While music lovers have welcomed digitisation as the democracy of the industry, music industry has remained the same. Piracy through illegally downloaded content digs into the artist’s royalties and labels’ revenue. To add to this is the lack of a rights management system, which leads to loss of revenue to the artist and company. The revenue takes abnormally long time to reach the artiste. Area of concern is unpaid royalties, which are often suspended in various stages due to missing information or rights ownership
Artists are also suffering by a lack of sales transparency where although Digital Service Providers report a huge volume of transactions, they end up receiving payment for only 20 to 40 percent of these transactions. This has led to several artists choosing to keep their music off such on-demand streaming services, causing notable gaps in the libraries of popular
These very areas are where Blockchain can make a difference. As a publically assessable and decentralised database that is distributed across the internet, Blockchain maintains permanent and undeletable records in cryptographic form. Transactions occur across a peer-to-peer network, and are computed, verified and recorded using an automated consensus method, eliminating the need for an intermediate or third party to manage or control information. The very architecture of Blockchain being distributed and peer-to-peer brings immense potential to deal with the present woes affecting the music industry.
DIGITAL RIGHTS DATABASES
A main area in which Blockchain can bring immense and positive change is in the creation of a digital rights database. Digital rights expression is one of the main issues afflicting present day music industry. Identifying copyright of a song and defining how royalties should be split between songwriters, performers, publishers and producers is difficult in digital space. Artists lose out on royalties due to complicated copyright scene. Blockchain’s distributed ledger system, which ensures that no single entity can claim ownership, provides the perfect rightfull solution. Secure files with all relevant information such as composition, lyrics, linear notes, cover art, licensing, etc., can be encoded onto the Blockchain creating a permanent and inerasable record.
PAYMENT OF ROYALTIES
It has been observed that Blockchain technology can also be used to facilitate automatic payment of royalties through ‘smart contracts’. And the ‘smart contract’ encoded in the Blockchain enables the proceeds to directly reach the artists as well as the producers, writers and engineers. Such a system, removes the need for intermediaries and provides a transparent ecosystem that ensures all stakeholders receive their fair share of royalties.
Digitisation of the music and media industry has also left artists and producers to deal with the rampant problem of piracy, with users finding innovative ways to copy, record and distribute content, without compensating the copyright holders. The immutable security that Blockchain technology provides can be utilised to prevent it. By encode tracks on the Blockchain, which ensures that a unique record is created every time a song is played preventing copying of the content.
The music industry, disrupted by digitisation, is currently in a grappling due to age-old structures that are unable to cope with the present day digital demands. With this Blockchain technology offers solutions to build a healthy and robust ecosystem that can benefit both artists and producers. While there is still a lot to be explored on how Blockchain can revolutionise the music and media industry, it is clear that Blockchain technology is something that the industry is in dire need of.