While digital currencies have yet to achieve mainstream use, blockchain—the technology that supports all cryptocurrency exchanges—has continued to gain renown in recent years. The use of blockchain technology has expanded considerably since it was first introduced by its anonymous creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, and according to a recent article on Forbes.com, it is expected to have a significant impact on the work of professionals beyond the financial sector, including those within the music industry.
Currently, a majority of musical artists must cooperate with large groups of intermediaries in order to secure payment for their work, resulting in a system in which the musician is the party who performs all of the initial labor, but is the last person to see the profits from his or her efforts. Blockchain may be the solution that finally allows artists to upend this process through the use of smart contracts, a technology that uses algorithms to set pre-established rules in motion when a given transaction is verified. These smart contracts would allow consumers to securely pay musicians directly for their music without the need for a middleman.
The ability to circumvent the middleman in music sales would not only help boost the compensation that musicians receive for their own work, but it would solve a number of frustrating problems that artists face through the existing profit model. For example, the industry struggles to maintain an up-to-date, easily accessible database of copyright information, making it difficult for music professionals to keep track of who owns the rights to recordings and songs. Since blockchain technology functions as both a network and database, artists who store copyright information on the blockchain in the form of a cryptographic digital fingerprint would make their music’s data available to every person who accesses the network. This would allow all music professionals to view copyright information the moment that a song or recording is uploaded to the blockchain, providing more clarity about ownership rights.