Music is something that everyone loves, isn't it? Although I have a particular fondness for some of the most famous artists such as The Rolling Stones, Metallica, and Billie Eilish, I am always amazed by discovering lesser-known artists who possess exceptional creative talent and produce remarkable music. I absolutely adore that feeling. However, if you have some knowledge about the music industry, you might be aware that even if these small artists create extraordinary music, they can hardly earn a living by sharing their work on popular music streaming platforms.
The music industry has been a bastion of creativity for centuries, but it's also a hotbed of problems like artists not getting their fair share of the pie, disputes over copyright, and a distribution system that often seems to favor the few over the many. Enter Web3, a technology that promises to turn the industry on its head by offering decentralized systems that are more transparent, secure, and user-friendly. But what exactly does that mean, and how will it impact the music we listen to?
One of the key benefits of Web3 technology in the music industry is the ability to track ownership and payments. Blockchain technology can help to create a decentralized and immutable record of all music rights and royalties, ensuring that artists are paid fairly for their work.
This is already happening with Mycelia, the brainchild of singer-songwriter Imogen Heap (check out the song “A new kind of love”. Good stuff.), which uses blockchain to track music rights and royalties, allowing artists to earn a fairer share of the revenue generated by their work.
Another benefit of Web3 tech is the ability to create decentralized platforms that connect artists and fans directly. This is something we want to achieve with 1iO – not only would a fully decentralized platform strengthen the artist-fan-relation; think about that platform being part of a whole ecosystem that reaches other industries and communities as well. The impact this would have on creative collaboration will be massive.
We want to lay the foundation for such an ecosystem, and we believe open-sourcing our product is the way to do it – this way, developers, and creatives from all over the world can contribute to the ecosystem so that it serves not the few, but the many. Since we can never think of every solution to every problem that might surface, we might as well invite the domain-experts to create their own solutions in an environment that is fair, safe, and transparent for everyone.
There are efforts like this in the music industry already: Platforms like Audius and Ujo Music allow artists to upload their music and interact with their fans without intermediaries like record labels or streaming services. This can help to democratize the industry and give more power to artists and fans, creating a more level playing field for all.
However, as with any new technology, there are challenges that need to be addressed. One of the biggest challenges is the need for education and adoption. Many people are still unfamiliar with blockchain technology and how it works, which can make it difficult to implement in the music industry. That’s a problem we can only solve by working together, cross-industries, on a global scale.
Additionally, there is the potential for new power imbalances to emerge, with new intermediaries or gatekeepers controlling the technology and the platforms, leading to new forms of inequality. For example, a crypto whale could purchase the rights to a popular song or album and then use their influence to manipulate the market or dictate terms to artists or streaming services. This could lead to new forms of inequality and limit the ability of artists and fans to participate in the industry on equal footing.
To address this challenge, it is important to promote transparency and inclusivity – as well as to provide sensible governance mechanisms that prevent dynamics like that right from the start. Artists and fans must have a say in how the technology is used – and Web3 can help with that.
The future with blockchain technology is transparent and fair
So, will Web3 have a positive impact on the music industry? The answer is...it depends. It depends on how the technology is implemented, how well it's adopted, and how it's received by artists and fans. But the potential for positive change is certainly there, and it's exciting to think about what the future of music could look like. One thing’s for sure: Web3 can help to create a more transparent, fair, and inclusive industry that benefits all stakeholders, from artists and fans to record labels and streaming services.
For the moment, let’s appreciate the fact that music has been and always will be one of the best ways to break down barriers, foster friendships, and connect with each other intellectually.
Let’s see – maybe we already have a bridge over troubled water at hand…