It's no news that music companies express their interest in Blockchain technology and the benefits it brings to the record labels industry. Some musicians and experts believe that this cross edge technology can change the future of the music industry worldwide.
While the world’s leading music industry giants like EMI, UMG, Warners and Sony Music drive their artist using traditional promotional methods the adoption of modern technologies by new players on the market strive to leave major mainstream record labels far behind.
We’ve contacted Simon Edhouse, the Managing Director of Bittunes - new music sharing and earning platform. It offers unknown artists opportunity to achieve recognition and protects their intellectual property in a public ledger. The desktop and Android application uses a P2P network to monetize the exchange of digital data as users share songs, while using Bitcoin as the primary operational currency, but denominating all songs in USD.
Cointelegraph: How can you characterise the main idea of your business? Who are your key customers?
Simon Edhouse: The concept of ‘Customers’ doesn’t really make sense in Bittunes. Because we are really a kind of ‘Self Publishing Platform’. There are three classes of users, 'Music Makers', (Artists), 'Music Movers' (Buyers) and 'Music Managers’ (anyone who provides services to to Artists, this could be a small indie label, a sound or lighting technician or even a roadie).
Bittunes is starting to feature the work of more well known Independent Artists like Shooter Jennings and more recently Imogen Heap, and we welcome this, but our primary concern is to create an environment where unknown Artists can achieve recognition. So, naturally we are not motivated to feature or promote only the Artists that people already know. We are much more excited about promoting Bands and Artists that have slipped through the cracks and no one knows about. This is what Bittunes is all about, and this is why we have a strict policy of banning all Major Label Music from the Bittunes platform. There are plenty of services where you can hear those contracted Artists. But where for instance, can you hear outstanding talent like ‘Zahidah' from Singapore, or gifted teenager ‘Daniel Rimaldi' from Indonesia? Or fantastic songwriters like London’s ‘Kinlove’, who have decided to make their wonderful music 'Exclusive to Bittunes'? These are the kind of Artists that we are very proud to promote.
CT: How do you assess the current market of the music industry and Blockchain? What are the volumes of this market?
SE: The music industry’s integration with Blockchain technology is still highly theoretical. Of course the potential market size is enormous, but as they say: ‘You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink’.
CT: Can small companies like yours compete with big music studios? If so, how?
SE: That is a good question.. and the answer is that we can, but, (in my opinion anyway), not if we partner with the mainstream industry in any way. The situation requires the use of a ‘disruptive strategy’ to go after completely different markets, territories and market segments. To win in this kind of game you have to totally change the basis of competition, and also use what’s called ‘Judo Strategy’, i.e. using your opponents weight against them. This means doing things that the mainstream industry can’t or won’t do. For instance, Apple has over 800M credit cards linked to the iTunes Music Store. Can they or will they fully adopt Bitcoin? No, absolutely not. They are well and truly married to old legacy financial systems, not to mention their dedicated relationships with the major labels.
There are many guiding principles in disruptive theory that serve as guiding stars to chart the path to overturn these old dinosaurs, but the execution must be disciplined and relentless. Also, there’s no telling exactly how long it will take, so services that use strategies like this must be able to run very lean while they work to change the status Quo. This is exactly what we have been doing at Bittunes, and we are very happy that many Artists and Fans around the world seem to instinctively understand that this approach is the only one that makes sense, and have given us a lot of support.
СT: Is there any companies in the music industry interested in Blockchain?
SE: I’m sure there are people in the music industry who are looking at Blockchains and exploring whether to incorporate them in various ways. However, I think in the end this industry will be far more cautious than the Banking industry, because they have too much to lose. However, like I mentioned before, we believe that the best strategy for changing the music industry is to totally ignore it, and basically help Artists go around it, and self publish. This is not 1995 or even 2005. The technical conditions are now very suitable for Artists to take control and take over the distribution of their content themselves. ”
CT: Why using Blockchain is more profitable for the music industry?
SE: Blockchain technology offers enormous potential for music. So, let me be clear about that. I am not saying that Music doesn’t need Blockchain tech, what I am saying is that the 'old music industry', the one that almost completely killed off the best distribution technology on the planet, 'P2P File Sharing’ and has invested heavily in very destructive services like Spotify. That 'old music industry’ has very little to gain by seeing the deep integration of Blockchain technology. Quite obviously they have a great deal to lose. So bring it on!
The sector that has the most to gain are the Artists. The 'supply side' of the equation. Services like Spotify cater to the 'demand side’, they have made music almost completely valueless, by effectively lowering the price to zero. This has caused enormous problems for Artists everywhere.
Simple rights and transactions on a Blockchain will be a fantastic innovation for Artists and for Music Fans, if it is done correctly. But this would be all about moving the billions of dollars that are made on top of the Music Industry pyramid down to the network, and that is the stuff of heart attacks for companies like Warner, Sony BMG, etc.
But as I said… Bring it on!