Decentralizing power in media industry, do we have the technology?

Hello everybody, I’m very new here and I hope this discussion doesn’t sound trivial or obvious to the more experienced users.
Ethereum gave us all the chance of building truly decentralized applications and as a consequence we’re seeing a lot of dapps popping up everywhere. This is very exciting and maybe the time to focus as a community to more and more life changing technologies (in terms of quality of life and freedom) has come.
DAOs are solid concepts among experienced and less experienced users and I was wondering on the possibilities of widening the concept to other aspects of life.
I work as a music producer and I have a strong understanding of how music industry works, what I’m missing is a deep overview on the state of the art of blockchain applications, so I’m here to ask some help figuring out if a solution to the centralization of power in music industry (and other industries as well) is already possible.
I was thinking (dreaming?) about a decentralized autonomous record label.
I’ll try to be more clear:
Music industry core business is to try to intercept the audience tastes in a given period of time and monetize everything they can, primarily with music streaming platforms. As a consequence, art is treated as a mass product and artists like me are treated not much differently from assembly line workers.
Artists now serve the purpose of mass producing music without a scope (other than make corporations rich), “art for art’s sake” is an exotic concept in the industry and this subtracts the most interesting part of this job which is freedom of expressions.
I think blockchains give us some possibility to solve this issue. To get rid of middlemen between artists and public we should focus on some aspects:

  • Music corporations make decisions for us consumers, we do not partecipate in the choice of what music is going to be released. We’re just fed with music the industry thinks we like. This could be easily circumventable building a DAO with a governance model. Maybe a token representing voting power? There are a lot of case studies we can focus.

  • Artists (and this is the most important part) are bonded with corporations because corporations are the only gateway to get more streamings and positionings. Industry is also fundamental for networking and the hunting for more opportunities. Streaming, positionings etc can be simplified as the musicians’ salary. What’s the obvious problem in this model? Well, between artists, audience and earnings there are powerful entities (both financially and politically) who claim their part in every step of the chain and please, believe me, it’s a very consistent part.

We now have the technology to build independent organizations that (as we saw in the last year) can attract incredibily significant amount of capitals.
To transpose the models we learned in the early past on the music production chain we’re missing a very specific piece of technology and this is where I’m asking for help figuring out a solution:

  • we can mint a lot of type of files as nft, included audio files. We have the technology to raise funds, create unique pieces and distribute the music in a very similar way as image nfts.

  • If we had some ways to interact with the nfts, we could find the solution for royalties distribution which could lead us to a fully decentralized and autonomous music platform.

I’ll try to be more clear: as for now we can check if an nft exists, we can see when it was minted and who is the owner. If, let’s say, we had a system in which nfts could have 2 statuses (for simplicity 0 and 1) we could try to build a dapp that checks if the nft is in 0 or 1 status. In 0 status it means it exists but it’s just there on a wallet doing nothing. If the nft is in 1 status it means that it not only exists on someone’s wallet but it also means that’s being used at the moment or in other words we can check if an audio-nft is being played in a given timeframe.

I don’t know if we have the technology to play audio nfts from your wallet but let’s pretend we have this technology for a moment… If somehow we could check for nft statuses we can also build a model in which tokens are airdropped on those wallets (both musicians’ and listener’s) in some given %

This could be the basis for getting rid forever of centralized power in media industry as we know it.
The path to build something like this and educate audience to use other platforms than the obvious Spotify, Apple Music etc. is uphill and maybe impossible but also I can’t think a better moment in history to discuss such topics than this one.

Would it ever be possible? Do we have the technology? Can we start discussing this without being considered mad visionaries? Is someone interested in discussing this concept? (even elsewhere if this is slightly off topic)

I strongly believe in open source and open ideas, if you want to steal this concept please do it and smash the media industry …in that case please consider to mention me or this thread :slight_smile:

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Hi,

There is the hangover from physical media days where there were costs in manufacturing the discs and of the physical retail outlets. That’s all going away but the profits from this hasn’t passed down to the music creators, but of course held on to by centralised media companies. That’s the definition of corporations, it’s about the profits.

A major cost they can claim is that hosting and distribution of music through server cloud/farms is expensive. Technology has moved on and for music especially, you don’t need centralised hosting servers anymore, can do the work in the browser; that is on consumers own devices and blockchain for the payments. Luckily music files are small compared to video so it should be easy to transition to this.

I have a draft EIP that I believe would work well for music streaming EIP-4393
Plus, another EIP on the way that will be useful again in these areas

I too am a musician and experienced some of the woes of the current industry that motivated me to build a dapp that I believe addresses all your concerns for a fairer system. No doubt there will be others too. So things I believe will change, hopefully sooner than one might think.

Feel free to contact me.

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I’m so glad someone else is trying to find solutions to this problem.
Tipping mechanism could be implemented in a system focused on artists wealth, which could represent another “weapon” in the artists’ arsenal against industry predatory system.
The main problem I see now is that no artist in the world would ever switch to a decentralized distribution system… simply because there’s no audience yet.
The only way to attract audience is to have music from their favourite artists and the only way to attract those artists is to have a rock solid system of royalties distribution.
I think we’re not even close but we can discuss about it, I will contact you but I also encourage everybody else to join the discussion if they can give some help :slight_smile:

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Hello, bringing my 2 cents to the debate.
We have the technology to make data (art) available in a decentralized fashion, to handle micropayments and splitting between large number of actors, even the tech to prevent some data to be readable before a payment as been made. Internet in general is also an incredible tech to make it easier to engage with an audience with less intermediaries.
In my comprehension however, we can’t absolutely force (by tech alone) anyone listening to your music to pay you in any way, as a decrypted data can always be shared online. Spotify and other platforms face the same problem and rely on public forces (aka police) to prevent large conventional actors to share music for free (that isn’t already made free by the creator).
I feel like a decentralized spotify may be possible, if the UX is made even better that what exists, because great UX is ultimately what is preventing people to use torrent.
back to a coordination game to make this happen :slight_smile: so funding & interest can flow into a DAO with this mission, a 10x (price/revenue/experience) improvement must be envisioned for both artists & public

Very interesting point of view. Of course a fully decentralized Spotify-like application would be an awesome milestone in media distribution but I see a huge obstacle between this idea and the actual application of it in the real world: this dapp needs not only to have a large audience but most importantly it needs to have access to a consistent catalogue of music records; this could be possible only if a good number of music publishers agree to share their songs, this implies that music companies will just shift their power through a decentralized system and the game would repeat again and again. Unfortunately the problem is not only about decentralization of data but it’s even about building a system that doesn’t give you enough power to make decisions for everybody else… I hope my english is understandable enough :slight_smile:

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A few years ago, they were saying that legal online streaming would never work because of piracy. Look at it now.

Same goes with current media institutions, will come and go or move with the times.

A dapp should give artists much more control and transparency on how they want to be paid. Blockchain tech makes this possible. You can also form DAOs and of course, tokenise the content.

All that bit between the fans and the creators can be just network infrastructure and computer code. Then voila, a much bigger % is going back to the creators. Meaning many outside the top 1% can now afford to have a career in music rather than just a hobby. Building that relationship, I believe is key.

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