What Have I Learned at eMusic?

A Winter Intern Explains His Experience

When I was in middle school, I performed in my first talent show and sang “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey. Everyone in the school was so surprised that I could sing. My first year of high school I joined an a capella group and was the first freshman ever to get a solo in “Stand By Me.” My performance went on to win us first place in an intra-school competition and give me the first experience of success in music.

Music brings people together, even in hard times. I would love to work in the music industry, hopefully as a singer, but if not, I would like to manage artists, produce music, or work in a recording studio. With these goals in mind, I started to intern for eMusic the beginning of the month of January 2019. I wanted to see the behind-the-scenes of talking to artists, marketing, and how downloading music works in the artist relations department of eMusic.

My first day walking into the office everyone who worked here introduced themselves to me and were very outgoing people. I learned immediately that the company is very focused on the advantages blockchain can have for the music industry and artists in particular. As I started to learn more about blockchain and its benefits, I began to realize how smart it is for quicker transactions, and shows how artists deserve more money than they receive.

Artists are only getting 10% of the profit from their songs. Artists pay companies like Apple Music and Spotify to have the ability to release their songs on their streaming services. However, there is a difference between Spotify and eMusic. For artists that release music on Apple Music and Spotify, if someone plays their song once, they make around a millionth of a cent. At eMusic they want to give the artist more money and use blockchain to pay the artist.

eMusic is a download service transitioning into the first ever blockchain distribution company. Head of Product Matt Robinson believes that cryptocurrency and blockchain are the future of the music industry. “Transactions between artists and their fans will become more efficient and more transparent,” he told me. As a young artist facing a life of chasing streams and promotion, I feel like this could change the future of the music industry.

Recently, I’ve been researching the background of an artist named Shelita Burke, who uses blockchain as an artist to create concerts for token holders. She believes it will reshape the industry in the future. In one of her interviews with Andy Kaufmann of Music Connection, Shelita says “It’s okay for artists to embrace new technology and have things that can help them make music. I don’t look at technology as a replacement. I look at it as an aid. … Blockchain technology is going to revolutionize the industry. More artists need to be open about how we can use the blockchain.” I believe that Shelita Burke knows the right direction this industry is going towards because she has a background as an independent artist, data scientist, and is very educated about blockchain. When reading the interview with Shelita Burke, I quickly connected her points with conversations I have had in the office.

eMusic wants fans to be able to interact with artists, but not directly. For example, they are introducing digital collectibles, a form of unique fan memorabilia enabled by blockchain for a fan to have something that they have and no one else. For example, a different album art, pictures of them in the studio, or maybe even a just a photograph of that artist or band. I find this to be very cool and something that fans would love to have. I’m a huge fan of Travis Scott, and I can’t tell you how jealous I was of a friend that posted a picture of a Travis Scott inflatable at the Bape store in Soho. I wanted to visit the store, but by the time I was able to go the inflatable was gone(and their clothing wasn’t as comfortable as I thought). Additionally, I believe that if Travis Scott put out some limited edition album cover for Astroworld, many people would pay a lot to have that cover. It is a way to connect more with your favorite artists and brings being a superfan to a whole new level.

When I leave eMusic at the end of the month, I will always remember what I learned here. Everything I learned will not only help me in knowing more about the industry and this company, but also help me as an artist. It helps me choose what I want to do in the music industry. My priority is being an artist and I would love to connect with eMusic to help me as an artist. It is crucial to keep the music going and keep artists supported because we listen to music every day of our lives.