May 7, 2018
The technological transformation of digital and online computing, combined with the information revolution have paved the way for the emergence of innovations to reshape existing industries. Most noticeable amongst them is a disruptive technology called blockchain, which is expected to shake up the global economy and revolutionize every single industry. And most surprisingly, even in the field of creativity, blockchain is able to redefine how artists are remunerated by acting as a platform for creators of intellectual property to receive value for their work. Let’s discuss and explore how blockchain could provide tremendous benefits for the artists all around the world.
Blockchain, first introduced as the technology behind the bitcoin cryptocurrency, is a secured and trustless decentralized ledger. It provides an unprecedented way to monitor and execute transactions without the need for intermediaries, as well as to keep and maintain a tamper-proof record of these transactions. This breakthrough technology has gradually gained traction and is now being explored far beyond the scope of cryptocurrency projects.
One of the most common complaints lodged by artists is that, as performance-rights organizations and new intermediaries such as YouTube and Spotify increasingly insert themselves into the value chain between artists and their audiences, artists receive smaller cuts of revenue and have less say over how their creative works are priced, shared or advertised. For example, on Spotify it would take between 120 to 170 streams for rights holders to receive their first penny. As a result, this would somehow reduce the satisfaction and motivation for artists to create as well as contribute to the public. And this is where the blockchain comes in.
Blockchains provide “smart contracts” that can help artists manage digital rights and allocate revenue shares to contributors through a creative process. Such smart contracts have the potential to replace conventional contracts, which is considered to be esoteric and leave some artists with little power over the terms for the content they generate.
Royalties could be designed to be more inclusive, offering fairer terms for musicians, lyricists and composers — all stakeholders involved in the creative process. PeerTracks is an example of a service for artists to seek immediate royalty payments and ownership of their content. The service works by attaching a smart contract to every song an artist uploads and dividing the revenue according to the terms the contract stipulates.
The biggest appeal of blockchain is its public nature. In fact, once being stored in a blockchain-based platform, all transactions related to creative work could be seen and validated, including who accessed the work and how much revenue the work is generating at any point in time. This will allow stakeholders to have a better sense of the overall value of the creative work that is being produced, all in the form of a digital ledger provided in the blockchain.
Furthermore, blockchain will make it more transparent when it comes to the ownership of the creative material. Services such as Ascribe.io offer to attribute ownership of creative works securely. The service works by providing each creative work with a unique cryptographic ID verified with the blockchain, which allows the ownership to be traced and creative content to be securely shared.
Creative content can be mispriced sometimes. By tracking the demand for creative content, pricing could be more dynamic. Prices for creative content could fluctuate according to the level of supply and demand. Moreover, artists now could control prices and have the ability to set prices themselves without having to go through a complex web of intermediaries.
As the blockchain could provide records of who has been granted access rights to creative works, this could then be harnessed to price creative works dynamically. Perhaps more importantly, because artists will be closer to their creative work than before, they may have a stronger voice in the pricing scheme and could, therefore, be able to provide discounts on their works at certain times.
Blockchain can help link reputations to specific “addresses” on the blockchain, thus allowing both producers and consumers of creative content to verify one another. This could encourage stronger collaboration and better behavior by promoting cooperative terms for content creators and consumers alike. Participants who repeatedly don’t fulfill terms in a contract or try to game the system would have their actions recorded, acting as a deterrent against bad behavior.
In a nutshell, blockchain technology holds enormous potential to break down barriers that could lead to more efficiency, greater accountability, lower costs and increased remuneration for artists. To reap these benefits, however, the technology first need to be widely adopted and responsibly developed within the right regulatory frameworks.
Infinity Blockchain Labs (IBL) is a visionary R&D company engaged in intermediary and RegTech services employing blockchain technology. We focus on forming alliances with established businesses and regulatory institutions across various industries, as well as providing collaborative incubation for early stage blockchain projects.
IBL aspires to empower Vietnam to become a global leader in blockchain development and therefore are committed to sharing information to nurture a passionate, educated blockchain community. One of the ways we maintain our role as ecosystem pioneer is by helping create educated blockchain enthusiasts. We are committed to sharing information and resources to help Vietnam become a blockchain hub through conferences, courses, contests, alliances, workshops, speaking engagements and incubations. Information regarding topics like hard forks helps people become more familiar with key blockchain concepts and thus able to adopt the technology.
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