the top 10 music streaming platforms:
Blockchain is currently one of the most secure technologies. It is hardly possible to hack a blockchain. NFT artists use this technology to ensure that their creations are protected from bad actors and their attacks.
It goes without saying that fraudsters appear in every space, and nothing is immune to them.
Blockchain technology records all transactions and stores them on a public ledger. This transparency allows NFT creators to track the flow of their artwork and know exactly where it is in the sales process.
With blockchain technology, payment transactions are processed right away. Thanks to this transaction speed, NFT artists don’t have to wait weeks or months to get their money.
Decentralization is an integral part of Web3. According to the concept, there is no central authority that can control and censor the network. Instead, decentralization relies on peer-to-peer networks where each node has equal rights. Therefore, no one can control the network.
Micrometering and micromonetizing
This functionality allows music producers to stream their revenue, not just their songs.
Blockchain provides rich databases that can interact with each other and link the core copyrighted material with all their metadata in the digital ledger, making it visible to everyone.
Usage data analytics
Artists can use data analysis tools to attract the most appropriate advertisers and sponsors and organize tours. They can also plan promotions, crowdfunding campaigns, and future creative collaborations with other artists.
Auction or dynamic pricing mechanisms allow artists to experiment with content promotion and versioning.
Cryptocurrency can streamline the direct transfer of value between musicians and their fans. In addition, smart contracts and NFTs ensure that all transactions are accurately recorded while the rules managing those transactions are enforced. These platforms allow music creators to earn and give back to their fans. As a result, fans will be able to interact with and support their favorite artists while receiving benefits for doing so.
NFTs can also serve as digital tickets for events. Non-fungible tokens cannot be duplicated, so implementing these tokens helps reduce the risk of fraud, such as buying fake tickets. In addition, NFT tickets are more reliable than traditional tickets because they are stored on a blockchain and are difficult to steal. The ability to track ownership history is another benefit of blockchain-based tickets.
Memorabilia has always been an integral part of the music industry. Those fans who are dedicated collectors tend to participate in charity and private auctions to purchase rare artifacts. Today, more and more artists are creating NFT collections and individual NFTs that digitally represent desirable memorabilia.
Smart contracts streamline royalty distribution and make it transparent. Musicians can create smart contracts with predefined royalty distribution rules to ensure that all contributors receive their fair share.
With smart contracts, artists automatically receive royalties every time their songs are streamed, licensed, or purchased. This reduces administrative costs and eliminates delays. As a result, this streamlined process guarantees that musicians earn money promptly and contributes to a fairer music industry.
Verifying content property rights & immutable ownership details
Blockchain-based solutions provide secure and verifiable platforms for copyright registration and protection. Copyright-related information is time-stamped and stored on a blockchain, allowing musicians to prove ownership and create an immutable record of their original works.
In this way, blockchain provides a strong foundation for enforcing copyright claims and protecting musicians’ intellectual property rights.
Allowing artists to sell their music directly to fans
In the conventional music industry model, artists typically rely on middlemen like agents, record labels, and streaming platforms to connect with their fans. With blockchain, musicians can communicate directly with their audience, building a more personal connection. As a result, music creators can use blockchain-based platforms to share news, exclusive content, and behind-the-scenes insights with their fans.
Assisting fans in discovering and supporting upcoming artists
Newcomers can buy NFTs that represent pieces of music, such as beats or riffs, from other musicians and use these pieces of work to create their own music. This allows up-and-coming artists to enter the market without a huge investment. At the same time, fans can purchase music and memorabilia directly from the artist and support their careers.
Providing a secure, immutable platform
Blockchain offers a scalable and immutable platform for securely storing and managing music-related metadata, such as licensing information, release dates, and track listings.
Assisting artists in engaging with their fans and building a community
With smart contracts, musicians can create a decentralized platform to interact with their fans and build a community around their music. In this way, music creators will have a more personal and direct relationship with their audience, contributing to a more engaged and active music scene.
I bet record labels, radio stations, and streaming services are some of the first things that come to mind when talking about the music industry. These intermediaries have become an integral part of the industry. While third parties typically control multiple processes, they also charge additional administrative fees and high commissions. As a result, artists and music creators earn less money.
Let’s take the example of streaming platforms. These services work like search engines, with centralized control over the music in the streaming service’s library. Centralized systems carry several risks, such as inaccuracy, poor security, and vulnerability. In addition, music is subjective, so some artists get more attention than others.
Each song’s metadata must be accurate and consistent across all platforms. This is critical for all contributors to receive due recognition. However, the music industry is unable to provide transparency and record copyright information in a centralized database.
Currently, there is no standardized approach to capturing metadata. The most important thing is to record the information correctly. But as a song moves through the media supply chain, bits of data can be lost or misinterpreted because of computer and human error. Thus, when companies receive inaccurate information about a song, contributors are left with nothing.
Low earnings for artists
Despite the thriving nature of the music business, artists and music creators receive low royalties. This is a result of all the challenges mentioned above. What’s more, most creators find it difficult to claim royalties rather than easy and efficient.
Even though blockchain in music is still an immature concept, the technology has outstanding capabilities that will likely solve some of the industry’s biggest limitations. Let’s take a look at the potential use cases.
Eliminating the need for intermediaries
Since blockchain is based on distributed ledger technology, it can remove intermediaries from the music sales and streaming chain.
Currently, streaming services have changed how we access and interact with music. In the past, streaming platforms were not that popular. Now, music is much more accessible to listeners. What’s more, streaming services have become an intermediary between musicians and their fans. Combined with existing challenges in the industry, the presence of middlemen has become a problem.
Finally, decentralization allows for a secure and reliable process without the involvement of third parties.
Blockchain technology provides all the tools needed to create digital streaming services. On these platforms, every sale and stream is paid immediately to the artist, with no middleman fees or commissions.
This process is governed by blockchain-powered smart contracts, not third parties. Once the predefined conditions are met, the smart contracts automatically execute and trigger certain actions on the network.
As a result, royalties can be paid instantly to the musician and contributors as long as the smart contract conditions are met.
More direct relationships
What’s more, by removing third parties from the music industry, blockchain can incentivize a more direct and open relationship between end users and music creators. This approach can help both parties build trust, increase loyalty, and allow musicians to be paid directly by fans.
Higher earnings for music artists
As a corollary to the previous point, direct interaction and payments will also allow musicians to increase their income from fans. In this industry, third-party intermediaries typically grab a large portion of the revenue, leaving a tiny share of the profits for music creators. Fortunately for music makers, blockchain can help address this issue and ensure high rewards for them.
Intellectual property protection
We’ve already mentioned that protecting intellectual property is one of the greatest challenges in today’s music business. Fortunately, blockchain technology offers a solution.
Let’s take the example of storing a song on a blockchain. In this case, the song is tied to a unique number that ensures protection against fraud. Combined with the immutable nature of the technology, blockchain facilitates true transparency and creates an environment where creators can control their work. This ecosystem makes illegal song downloads impossible. NFTs, in particular, are the most prominent blockchain-powered creation that supports authentic ownership in the music industry.
Creative sources of revenue for artists
Finally, blockchain technology can help emerging artists reach new audiences and create a steady revenue stream from the existing fan base. Currently, there are several solutions designed to address this need. For example, ANote Music is a blockchain-based platform that allows musicians to access capital through user investments in royalties. In addition, users can buy and sell music royalty shares on a secondary market.
Audius is a revolutionary, fully decentralized streaming platform. It brings together artists, their fans, and developers to collaborate and share music. Once a musician uploads content to the platform, it generates timestamped recordings to ensure accurate documentation of all work.
Audius connects musicians directly with consumers, bypassing third parties. The platform implements blockchain to ensure fair and instant payments to artists through smart contracts.
eMusic is a blockchain-based platform focused on music distribution and royalty management. This system provides better rewards for both musicians and their fans.
For example, the platform features fan-to-artist crowdfunding, instant royalty payouts, back-catalog monetization for copyright owners, and a rights management and tracking database. As for fan rewards, eMusic offers exclusive artist content, other promotional incentives, and competitive pricing compared to other streaming platforms.
In general, eMusic strives to build a music distribution platform that balances the flow of supply and rewards between artists, fans, and music service providers.
OnChain Music is a platform designed to help the community of bands, DJs, musicians, songwriters, and other contributors earn more money from their royalties through blockchain technology and the sale of NFTs.
The platform also has the $Music token, a hybrid crypto asset that combines characteristics of a revenue share, governance, and utility token. As the value of the token increases, musicians signed to the platform’s community are likely to receive higher royalty payments. Music thus becomes a valuable investment.
Melodity is a company building a Web3 monetization infrastructure to support the industry in new ways. The company is at the forefront of pioneering an exclusive blockchain ecosystem that includes streaming, play-to-earn mechanics, and a music-focused metaverse. This innovative concept fosters endless opportunities for music creators, influencers, and fans alike.
In other words, artists, content creators, celebrities, brands, and investors rule the platform. They can harness the creative and economic potential of NFTs by unlocking hidden value and creating new digital assets and virtual experiences.
MediaChain, now part of Spotify, is a peer-to-peer platform that serves as a blockchain-based database for sharing information across various applications and organizations. The company organizes information from open sources by assigning unique identifiers to each piece of data.
In addition, MediaChain works with musicians to ensure they are paid fairly. The company uses smart contracts to streamline how it works with musicians. These digital agreements specify royalty terms directly, without the involvement of third-party intermediaries.
Opulous is a blockchain-based platform that combines DeFi and music. Users can buy music NFTs and the copyrights of the songs. As a result, the user receives a share of the monthly royalty income from the music. On the other hand, artists can apply for loans on the platform backed by their creations and royalties.
Opulous aims to address the problem of unfair royalty distribution in the music streaming industry. It serves as a decentralized music hosting and listening platform that allows fans to directly support their favorite artists.
Musicoin is a music streaming platform that supports the creation, consumption, and distribution of music in a shared economy. Its blockchain-powered platform enables transparent and secure peer-to-peer music transfers.
The platform also has a native token called MUSIC. It is a global currency that supports all transactions and purchases related to the industry. In addition, Musicoin removes third parties from the music production chain so that all streaming revenue goes to the artist.
IndieOn is a blockchain-based platform that enhances musicians’ ability to manage and monetize their creations. Artists register on the platform and can use the website or mobile app to upload content.
On the other hand, music fans interact with the content and earn rewards. They can also vote on the quality of the music on the platform. All in all, the platform uses a democratic approach to control quality and regulates the way a musician can get paid.
Blokur is a global data publishing platform designed to streamline the management and monetization of music. The platform harnesses the power of AI and blockchain to integrate disparate sources of rights data into a single database. With blockchain, music creators can efficiently catalog their work, providing transparency and unanimous approval within the community. The Blokur’s AI thoroughly scans the relevant origination information, ensuring that the right musicians receive their royalties without delay.
Royal turns ordinary music fans into invested partners. It provides a revolutionary platform where listeners can buy a percentage of a song’s royalties directly from an artist. In other words, fans become stakeholders.
Artists can decide how many royalties they want to sell, and interested users can buy them in the form of tokens. Royal users can then keep the tokens or sell them on an NFT exchange. Users can purchase tokens with credit/debit cards or cryptocurrency. Royal also creates crypto wallets for new users who don’t have an account yet.
The music industry has undergone a profound transformation over the past 25 years, and now we are shifting to the blockchain paradigm. Thanks to the unprecedented possibilities of blockchain technology, musicians have more control over their creations. It also makes direct fan engagement and transparent revenue sharing a reality. In other words, blockchain is likely to create a fairer and more sustainable music ecosystem.
To realize the full potential of blockchain, we must overcome the challenges and embrace the countless opportunities that lie ahead. Collaboration, innovation, and a forward-thinking mindset will drive the music industry forward and create a decentralized and inclusive environment where artists and fans will thrive.
Therefore, blockchain technology is leading the way to a brighter and more harmonious era in the music industry.