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New blockchain technology aims to provide a fair deal for music artists

With music in the hands of digital distributors, a new platform attempts to offer a fairer deal to music artists.

Listen to the music - earbuds. — Photo: © Tim Sandle
Listen to the music - earbuds. — Photo: © Tim Sandle

Following a series of pilots in publishing and performing rights, the company Revelator has launched a decentralized music rights site called ‘Artist Wallet’, which is hosted on the Original Works platform.

The Artist Wallet platform uses decentralized finance, non-fungible token (NFT), and blockchain technology to enable money to flow directly to rights holders’ non-custodial wallets. This is part of the growing number of calls to create a fairer deal for music artists. Typically, getting a fair deal for artists involves many stumbling blocks and pain points.

A digital-first approach is needed because of the way that music is distributed:

    50% from digital revenues

    34% from physical format sales (CDs, vinyl, cassettes)

    14% from performance rights (radio, shows, etc)

    2% from Synchronization revenues (movies and ad syncs)

Pushing music providers towards giving artists a fairer deal was the subject of a recent article in Digital Journal, where we quoted singer-songwriter Billy Bragg reforms should “begin with the industry-wide adoption of a 50/50 royalty split between artists and labels for all digital recordings, whether heritage or brand new. The introduction of a limit on ownership of copyright would give artists the right to reclaim possession of their work after 20 years.”

READ MORE: Too few beats per minute? Time to pay artists fairly on streaming services

The current state of play, as Rolling Stone reports is leading many new artists “signing with a non-traditional record label, testing novel release strategies and otherwise trying to forge a path alone”. However, this itself, while sometimes better for the musician concerned, doesn’t lead to the best deal that can be achievable being accessible to the artists.

The Artist Wallet has two key features behind the business-to-businesses decentralized backend application. The first is a feature called the ‘daily royalty payout’. This is a process to enable a direct payout between creators and right holders where artists can not only receive a daily payment, but also to provide more control to the artist and transparency of the payments process through a tracking process.

The second function is the ability to create and manage smart contracts. This cuts down the number of streps required as well as potentially reducing the accounting process.

The strength is that this process allows rightsholders to register and tokenize their creative intellectual property. Moreover, the Wallet can be used to manage metadata, assign splits, request, or send payments, and collect daily on royalty streams.

Such a system will only work effectively, however, if a significant number of artists, labels, and rightsholders adopt it.

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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