Is Blockchain the Future of Music Sales?

blockchain technologyThe music industry has had trouble adapting to the new 21st century model of downloading music, rather than selling it on physical media, as had been done for a century.

That’s not to say that people do not buy records or compact discs; they do.  But most people who buy music now either buy downloadable files or they subscribe to streaming services, such as Spotify of Pandora.

Artists are not too happy with the current arrangement, as they earn far less in royalties via streaming services than they do via sales of physical media.

There are several different plans at work to correct this, and they make use of so-called “blockchain” technology to facilitate the sales of downloadable music.  Blockchain technology is the one that makes Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies work, and people in the music industry believe that if you can tie the sale of a particular song or album to a transaction via cryptocurrency, then several things can happen.

Perhaps the artists would get paid more.  By only agreeing to sell their music via a technology that required payment and ensured that they’d get paid, artists might have a more reliable source of income.

Cryptography could attach a file to the buyer, making it impossible for them to share it with anyone else.

It’s possible that this technology could work, but part of the problem with cryptocurrency in general is that there are so many of them.  The success of Bitcoin spawned a number of different but similar currencies, and they’re all fighting for second place in a market that will eventually allow for relatively little competition.

blockchain technologyOthers think the entire thing is a waste of time and there may be some merit to that argument, as well.  Consumers aren’t interested in anything that makes acquiring music difficult.  Over the years, music technology has grown and developed, and one common thread among all platforms is that over time, music became easier to access and acquire.

You used to have to go to the store, buy a reel to reel tape, bring it home, thread it through your player and play the tape, only to have to rewind it when you were done.  No you just turn on your phone, call up Spotify and listen to music.

If it’s that easy now, why are people going to want to be bothered in acquiring some kind of cryptocurrency to use to buy their music?  What if the industry can’t agree on a standard?  Then what?

This likely won’t help prevent piracy, either.  Remember -people want simplicity.  If you can play the music, whether its encrypted or not, then it can be recorded, by microphones, if necessary.  Rest assured, if anything happens in the industry to make it harder for people to buy or listen to music, then other people will find ways to work around that technology.

That means, at the end of the day, that more people will likely be stealing their music to get it for free, rather than to pay for it.

 

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