Music on the Blockchain
Middlesex University (2016)

Background: This study, published in 2016, provides
an good introduction on why and how blockchain technologies can be applied to the distribution of music. The short, highly readable paper provides a valid introduction just how artists could benefit from this technology. The suggested, potential applications from this report have been influential in the creation of the Bloomen project.

Quote: “It has been said many times that if anyone were to design a music industry for the present, let alone the future, it might be very different from the historic one that young artists today have inherited. Yet credible strategies to modernise have so far proved elusive. Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), or ‘blockchain’, has started to receive increasing media attention and investment from several sectors including governments, financial services and the creative industries. The potential application in relation to music is of particular interest, as it appears to offer solutions to problems artists have highlighted for decades – around transparency, the sharing of value and the relationships with intermediaries that sit between the artist and fan, the central and most important relationship in music.”
Nick Mason, Pink Floyd

Why read this report? “Music on the blockchain” provides a first overview, specifically for everyone a bit suspicious of seemingly complex technologies. In fact, the report makes a point that while the introduction has the potential to “revolutionize” the handling of music rights, the introduction might not even be that complex, in terms of the technology needed. What is of course much more challenging is how to gain acceptance, reliability and trust in such a system.

Quote: In terms of its effect on the record industry, BCI see the potential of blockchain technology most clearly in four areas:

  1. A networked database for music copyright information
  2. Fast, frictionless royalty payments
  3. Transparency through the value chain
  4. Access to alternative sources of capital

Background: Blockchain for Creative Industries (BCI) is an interdisciplinary research cluster at Middlesex University, which draws together researchers from Media, Performing Arts and Computer Science to explore applications of blockchain technology in the creative industries. Our research – on business models, creative identity,copyright, digital rights and digital forensics – informs undergraduate ‘live projects’ as well as postgraduate research. We are part of the academic working group for the Open Music Initiative.

Download: Music on the Blockchain (2016)