Concept to Paper: eMusic Light Paper Released

We’ve written at length on this blog about the issues and opportunities facing the music industry and participants therein. We’ve also addressed our added value as a major platform that has had a 20-year stake in the discovery and promotion of independent artists and labels. Today, as we debut our eMusic Light Paper to the public, we begin to shed more light on how we are thinking of using Blockchain to create a platform to help the artists we champion in our catalog.

Blockchain, at its core, simplifies transactions because the technology reduces the complexity and intermediaries typically required to validate information or assets passing person to person (or person to business, or even person to things, nowadays). The technology itself is not new, but it is innovative in how it is being recently applied to streamline and reduce costs in all kinds of different industries.

One simple example that demonstrates the usefulness of blockchain in everyday life is to consider how it could replace something like, say, a driver’s license. Go to a bar, the doorman asks for your ID. You hand over your driver’s license, but all he/she really needs to know is whether or not you’re old enough to drink alcohol. Even your numerical age is irrelevant, the answer can simply be True or False. Apply that concept to anywhere that personal data is required. Resident of State? Registered to Vote? Insured? Last vision test? Hair color? Yes, Yes, No, too long ago, Red. No more unmitigated access to unneeded information.

And because your information can be validated as a permanent part of the blockchain there will be no need to deal with such agencies that you do today to maintain and update details of your identity. For example, if you move, signing a lease and paying first six months rent in a different state could automatically update State Residency, or exam results could connect to seamlessly update your commercial licenses. Can you imagine a world without the DMV? Dare to dream!

Not only does this system better protect our identity and reduce fraud but it also creates the added benefit of immediacy and transparency. Using another feature of Blockchain called Smart Contracts we can further control and gate exactly who gets to see what information in what circumstances, and when information should be updated. With a simple code for “if-then” and “if-then-else” agreements, these contracts need no outside party or legal system to interpret the contract — as soon as the conditions are met, the Smart Contract will enforce the agreement and the entire blockchain will be updated.

Blockchain isn’t in itself a solution that is inherently better, it needs to be also cleverly and expertly applied to an industry or problem where a decentralized solution is better than a centralized one.

Some of our favorite applications of Blockchain have done just that. We are inspired by an initiative in the energy sector that has created a peer-to-peer market for energy exchange, and a project in advertising that allows people to be rewarded for watching an ad, among others.

The eMusic Blockchain Project

As described in the first draft of our Light Paper, we feel Blockchain is the obvious technology to leverage to re-shape the music industry. In the current industry, the following conditions exist to the detriment of distributors/platforms and artists: numerous middlemen (publishers, managers, distributors, etc), high degree of centralization (80% of content is owned by 3 major labels), and archaic technology (royalties management systems). This has driven costs through the roof, squeezed artists earnings to a minimum, and are an existential threat to platforms like Spotify, iHeartRadio, and Pandora.

In order for eMusic to present a true alternative to the current industry trajectory, we must use a decentralized ledger which will help the platform cut down on the intermediaries expenses. Moreover, by using the Blockchain, Smart Contracts will enable the distribution of diverse revenues and inputs, automatically and quickly. For more detail, we urge everyone to download and share our light paper, read about our mission and strategy, and then join the conversation with your comments and feedback on Reddit, Twitter & Facebook.

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Photo: Issac Ibbott