Online content streaming is dead. Long live NFT music

The music industry has undergone a massive transformation in recent years. We have seen the advent of the Internet leave its mark on mus...


The music industry has undergone a massive transformation in recent years. We have seen the advent of the Internet leave its mark on music, and in particular, 1999 marked the advent of Napster. This then revolutionary peer-to-peer online streaming service defined an entire generation and enabled musicians to share their creations with the world.

Streaming has become the dominant format of music today, via Apple, Amazon, Tencent Music and the category winner, Spotify. The goal of distribution services and platforms like Spotify is to empower and empower artists to create more without worrying about anything other than perfecting their craft.

However, this is only on paper: does reality reflect this utopian ideal? Not really.

Of course, the “transformation” in music over the past few decades is evident, but it seems someone has been left behind. And the saddest thing is, those who were left behind are the very artists who give us all goosebumps, move our feet, and bring the biggest smiles to our faces.

The streaming economy is tough. Platforms like Spotify operate on a business model where the platform operator takes a share for each stream. It makes sense like Spotify offers distribution better than nothing, but there is still a huge problem. Ultimately, it’s around 70% that end up with music rights holders, and the discovery feature tends to put lesser-known artists at a disadvantage over well-known names. The result is a very heavy distribution funnel for the benefit of already trained musicians.

It’s not yesterday’s news that music is still a rather damp and dark place for most artists trying to make a living creating and doing the above. The industry is still plagued by revenue-grabbing middlemen who seek to undermine those who matter most. If you’re not like the Taylor Swift, Billie Eilishes, and Justin Biebers of the world, you’re probably struggling to make ends meet. And even if you’re like them, you’re probably not getting your due, either.

On the bright side … change is coming. No, cross that out – change is here.

Inaugurating a new musical era

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and the technology behind it introduce a whole new ball game and level playing field that will enable and empower performers. What NFTs do is unleash value by making digital scarcity real and valued. At the same time, they allow musicians, designers and everyone in between to exercise control on their work, which effectively makes them masters of distribution.

Related: NFTs are 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 was quite remarkable, wasn’t it? It’s another thing about digital collectibles – owning them, stacking them, is just intoxicating.

Now imagine if you could support your favorite artist and get your hands on their latest hit straight from them and also get the “NFT kick”. Suppose you wanted to attend a festival filled with all your favorite DJs – wouldn’t it be an absolute pleasure to be able to get your ticket straight from the source? And how great would it be to also get a unique, personalized, one-of-a-kind proof of attendance with your own name? We are talking now.

Okay, that’s cool and soon to be ubiquitous, but what’s the deal with streaming platforms like Spotify? Great question. Most definitely means good (at least we hope so) and has moved the needle in the right direction. However, that’s not enough in a world littered with arbitrary numbers and standardized screens.

Reintroducing rarity and making music unique again

The scarcity of digital is necessary to create a unique user experience and allow fans to form longer and deeper bonds with their favorite artists.

As it stands, there’s nothing really unique about music on Spotify – the tracks don’t come in limited editions, music connoisseurs can’t get their hands on releases from Spotify. rare albums and Spotify does not have a rarity system. Think about it – if you’re a die-hard fan of Canadian DJ and producer Deadmau5, you would probably want to own the # 1 release of a given track or album. Or exit # 10, or # 50 – something with a higher intrinsic value that showcases your love for a particular artist. Why doesn’t it exist?

Such a “tiered” system of music output would undoubtedly benefit the artist, as limited editions and early editions imply a higher value. At the same time, it also allows fans to grow with the artist. Take this version # 1 of a song from Deadmau5 that you own as an example. By the time the track enters, say, in the Weekly Top 10, others will see your name right next to it – that way fans can get a piece of the “famous” pie.

At some point and for whatever reason, it might be a good idea for a fan to sell this NFT # 1 release. Would you guess who would get a share of this sale? Correct – the artist.

Related: Celebrities are massively adopting TVNs

Direct one-on-one interaction, room for influence for fans, increased sense of belonging and deeper connections – this is one of the reasons, or rather three reasons, why NFTs are happening. to cause a lot of tremors at the next Spotify Shareholders’ Meeting. The other? Allow and empower artists and put them in charge.

A new era in the designer economy

You see, music streaming platforms have taken value away from musicians by standardizing everything, and the digitization of the past few decades has largely created an environment that limits artist control over distribution. With NFTs, that control is now there again – you can schedule and track anything and do whatever you want with your music if its first broadcast around the world uses NFT technology.

Oh, and now you can also give your fans a piece of the pie by introducing other creative twists like revenue sharing. The more popular the artist, the happier the fan – everyone wins. Add to that the ideas outlined above and we have the recipe for success. Who would have thought that was possible?

Related: Bull or bear market, creators dive headfirst into crypto

We are entering a new era of the designer economy, and NFTs are the next logical step to further empower and empower artists. It is high time to reintroduce scarcity in an industry founded on uniqueness and to leave the driver’s seat to those best placed to hit the road.

Stay away from Spotify; The NFTs are coming.

This article does not contain any investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should do their own research before making a decision.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Joan westenberg is a Web 3.0 Copywriter, Angel Investor, and Creative Director. She founded a public relations and technology communications company called Studio Self and is part of the MODA DAO team. His writings have been published in The SF Chronicle, Wired, The AFR, The Observer, ABC, Junkee, SBS, Crikey and over 40 publications and his regular work can be found on Pizza Party, sharing notes on Web 3.0, the Metaverse and NFT.