In recent times, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum have exploded in popularity. To explain in simple terms, cryptocurrencies are digital currencies that do not have government backing. These are completely different from regular currencies as those have historically been controlled by the government. A majority of the cryptos are controlled by mathematical algorithms, and they depend on self-regulating, independent operational systems.
Bjork, the Icelandic singer, songwriter, and actress is credited with being one of the first artists who realized the potential of entering the crypto music space by partnering with AudioCoin, the cryptocurrency launched by the startup Blockpool, by accepting Bitcoin and AudioCoin from her fans who purchased her 10th album titled ‘Utopia.’ This is one of the perfect examples of how cryptocurrency makes its way into the music industry.
The music streaming industry has certainly come a long way thanks to the introduction of the internet that allowed music lovers to download and listen to their favorite tunes, as this combined with faster download speeds to make music sharing possible. Cryptocurrencies have now been here for a decade, and both blockchain and cryptocurrencies have greatly disrupted almost every industry across the globe. In this article, we will understand the impact of cryptocurrencies on the music streaming industry.
As far as the music sphere is concerned, it is no longer just the musicians who are making the big leap to cryptocurrency. Monero, one of the largest cryptocurrencies, has also started targeting the music industry by chasing top icons. So far, more than 45 major artists have confirmed that they accept Monera on their online stores. The music industry is growing more competitive by the day. Let us analyze the impact of cryptocurrencies in the music streaming domain from the following aspects:
To understand how competition in the music industry has increased exponentially, one needs to take a look at last year’s events. Spotify is the perfect example of how competition has forced companies to pursue new users with a vengeance. Spurred on by services such as Google Play, Amazon Music, and Apple Music, the company began the year by providing subscribers free access to Hulu, its video platform. Spotify hoped to go gather new users by offering a ‘two for one’ deal. Last week, Spotify announced its plans to offer a free Google Home Mini, the smart speaker, for all premium users. This shows that the music industry is growing more competitive by the day by using cryptocurrency for music streaming.
2. Old Tech, New Tech
The internet has a major role to play in revolutionizing the music world. But the internet is also a harsh taskmaster as it makes people come up with new ideas and become better constantly as new innovations appear that make the competition even stiffer each day. One perfect example is the cryptocurrency which is rightly called by many as the ‘tech world’s newest darling’ that is used with distributed ledger technology. It is being used in peer-to-peer [platforms as it provides musicians with the opportunity to sell their music directly to listeners. Like Airbnb for living spaces, distributed ledger technology allows users to directly connect and get in touch with their favorite musicians and purchase and stream their music without the interference of a third-party. Statistics reveal that with older-model streaming services, musicians only earned around 12% of the total revenue. This system will eliminate the centralized authorities and institutions that take profits from creators.
3. Challenging the Status Quo
Both musicians and listeners are turning their attention to understand the various ways in which distributed ledger technology will change the industry, given the ability to bypass a majority of the profit-taking. The perfect example of this is Tune.fm. Tune.fm is a music streaming platform that makes use of cryptocurrency (the JAM token) that is powered by the distributed ledger technology network Hedera Hashgraph. JAM helps musicians automatically receive micropayments for every second of music that is streamed. Cryptocurrency for music streaming aids artists in receiving their payments faster when compared to legacy systems that may take even months or even years. This system is highly beneficial for listeners also. With no add-ons or contracts and no subscription fees, listeners can access the music they love at a much lower price.
As we are already aware, there is no such thing as a win-win in complex and competitive markets like music. But the fact is that technological advancements are finding their way in almost every area of business. By giving way to cryptocurrencies, the music industry is set to change forever.
Music has always been a universal leveller of some of society’s many races, classes, and gender divisions. Though cryptocurrencies have a great scope in music considering the large group of music lovers and artists, the answer to the question of whether cryptocurrencies will continue to stay and create a positive impact, depends greatly on the way fans receive it.