The top music streaming platforms have hundreds of millions of monthly customers, yet many artists whose music powers them continue to seek their fair share. One technology has the promising potential to ease the industry’s woes: blockchain.
Blockchain in Music
Artists like Lupe Fiasco, Gramatik and Pitbull have advocated for decentralized technologies in music, and proponents champion blockchain’s distributed ledger technology as a fair and transparent way to efficiently release music, streamline royalty payments, eliminate expensive middlemen and establish a point of origin for music creators.
With that in mind, we’ve rounded up 17 examples of how utilizing blockchain in music technology can reinvigorate the industry.
Top Blockchain Music Companies
Location: Fully Remote
Sound creates a more interactive relationship between artists and fans through its Web3-based NFT platform. When an artist releases a song as an NFT, early versions display specific numbers that allow owners to brag about discovering a song first and sell their NFT for more value. However, those who keep their NFTs can leave public comments on a song and engage with their favorite artists through Discord hangouts.
Location: Beaverton, Oregon
Digimarc develops solutions for licensing intellectual property for audio, visual and image content by integrating blockchain into its technology to help license music. Digimarc Barcode is a music fingerprinting technology that links to metadata in order to track music sources, measure usage and estimate payments. The digital watermarking technology works with most music files and gives a more holistic insight for music rights holders.
Location: Brooklyn, New York
MediaChain (now a part of Spotify) is a peer-to-peer, blockchain database for sharing information across different applications and organizations. In addition to organizing open-source information by issuing unique identifiers for each piece of information, MediaChain also works with artists to ensure they are paid fairly. The company issues smart contracts with musicians that directly state their royalty stipulations without the hassle of confusing third parties or contingencies.
Location: Austin, Texas
Royal turns music fans into invested partners, providing a platform where listeners can purchase a percentage of a song’s royalties directly from an artist. Once an artist determines the number of royalties to put up for sale, a Royal user can buy these royalties as tokens and hold on to them or sell them on an NFT exchange. Users can facilitate transactions with a credit card or crypto, and Royal even creates crypto wallets for those who don’t have accounts yet.
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
The Open Music Initiative (OMI) is a nonprofit calling for open-source protocol in the music industry. It explores the use of blockchain to help identify the rightful music rights holders and originators so they can receive fair royalty payments. The Initiative believes that blockchain can bring transparency and deeper data insights, which can help artists get fairly paid. They count Soundcloud, Red Bull Media and Netflix as just a few of their members.
Location: Hong Kong, China
Musicoin is a music streaming platform that supports the creation, consumption and distribution of music in a shared economy. The company’s blockchain platform allows for the transparent and secure peer-to-peer transfer of music. Their coin, MUSIC, is a global currency that supports all trade surrounding music and music-related purchases. Musicoin eliminates the need for third parties, which means that 100 percent of all streaming revenue goes to the artist.
Location: Los Angeles, California
OneOf serves as a space where users can buy and exchange NFTs related to the areas of sports, music and lifestyle. Releases of NFT collections occur on the platform, allowing users to increase the value of their NFTs by being the first to claim them. NFT collections also come in tiers in OneOf’s marketplace, including Green, Gold, Platinum and Diamond. The final tier, OneOf One Tier, features NFTs that come with VIP experiences and are only available through auctions.
Location: San Francisco, California
Making Web3 technology more accessible for creatives, Async Art is a creator platform that allows artists to develop music and sell songs in an NFT marketplace. The company’s technology takes care of the coding, so artists can simply upload assets and leave the rest to Async. Async’s platform also allows artists to develop a unique version of a song for each fan, delivering a more personalized experience for both musicians and audiences.
Location: Fully Remote
Mycelia is a collective of artists, musicians and music lovers looking to empower creatives in the music industry. The music ecosystem is looking into blockchain for several applications. Mycelia primarily wants to run an entire database on blockchain to ensure that artists are paid fairly and acknowledged quickly. The company’s Creative Passport contains full information about a song, including IDs, acknowledgments, business partners and payment mechanisms, so all contributors are treated fairly.
Location: Ljubljana, Slovenia
Want to know which artist, event or venue is trending? Check out Viberate’s curated profiles that highlight an artist’s upcoming shows, social media engagement and music videos. Viberate uses blockchain to manage millions of crowdsourced data points, with real-time rankings and profiles. It rewards community participants with VIB tokens, which the company views as a go-to digital currency in the music industry.
Location: Los Angeles, California
Zora is an NFT marketplace protocol where creatives can publish their work as tokens, sell them to buyers and collect profits. Rather than create copies of an NFT, Zora offers a model where an original NFT is accessible to anyone and sold repeatedly. An artist first sells their work, but then owners can sell this same NFT to other buyers. Artists earn a share of the sale price each time an NFT is sold, so creatives continue to receive proper compensation for their work.
Location: Oxford, United Kingdom
Blokur is a source for global publishing data for the management and monetization of music. It uses both AI and blockchain to combine different sources of rights data in one database. The blockchain then allows music publishers to catalog their work for the community to see and unanimously approve. The company’s AI resolves any source disputes by scanning pertinent origination information to make sure the correct artists receive payments.
Location: New York, New York
eMusic is a blockchain-based music distribution and royalty management platform that rewards both artists and fans. The company’s decentralized music platform features instant royalty payouts, a rights management and tracking database, fan-to-artist crowdfunding and back-catalog monetization for copyright holders. eMusic also rewards fans by offering exclusive artist content, promotional incentives and cheaper prices relative to other streaming sites.
BitSong is the first decentralized music streaming platform dedicated to artists, listeners and advertisers. The blockchain-based system lets artists upload songs and attach advertisements to them. For each advertisement listened, the artist and the listener will get up to 90 percent of the profits that were invested by the advertiser. The $BTSG token also enables listeners to donate to indie artists and purchase music.
Location: London, England
Blockpool is a blockchain firm that creates custom code, offers consulting services and helps integrate ledger technology into a business’ current systems. In addition to its work in other industries, Blockpool creates digital tokens, formulates smart music contracts and tracks licensing and intellectual property rights for the music industry. The company helps musicians implement blockchain throughout the whole production, distribution and management process.
Location: San Francisco, California
Audius is a fully decentralized streaming platform with a community of artists, listeners and developers who collaborate and share music. After artists upload their content onto the company’s platform, it generates timestamped records to ensure that all work is correctly recorded. Audius eliminates the need for third-party platforms by connecting artists directly with consumers. Additionally, Audius uses blockchain to ensure that artists get paid fairly and immediately via smart contracts.
Location: Santa Monica, California
OnChain Music exists to help its roster of artists, bands, singer-songwriters, DJs and musicians of all kinds earn more money from their royalties through blockchain and the sale of NFTs. The platform has created the $MUSIC token, a hybrid cryptocurrency that combines characteristics of a utility, governance and revenue share token. As the value of the $MUSIC token increases, artists signed to OnChain’s roster have the potential to receive increased royalty payments — turning their music into a valuable investment.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is blockchain in the music industry?
Blockchain in the music industry is the use of distributed ledger technology, NFT marketplaces and other tools to make music distribution more efficient and provide fair compensation for musicians and artists.
How do you use blockchain for music?
Artists and musicians use blockchain for music as a way to immediately and directly make revenue off of sales, streams and shares without having to share profits with middlemen services or pay additional fees.