Blockchain for music

Posted by: on May 2, 2016 | No Comments

A collection of recent articles

Blockchain. It’s all over in the news these days
UPDATE II (June 2016)

Update II: 03.06.2016
The Music industry isn’t ready for Blockchain
Ben Grasmeyer sums it up:
“…The blockchain cannot solve the music industry’s problems, before the industry figures out a way to solve them themselves…”
So, lets hope a new system will NOT take another 80 years. Why 80 years? This is the age of the music industry
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Update 9th May 2016
Midem Blog –>  “Adopt, adapt, innovate; or face extinction” – Blockchain + music roundup, by Music 4.5
“..In this, the first in a series of posts from Music 4.5’s The 4.5 Blog, editor Gayle O’Brien rounds up key interviews of global blockchain experts and disruptors, as well as providing analysis on the sector’s latest news and developments. Read & learn!..”

Not only in the bitcoin / crypto currency world, the music industry, fintech companies or the Internet Of Things (IoT) communities are also having a lot of discussions to make it work for their cases. In the near future workshops/labs are happening, different stakeholders of the music industry are discussing this topic. Right now its just an idea. It will take at least 10 or more years to implement a complete new system/format to music/metadata. For now we do not even have an interface. So its kind of a “future topic” but now is the time to discuss the possibilities to get this “thing” done!

Benji Rogers of PledgeMusic and Imogen Heap are are two of the key evangelists who started to spread idea for the music industry, e.g. to solve the issue with very bad metadata:
“Music rights is an absolute mess… Realistically, what could happen in a best-case scenario – or a reasonably optimistic scenario – is that you end up with a parallel alternative music industry emerging that maybe in five years time accounts for a few percentage points of the global music industry,” he said. (Quote taken from an article at a recent panel discussion)

But what is this –> Metadata in Music? At my jobs for the music industry  (iTunes, google play music or Mixradio) I spent a lot of time looking at and cleaning up meta data. Its the place where everything comes together but its also the place where everything can be messed up. Just think about different spelling of names, wrong release dates and the most common mistakes: different genres through the same album of the same artist. But metadata also consists of the relevant information about who gets what in $. This is a huge thing specially when you think about classical music..but thats a different story to tell.

MediaNet Content Manager Amy Vandergon –> “When it comes to artist names, accuracy is important in all genres. Should the album be attributed to “Drake” or “Nick Drake?” Should the artist name be “Sammy” or “DJ Sammy?” For classical music, the preferred format is typically “First Last.” “André Previn” is correct, rather than “A. Previn,” “Previn, André,” or “Previn”. In some cases, special characters are necessary (e.g. “Béla Bartók” instead of “Bela Bartok”).” Read more about the typical issues with meta data –> How important is Music Metadata?

Here is a collection of recent articles and a brilliant podcast to understand what is about.

WeForum:
Could blockchain technology revolutionize the music industry?

Blockchain Original Pic from FTSource: FT / Weforum

A very good start to dive into this topic is this 30 mins Podcast from Music Biz (Episode from 21st January 2016) hosted by the fantastic Courtney Harding from Hypebot–> How Blockchain Can Help The Music Industry
“In this episode of the Music Biz Podcast, we talk with D.A. Wallach, who is a musician, Spotify’s first artist-in-residence, and an adviser for several other technology companies. D.A. put out an essay last year titled “Bitcoin for Rockstars: How Cryptocurrency Can Help Revolutionize The Music Industry,” which discusses how blockchain technologies can help the music industry at large with tracking metadata, and moving payments. We talk to D.A. about his essay, his views on blockchain, and how he manages a career in music while also investing in technology companies.”

midemblog:
Blockchain broken down for the music industry, with Benji Rogers
The music industry has a massive issue with transparency and copyright databases. This issue has been drastically surfaced of late by songwriters taking class actions against DSPs including Spotify, TIDAL and Rhapsody.

The Guardian:
Imogen Heap, saviour of music industry at The Guardian
“… the streaming and revenue-sharing deals that are now so important for the industry have also brought into sharp relief just how opaque and complicated the whole system is. The structure of modern music production is Kafkaesque. An artist might sign a deal with a record label. In between them and the music fan there could be the label’s parent company, distributors and hundreds of music services, each taking a cut. There are sync rights, mechanical royalties, performance royalties. Consumers and music services pay different amounts for streaming, downloads and physical sales, and different amounts again to songwriters via collecting societies and publishers. Different deals can be struck in different territories. Add to that a mild obsession with non-disclosure agreements and it can be close to impossible for musicians to work out what they are owed…”

Forbes:
Imogen Heap gets Specified about Mycelia: A Fair Trade Music Business inspired by Blockchain

Streaming services have a problem to find out about how to pay songwriters:
Helienne in a recent article:
“So, how do Spotify (and, I’m sure, many other streaming services) go about paying songwriters if they don’t have a rights database? After all, most songwriters do receive at least a some royalties from the service.” –> So Spotify doesn’t know who to pay? Here’s the simple solution

Benji Rogers from Pledge Music:
How the Blockchain and VR Can Change the Music Industry (Part 1)
How the Blockchain Can Change the Music Industry (Part 2)

And an answer from Andrew Dubber:
Blockchain music

Peter Harris on res()nate:
Blockchains for metadata and licensing

A bit more tekkie: Bryce Weiner (Bitcoin Analyst and blockchain developer)
Three things the music industry should learn from Bitcoin about disruption
“Getting “tech-struck” is new for the music industry because the advanced mathematics is as a mystery to them as the ability to create a hit record is to a software developer.” and “As a highly technical person introduced to the music industry two years ago, what has been revealed through my experience is that the problems solved by current blockchain designs are a symptom of greater problems and simply trying to fix it in a blockchain is asking to taking painkillers with the hopes it will cure a profusely bleeding wound.” –>

 

This article will be updated often

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