Blockchain, Virtual Reality, and Others Disrupting the Music Industry

August 29, 2016

11:10 am

The music industry has always been hugely influenced by technology. Think about it. The CD, streaming music services, even the concept of plugging a guitar into an amp have all been technological revolutions. Without technology, the concept of layering tracks simply would not exist today. This trend continues today. Technology influences, and even more interesting, it disrupts the status quo and changes the game in many ways. This makes way for creative startups and indie artists to get a foothold in what was once a very closed off industry. Here are some ways in which people are using technology to create disruption right now.

BlockChain Becomes a Game Changer

Here’s a frightening thought. There are songs being viewed and downloaded over music streaming sites hundreds of thousands of times each day. In many cases, the people who should be receiving compensation for this are not.This isn’t because of piracy or plagiarism. It’s because the information associated with this music is not up to date. This means that streaming services simply have no way to identify artists and properly compensate them. The answer to this might be BlockChain. If musicians can upload proper, verified information to this channel, it can provide streaming services a way to pay them for their art.

Startups Like JukeDeck Will Turn People Into Composers

JukeDeck is a tool that allows people to compose their own music by using a set of algorithms. The target markets for this tool are individuals and small business owners who have a need to use music in advertising, presentations, or other applications. Rather than using music that is owned by others and paying royalties for the pleasure, people can have their own, unique music composed.

Record Labels Are Becoming Less Relevant

Years ago, the ultimate goal of an aspiring musician was to land a recording contract with a major label. Ask an aspiring musician today what their biggest mark of achievement would be, and they would give a completely different answer. In the past, record labels were in control because they controlled the production and distribution of music, mostly as a physical product. The average person couldn’t afford studio time, equipment, production of tapes or CDs, and they certainly couldn’t manage distribution. Now, all musicians need is some software, a headset and microphone, and access to one of the many music streaming and distribution websites available to them.

Many sites now offer royalty free music. Instead of receiving traditional royalties, artists set licensing fees for their music. This allows DJs and other professionals to use their music for a set period of time or for a specific event. Unlike other models, it is the artist who sets the royalty fees. Under MusicStream’s structure, an artist even retains the rights to gift their music for the purposes of charity or education.

John Harvey of 310 Audio had a few interesting remarks on this topic. He says:

“When a fledgling DJ, especially one who is trying to establish a local presence has to pay royalty fees under the standard structures, they are put in an impossible position. They can’t afford these fees, so they don’t get the access. The result is that local music scenes are dominated by a few well-funded acts. It’s a shame that so many talented artists and DJs go unnoticed because of this.”

Virtually Reality Is Changing Music on Many Levels

There are many ways that musicians are using VR to reach out to their audience. First of all, some artists have begun using VR as a means of promoting new releases. Then, there is the obvious application of VR as a part of performance. Artists have been livestreaming performances, for quite some time now. That’s nothing new. What is new is using VR technology so that fans who can’t get to a show for financial or geographical reasons can still experience that show in a way that is as close to a live experience as possible. The appeal to people who live in small towns who rarely get major acts should be obvious.

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Dianna is a former ESL teacher and World Teach volunteer, currently living in France. She's slightly addicted to apps and viral media trends and helps different companies with product localization and content strategies. You can tweet her at @dilabrien

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