Welcome back to The Bluffer's Guide to Cryptocurrency - a layman's approach to understanding Bitcoin and Blockchain Technology!
In the previous blog, we found out why it's important to keep an eye on the news due to the current impact it has on our beloved crypto prices (for the time being anyway). There was also a list of a few useful apps and media outlets for you to start sinking your teeth in to should you so wish. In case you missed it, you can catch up here.
Now that we have given ourselves a real grounding in the history and principles of Bitcoin, how to be safe online, using wallets, buying crypto via exchanges, managing our portfolio and keeping up to date with latest news developments, I think it's time we explored some of the new crypto music platforms out there, don't you?
If you have no idea what that last paragraph was about, firstly, are you serious?! Secondly, go to the bottom of this blog where the contents section is and read the linked articles. This will help with your understanding of the next chapter!
For everyone else, it's disclaimer time!
Before I begin, I want to emphasise that this is a highly simplified version of what I have learnt from my own research and I'm sharing my learning with you. If you do know this topic inside out, be nice to those who are still learning about this (myself included) and we can grow together.
Furthermore, this is not financial advice and I am not a financial advisor. I am a crypto-enthusiast and wanted to create a guide to help total beginners understand what this is all about. Please seek financial advice from a qualified professional if you have any doubt about how to spend your money.
So with that said, brace yourselves, you might learn something! Shall we begin?
Music & Crypto?
When I was first diving deeper in to my understanding of crypto last year, I learnt about some of the real life applications for blockchain technology. Of course, there are financial institutions where having a fully public ledger that "can't be hacked" by anyone to "prevent corruption" sounds like gold dust.
But music? How can blockchain and crypto work in the music industry when it seemed all you could do as an artist was either get a label deal or try to sell copies of your music yourself via Bandcamp or on a website, or in one case, Bitcoin (like 50 cent did in 2014 - clever guy and credit goes to @pranksters blog where I first heard this story).
For me, it wasn't until the beginning of 2018 when I first started hearing of new platforms emerging that were strictly focusing on disrupting the so-called "Old Music Industry", where having a deal with a label was THE way to get your music heard.
I was reading white paper after white paper and the eureka moments started pummelling me as I was figuring out what this all potentially means. And yes, tears were starting to surface on my cornea (I'm a man with emotions - get over it). For someone who had lost hope and enthusiasm with making music for much of 2017, this started stirring up inspiration.
Why so much enthusiasm?
Well, in 2017, I hit a bit of a lull with music. I wasn't sure about releasing on labels anymore as I preferred the independent route. Some of the labels I was with were churning 3 releases out per week (even more in some instances) and this whole "quantity over quality" approach wasn't for me but I still have respect and friendships with the owners and I wish them all the best for their label's future. If you do like being on a label, that's great, keep doing what you're doing and I hope it all works out!
Anyway, as I was reading in to these new projects where the onus would be back on the producer to promote themselves and get potentially bigger rewards for it, it lit a fire of hope deep inside, perhaps false hope if you're a sceptic, but hope nonetheless, that all the effort we put in as musicians and producers to our creations would get compensated. If nothing comes of crypto music sites, I still have the motivation it's given me to get back in to making music again and that's priceless.
I don't make music for money though, I do it for the love of making it
That's great to hear! You should always remember that and hold on to that feeling as it will come across in your music. Just don't then turn around and complain that you aren't making any money from your music because you'd be contradicting yourself. I also make music because I love doing it but now we have a real chance to get a fairer amount for all the hours we put in to creating our tracks, expressing our thoughts and emotions through the medium of music. Isn't that worth getting excited or passionate about?
It's not real money, you can't do anything with crypto
Not strictly true, there are some platforms currently where you can convert whatever you have earned on the platform and exchange it back in to fiat. Some are looking at ways you can buy services, products or vouchers to be used with online retailers via crypto.
We are still so early in our understanding of this technology that developers and start-ups are continuously uncovering new real life applications that blockchain and crypto can solve. With that in mind you need to be patient and throughout the Bluffer's Guide, I've always talked about doing your research on projects and teams behind them. Play the long game here.
I'm a DJ/Radio Show Host, this is not going to work for me
Actually, it will work for you and I have tried it already as a DJ and Radio Show host myself. Using smart contracts on some of the platforms, I created a podcast where I allocated shares of the royalty streams to each of the producers whose tracks I used. Every time the podcast gets played, the producers get a share of the stream. Not only are you helping a producer with promotion on your show/podcast anyway but you're also getting them paid as well - that's a double bonus and makes complete sense to me. Why wouldn't you?
I'm still not convinced
Well, there isn't much more I can say other than you most likely have two options. The first is to respectfully walk away and let us enthused producers and DJs carry on with our crazy beliefs that this is worth something and I wish you all the best for your future endeavours. Go geddit!
The second option is to take a chance on these new sites and be a part of something that is shaping, or at least attempting to shape, the future of the music industry. If you have songs that are already free download or you don't mind using, test the waters with them on these platforms as you don't have anything to lose and join the growing community of enthused crypto musicians!
That's great for producers but what about the fans? There's no incentive for them
As a fan myself, I'd say the opposite is true and there are a few levels to this response. The first is that if the listeners of your music are TRUE fans, they will realise and appreciate that by playing your music through these crypto sites, they are indirectly paying you something so you can develop yourself musically. That sounds like an incentive to me, albeit non-financial.
Secondly, some platforms allow the producer to either "tip" comments or fans back directly. Better still, you can share any streaming royalties you receive with fans who put your tracks on their playlists. That's a great way of saying, "Thank you" and show your appreciation. The fan gets something out of it AND you get extra promotion from the playlist feature.
Well, I'm convinced! Got any details about these platforms then?
Ok, so I've gone deep into my own thoughts about the advent of these platforms but I have decided that I'm going to split this chapter up in to multiple sections, giving each platform at least 2-3 blog posts each so it's fair for all of them and it means we can spread the details out over bite sized sections rather than hammering you with them all in one fell swoop!
The format of this chapter will be something like this:
Blog 1 - Overview of the fundamentals, history and the people behind the platform.
Blog 2 - Deeper dive in to the workings of the platform.
Blog 3 - A "how to" guide if necessary or just cover more details.
I will do a round of Blog 1 for each crypto site listed below, then a round of Blog 2 and Blog 3 just to keep it fresh:
- Atom Collector Records
Although the last 3 on that list are ones I haven't been too involved with so might be a little shorter but we'll see how it pans out!
Thanks to these platforms, I've met some new friends from genres I never thought I'd be listening to, which I'm truly grateful for! I've had some great discussions with various producers, label owners, radio presenters and DJs about this all and it has had mixed reactions, understandably. When you don't know about something, you're not exactly going to dive head first in to it (at least you shouldn't)!
But I'm hoping with the Bluffer's Guide, it's giving everyone better understanding and realisation of what this technology can do so you can be a little more informed. Of course, you still have to do your own research!
Ok, time for a time out!
Well, the start of the much anticipated Chapter 7 has begun with a little insight in to my personal experiences as a producer, DJ and listener. Can any of you relate to this? Let me know in the comments below!
If you are enjoying the series so far, I'd love to hear from you! Thanks to those who have sent in some donations, it's much appreciated and certainly not expected! My Bitcoin wallet address is:
or if you prefer - use the QR code:
Now though, it's your turn.
Did you enjoy the article or find it useful?
I'd love to hear from you and if you learnt something new, feel inspired to do some of your own research or felt I didn't cover something well enough, let me know and when I finalise the pdf, I'll make it right!
For now though, take it easy and catch you soon!
The history and technology of Bitcoin
2.1 How and why did Bitcoin come in to existence?
2.2 How does Bitcoin & blockchain actually work (Part 1)?
2.3 How does Bitcoin & Blockchain actually work (Part 2)?
Blockchain Platforms for Musicians & Music Fans (you are here)
7.1 Atom Collector Records