The potential impact of the Blockchain on Media and Entertainment in 2018

Let’s face it, Digital Piracy has been a thorn in the sides of every Record Label, Movie Studio and Media Outlet for as long as the Internet has existed. Peer to Peer networking apps such as Bit Torrent and MP3 compression along with cheaper and faster hardware all made it easier to pirate digital media. Streaming services without a doubt saved the recording industry at a time when consumers made a mental shift from physical CD purchases and the need to own an entire album to just wanting to hear a few singles from the Album. Likewise, media outlets such as HBO, NetFlix and Hulu created a new distribution model for movies.

Media companies realized the war on digital piracy wasn’t one they could win, at least not using the same old tools and tactics. Therefore, they embraced this new form of digital consumption and sought to make money through streaming. These new streaming media services brought with them a new business model and overnight the metrics of their success had to be rewritten to account for the new digital medium. In the Media and Entertainment world, success wasn’t about actual units being shipped anymore but instead, success was more cumulatively defined as average monthly users, average time on site, bounce rate etc… This meant for the first time, the content creators were actually worried about the engagement of the content because engagement yielded sales.

Although we’ve come a long way since the early days of rampant digital piracy, there’s still the underlying threat which lingers around like that drunken, strung out on heroin, ex-crack addict, Uncle Bobby of yours. Uncle Bobby shows up uninvited to your Thanksgiving dinner each year and while you can’t kick him out, you must acknowledge his presence somehow and pass him a plate. As a programmer, my cohort and I are Uncle Bobby to the recording industry, the movie industry and any other type of paid digital media; we kin. You paid us to write the apps and programs which protect your content and ultimately deliver it to your consumers. Therefore, it’s only natural that we’d be the ones to steal it from you. Heck, we have FFMPEG to decode and encode media, we have key generators, packet sniffers, worms, trojans, you name it, we designed your systems and we know their vulnerabilities. No form of digital content is immune from piracy, none. Besides The Blockchain, I haven’t seen another promising technology in the last 10 years which could potentially thwart the threat of digital piracy.

Dude, what exactly is The Blockchain?

The Blockchain is simply a decentralized ledger based mechanism upon which two parties engage in an exchange built upon the integrity of the transaction v.s. the trust of each other. Its beauty lies within this decentralized model which essentially guarantees that each transaction is recorded in an immutable ledger as secure blocks. These blocks can be referenced at any point in time in order to validate the transaction overall. The Blockchain is actually remarkably secure because it removes the centralized broker from the process which could be considered a single point of failure if the broker is compromised and instead relies on a Peer to Peer network of nodes. In order to compromise one transaction in The Blockchain, you would need to compromise the entire Blockchain.

A look at the Blockchain PWC 2017

So how would one go about creating a Blockchain based platform to protect digital media?

For starters, follow the Ethererum Project; a Blockchain Platform. Their website best describes what the platform does, “Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third-party interference. On a blockchain, anyone can set up a node that replicates the necessary data for all nodes to reach an agreement and be compensated by users and app developers. This allows user data to remain private and apps to be decentralized like the Internet was supposed to work.” ( 2017 )

Wait, Lawrence, you’re telling me that The Blockchain restores the promise of a decentralized internet? Yes!

Is The Blockchain a threat to the New Internet? Yes!

Will there be new applications, new communities, and new digital cryptocurrencies on this New Internet powered by the Blockchain? Yes

Don’t fret, my blog — All about the Blockchain on Medium will dive deeper into these issues and keep you abreast of all things Blockchain.

While Bitcoin was the first real-world application of The Blockchain. It’s certainly not the only application. The Blockchain can be leveraged in the Automotive Industry, Voting, Healthcare, Media and Entertainment, Security and Data Management to name a few. The Ethereum project provides the framework to create any type of Blockchain application you can imagine.

One such interesting Blockchain application I came across in the Media and Entertainment space is music startup Choon. Choon is a music streaming service and digital payments ecosystem powered by the Ethereum blockchain and designed to solve some of the music industry’s most fundamental problems. Choon’s cryptocurrency is the Note and their GitHub is here

The Problem Choon attempts to solve

Choon’s Blockchain solution

Essentially, by utilizing The Blockchain, Choon provides a smarter and fairer platform which has the potential to challenge Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora and Amazon Music. There are other Blockchain based apps brewing as we speak and they can be found on State of the Dapps a website dedicated to listing all the Etherium Decentralized apps out there.

Thanks for reading part three of my three part mini-series. My hope is that I’ve been able to share with you some of my Technology insights for 2018 as they relate to Media and Entertainment. If you chuckled at my humor and anecdotal references; great. If you agree or disagree with everything I’ve said in these three articles, I’d love to hear from you. If you’d like for me to elaborate on any of these topics on a panel I’d be thrilled. You can find me on The LinkedIn or The Twitter — @ledmondson

Happy New Year!