We are already seeing how this technology is disrupting entire industries, including gaming, banking, and even cybersecurity. Now, many artists are looking at it as an alternative to more traditional ways of distributing their work, and it’s safe to say that blockchain could drive the next step in the transformation of the music industry. Here’s why.

What Is Blockchain?

Simply put, a blockchain is a shared, immutable database that makes it easier to record transactions and track assets. Each transaction is recorded just once as a “block” of data, which can include any type of information you want.

All those blocks are connected, creating a sort of “chain” (thus, the blockchain), so it’s possible to know exactly when the transaction took place. Also, the chain is irreversible, meaning there’s no place for tampering with the records.

 So, you can see the appeal of blockchain technology. It’s benefits in terms of trust, security and efficiency are pretty obvious. But how does this come into play in the music industry?

The Role of Blockchain in the Music Industry

The music industry has been dominated by record labels for quite some time now, and many artists are not happy with this traditional model in which big companies have all the leverage. Record labels take as much as 80% of the profits, leaving musicians with as little as 10% or 15%, and we’ve seen countless feuds between artists and labels for copyrights and royalties.

Also, many artists throughout history and in recent years have complained that their labels trump their creative freedom. They often dictate which songs make the cut and steer artists into one direction or the other depending on what they believe will sell more albums.

 Well, blockchain technology promises to solve all these issues.

We’ve already seen how this technology has revolutionized the art world, with more and more artists selling their paintings and digital drawings as NFTs to eager collectors looking for the rush of adrenaline that comes with owning something unique. The same can happen in the music industry.

 In fact, there are several initiatives in place that seek to leverage blockchain technology in favor of musicians. Gala Music, for example, claims it will “set music free on the blockchain” with a decentralized world where artists have creative control to share their art as they please. Royal, in turn, allows musicians to “sell royalty ownership in their songs and give collectors access to special perks.”

Benefits of a Blockchain-Driven Music Industry

As you can see, it all sounds very promising.

 The adoption of blockchain solutions by artists could mean regaining control over their creative process and their businesses. This sort of freedom could inspire them to come up with new music and explore ideas that they used to keep to themselves, while receiving proper compensation for their efforts.

The use of blockchains to manage digital rights and revenue shares may be beneficial for artists. The introduction of smart contracts could help them in managing these issues more effectively, as well as allocating royalties or residuals which are fairer than traditional methods due their involvement during the creative process. For example, royalty payments would no longer just go straight into an artist’s pocket—they’d also include those of composers or lyricists who have come up with the song idea in question!

Using blockchain, short pieces of creative works could be made available for a price. For example several seconds from the song in use as background music on movie trailers or other promotional materials.

Also, this could mean bringing collectibles back. Music collections used to have a whole different meaning back in the old vinyl or CD days, when what you owned was a reflection of yourself. Now, no one really flaunts their Spotify playlists. However, just as it happened with the art industry, blockchain and NFTs could bring back that feeling of pride you get while showcasing your collection of unique items to your friends.

Blockchain in Action: Here’s What the Industry’s Been Up To

Given all those benefits, it should come as no surprise to see artists slowly adopting blockchain solutions to boost their business and enhance their fans’ experience.

 Kings of Leon, for example, became the first band ever to release an album as an NFT back in March 2021. Their tokens allowed fans to access their new songs, as well as some exclusive perks, such as front-row seats for their gigs. From that moment on, more and more artists are jumping on the bandwagon.

Steve Aoki, a world renowned American DJ, recently stated that he makes more from NFTs than music royalties. In fact, last year he made over $800,000 solely on the sale of his “hairy” NFT. Snoop Dogg, on the other hand, recently made his new album —B.O.D.R. (Bacc on Death Row)— available on the blockchain via Gala Music.

But musicians are not the only ones benefiting from this technology. Coachella —the famous music festival— recently sold 10 lifetime festival passes as NFTs, amounting to a total of almost $1.5 million. Each ticket is different from the rest and includes not only access to the festival each year, but also exclusive experiences, treats and amenities.

The Next Transformation of Music

There’s no doubt that blockchain technology has come to revolutionize everything. Now, its impact on the music industry is starting to become clear, and it appears it will change the way we support artists and consume their work in more ways than we can imagine.

Only time will tell if this trend that began a couple of years ago crystallizes into the next step of the evolution of music. In the meantime, grab your headphones and listen to your favorite NFT! 

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