There’s a saying that God laughs at man’s best-laid plans. Regardless of your higher power, predicting the future is a fool’s errand. Call me foolish, but we’re going to pin down the future of the intersection between music and blockchain technology.
Don’t expect a whole lot to change immediately. Apple has more than enough money to keep Apple Music chugging along. Same goes for YouTube’s music division and Spotify, which recently sank substantial funding into extra-musical ventures like podcasts.These titans of audio streaming aren’t likely to pivot into blockchain, so expect the status quo to remain unchanged for these heavyweights.
Blockchain will remain a tool for startups. They need a defining characteristic to remain competitive, and blockchain is that differentiator these days. Some companies will continue to bang their heads against the wall with blockchain-powered solutions that the industry doesn’t need. But those that understand the technology and keep their ear to the ground will find an application that works.
It may come in concert ticketing. Royalty payments are so broken that it could be a breakthrough application for blockchain. Blockchain-enabled automation could reduce industry-wide costs.
Here’s how experts envision the future of blockchain in the music industry.
1. Josh Tucker, Partner at Pillsbury LLP
“Three trends will converge to drive more music on-chain. First, abstraction layers closer to the application layer will make the technology more accessible. Blockchain today is sort of like where the Internet was pre-Netscape–you can experience it, but only through specialized tools that in many cases require technical expertise. New tools will be the world-wide-web to blockchain's internet. Second, transaction costs will drop as techniques like sharding and proof-of-anything-other-than-work replaces proof-of-work, enabling micro-transactions at scale. Finally, even-more-ubiquitous network access from 5G and low-earth-orbit satellite networks being deployed in coming years will make on-chain transactions painless for 99.99% of use cases.”
2. Nigel Rudlin, CEO and Founder of indieOn
“The answer lies in rearranging the question. Blockchain is the future. Those who think not, need to investigate further and get involved in order to understand the benefits that flow to content makers, consumers and investors.”
3. John Wagster, Co-chair of Frost Brown Todd’s Blockchain and Digital Currency Team
“Blockchain-based solutions will eventually replace virtually every aspect of how music is bought and sold digitally and how payments are made to artists, composers and producers. Just as electronic securities trading has replaced the human-centric stock exchanges of the past, digital mapping of performance rights, the algorithmic negotiation of license fees and the precise payment of exact amounts due will completely replace the current opaque system of estimated payments through third party middlemen.”
4. Ricardo Porteus, Founder of Bleep.me and Dance for 1 Meter
“Once archaic systems begin to be reinvented, blockchain will become part of the new normal in development and database performance. If the startups undertaking these tasks are well funded and can hold their nerve to take on the goliaths of the industry, it will make for some interesting viewing!”
5. Vasja Veber, Co-founder and COO of VIBERATE
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