Leading Musicians Continue to Fight with Blockchain in Battle Against Piracy

Geoffrey Gardiner  Jan 26, 2020 08:00  UTC 00:00

3 Min Read

In recent years, studies have shown that there has been a sharp decline in album sales net revenue due to online piracy and illegal creation or sharing of property righted materials.

In 2007 it was reported that 12.5 billion USD worth of losses were recorded. This includes revenue to the artist, income loss amounting to 2.7 billion USD annually, and taxable income to the government.

Blockchain is not a new addition to this space, with many artists and companies implementing new security features to fight crime and allow content creators full rights and income for their work. The solution is well discussed, but the process has been slow. 

Across the entire entertainment industry, there have been problems in monitoring and fighting against illegal and criminal actions stealing and duplicating artistic work, but little progress in countering the problem effectively. 

Widespread piracy, including software piracy has continued to affect many industries, but with blockchain being tested to combat fraud, has it, or will it be able to make a difference? 

What has happened to date?

From 2007 to 2016, Imogen Heap, a famous British songwriter and artist was one of the first active celebrities to look into blockchain technology and what it could provide in the music industry. Using Ethereum, she was able to directly sell her music without the need for intermediaries or centralization. Her main goal was to allow musicians and other entertainers to have control over their works, including credit, terms of usage, transfer, and purchasing.

Since her initial involvement in blockchain, Heap has gone on to create a nonprofit company for artists called Mycelia, to realize a vision of the future, this premium digital identity standard enables music makers to control and manage their data through the creation of a verified database which contains discographies, personal information, acknowledgments, works, and business partners. Unique to each person, it promotes template‘smart contracts’ to speed up payments and encourage meaningful creative and commercial partnerships. Helping any level of the artist, get their songs off the ground, and also find alternative means to publish their work for sale. 

“The first thing is to create some kind of hope that there is an alternative to a major label deal and that it’s coming, but it's not quite there yet. Everybody is in a bit in limbo,” said Heap. “We’ve got this new technology, great possibilities ahead of us, but we’ve got this old cranky system trying to cling on to the remainders of [its] power.”

Heap has continued to pave the way herself, touring in 2019 she has just completed her latest show, across Europe and America. 

During 2019, for six months, Heap has aimed to bring more people into the space to showcase blockchain technology through concerts, talks, workshops, and digital marketing. 

Heap further added, “Thanks to everyone we’ve collided with; it has been a fantastic adventure over the last six months with my family, the band, and the team in and around the shows, conferences, and workshops we’ve done so far.”

Moving further into 2020, it is clear that we need more artists like Heap to grow awareness and adoption for blockchain, after years of efforts, small steps forward are fantastic for an old industry, showing that there is a chance for change in an industry that has outdated models, and a lack of fairness and protection for artists. 

Image by Hanny Naibaho via Unsplash


Read More