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The blockchain is allowing musicians to monetize their work and engage with fans more directly, according to a recent CNN news report by Edith Suarez. By embedding music in the blockchain, those involved in its creation can get paid immediately in cryptocurrency. Hence, the blockchain has the potential to change the way the music industry operates.

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The report highlights Grammy-winning artist Imogen Heap, one of the most visible musician advocates of the blockchain.

How It Works

“Music is placed in the decentralized server, then each song is embedded with a piece of code, meaning that in time, anyone who downloads a track with a cryptocurrency, a payment is automatically sent to anyone involved, be it the writer, the producer, the singer, as well as many others,” Suarez stated.

Phil Barry, the founder of Ujo Music, says “I can upload my video to YouTube to be watched in 50 countries before breakfast. Why can’t I just get paid by one person? ‘YouTube, just pay me.’ I don’t need 50 people in 50 different countries to come and collect money from me…
That’s one of the advantages of an automated, digital, blockchain-type type of system,” he said.

More Control Over Ownership

Musicians hope to have more ownership of their music, assuring them they are being paid fairly and quickly for sales of their work, as well as simplifying the relationship between musicians and fans, Suarez said.


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“Retuning the way a global industry works may be the greatest barrier to implementing the technology,” Suarez added.

“Blockchain opens a really interesting window into where the industry might go to in the next 20 to 30 years in the sense that the freedom to operate, in any way you want to online, both as a consumer, or as a creator, shouldn’t be impeded ,” said Paul Pacifico, CEO of The Featured Artists Coalition. “I think the pressure to change, the pressure to improve and the pressure to really create a modern industry that’s fit for global distribution marketplace in the 21st century means that the larger corporations will have to move too.”

Ujo Music is working on a number of joint experiments with artists and music companies in the hope of creating a new shared infrastructure for the creative industries and thereby return more value to content creators and their customers, CCN reported. The Ujo prototype was built in collaboration with Heap, and was released late last year as a single song case study for how a blockchain-based music industry might function.

Also read: Imogen Heap talks blockchain in Disrupt Conference

Momentum Builds For Change

“That momentum for a simpler industry is growing,” Suarez noted. Taylor Swift pulled her music in 2014 from Spotify, a music streaming, podcast and video service that provides digital content from record labels and media companies. Swift told Time that piracy, file sharing and streaming have eroded paid album sales significantly.

Similarly, U2’s Bono called for greater transparency in the music industry.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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