Skip to Content

pjK2matlgbmFOoZDTzVB--4--gjdfjPutting into practice all that analog electronic stuff back in college.

Web3 and the Future of Music: A Deep Dive

Web3 and the Future of Music: A Deep Dive

To understand Web3 in music, it's important to first know how it differs from the traditional internet, Web2. The traditional internet is largely centralized and controlled by a few major players, such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon. These companies control the flow of information and data, and often take a large portion of the revenue generated by online activity, one big reason why Elon Musk bought Twitter.

 

 

Web3, on the other hand, is a decentralized version of the internet that leverages blockchain technology. This means that data and information are stored on a network of computers rather than on a single server, making it more difficult for any one entity to control the flow of information. Web3 also enables the creation of decentralized applications (dApps) that can operate without the need for intermediaries or centralized control.

In the context of music, Web3 technology is being used to create a more democratic and transparent music ecosystem. Traditionally, the music industry has been dominated by a few major record labels and music streaming services, who control the distribution and monetization of music. This has led to a situation where many artists struggle to make a living from their music, while a few major players take the lion's share of the revenue.

Before we delve deeper into the topic, let's take a brief moment to understand what blockchain is all about, since Web3 uses the blockchain technology.

Years ago, I had a conversation with Rosan Sar, the Founder & CEO of NOXU Recordings, during which she mentioned the integration of Blockchain technology into their website. Although initially bewildered, I gradually familiarized myself with the concept as she elaborated on it.

Okay, so-in-short, the blockchain technology is a decentralized and distributed ledger system that consists of a chain of blocks, where each block contains a set of transactions. The blocks are linked together in a chain, which creates a permanent and immutable record of all transactions that have occurred on the network. It's built using a variety of programming languages, including C++, Python, and Solidity. C++ is used to build the core blockchain software, while Python is often used for scripting and automation tasks. Solidity is a programming language specifically designed for building smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain.

Here are the basic components of a blockchain:

 

  • Nodes: These are the individual computers or devices that are connected to the blockchain network. Each node has a copy of the entire blockchain ledger and can validate transactions.
  • Transactions: These are the records of data that are stored on the blockchain. Transactions can represent any kind of digital asset, such as cryptocurrency, digital art, or music.
  • Blocks: Transactions are grouped together into blocks, which are then added to the blockchain. Each block contains a unique code called a "hash" that is generated by a cryptographic algorithm. This hash is used to ensure the integrity of the block and to link it to the previous block in the chain.
  • Smart contracts: These are self-executing contracts that are stored on the blockchain and can automatically execute when certain conditions are met. Smart contracts can be used to automate transactions, create digital assets, and enforce the terms of agreements.

There are several features of blockchain technology that make everything safe:

  • Decentralization: Unlike traditional systems where data is stored in a central location, blockchain is decentralized and distributed across a network of nodes. This means that there is no single point of failure, making it much more difficult for attackers to compromise the system.

  • Immutable Ledger: Once a block is added to the blockchain, it cannot be altered or deleted. This means that all transactions are permanently recorded and can be verified by anyone on the network, making it very difficult for anyone to manipulate the data.

  • Cryptographic Security: The data stored on the blockchain is secured using advanced cryptographic techniques, such as hashing and digital signatures. These techniques ensure that the data is tamper-proof and that only authorized users can access it.

  • Consensus Mechanisms: To add new blocks to the blockchain, the nodes on the network must agree on the validity of the transactions. This is achieved through various consensus mechanisms, such as Proof of Work or Proof of Stake, which require nodes to solve complex mathematical problems or stake cryptocurrency in order to participate in the consensus process.

  • Encryption: Blockchain technology uses public and private key cryptography to ensure the security and privacy of transactions. Each user has a public key, which is used to encrypt transactions, and a private key, which is used to decrypt them.

  • Hashing: In blockchain, hashing is used to create a unique and tamper-proof digital fingerprint of data. There is the hash function which is a mathematical function that takes an input of arbitrary length and produces an output of fixed length. This function is used to generate a unique identifier for a block of data. The most commonly used hash function in blockchain is the SHA-256 algorithm.

  • Digital Signatures: Digital signatures are used in blockchain to ensure that transactions are authentic and cannot be forged. A digital signature is created using a private key that only the owner has access to.

  • Mining: Mining is the process by which new blocks are added to the blockchain. Miners compete to solve a complex mathematical problem, and the first miner to solve the problem earns the right to add the next block to the chain.

  • Difficulty target: In Proof of Work (PoW) consensus mechanism, the difficulty target is an equation that sets the difficulty of mining a new block. The equation is adjusted regularly based on the network's computing power to maintain a constant block time.

  • Public Key Cryptography: Public key cryptography is a set of mathematical algorithms that allows two parties to communicate securely without having to share a secret key. In blockchain, public key cryptography is used to create digital signatures, which authenticate transactions and ensure their integrity.

  • Merkle Tree: A Merkle tree is a data structure that is used to efficiently verify the integrity of large sets of data. In blockchain, Merkle trees are used to verify that a transaction is included in a block without having to download the entire blockchain.

 
Now let's get back into the Web3 thing!

 

Web3 technology represents a major shift in the way music is created, distributed, and monetized. By leveraging blockchain technology, Web3 enables a more democratic and transparent music ecosystem that benefits both artists and fans. As the music industry continues to evolve, it's likely that Web3 technology will play an increasingly important role in shaping its future.

Web3 technology is changing this landscape by enabling a more decentralized and transparent music ecosystem. For example, decentralized music streaming platforms like Audius, Royal.io and Resonate allow artists to distribute their music directly to fans without the need for intermediaries. This means that artists can retain more control over their music and earn a higher percentage of the revenue generated by their music streams.

It's unlikely that Web3 music will have a direct impact on traditional music distribution with DSPs (Digital Service Providers) such as Spotify or Apple Music, at least not in the near future since these DSPs have established themselves as dominant players in the music industry and are unlikely to be displaced anytime soon.

However, Web3 technology does offer a complementary and alternative approach to music distribution that allows artists to bypass intermediaries and retain more control over their work.

Web3 streaming platforms are still relatively new, and as such, there is no clear consensus among record labels on whether or not to allow their artists to use them. Some record labels may be hesitant to embrace these platforms due to concerns over licensing, copyright, and revenue sharing.

But sure, there are already record labels and artists who are embracing the potential of and working with web3 streaming platforms to create new revenue streams and engage with fans in innovative ways and to ensure that they are in compliance with licensing and copyright regulations. Some artists have already started releasing NFTs (non-fungible tokens) as a way of monetizing their music and offering exclusive experiences to their fans. For example, Audius, a popular web3 music streaming platform, has partnered with several record labels to offer licensed music on its platform. Revealed Recordings has also been partnering with 3Lau's Royal.io to catch additional revenues.

Web3 technology is also being used to create more transparent and fair royalty payment systems. With traditional royalty payment models, it can be difficult for artists to track their earnings and ensure that they are receiving the correct amount of royalties. Decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms like Yield Protocol and Rarible are using Web3 technology to automate royalty payments and eliminate intermediaries, making it easier for artists to monetize their work. Revelator, a cloud-based platform that provides digital asset management, distribution, and marketing tools for the music industry has also been in the list.

During an interview, Bruno Guez, the founder of Revelator and former director on the board of Merlin Network, made the following statement:

"We already provide turnkey web3 on-ramp infrastructure, developer resources and best-in-class applications to help music businesses build and scale their web3 business. By continuing to focus on providing simple tools and user experience, I believe we can on-board many more distributors, labels and artists".

NFTs are another example of how Web3 technology is being used in music. NFTs are digital assets that are unique and cannot be replicated. In the context of music, an artist can sell an NFT that represents a unique piece of their music, such as a remix or a sample. The owner of the NFT can then earn royalties whenever that NFT is traded on a blockchain-based marketplace. This creates a new revenue stream for artists and provides fans with a unique way to support their favorite artists.

Finally, Web3 technology is being used to create new ways for fans to engage with their favorite artists. Fan tokens are blockchain-based tokens that give fans access to exclusive content and events, as well as a say in certain artist decisions. Fan tokens allow artists to build closer relationships with their fans and create new revenue streams outside of traditional music sales.

 

Listed below are some of the potential music entities that incorporate Web3 technology in their platforms:

DDEX: DDEX is a blockchain-based decentralized exchange platform that enables direct peer-to-peer trading of digital assets, including music rights and royalties. The platform is built on top of the Ethereum blockchain and uses smart contracts to automate the royalty payment process, making it more transparent, secure, and efficient.

It works by creating a decentralized marketplace for the buying and selling of digital assets, including music royalties. The platform uses smart contracts to automate the royalty payment process, eliminating the need for intermediaries and creating a more transparent and efficient system.

When a song is uploaded to the DDEX platform, the smart contract automatically generates a unique digital asset representing the music rights and royalties. Buyers can then purchase these digital assets directly from the artist or their representatives, such as a record label or distributor, using cryptocurrency.

Once the purchase is made, the smart contract automatically distributes the royalties to the artist and other rights holders, based on the terms and conditions agreed upon in the contract.

In 2018, I made the decision to distribute my tracks through Symphonic. It was a choice that I didn't take lightly, as there were many factors to consider when deciding on a music distribution platform. One of the key factors that convinced me to choose Symphonic was their use of DDEX.

Symphonic's use of DDEX meant that I could be confident that my music was being distributed accurately and efficiently. The platform allowed me to easily upload my tracks and associated metadata, ensuring that all of the necessary information was communicated to the relevant parties.

But DDEX is not just about accurate metadata, it also plays a role in ensuring that artists and rights holders are properly compensated for their work. By using DDEX, Symphonic is able to track usage data and ensure that royalties are paid out fairly and transparently.

 Algorand: Algorand is a blockchain platform that was founded in 2017 by Silvio Micali, a computer science professor at MIT. The platform is designed to offer high-speed transaction processing with minimal transaction fees, as well as scalability, security, and decentralization.

Algorand uses a Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism, which eliminates the need for miners and reduces the energy consumption required for transaction validation. In the Algorand PoS system, users can participate in the network by staking their tokens and earning rewards for validating transactions.

Algorand also features a Pure Proof of Stake (PPoS) consensus mechanism, which ensures that all users have an equal chance of being selected to validate the next block. This eliminates the risk of centralization that can occur in other PoS systems, where large token holders have more influence over the network.

One of the key benefits of Algorand is its transaction speed. The platform is capable of processing over 1,000 transactions per second, which is significantly faster than other blockchain platforms. Additionally, Algorand's transaction fees are very low, which makes it an attractive option for businesses and developers who need to process large volumes of transactions.

Algorand has also been adopted by several companies and organizations in various industries, including real estate, finance, music and gaming. The platform offers a range of tools and APIs that make it easy for developers to build decentralized applications (dApps) on top of the Algorand blockchain.

To name a few:

  • Ultra Music Festival, one of the world's most popular electronic dance music events, has implemented blockchain technology to enhance its fan experience and enable powerful fan interactions. By leveraging Algorand's blockchain technology, Ultra Music Festival has been able to create a seamless and secure platform for fans to engage with their favorite artists and content. This has allowed for new and innovative ways for fans to interact with the festival, such as purchasing tickets and merchandise, participating in contests and giveaways, and accessing exclusive content. Algorand's advanced security features ensure that all transactions and interactions on the platform are safe and secure, providing peace of mind for both Ultra Music Festival and its fans. Additionally, the platform's scalability and speed allow for a high volume of transactions to be processed quickly and efficiently, ensuring a smooth and seamless user experience.
  • Royal.io, a web3 platform dedicated to music, has implemented the Algorand blockchain for its royalty payment system. This implementation provides a unique solution that addresses the issue of delayed royalty payments faced by many artists in the music industry. By leveraging the Algorand blockchain, Royal.io ensures that artists are able to receive real-time royalties for their work. This means that artists can receive payments almost instantly, instead of having to wait for months or even years for their royalties to be paid out.

Comments