How Blockchain Can Revolutionize Music & Media Industries

This column is authored by Shivam Thakral, Founder, BuyUcoin

blockchainHearing a lot about Blockchain these days? Thinking about what is Blockchain? Or what are its applications in entertainment sectors like Music & Media Industries?

Then Hang on you will get all your answers today!

Let’s get started.

What is Blockchain?

If not blockchain you definitely know about Bitcoin, first cryptocurrency in the world that doesn’t require any middleman/ organization to get transferred.

You know guys, the technology behind Bitcoin which empowers it is blockchain itself. It’s kind of a database.

Blockchain is a ledger of records arranged in data batches called blocks that use cryptographic validation to link themselves together. Put simply, each block references and identifies the previous block by a hashing function, forming an unbroken chain, hence the name.

Put like this, a blockchain just sounds like a kind of database with built-in validation—which it is. However, the clever bit is that the ledger is not stored in a master location or managed by any particular body. Instead, it is said to be distributed, existing on multiple computers at the same time in such a way that anybody with an interest can maintain a copy of it.

Better still, the block validation system ensures that nobody can tamper with the records. Rather, old transactions are preserved forever and new transactions are added to the ledger irreversibly. Anyone on the network can check the ledger and see the same transaction history as everyone else.

blockchain merkle tree

Effectively a blockchain is a kind of independent, transparent, and permanent database coexisting in multiple locations and shared by a community. This is why it’s sometimes referred to as mutual distributed ledger (MDL).

Hope you got some idea about this revolutionary technology. So, let’s move forward with this to its applications in Music & Media industries.

Blockchain in Music Industry

Blockchain in music industry

Much has been made of the massive opportunity for artists in the digital economy but that potential has been tempered by stories of revenue streams that are too complex to understand, old-world structures within the music industry that are not fit for the digital age, a lack of good data and a decrease in remuneration for the majority of artists.

It has been said many times that if anyone were to design a music industry for the present, let alone the future, it might be very different from the historic one that young artists today have inherited. Yet credible strategies to modernize have so far proved elusive.

Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), or ‘blockchain’, has started to receive increasing media attention and investment from several sectors including governments, financial services and the creative industries.

The potential application in relation to music is of particular interest, as it appears to offer solutions to problems artists have highlighted for decades – around transparency, the sharing of value and the relationships with intermediaries that sit between the artist and fan, the central and most important relationship in music.

If blockchain technology can help the commercial and contractual relationships in music keep pace with technology and the communication between artists and fans then it could be truly revolutionary.

Some applications in Music Industry

Blockchain technology does appear to have transformative potential for recorded music:

  1. As a networked database for music copyright information.
  2. Facilitating fast, frictionless royalty payments.
  3. Offering transparency through the value chain.
  4. Providing access to alternative sources of capital.

Some other applications of blockchain technology could be:

  1. That it would give artists increased control over pricing and terms of use.
  2. That it would necessarily be used to create a ‘fair trade’ music ecosystem.
  3. That it is likely to bring about the demise of record labels and performance rights organizations.

Quite interesting? There is a lot to come yet, now let see its media industry.

Blockchain in Media Industry

Blockchain in media industry

In the news media, for example, several newspapers keep their digital content behind pay walls, charging fees to access articles and stories online, but they have had a varying degree of success.

One of the latest experiments involves micropayments- payments by consumers of very small sums of money to read individual articles or even portions of articles – sufficient to make a difference to rights holders but not enough to put off consumers.

Although this approach does not use a blockchain, it is a sign of interest that now permeates the industry in finding commercial models that work for content creators, consumers, and corporations alike.

Blockchain technology could help to resolve a number of these challenges by connecting authors, musicians and videographers directly with consumers, as well as by making the organizations at the heart of the industry operate more efficiently.

The opportunity goes beyond simply enforcing payment for content, it could help digital rights to be identified and managed more effectively across the industry, and appropriate compensation paid to the right artists and content owners.

How the blockchain could help

A blockchain could be used to store a cryptographic ‘hash’ of the original digital music file, associating it with the addresses – and potentially, the identities- of the people involved in its creation.

The blockchain could also store the instructions, in the form of a smart contract, for how the artists would be compensated for the song or music.

Now it’s a whole lot of technical stuff also involved in, this is not the end just the starting uses of Blockchain technology. As this technology will evolve more and more new idea will come up and revolutionize these industries.

Let’s gets started with this technology and see where it can take us.

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