Imagine that you own a piece of digital property (e.g., an e-book, music file, or video). You would like to transfer ownership of this digital property to someone else in exchange for payment. When you’re ready to make the transfer, you tell the buyer about your intent and include two very important pieces of information: (1) proof that you legitimately own the property; and (2) proof that this transaction is legitimate.
The proof of ownership is called a hash value. The hash value is generated by applying a mathematical algorithm to the original document, image, etc. Once generated, it cannot be changed or reversed unless drastic alterations are made to the original document. These hash values are moved to your wallet when you purchase cryptocurrency.
The proof that this transaction is taking place between two parties who have agreed upon terms is called a signature. The signature can only be decrypted with a private key (a string of randomized numbers), which is also used when encrypting files stored on your computer or mobile device using public-key cryptography. These signatures become very important when you’re converting cryptocurrency to fiat.
Here’s how it works: I have your public key, and you have my public key, so we can both send each other messages without anyone else being able to read them (because they don’t have our private keys).
Whenever I send something encrypted with my public key on my end, only your private key will be able to decrypt it at your end because those two keys go together, like lock and key! In this case, instead of sending encrypted messages back and forth between ourselves, we’re exchanging ownership deeds for Bitcoin! And it is easier yet since we can buy crypto with a credit card.
Spotify, Apple Music, and Their Ilk Have Become the New Gatekeepers for the Music Industry.
The music industry has been turned on its head over the last two decades. All of our favorite songs are easily accessible, and we can listen to them anywhere in the world—as long as we’re willing to pay a monthly fee to one of the new gatekeepers: Spotify, Apple Music, and their ilk.
These digital music distributors have replaced record labels as the primary force driving how artists get paid for their work. The problem is that power has shifted too far toward the middlemen without enough corresponding benefit for creators or fans. In order for musicians to regain control of their own destinies, they must bypass these gatekeepers by embracing blockchain technology like Mycelia.
Blockchain Technology Is Going to Allow Artists to Create Their Own Royalty and Licensing Systems.
The blockchain can allow artists to implement their own royalty and licensing system. For example, an artist could release a song on the blockchain and assign unique Smart Contracts to individuals or companies who wish to pair their product with the song. The Smart Contracts would automatically execute the transaction between the artist and licensee when certain criteria are met.
For example, if in one Smart Contract, an artist stipulates that no more than five people will be allowed to licence his or her song at $100/person, then once five people pay $100 each for the right to use that particular song, it becomes unavailable for further licensing.
The potential applications of this technology are exciting. Historically, music licensing has been a complicated process; with so many players involved (record labels, publishers, artists), it’s difficult to keep track of who owns what rights and how much money everyone is entitled to make from each licence.
Digital Rights Management Can Be Streamlined With Blockchain Technology.
One of the most tedious and time-consuming processes for musicians is managing rights to their music. The blockchain can help streamline this process by encrypting rights management information directly into the song’s metadata, allowing artists to track and monitor their music digitally.
Music producers can grant permission for others to use their songs, making licensing agreements more secure and efficient. The transparent nature of the blockchain makes it so that everyone in the network has access to this information, which prevents people from using another artist’s work without permission.
This process would also make it easier for artists to keep track of who is using their work and allow them to be paid promptly when their songs are downloaded or played on services like Spotify or Pandora. The immutable nature of the blockchain will prevent users from changing any information stored in a digital ledger without permission from all parties involved in the transaction (i.e., you).
Social Media Could Evolve Into a System That Actually Rewards Artists for Their Work.
You may have heard of blockchain technology, but did you know it could help artists get paid for their social media posts?
Normally, when an artist shares a song or post on a social network like Facebook, they aren’t paid anything in return. But to boost engagement and traffic, some influencers are testing out new compensation models.
For example, one such platform is allowing musicians to create “Fan Tokens” that fans can buy using the cryptocurrency Ethereum. Once purchased, these tokens give fans access to exclusive content from those artists—and 20 percent of sales go straight back into the pockets of the musicians themselves.
To put things in perspective: imagine if every time you shared music with your friends or followers on Facebook or Twitter, you received payment for it!
New tech like blockchain will soon be showing up in the music industry, and it’s worth keeping in mind when you buy cryptocurrency, that currency is not all that you’re investing in. A blockchain is a form of cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin or Ethereum.
More specifically, blockchain technology is a distributed ledger that allows for the secure exchange of digital assets (like Bitcoin) over peer-to-peer networks. In our time, it is becoming growingly advisable to purchase cryptocurrency.
Imogen Heap and her Mycelia Creative Passport have pioneered the use of this technology in the music industry. The passport is a centralized platform for artists to manage data points, including contact information, professional relationships, preferred payment methods, and more.
These self-sovereign identities are securely stored using blockchain technology, allowing for direct payments between artists and fans without a third-party intermediary. This decentralization also preserves metadata about creators’ music in an immutable format that cannot be altered.