Blockchain should be a familiar name for people who have been paying attention to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. After all, the first example was created to eliminate the problem of double spending that had plagued digital currencies before the introduction of Bitcoin, which can be summed up as the ease with which their units could be duplicated by someone who had access to their data without some means of preventing such counterfeiting. As a result, it is no exaggeration to say that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies could not have existed without the invention of blockchain.
Regardless, people who are not sure how blockchain provides this service should note that a blockchain is a distributed database that is best imagined as a chain of blocks with each block representing a separate section of the information stored upon it. In the case of Bitcoin, blockchain was used to maintain a public ledger of the transactions carried out using the cryptocurrency that could remain up-to-date without the constant monitoring of a central authority. This is because each time that someone requests a transaction, the request is submitted to the P2P network containing the ledger, which validates it using special algorithms before turning the record of the transaction into part of a new block to be added onto the existing chain. Since the ledger is not stored in a single place but rather as multiple copies stored on the numerous computers that make up the P2P network, this meant that the blockchain possessed no single point of failure, which in turn, provided it with a number of critical characteristics.
For example, no single point of failure means that a blockchain possesses a remarkable robustness because even if one of the computers that make up the distributed database goes down, the rest of the computers will continue running. Furthermore, this robustness means that it is next-to-impossible to change the information stored on the blockchain because that would call for sufficient computing power to overcome the entire P2P network, which keeps its copies updated with one another on a regular basis. Finally, a blockchain is open and transparent because its information is stored on all of the computers that make up the P2P network, meaning that interested individuals can check its contents for themselves whenever they see so long as they are willing to put in the time and effort.
With that said, while blockchain has seen the most use in relation to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, it is important to note that it has other applications in other fields as well. After all, storing information has become more and more important in recent times with the increasing digitalization of modern societies, with business being no exception to this rule. As a result, it should come as no surprise to learn that blockchain possesses the potential to shake up the music industry, which is something that could have profound consequences in the near future.
How Might Blockchain Change the Music Industry?
In the present, there are a lot of intermediaries between the artists and the consumers. This is the result of the rise of the music industry, which was a time when artists needed those intermediaries in order to get their music out to interested individuals. For example, consider all of the entities needed to transfer music to storage mediums in massive numbers, make arrangements with local businesses that might be interested in selling them, and then shipping those storage mediums out to each of those local businesses. However, the technologies that enabled the rise of the music industry have faded in preference for newer technologies, which make it easier than ever for artists to connect with consumers. Something that can be seen nowhere better than how people can get their music off of websites whenever and wherever they please so long as they have something capable of connecting to the Internet.
As a result, a good argument can be made that the intermediaries that make up so much of the music industry are old and outdated, meaning that there are also opportunities for new ways of doing things. Something that is particularly true because the current state of things benefit no one but those intermediaries. After all, more artists make no more than a small percentage of the prices paid for their music, while the rest goes to the intermediaries, meaning that they are doing most of the work in exchange for a relatively small share of the reward. Likewise, consumers are paying more for their music than they would have to if the intermediaries did not exist, which is now actually possible with the increasing digitalization of modern societies. With that said, it is important to note that there are still issues with the implementation of such a system, which is where blockchain can step in.
In brief, a blockchain would enable platforms that let artists and consumers connect in a much more direct manner than traditional channels. This is important because it would mean the elimination of the intermediaries from the process, which would mean cheaper prices for consumers who might be reluctant to pay the prices of music from traditional channels. At the same time, the nature of the distributed database ensures that everyone would know who should pay who as well as who paid for what piece of music, thus making it easier for artists to make sure that they get paid as they deserve for their time and effort. In this manner, such a platform could transform the music industry as it is for the better.
What Are the Companies Leading the Way?
Unsurprisingly, there are a number of companies that are leading the way on this particular issue. For example, PledgeMusic has created a blueprint for the Fair Trade Music Database, which would serve as a decentralized distributed database for determining who owns what piece of music as well as who should pay for what piece of music. Likewise, PeerTracks is set to launch a sort of blockchain-based equity trading system for artists, which it claims will be able to provide them with 90 percent of the revenues rather than the 15 percent that they get at the moment. At the moment, while these companies are promising, their efforts are still in the earlier stages, meaning that it remains to be seen how they will turn out. As a result, interested individuals should make sure to keep a close eye on these platforms as well as their potential impact on the music industry.