The music industry has undergone massive transformations in recent years. We’ve seen the rise of the internet make its mark on music, and most importantly, 1999 saw the arrival of Napster. The revolutionary peer-to-peer streaming service at the time defined an entire generation and allowed musicians to share their creations with the world.
Streaming has become the dominant music format today thanks to Apple, Amazon, Tencent Music and the clear winner in the Spotify category. The goal of distribution services and platforms like Spotify is to give artists the opportunity to create more without worrying about anything other than improving their craft.
However, this is only on paper – does reality reflect this ideal? Not much.
Of course, the “transformation” of music in recent decades is obvious, but some seem to be left far behind. Even sadder, those left behind are the artists themselves who get goosebumps, legs move and the widest smiles appear on the face.
Energy economy is difficult. Platforms like Spotify operate on a business model where the platform operator takes a stake for each stream. This makes sense because Spotify offers a better distribution than nothing, but it’s still a huge problem. In the end, about 70% stay with the rights holders, and the discovery function usually puts less well-known practitioners at a disadvantage compared to well-known names. The result is a distribution path that will benefit current musicians.
It’s not yesterday’s news that music is still a very raw and dark place for most artists trying to make a living out of earning and doing what is described above. The industry is still plagued by revenue-seeking intermediaries trying to undermine those who matter most. If you’re not like Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, and Justin Biebers in the world, you’re probably struggling to make ends meet. And even if you’re just like them, you probably won’t get what you need either.
On the other hand…change is coming. No, rip it off – the changes are already here.
The beginning of a new era of music
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and the technology behind them represent an all-new ball game and an even playing field that empowers artists. What NFTs do is reveal value by making digital scarcity real and measurable. At the same time, they allow musicians, designers, and everyone in between to exercise control over their work, effectively making them masters of distribution.
Related: NFT is a game changer for independent artists and musicians
Do you remember the first NFT you bought? And do you also remember the feeling after you bought it? Felt great, didn’t it? Another function of digital collectibles is owning them, and simply hoarding them is a drunken thing.
Now imagine if you could support your favorite artist and get his latest songs directly from him, as well as get “NFT fun” from him. Let’s say you want to attend a festival filled with all your favorite DJs – wouldn’t it be a pleasure to get your ticket straight from the source? And how cool would it be to receive a unique, personal and unique visitor confirmation in your name? We are talking now.
Well, this is all great and soon to be everywhere, but what about streaming platforms like Spotify? Great question. This is probably fine (we hope so at least) and moved the arrow in the right direction. However, this is not enough in a world full of random numbers and standard screens.
Renew rarity and create unique music
Digital scarcity is essential to creating unique user experiences and allowing fans to make longer and deeper connections with their favorite artists.
Spotify music isn’t unique at this time – tracks aren’t limited releases, music experts can’t get rare album releases, and Spotify lacks a rarity system. Think about it – if you’re a big fan of Canadian DJ and producer Deadmau5, chances are you’ll own the first release of that track or album. Or number 10 or 50 – something of a higher intrinsic value that shows your love for this artist. Why does this not exist?
This ‘classified’ music publishing system will undoubtedly benefit the performer because limited releases and early releases mean higher value. At the same time, it also allows fans to develop with the artist. Let’s take #1 from your Deadmau5 path as an example.