Musicoin: A music industry where artists thrive and listeners are rewarded

Musicoin: A music industry where artists thrive and listeners are rewarded

There has been much concern about the death of music industry in recent years. However, its revival is just around the corner. Musicoin allows artists and consumers to exchange music and value on a frictionless platform.

The digitization of music crumbled the old music industry. Peer-to-peer music file-sharing programs, as pioneered by Napster in 1999, eradicated any obligation towards the artist. Music is downloaded without permission or compensation. While this makes many listeners happy, it cannot be sustainable in the long term as musicians are left with little gains from the process.

Record sales, which once were the main measurement of a musician’s success, have dropped by 84% in the last decade. Instead, listeners rely on streaming on apps like YouTube, Spotify, SoundCloud, iTunes and many others. No matter how many Facebook likes, Youtube views, or Spotify followers an artist has, it does not guarantee them a financial success. It is widespread knowledge that these companies pay minimal amounts to the artists through obscure contract systems. The focus is on the listener’s (and advertiser’s) convenience, and the intermediaries keep 80% of the revenue.

The financial injustice to artists’ music goes further in the DJ world. When mixing was popularized in the 1970s, combining different tracks into something new, licensing was kept aloof. Although this gives great creative freedom and space for experimentation, it causes a loss of monetary reward earned by the artists, and perhaps more importantly it minimizes accessibility for fans and the DJs.

Musicoin has been made in order to “support the creation, publication, and consumption of music as a cycle”. According to the founder Isaac Mao, the Musicoin currency (MC or $Music) is created “to solve problems in music industry delicately with a stable global metric.”

Musicoin is a decentralized platform which combines blockchain technology with a peer-to-peer file-sharing network. As a modified fork of Ethereum, they make use of smart contracts to license content onto the blockchain database. The collection of royalty payment is thus done automatically and remains under the artist’s control.

Today, for every time a track is played the artist received 1 MC from the listener’s account, a license called Pay-per-Play (PPP). The payment is then distributed to other beneficiaries, like the different band members for example. The percentages are controlled by the band, with no intermediary needed.

The Musicoin roadmap promises many more improvements. Universal Basic Income (UBI) for musicians will be implemented next month. This means that listeners would no longer need to pay from their own wallets, instead the payment comes from a pool of reserved funds from the mining process. The subsidising for artists ensures them a steady revenue, and at the same time stimulates the whole network economy. Listeners would gain by not having to pay from their own coins for consuming music, and instead could choose to tip the artists. In future versions, listeners are also going to have a chance to earn from the “sharism reward.” This distributes a percentage of the Musicoin to the listener who shared the artist’s music. The more you share, the more you gain. This allows for a new sort of intimacy between the artist and their fans.

In our interview with Isaac Mao, he explained that to Musicoin will start paying artists a pegged amount of fiat currency of 0.02 USD per stream – a major increase to top all the other music streamers. The table below shows you the drastic difference.

Musicoin chart comparison pay per stream

Image from musicoin.org

By showing artists that they can earn and thrive with Musicoin more than in current systems, traffic will increase and the network will unleash its value.

Intermediaries such as record labels will not necessarily be terminated, but can find ways to adjust their role to the new system. By making offline deals with musicians, there is still space for them to earn. This could be done by, for example, uploading their catalogues under their brand and distributing to the artists. They could also help musicians set up their profiles and channels.

Isaac continues to explain: “It’s easy to register for musicians with their social media accounts on musicoin.org and start to share their content and instantly see PPP works. There are already over one thousand musicians uploaded their works since it’s open beta at April. With UBI in next step, they will enjoy more income from users playbacks who are flocking for free listening.”

With this new system, every contributor is rewarded for their part with the integrity and transparency that blockchain provides. The music industry will not die, but simply take on a new shape to fit itself to the technology available. As long as humans are around, music will be demanded and supplied in one way or another. Since the internet, music discovery and accessibility are at an all-time high – a commodity we can no longer imagine our lives without. Music will keep being provided to ever-increasing consumers in a more fair and revolutionary way.

Featured Image from Echo Grid on Unsplash

About The Author

Inbar Preiss

I am a student at Utrecht University College, majoring in anthropology and international relations. Interested in culture, philosophy, politics, travel, music and art

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