Is Blockchain Technology ‘Revolutionary’ In Its Potential for the Music Industry?
The Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) has co-authored a report to examine “Music On The Blockchain” with the Blockchain for Creative Industries Research Cluster at Middlesex University.
There has been much excitement this year on the potential for distributed ledger technology (DLT) or “Blockchain” to make music a truly digital business. This report aims to explain Blockchain in plain language, assess its current capabilities, explore its future potential and set out some practical next steps.
FAC Co-Chair Nick Mason (Pink Floyd) commented: “If Blockchain technology can help thecommercial and contractual relationships in music keep pace with technology and the communication between artists and fans then it could be truly revolutionary. This report is a valuable contribution and I hope it can help inform the debate and take us forward”.
The publication of the report and the FAC’s involvement, marks yet another gear change in the way the artist community is working together collaboratively and proactively to find solutions to the challenges facing this sector.
Imogen Heap, one of the newest directors onto the FAC Board, has long been championing the potential of “Blockchain technology.” She says:
“Blockchain is enabling us to completely rethink the basic, core structure of how monetary distribution works in the industry. It can be used to build a united platform and create an ecosystem, but most importantly builds innovation under standards that make sense for artists”.
According to the report, there are four main areas where Blockchain could transform the music industries:
- A single, networked database for music copyright information, rather than the many, not-quite-complete databases maintained at present;
- Fast, frictionless royalty payments, whereas payments can currently take years;
- Transparency through the value chain, allowing musicians and their managers to see exactly how much money they are owed, as opposed to a culture of non-disclosure agreements and “black boxes”; and
- Access to alternative sources of capital, with smart contracts – contracts implemented via software – potentially transforming crowdfunding and leading to the establishment of ‘artist accelerators’ on the model of tech start-ups.
Paul Pacifico, CEO of the FAC, summed up “Blockchain is a potentially very exciting technology for music, however it is utterly impenetrable as a subject to most people. This report, is a great place to start if you want to help design the possible future music landscape”.