For DJs, content creators, music producers, rappers, and singers, the internet has been both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it's never been easier to get your music heard by millions of people. On the other hand, it appears that upcoming artists are still finding it difficult to break into the highly competitive industry.
The good news is that nothing stays the same. With the advent of Web 3.0 technology, both newcomers and seasoned creators are discovering new ways to earn money and broadcast their music via innovative platforms.
As someone who works every day to create such opportunities, I'm excited to share how an artist can get noticed, build an audience, and release their debut album in a novel way.
The internet has given rise to a new breed of musician – the bedroom producer. With the advent of affordable home recording studio equipment and software, anyone with a computer can make professional-sounding music in the comfort of their own home.
However, by making it so easy for anyone to become a musician, the internet has also created an environment where artists have less control over their careers. Without a reliable way of monetizing and releasing their music, they have to rely on record labels or other third-party music distributors to get their music heard, and many times this comes at a high cost, not only in terms of money but in loss of creative freedom.
While labels and streaming platforms provide greater exposure, they also take a significant portion of artists' earnings. Furthermore, some creators find it difficult to follow the terms of contracts that labels impose on them.
Another significant flaw in today's music industry, in my opinion, is the lack of direct interaction between fans and artists. They are limited in their options for rewarding one another as the real asset that fans and artists put in is time and engagement, not just the simple sale of a product.
With the access-based streaming platforms of today, it’s unclear how and when a sale actually occurs: is it Spotify or the end-user that an artist is selling to? And is TikTok making the choices for you?
The Idea Gains Ground
With all of this in mind, it's no surprise that more artists are turning to blockchain to release and monetize their music.
World-renowned artists like Alan Walker (a DJ whose hit "Faded" was certified platinum in 14 countries) and Rico Love (Grammy award-winning producer of Beyonce among many others) are collaborators of mine and they are embracing Web 3.0.
However, emerging artists aren't far behind their more experienced colleagues. I am especially proud of Emery Kelly's case. His fan power helped him raise enough funds in 2021 to release his single "Gotta Know" which will later be included on his album "Some of My Emotions" – using the blockchain as a key element.
More novel mechanisms are being discovered, but these are the ones that are currently popular among creators:
- Tokenizing singles, entire albums, and their cover art.
- Accepting crypto payments.
- Giving fans missions and rewarding them for completing tasks.
- Creating one-of-a-kind collectibles as an alternative to traditional merch.
- Using tokenized concert tickets in place of traditional tickets.
- Unlocking crypto and NFT tipping options, which are currently being worked on by both social media and streaming platforms.
Instead of recommending a specific digital music provider, I'll explain what the vast majority of them do. Web 3.0 music companies assist artists in two ways: traditional promotion and blockchain promotion. As a result, an artist gains access to the blockchain, marketplaces, and the rapidly expanding crypto community. Meanwhile, their work can be found on major platforms such as Apple, Spotify, and YouTube.
You may be wondering how these platforms make money because business is business. These companies do not sign contracts for a specific number of hits and do not own the intellectual rights to the music. As artists share a portion of their earnings after being noticed and supported by fans, a fan-funded model can grow with artist and fan communities of all sizes, with the platforms charging a set fee, known to everyone before, during, and after.
The Future of the Music Industry
Like with any new technology, there are contenders and naysayers. Web 3.0 has supporters and detractors.
Proponents such as Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda, who crowdfunded over $11,000 on his first NFT project, have been quoted saying that even if he had uploaded the full version of the contained song to DSP worldwide, he would "never get even close to $10K" after fees and marketing costs.
At the same time, naysayers are quick to point out that digital assets aren't backed by anything and that the underlying technology is still in its infancy. This is why music is such an interesting use case. It’s based on real values and engages huge communities just because they love the music.
With artists such as Alan Walker and Mike Shinoda already on board, it's only a matter of time before we see more and more artists turning to this new way of releasing and monetizing their music. Real value added to digital assets and a deeper understanding of Web 3.0 by a large audience will put an end to speculation-driven early adopters, which is the primary impediment to transformation.