In an interview with Forbes, Union Square Ventures’ Andy Weissman shared how blockchain technology could be applied to the music industry. Apart from tracking intellectual property rights on music streaming, it could also serve as a better model and means for profit-sharing among artists and producers.
Blockchain is the public ledger of bitcoin transactions, which is updated and verified by a network of computers solving complex algorithms. As such, it is considered an immutable and irreversible record, yielding several practical applications in record-keeping and database management.
Blockchain and Music
According to Weissman, blockchain could be applied to copyright laws in the US by creating a decentralized registry of music rights. In creating this, more apps and services can be built into a music registry as this would be machine-readable.
In a follow-up email by Forbes’ George Howard asking Weissman to elaborate on this suggestion, he clarified that once these rights are publicly listed on the blockchain, anyone would be able to see them. The artist could set which tracks are available for download or streaming and at what prices.
This could eliminate the need for middlemen in the process, as these are typically blamed to eating up a chunk of the musician’s or band’s profits. From a venture capitalists’ point of view, this could mean an intersection of market demand and revenues.
Of course this remains mostly an idea for the time being, as it would take some time before the concrete measures are laid down and applied to the vast music database. “We have the advantage of a business model that provides us the opportunity to invest in companies that are trying to create a world we would like to exist,” explained Weissman. “Sometimes we are right about that, sometimes not.”