2017 was the first year since the launch of Napster that music sales were trending up. Sales data is showing that consumers are choosing to pay for their music for the first time since the digitalization of music. Thanks to streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, the music industry is starting to see cash flood back into the market.
Music streaming is now the most common medium for music consumption in the U.S. and now makes up about half of the entire industry. While those numbers are staggering, musicians only received about 12% of the revenue generated in the $43 billion markets. Many entrepreneurs are working to fight this earning disparity using blockchain technology by infusing the music business with the basic tenants of the crypto industry – trustless, borderless, and censor-proof technology.
Choon is the creation of Gareth Emery, an international house music DJ. He’s passionate about adding transparency to the music industry when it comes to the allocation of music revenue. Choon is his answer to that problem.
“We have a system that was set up in the days of jukeboxes and sheet music,” Emery told Forbes. “It’s completely unfit for purpose in a modern world.”
Choon is a music streaming service that also acts as a digital payments ecosystem. Users can listen to music, build custom playlists, and share them with other Choon users. The platform is powered by Choon’s cryptocurrency token, called NOTE, which they believe will fuel the future of the music industry.
By acting as a hybrid of services, Choon provides a seamless way for musicians to publish and earn streaming dues in one place. The platform eliminates the issues associated with the skimming of music revenue as it trickles down to artists pockets. Whereas it can take a few years for artists to get paid for their music, Choon pays out artist royalties in real-time.
Emery’s project is also utilizing blockchain for most of their sensitive content, including contracts, financial distribution, and reporting data. That provides a secure and trustless way to ensure the security of potentially proprietary information. The music files themselves are stored on Gracenote. While Gracenote is not a blockchain solution, it provides instant streaming for users.
Access to Choon’s platform is free. They plan to expand their platform and launch a membership structure that’s similar to Spotify’s model in the future.
Hearo is a community-focused music streaming site that positions itself as a social media network for music. Their global marketplace is designed to help music fans discover new music and support for independent artists. The platform initially launched in 2002. Now, more than a decade and a half later, the project is starting an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) to support its new cryptocurrency token, JAM.
The JAM token will be used to power Hearo’s new streaming service, called Tune.fm. Tune will be built on Hadera Hashgraph, which is an alternative blockchain protocol with faster transaction times than other popular protocols. Hearo plans to build onto their current marketplace model by creating a decentralized music streaming experience, with an emphasis on facilitating micropayments between fans and artists.
As part of this new platform, Hearo is also creating a non-exclusive hybrid music license, which combines performance, mechanical, synchronization, download, and streaming licenses into one versatile contract. According to their whitepaper, this license also allows artists with existing labels and publishing deals to use their platform without legal issue. That all lives on the Blockchain and could be a tremendous opportunity for artists with predatory publishing deals.
The JAM token will be used as currency on the platform, going to artists as royalty and reward payments. Unlike with existing artist pay-out structures, there are no fees associated with credit card or banks and payouts are accessible worldwide.
The JAM token pre-sale is on-going. Learn more here.
BlockFi is the leading crypto-to-USD lender in the U.S. They offer USD loans using cryptocurrency as collateral. For many crypto investors, selling your crypto is the last case scenario. Artists are leveraging BlockFi as an easy way to fund an album or a tour without having to sell their crypto.
“Customers turn to BlockFi to help them fund anything from a real estate investment to paying off credit card debt,” said BlockFi CEO and Co-Founder Zac Prince. “With the growth of blockchain-based music projects, we’re seeing an increase in musicians looking to fund their projects with us without having to sell their crypto. It’s exciting to be able to help artists achieve their dreams.”
With the rise of blockchain projects paying out artists in cryptocurrency, BlockFi provides an exciting funding option that doesn’t involve banks or credit scores. The interest paid on their loans can also be tax deductible, creating positive tax implications for their customers.
The company currently services customers in over 45 U.S. states, including California and New York. In July they raised the first institutional investment into the crypto loans sector from Mike Novogratz/s Galaxy Digital Ventures worth $52.5 million. They’ve since expanded their platform to support international lending. In the future they plan to offer crypto-backed credit cards, providing a new option for musicians to fund their project on a purchase-by-purchases basis.
Brad Michelson is a crypto master and freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter for more insight into cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.