Can Steemit & The Blockchain Kill Spotify?

last year

Hi! I'm Benbrick - a Platinum-selling songwriter fascinated with new technology.

My article on how I connected with Ricky Gervais hit the #1 trending spot on the front page.

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CAN STEEMIT & THE BLOCKCHAIN KILL SPOTIFY?

Today, artists premiere songs on blogs that generate $ but pay us 'exposure'. We upload to a myriad of streaming services for visibility even though we'll only average 0.0020 $ per stream. Our work is monetised with adverts on YouTube which are not always distributed back to us. The infrastructure is simply not there to manage the data and ensure creators are paid fairly.

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CASE STUDY: A HIT RECORD

One of the more outspoken critics of the rate songwriters receive is Aloe Blacc. He cowrote the Avicii track "Wake Me Up" which quickly becomes the most streamed song in Spotify history. It was equally successful on Pandora where the payout for the 168 million Pandora streams was just $12,359. Aloe wrote the track with two other people so that 12k was further diluted. The effective streaming rate: 0.00007$ per stream.

This article is not trying to say that music streaming does not generate money - more that the correct systems are not in place to ensure a fair distribution to the songwriters.

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THE BLOCKCHAIN

The rates paid out vary so wildly and in personal experience can often take years before you begin earning for a piece of music. The blockchain would ensure all information is correct and all payments are made instantly, fairly, and most importantly transparently.

"The back end of the music industry is just a nightmare... It gets so complicated, even more so with digital services. People don't know who to pay." - Allen Bargfrede, Professor of Music Business at Berklee

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WHAT'S IN A SONG?

In terms of ownership every song is split into two parts - the composition and the recording.

The composition is the song itself - the melodies, the chords, and the lyrics. The songwriter usually assigns this to a record publisher to collect/distribute royalties. The recording side (more commonly known as the master) is the actual finished recorded version of the track. It is usually owned by a record label.

This distinction is very important - the deals made with the various streaming services are heavily weighted in favour of the record label at the expense of the publishers and writers.

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THE EROSION OF RIGHTS

A lot of bad press gets heaped upon Spotify, but in their defence their website very clearly lays out how they distribute royalties and how 70% of all money is given back to right holders.

Apple very recently released a proposal to simplify songwriter payments. The New York times said, "the proposal would significantly raise the rates that Spotify pays."

The New York Times article does not tell the whole story: Apple's proposal to pay 9.1 cents for every 100 streams would leave to an effective 0.0009$ per stream. This is less than Spotifys average payout of $0.002.

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THE LABELS ARE ON OUR SIDE, RIGHT?

If you're still reading, then congratulations for sticking with it. As you can see it's very murky and complicated. There are a couple more bits to bear in mind:

Streaming favours big labels: A big label has a big catalogue of songs. Your Spotify royalty is worked out as a % of the total number of streams. (source).

Confusion over licenses: Universal music has just agreed to pay $11.5 million to settle it's ongoing dispute over royalties. It had been claiming a bigger % of net receipts by treating digital downloads like old fashioned sales. In an era of digital downloads they had been claiming for things like physical CD packaging. (source)

Equity stakes: According to The Guardian the major labels own ‘close to 18%' of Spotify. It makes it easier to see why the streaming service has less power to change the rates paid through to songwriters when the labels have that much influence.

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THE SONY HACK

The licensing deals Spotify signed with the major labels have up until now been clouded by nondisclosure agreements.

In 2015 The Verge obtained a contract between Sony Music Entertainment and Spotify. The contract uploaded in full (but since removed) detailed just how favourable the major labels deal with Spotify are. Key highlights are mentioned below:

  • Sony will be paid a $25m advance over 2 years. There is no stipulation over what they do with that money but as reported in The Verge article "labels routinely keep advances for themselves".
  • Sony is guaranteed a better streaming rate of 0.00225$ per stream which can jump to 0.0025$ if Spotify misses targets.
  • Sony will be given free advertising slots worth up to $9m at 'heavily discounted rates' and a further $15m at a further discount. There is no stipulation over what Sony does with this space so they are free to resell advertising.

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IS BLOCKCHAIN THE SOLUTION?

Utilising blockchain technology will clear up the mess surrounding songs and their corresponding rights. Payments can be made quicker and more transparently as there is currently no centralised database. Whether it can affect the rates paid through to writers remains to be seen. There is a fascinating article here by Benji Rogers detailing a proposed .bc format.

Spotify et al. have massively cut the illegal downloading of music but current rates are not in the best interest of the songwriter. I believe Steemit provides a fascinating alternative. I plan to curate my artists, record exclusive videos from my London studio, and share them here. I'll split revenue with the artist, and use a % of it to advertise videos on YouTube.

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THE FUTURE

I believe we can build a front end music portal. Streaming and downloads would be possible - paying and earning Steem for listening, sharing and downloading. I'm interested to hear any further ideas anyone has on how we can begin this process.






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Sort Order:  trending
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YESS!!

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Streemit is gonna take over the music industry and empower artists. Its only a matter of time.

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haha awesome

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How the middle man can survive if you win this war?

Nice write up.

Aurovine (https://www.aurovine.com)is a platform that has mostly gone under the radar that I believe will be a strong contender in this market. AudioCoin (ADC)  is the blockchain that supports it.

Worth a look.

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i just signed up. I need to find a second to really get into it!

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👍nice article @thisisbenbrick

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i just signed up to, what should i do

great post! would love to see some more posts about music on steemit!

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thanks oz! Please follow for more.

My music is on aurovine.com It is a cryptocurrency based music platform. You can get paid by paypal or audiocoin. I really enjoy it!!! http://massesect.aurovine.com/ I'm in the process of uploading my entire back catalogue here after taking my albums off of tunecore

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Right on.

  ·  last year

We are actively working on this @thisisbenbrick

We had to pivot to de-bundle our two in one product (confusing pitch!) and we are releasing a fan engagement platform first - called Troopeers. Followed by what you describe - called PeerTracks. Let me know if you want to get in touch!

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Yes please. E-mail me thisisbenbrick@gmail.com or I'm on rocket chat.

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  ·  last year

Done!
Chat soon.

Steemit, Streemit, Aurovine, Bittunes, whatever. We need to keep slinging it until something sticks. It sucks yuge that talented artists so often die broke.

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bittunes is a great name!

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Bittunes is more than a great name. It's a real platform that's been in beta for over a year. Artists get 40% per sale immediately, 40% goes into a pool to be shared by fans and early adopters of said track (much like Steemit), and 10% goes back into the platform and devs to keep developing the platform and you know, run a cool biz. Shooter Jennings has stuff on it. Others are hit or miss. Overall, It is truly a sustainable model (Steemit maybe not.. we'll see), and has been using bitcoins since day 1. I have almost as much in rewards now as I have spent on tunes, even while the user base so far is pretty tine. Imagine if it were to go viral if one of its artists were to get a big hit. You could make money from your 'ear'. :-) No need to go to an exhange for BTC you get it directly from the app's wallet.

Check Bittunes out at the Android Play Store, and probably at iOS App Store too.

Well researched and presented!

"I plan to curate my artists, record exclusive videos from my London studio, and share them here. I'll split revenue with the artist, and use a % of it to advertise videos on YouTube."

I think you're in an ideal position to push this forward, good luck.

One of the benefits of Steemit is that 'sidechains' or apps can be built alongside it, you'll be able to transfer over your steem dollars from one 'chain' to the other. With the mass market appeal of a social network combined with all the issues of current systems that you explained above we could really see some revolutionary progress here.

Excellent post @thisisbenbrick. Lots of interesting information here.

To date, things don't seem as if they've changed all that much, even in this digital download age, where you'd like to think artist's would be benefitting from the now un-required infrastructure expenditures of the C.D era and back.

Roll on the cutting edge present, and the genius of the Blockchain presents artists with a far more encouraging proposition than anything that has ever come before.

Time to say goodbye to Mr.Middleman. If you haven't already heard, you'll be absent from every part of the process from here on in...... from creating to publishing :)

Music will only benefit from the subsequently more personal, artist to listener experience that will be one of the many positive feedbacks of this tectonic shift in the creative landscape; I'm really looking forward to these unstoppable developments bringing in a new musical era; a golden age where the unsung and talented artist's have a simple, fair and direct to market support network for their hard work.

If you haven't already, check out: www.resonate.is

Incorporating something similar into steemit, or as some kind of platform collaboration, would be really exciting!

Another great post. Thanks for sharing.

I hope It will kill Spotify! Cut out the middle man!

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@mauricemikkers, that's the key right there.

Well, you've done it again, my friend. This one is particularly relevant to artists of all kinds. The "cut" we have been getting is no longer making the cut. Let's all take back control of our work. Nonnegotiable.

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thank YOU

Fantastic breakdown of these streaming platforms! Thanks for the good read.

@thisisbenbrick what do you think of Bandcamp's model? Seems to me it lacks widest scale distribution but it does monetize the distribution it has well?

Streams don't pay much because advertising on music streaming isn't that valuable. To generate income, you need a following that is willing to spend on paraphernalia, concerts, and other "extras". Agree or disagree?

@thisisbenbrick I think steemit could revolutionize the music industry. Check this out fellow music producer. https://steemit.com/music/@domavila/imagine-if-rihanna-posted-a-new-music-video-to-steemit

Absolutely. Being able to make micro payments to artists is the key, removing the middle man. Record labels have handled it all wrong ever since Napster. They should have embraced Technology rather than fighting it. Blockchain technology will hopefully change the game in favor of the artists for once.

I think fundamentally the world is changing. We're at a crossroads right now and fortunately it looks like even though there are a lot of bad examples I could point to, the overall direction I see humanity going is in a good direction. I'm not simply saying this because that's what people want to hear, and it's going to take a lot of work but ultimately it's always been the work of a few both the good and bad that has made the biggest impact on the species. There are those that want to free us all using their creative idea to put the power they have discovered back into the hands of people everywhere for us to share and learn and grow, and then there are those who would like to hide it so they can better control others. This is the dichotomy and people need to be able to spot the difference between the two.

Interesting concept. It would remove the middle man and artist will have direct access to their true fans

An excellent idea. I am looking forward to some steemy music :) Let it streem!

Isn't LBRY a blockchain for entertainment media?

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Thanks for the heads up. Will check that out!

Imogen Heap similarly felt the same way the unfair distribution of wealth to the artists and started up Ujo Music using blockchain to "achieve greater levels of transparency, fairness and profitability" (quoted from the website. Check it out: http://ujomusic.com/

Basically an artist (even a big one) gets very little from Spotify. With Steemit (if it works for musicians) you can cut out the middleman and get paid directly and at much higher rate.

nice man!!! Once you will be rich would you like to give me your table in the first photo??? ITs cool :D

Good post have been thinking the same thing!

Thanks so much for taking the time to write this up. This is the sort of article some of us, myself included, would love to be able to write, but aren't quite the right author for the content.

This article gives an example of the potential in a nicely presented and informative package.

Don't stop the hits from coming, Benbrick!

Next, you should share your spotify playlist, I'd love to see what you listen to on a daily...until it gets killed by blockchain anyway.

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Currently: Yoko Kanno - Tokyo Sora soundtrack on repeat. This is my Spotify profile btw

Not only the music industry but, I believe blockchain will replace the current patent system. Blockchain being a running ledger, like a time/date stamp.

You should have a loock in to florin coin and the project Alexa! also the muse project in coin market cap, you will love it, also Artist wanted!!!