Today it was announced that Spotify acqui-hired the team from MediaChain, and earlier in the month the combined forces of IBM, PRS, SACEM & ASCAP announced that they were going to start experimenting in Blockchain. Alongside our own dotBlockchain announcement in which we announced our partnership with SOCAN, MediaNet, FUGA, SongTrust and CDBaby + with the creation of the Berklee OMI (now home to over 200 media, music & tech companies) I think that we can safely say that the problem is being looked at with the focus and passion that it deserves. I write this as I will be getting 50 emails in the next few hours from friends and investors asking me to comment on this piece of news and my answer is that I think it’s awesome. Here’s why:
In November of 2015, the following appeared in a Billboard article entitled: “Blockchain and a ‘Disastrous’ Music Biz Addressed at BIME Pro 2015 Conference in Spain.”
Some highlights from the article by my now friend Gideon Gottfried are: “The panel was scarcely visited though, either because it was the first panel that morning or because the industry doesn’t yet realize the Blockchain’s potential.”
“”The opportunity the industry is missing is the heartbreaking part of this,” said Fluet. According to him, “what the Blockchain does to money alone is seismic. And that’s not even talking about content.” The way banks reacted to it reminded him of the way the music industry had reacted to the advent of the MP3.”
“Not everyone should see everything, but artists should at least be able to understand their revenue streams. Everybody could benefit from this technology, also labels, publishers and PROs.”
Scarcely attended was an understatement as the crowd were outnumbered by staff and four of the eight people in the room we knew or worked with. The panel to which he references (here for posterity) sticks in my mind not so much because it was the first time I referred to the dotBlockchain project publicly, but also because as we walked off stage the great Scott Cohen was the first person to point out that this panel felt like early internet panels at music conferences in years gone by. Back when the world wide web was going to be the next big thing or the next big nothing.
Fast forward to today
So while I may disagree with how certain companies and initiatives are going about their Blockchain implementations and while we should worry about duplication of work and getting it right at least something is now actually happening. Since that day in 2015 I have been asked to present our project and the Blockchain as it relates to music at places like the BPI, MIT, Berklee, NYU, MusicBiz, Reeperbahn, The USPTO, SXSW, to government officials and to working artists, publishers and labels and digitla service providers and other industly professionals, all in many more countries all over the world from Ireland to Denmark, Mexico to Australia, Estonia to Spain with more offers to present that I could possibly attend to in a year. The articles we published here on Medium have been read over 9000 times and the last public presentation I did on the subject was to a sold out standing room only crowd, and I don’t know of a music conference on earth that does not have great women and men talking about the problem.
I am an optimist by nature, and the music industry has been full of pessimists and is also fiercely competitive, but what has stunned me about watching this technology spread through the music ecosystem has been the sheer number of people who are committed, in both time, effort and dollars to finally solve the problems that have plagued the industry for such a long time.
Let’s never forget that we are doing this to help the artists and songwriters to get paid. To enshrine their rights into their works and to level the playing field. I have maintained from day one of this journey that we cannot achieve the above in a centralized system. Creation is a messy process, but what all of these announcements and work are leading to are something better for those whose livelihoods depend on us getting this right.
“Straight and narrow is the path… waste no time.”
Loving your work