October 15, 2018

Katherine Pippin

Blockchain brings innovative edge to music, education

The music industry, unlike blockchain, is a centralized and mediated production that suffers through a number of issues surrounding both company and consumer interest in distribution.

These problems include digital records piracy, unwieldy funds management from royalty collection companies, and despite digital records, artists cannot get real-time data for record sales and production – but imagine if they could.

“Its time for a change in the music industry,” Armando Christian “Pitbull” Perez told a large crowd at an event hosted in Scottsdale, Thursday.”Technology and music are dependent on each other. Technology is a great platform for music and music grows and feeds technology. Blockchain developers can empower artists on a worldwide scale. It’s time to decentralize the music industry.”

DesTechAZ is an organization known to bring entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and innovators together to recognize new technology advances in Arizona. This year, the company brought Steve Wozniak “Woz”, co-founder of Apple Inc. to host his signature event in Scottsdale along with popular musician and entrepreneur, Armando Christian Perez, also known as Pitbull, to discuss innovation in music, technology, and education.

“Cryptocurrency is the next major revolution and it’s here. It provides security and privacy and welcomes growth in every industry. Bitcoin is mathematically defined and nobody can really change mathematics. There is no one sole company running it and it just keeps growing,” Wozniak said.

In layman’s terms, cryptocurrencies are digital currencies backed without government regulation.

It isn’t necessarily controlled by people either, its controlled by mathematical algorithms and is dependent on self-regulating operational systems. So lawyers, banks, major music corporations, government officials, and the like are eliminated from the equation and consumers can continue to purchase whatever music they’d like without any hidden fee or regulated tax.

Over the past two decades, technological operating systems that are running software like Windows and iMac have further divided consumers and the mechanics behind the software.

In other words, when someone uses a computer, they don’t think much of how and why it works – great for the consumer and tech companies, but terrible for music artists and record labels in the sense of technology competency.

Remember the major shift from physical copies of CDs to digital downloads on MP3s and iPods. Labels and other music companies associated with the industry were wary to make the change, but societal focus on new outlets for media and entertainment forced them to make the shift.

Now, artists and labels rely on platforms such as Facebook, iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Twitter, and more. Its enabled a closer relationship between fan and artist; however, forced change in algorithms, strategy, and user agreements, thus making it harder for musicians to accept the idea of cryptocurrency.

Coders may connect the bridge between cryptocurrency usage and music artists.  No matter what spectrum of the industry one comes from, whether signed to a major record label or working as an independent artist, the music they perform and produce was made and marketed by the skills of coders and computer programmers. Examples of outer platforms favored by coders are YouTube, Apple Music, and Spotify.

The idea that an artistic creative sector and a mathematical computer coding could become the same entity instead of separate fields hasn’t crossed the minds of many artists in the music industry – until recently.

Popular artists like G-Eazy, Mariah Carey, 50 Cent and Pitbull have fully embraced the concept, accepting types of cryptocurrency for new album and video releases and sales.

Mr. Worldwide took on a large role in the cryptocurrency industry by partnering with eMerge Americas to create a competition called Smackathon. It allowed participants from around the world to use Ethereum to take on music’s hardest challenges with a wide range of innovation ideas. According to the Smackathon website, these challenge include representing a song’s copyright as a non-fungible asset, collectively curating music through a token curation market, and even finding ways to sell concert tickets represented by traceable tokens in an initial ticket offering with different crowdsale models.

Answering the “why?” question is easy: minimal to zero processing fees, security in every transaction, low risk for fraud, and wider media coverage in new markets.

If more artists from the music industry make the switch, musicians could also make a larger presence in utilizing social media; that is how bitcoin grows. The more people that use it, the more coverage an artist is going to get for safer transactions and fairer processing fees.

Bitcoin faces problems with widespread adoption due to the fact that a large number of people use cryptocurrency as a ways and means to buy illicit substances on the dark web amongst another large group of people that have just bought bitcoin for long-term investments, leaving it in their wallets hoping the price will rise.

Wozniak reminded the audience that it will take a decade for cryptocurrency to get anywhere close to its full potential, but investing now is nothing more than ‘a great idea’.

“Regulation is essential to technological changes today. People in this culture need to change their mindset on the relationship between tradition and change – there’s a huge interest in it now but things don’t change that rapidly, especially when it’s this big. It is time for that change,” Wozniak said.