The music industry has undergone massive transformations in recent years. We’ve seen the advent of the internet have a huge impact on music, most notably the arrival of Napster in 1999. This revolutionary peer-to-peer online 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 enable artists to create more without worrying about anything other than perfecting 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 were the artists themselves, each of whom shivered with goosebumps, legs moving, and smiling wider on their lips.
The streaming economy is tough. Platforms like Spotify operate on a business model where the platform operator takes a stake for each stream. This makes sense, because Spotify offers the distribution better than nothing, but it’s still a huge problem. After all, about 70% end up in the hands of music copyright holders, and discovery tends to put lesser-known artists at a disadvantage compared to family names. The result is a distribution track in favor of already established musicians.
It’s no news from yesterday that music is still a raw and dark place for most artists trying to make their bread by doing so at the top. The industry is still plagued by low-income middlemen trying to undermine who is more important. If you’re not into the likes of Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, and Justin Biebers, you’re probably struggling to make ends meet. And even if you’re like them, you probably aren’t getting what you need either.
On the other hand…change is coming. No, shrug it off – change is here.
Opens a new era of music
The irreversible tokens (NFTs) and technology behind them represent an all-new ball game and a smooth playing field that energizes and empowers artists. What NFTs do is reveal value by making digital scarcity real and effective. At the same time, they allow musicians, designers, and everyone in the middle to exercise control over their work, making them effective at mastering the arrangement.
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? It felt good, didn’t it? There’s one more thing about digital collectibles – owning and hoarding them is intoxicating.
Now imagine if you could support your favorite artist and get his latest songs from him, and also 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 wrong is it to receive a unique, personal, and one-of-a-kind confirmation of a visit in your name? We are talking now.
Well, everything is great and soon it will be everywhere, but what is the point of streaming platforms like Spotify? Great question. Maybe it means good (at least we hope so) and pushes the needle in the right direction. However, this is not enough in a world full of random numbers and standard screens.
Rebuild rarity and make music unique again
Digital scarcity is essential to creating unique user experiences and for fans to establish long-term 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 scarcity system. Think about it – if you’re a huge fan of Canadian DJ and producer Deadmau5, you’ll probably be the first release owner of that track or album. Either Issue #10 or #50 – Something of a higher intrinsic value that shows your love for this artist. Why isn’t he?
This “graded” music release system will undoubtedly benefit the performer as limited and early releases come at a higher cost. At the same time, it also allows fans to develop with the artist. Let’s take problem #1 from your Deadmau5 path as an example. The moment a track enters, say, the Top 10 of the week, others will see your name next to it – so fans can get a piece of the “fame” cake.