How Web3 will change the music industry for the better
When Harry Styles said - “You know it’s not the same as it was”, he was referring to the evolution of the internet and inevitably, the music industry
. The contemporary era has brought about various outcomes for different artists worldwide, and with the age of Covid 19, increasing streams at large but at the same time, making it difficult for budding artists to pave their way, earn a living, or connect with their audience. All of this is to simply say: it’s a hard moment in history for musicians. Thankfully, there is an antidote to this suffering.
Over the past few years, two related forms of technology have garnered significant attention to provide opportunities for non-traditional participation in the recording industry. Blockchain technology coupled with NFTs introduces the possibility of enabling music business outsiders to share in the revenues generated by popular songs.
Have you ever come across an underrated artist who you know is going to make it big, and you genuinely enjoy their music and wish you could do more to support them? We’re now at the point where fans can become part owners of the income generated by their favorite artist.
What in the world (and metaverse) is Web3?
Trying to define Web3 is like trying to explain the purpose of social media to your father, they know it exists but they’re not sure why it exists.
Web3 is indefinite or nebulous. An umbrella term that encapsulates each specific technology and a radically transformative, constantly evolving social phenomenon. If these words are leaving you feeling blank or intimidated and out of place, Web3 in the simplest of terms is the third step on the ladder of the evolutionary ladder of the world wide web, which is based on two core principles – decentralization and transparency, which is in absolute contrast to the current top-down, hierarchical models of control that have prevailed over the internet since they came about in the early 90s.
Web3 is based in large part on a technology called the blockchain – essentially an immutable digital ledger – and has given rise to cryptocurrency, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), the metaverse and various other modern tools that are remolding how we interact with technology and each other.
What does this mean in the music industry?
Very simply stated, the presence of Web3 will, in many ways change incentive systems and pave way for new ownership systems.
While we’re on the topic of “ownership” of music, to give you an example of how Web3 could have completely avoided one of the biggest scandals in the music industry is when popular artist Taylor Swift lost ownership of 6 of her original albums and she had to re-record the same albums to reclaim her work. This case offers a very clear insight into the broken and unfair ownership structures in the entertainment industry, and we believe it’s high time this changed.
When the audience/fans stand to gain financially when the artist’s content performs well, they are most likely to promote the content and creators can, in turn, capitalize on audience members’ willingness to pay more—ultimately, enabling them to retain control of their work from the get-go. It all comes to a full circle in the best way.
Web3 can pave way for a world where artists do not have to fight to secure power and ownership rights over their work, which I like to think should be a basic necessity. If Web3 had been around when Swift first recorded her music, she would’ve had the option to safeguard her ownership over it. She could have opted to mint her own NFTs and allow fans to become investors in her, profiting when songs performed well (basically every song), but most importantly, in leveraging NFTs, she could have created a verifiable record of ownership over content that would be perpetually traced back to her. She could have just “shaken it off”!
Apart from the obvious benefits that artists and investors (fans) get from Web3 like automate licensing and obtaining the most revenue for their music, the creators get to retain control of their work while directly rewarding fans for their attention with incentives like exclusive access to additional projects, digital and physical goods and potentially, financial reward.
Basically, the equivalent of being a fan in the Web3 ecosystem to the currently running system is how you “like” their content which benefits both the creator and their admirer. A new generation of musicians have begun to write, record, and perform works and these artists will find a way to adapt to the medium of the day, and it only makes sense for that medium to be Web 3 as it allows the community of the creator to expand and consume without outside influence or interference. This creates a unique opportunity to construct a new music royalty paradigm that begins and ends on the blockchain with a fully-formed and functional tokenized royalty structure.
While most companies are getting a better understanding of the vast world of Web 3, and figuring out where to invest and explore, especially with the rapid growth of the metaverse, OG Rapper, NFT connoisseur, and Smoke-lord as some call him, Snoop Dogg has found his way into the Web 3 world and is beating many others to it, and is already considered to be a prominent voice and face in the same.
The entertainers and entertainment systems that include Web3 could be those that thrive in the coming years ahead. By allowing transformative alternatives in incentives, possession structures, and monetization channels, many have high hopes that Web 3 will create a greater equitable and empowering atmosphere for entertainers to thrive.
Even if one of the pieces of tools from this contemporary Web3 wave, in the end, shutters its doors, the ideal situation is that every one of the underlying information — from NFTs to social tokens and different assets – stays forever saved on-chain. From balancing out capital flows and experimenting with extra long-time period software to really embracing decentralized infrastructure, we are hoping to see the music/Web3 atmosphere flourish in the coming months and years with the artist at the center, as they should be.
And to ones who talk about what the world will be without Web3 dominating the future, as Kanye once said...I guess we’ll never know.