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What is blockchain streaming?
Blockchain-based video streaming platforms transcode videos for each device. So, each platform needs a secure way of transcoding files to the consumers. Transcoding itself could become an issue in decentralized ecosystems because there is no guarantee of the reliability of each transcoder.

Top 10 Decentralized Music Streaming Platforms to Consider in 2022

Music streaming is one huge infrastructure right now driving the music industry globally. Let’s face it, the growth of music streaming platforms has opened up new opportunities for artists and listeners alike. Moreover, this growth is driven by music-loving Gen Z and Millennials, who prefer the subscription economy.

Notably, the U.S. alone has 82.1 million paid subscribers to on-demand music streaming platforms, with global music subscribers surging 26.4% to 523.9 million during the Covid pandemic. The overall ease of streaming music means that more music lovers will keep listening to their favorite music for many years.

Before now, community-driven centralized streaming platforms like Spotify and YouTube gave artists more freedom to express themselves with built-in legal infrastructure support. However, the possibilities are endless with the advent of decentralized music streaming platforms, which gives more to music creators and listeners.

Decentralized streaming platforms offer musicians more control over their music, ensure transparency in royalty distribution, eliminate middlemen from music sales (think record labels and distributors), boost revenue for musicians, eradicate the musician/audience divide, and establish a point of origin for music creators.

In fact, artists like Lupe Fiasco, Gramatik, and Pitbull have advocated for decentralized technologies in music, and proponents champion blockchain’s distributed ledger technology.

So if you are an upcoming musician or are a listener looking to try out decentralized music streaming platforms, this is the piece you need to read as we’ll be uncovering the top 10 decentralized music streaming platforms you need to know. Without further fuss, let’s get this show on the road.

10. Musicoin

Musicoin is a blockchain-based cryptocurrency that allows musicians to get paid directly from fans. It is a peer-to-peer platform that can be used to listen to music, publish songs, and share them with others.

The decentralized music streaming platform also allows content creators to earn money in other ways, like royalties from their work. Speaking of royalties, the platform issues a native currency whose value is tied directly to the number of users who hold it and its popularity among them.

With Musicoin, you can stream various music catalogs from independent musicians; absolutely free and without ads. You can also follow your favorite musicians and stay up to date on their activities and creations, communicate with them directly, and show your appreciation for their content by providing feedback, tipping, sharing songs, and curating playlists.

9. OnChain Music

OnChain Music was founded to assist its pool of artists, bands, singer-songwriters, DJs, and musicians of all genres in earning more money directly from their royalties by leveraging blockchain and the sale of NFTs.

The platform has its own native $MUSIC token, a hybrid cryptocurrency combining different attributes, including utility, governance, and revenue share token. As the value of the $MUSIC token rises, artists on OnChain’s list may see greater royalty payments, transforming their music into a lucrative investment.

Specifically, artists and labels receive up to 85% of all revenue from music hosted with OnChain, distributed through platforms like Aurovine, Audius, XSongs, and Emanate. This revenue is then distributed via the platform’s cryptocurrency, which may be swapped for USD or USDT (Tether).

8. eMusic

Based on the blockchain, eMusic operates as a music distribution and royalty management platform that rewards artists and fans. The decentralized music streaming platform features, among other things, instant royalty payouts, a rights management and tracking database, fan-to-artist crowdfunding, and back-catalog monetization for copyright holders.

eMusic also rewards fans by offering exclusive artist content, promotional incentives, and cheaper prices relative to other streaming sites. Music lovers can listen to everyone from Aretha Franklin to Beck using eMusic’s membership tokens, eMU, an Ethereum-based token that ensures that artists are fairly paid.

7. Emanate

Emanate is a blockchain-powered web3 music streaming platform that offers musicians a new way to share and monetize their work. It is a decentralized music streaming service built on the Ethereum blockchain.

Emanate aims to create an ecosystem where artists can be compensated for their work and listeners, on the other end, can enjoy high-quality sound. According to the platform, it offers something different from the “low-quality, high-bitrate, low-creativity” productions common among web2 music streaming services.

This web3 music streaming service uses the $EMT token to pay artists. Musicians can either upload the music to Emanate themselves or use Emanate Distro to upload their songs to the platform and other web2 streaming services.

6. Tamago

Tamago is a decentralized music streaming platform self-described as “Bittorrent meets Soundcloud.” It aims to open a direct-to-artist revenue channel that is made possible by a mix of NFT and web3 technology.

The web3 music streaming service leaves curation in the hands of artists and fans. Therefore, it encourages fan-led playlists, zero ads, peer-to-peer engagement, and dedicated, artist-first liquidity pools.

Due to this ethos, web2 streaming service elements such as editorial playlists are non-existent. According to the platform, “artists [will] always retain ownership of their music, and users retain their data and privacy.”

Users can stream a range of decentrally hosted music from underground dance music artists such as Turbo Records founder Tiga, Detroit’s powerhouse crew Visionquest, Guy Gerber, and scene legends Michael Mayer and Guy J.

5. Resonate

Resonate is another budding blockchain-based music streaming platform that aims to remove the dichotomy between streaming and ownership. Basically, Resonate is a streaming service owned by the people — it’s run as a coop. If you’re interested in this platform, you can choose to join as an artist, listener, developer, or label.

For the most part, Resonate operates on a stream2own model, a system where artists and fans get to enjoy the best streaming experience. Of course, with this model, music artists will get paid fairly, and fans will own the music.

Resonate already has some labels onboard, including RVNG Intl, Planet Mu, and Haycon Veil. Overall, it is a superb platform that will surely catch on.

4. BitSong

BitSong is a multifunctional blockchain-based ecosystem built to empower the music industry. It unites artists, fans, and distributors in an environment where music, merchandise, and fan loyalty are assets of value.

The music streaming platform was conceived in 2018 by Angelo Recca, who is a developer and entrepreneur. Angelo realized that while the digitalization of music has brought many benefits to the industry, it’s also created a new set of problems around the ownership of music and attribution of royalties. He joined forces with Lulian Anghelin and BitSong was born.

BitSong’s decentralized ecosystem of services provides the global music community with a trustless marketplace for music streaming, Fan Tokens, and NFTs powered by the BTSG token.

3. OPUS

OPUS is a blockchain-powered music streaming platform. Like traditional streaming models (Spotify, iTunes, Google Play), the decentralized streaming platform is to allow listeners to stream music tracks and distribute streaming royalties to artists using the OPT cryptocurrency token.

OPUS uses blockchain technology to track and store streams’ analytics and distribute streaming payments to artists in real time. It’s currently in an active demo state, so there’s only a limited selection of their total music catalog available to check out on the web and mobile, but it’s alive.

2. Choon

Choon is a blockchain-based music streaming platform. It is a decentralized music streaming platform that offers a new way to monetize music. The platform allows artists to upload their music and receive payment directly from fans without going through any middlemen or intermediaries.

The biggest advantage of the Choon platform for artists is that it allows them to keep 100% of the profits, unlike other platforms where they only get paid in advertising revenue and not actual royalties (when someone listens to their songs).

Additionally, Choon has its cryptocurrency called NOTES, which artists can acquire through various methods such as mining and staking them on the network. To earn NOTES while listening to your favorite artist’s song or creating your content, you will need some stakeholder tokens, like how people use steemit tokens on Steemit or Ethereum ethers on Ethereum blockchains today.

1. Audius

The Audius project is a decentralized music streaming platform that allows musicians to share their music and directly connect with their fans. The Audius network, built on Ethereum, allows artists to upload songs and immediately receive payment for them, providing a better way for artists to control their content than existing platforms like Spotify or Apple Music.

Unlike most web2 streaming services, Audius doesn’t take a cut. Rather, artists can upload their songs for free and benefit from Audius’ token economy to generate income. Moreover, developers can build their apps on top of Audius and gain access to thousands of tracks thanks to Audius.

The Audius protocol uses two tokens to track payments: USNBT (a stablecoin) and UPPER (the native token). Artists will receive USNBT from listeners who want access to their content, which they can then use to buy more UPPER from exchanges like Binance or OKX at the current market rate.

Why You Should Care

Many people in the music business, including listeners, dream of when their funds can go directly to artists and occasionally try to bypass any form of middlemen. Decentralized music streaming platforms, however, offer this advantage by streamlining royalty payments and establishing a point of origin for music creators. Many music streaming services today differ from their predecessors in that they are decentralized and give artists more control.

Author
Tunbosun Oyinloye

Bosun is a crypto writer and public relations specialist with nearly a decade of experience. He delved into the crypto world in 2016, the same year he purchased his first crypto asset. He has since made it his mission to continually hone his crypto knowledge and writing skills. In recent years, he has collaborated with a number of reputable crypto brands and firms such as: Coin Rivet, Market Across, Esteem Finance, and Koettum. At DailyCoin, Bosun covers educational content and listicles. When he isn’t working, you will likely find him streaming a law or crime series on Netflix.

Blog posts, Thought leadership |           07/23/2020

Are blockchain-powered music streaming platforms the next Spotify?

Song writers, recording artists, record producers, labels, streaming platforms, performance rights organizations, promoters, agencies… They are all key players involved in the music industry. And they all ‘get a share of the pie’ of the music revenues, whether it’s from album sales, digital downloads, concert tickets, streaming services or merchandising. How exactly do they divide it up? That is the million dollar question… While fans and musical audiences have never been so wide, the music industry remains a complete black box, in which artists sorely lack control and ownership over their content. This is where blockchain technology can contribute to opening it up, giving you the power to change things.

The traditional music industry’s black box

Imagine a market consisting of three groups of actors: creators on one side, sellers on the other and in between intermediaries that put people in touch with each other. Everything seems ok so far, except that creators don’t have any visibility on the price the consumer pays for their creations. They don’t have any insight into the exact commision the intermediaries and vendors take, and therefore the exact amount of money they’ll receive from a sale. They won’t even know the number of sales their creations achieved. As an entrepreneur, wouldn’t these be things you’d really want to know?

This is what the music industry roughly looks like… A very fragmented and intermediated industry built on partnerships between the creator’s side (songwriters, recording artists and producers), the customer-facing side (including streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, Youtube or Pandora) and the business side, which connects the other two (like publishers and record labels). Having so many actors and complex interconnections leads to a complete lack of transparency, especially to the artists themselves. As a result, things don’t always go smoothly: information and money might not be fairly shared. For instance, it is almost impossible to keep track of the songs created and the associated copyrights, nor the revenues generated and their redistribution (if any).

Power concentrates in the hands of few big guys

Inside this black box, money and data flows tend to be concentrated in the hands of a few large players: the super-powerful labels and the front-line streaming platforms. In the Billboard’s 2019 Power 100, ranking the most influential individuals in the music industry, the top 10 names includes CEOs and key executives from Universal Music Group, Live Nation Entertainment, Spotify, The Azoff Company, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, Apple Music and Atlantic Records (owned by Warner Music). Called the “big three”, Sony, Warner and Universal labels can “make up almost 80% of the music market or even more depending on the year”. Moreover, streaming services contributed to 75% of the total US music industry revenues for 2018.

In reaction to this concentration, and the potential power abuse that it may create, some artists are leaving their label for another or starting their own independent one, such as Taylor Swift and Kiesza. This is done in both an attempt to free themselves from “unfair contracts and controlling behavior” and to take back control and ownership of their own songs.The same Taylor Swift also took a stand against Spotify and Apple Music’s artist royalty practices back in 2015. A 3-year-long battle for the rights of artists in the digital age, asking for an overall change: “her feud with Spotify was never a feud with Spotify at all — it was a feud with the entire industry, the changing landscape, and the way fans expect to access music now”.

In this changing landscape, artists and songwriters appear to be the “big losers”, lacking control over their songs and remuneration. However, fans also appear powerless and disconnected from their favorite artists’ situations. With the rise of streaming services, they have traded their ability to support them for convenience and accessibility. Today, they are increasingly unable to directly promote and fund them throughout their career. Despite attempts to take back control, the whole system of intermediaries needs to be reconsidered. This is where blockchain technology could come in.

What could blockchain do for music

From a lack of transparency to power being in someone else’s hands, there are many challenges in the music industry. Luckily for the artists, this is exactly where the blockchain technology’s strength lies in: enabling immutable data registration and sharing it transparently with no third parties involved. Working as a distributed and public ledger, it validates and registers any transactions without the need for a central authority. In other words, it allows parties to make secured peer-to-peer exchanges of value – whether it is data, copyrights, money, etc. Applied to the music industry, blockchain technology has the power to disrupt intermediaries and transform the entire value chain:

  • publishing – on the creation side
  • artists-fans relationship – on the customer-facing side
  • monetization – in between, on the business side

Taking back control on data and copyrights

The first challenge blockchain technology could answer is enabling shared and decentralized reliable data. Indeed, “data on everyone who holds rights to a track are fragmented across different, incompatible systems that can be out of date and contain conflicting information. We don’t always know who made a track or who owns its rights. As a result, rights holders often don’t get paid. When they do, royalty reports are difficult to understand, and rights holders can’t tell if they’re being paid fairly”. That’s why some blockchain music startups such as MediaChan, Jaak and Blokur aim to create a global shared databasethat brings together information from the recording and publishing sides of the music industry”.

Besides, blockchain technology could help creators keep track of their content and how it is used by the music ecosystem. By publishing their songs “on the ledger with a unique ID and timestamp in a way that is effectively unalterable”, creators can solve the well-known problem of illegal music downloading, copying and/or modification. “Each record can store metadata containing ownership and rights information in a transparent and immutable way for everyone to see and verify” explains Techcrunch. This ensures that the rights owners get paid for the use of the content.

Direct relationship between creators and users

From a listener perspective, there are few options to support and promote one’s favorite artists so far. Fans also have no idea of how much the musicians earn when they purchase their music. This is a stark contrast to the sport industry, where everyone knows how much a player gets paid. Blockchain technology could bring some transparency and allow fans to directly promote their favorites. One way would be to invest in an artist’s success by purchasing crypto tokens. In 2017, DJ Gramatik launched its own token GRMTK using SingularDTV (a company developing an entertainment app ecosystem on top of Ethereum). He raised close to $2.5 million through an ICO, opening about 25% to fans and the crypto community. By doing so, any owner of GRMTK tokens received a share of his royalties.

This more “intimate” connection is also possible in the other direction, allowing musicians to reward fans with free concert tickets, exclusive or early access to recordings, directly or via tokens. The New-York based startup eMusic aims to better reward both artists and fans through “a decentralized music distribution and royalty management system” powered by eMusic’s membership tokens. Among its features, it includes a fan-to-artist crowdfunding and a fan reward system that offers exclusive artist content, promotional incentives and cheaper prices relative to other streaming platforms.

Peer-to-peer and instant monetization

Blockchain technology could also revolutionize the monetization of music by allowing musicians to sell their music directly to fans, meanwhile cutting off the middlemen like labels or publishers. Indeed, cryptocurrencies often allow micropayments, unlike classic payment mediums that can charge heavy transfer costs. This could lead to a new generation of blockchain-powered on-demand music services, in which users immediately reward the stakeholders with cryptocurrency while playing the song. Leveraging on smart contracts – or in short the “lines of code that execute a specific function once certain conditions are met” – blockchain-powered streaming platforms can instantly split and pay the royalties to the rights holders. This is exactly what blockchain music startups like Ujo Music or Emanate do. In 2015, the singer Imogen Heap released her single “Tiny Human” on Ujo Music, as did DJ RAC in 2017 with its full-length album “EGO”.

In 2015, Imogen Heap also launched the Mycelia project, an overall initiative aimed to use blockchain technology to provide artists with the tools to take back control of their song. “It’s about trying to take away the power from top down and give power, or at least a steering, to the artist to help shape their own future” according to her own words. Among the project initiatives, she has created a creative passport i.e. “a digital identity” or “personalised ID for music makers, where they can access, update and manage information about themselves and their works, and share it with others.”

Technology is ready. What about you?

Despite the blooming of blockchain music projects, there are still obstacles to overcome. Choon’s bankruptcy – another blockchain music startup – back in December due to liquidity trouble shows how it remains difficult for blockchain-powered alternatives to stand out of the crowd and become sustainable. In other words, to ensure a bright future for blockchain music and artists, these platforms need to reach mass-adoption. In terms of user experience, there are also improvements to be made. While it’s difficult to imagine a more convenient way for accessing to digital music, blockchain streaming platform user experience remains a bit rocky for instance.To register as a fan, and so listen to music, you often need to download and install a crypto wallet app as a gateway to blockchain apps. Then, you might need to buy Ethereum (ETH) or the associated crypto – if you don’t already own any – to proceed to payments through the platform. You easily can see where the problems could arise from a general user.While these on-boarding steps are not an issue for a regular crypto owner, these platforms might need to better integrate the crypto beginners in their experience. So that they make sure to reach the largest possible audience to contribute to improving the music industry. In 1995, less than 40 million people used the Internet worldwide. As blockchain can appear complicated to use today, the Internet in the 1990s was very complicated. It was a “geek thing” with very ugly and unfriendly-user interfaces. In the 2000s, entrepreneurs actually realized that what mattered was the user experience and started to work on it to finally reach the seamlessness we know today. And this is exactly what people in the crypto community and at Ledger are focusing on today as well.

Beyond daily uses and financial transactions, blockchain and crypto also bring new uses and systems, complementary to the ones that work well today, but replacing those that don’t, like music streaming. With one guiding principle in mind: putting people back in the center, giving them back control over their lives.