The music industry has been evolving and changing over the years with the arrival of the internet, with the way people consume music being transformed as a result. From using physical cassettes and CDs, most people now get their music online on streaming sites, with very few physical sales. Albums and singles are also now largely sold online, which has led to a need for change in the way music artists earn money. While it was much easier to distribute revenues from physical sales to artists, the arrival of streaming platforms such as Spotify has meant that the balance has shifted towards them, and artists are losing out on much-needed revenue as a result. Therefore, recent efforts to use blockchain-based systems to allow users to be able to pay artists directly for their music are an interesting development, and there are further ways in which using blockchain can potentially help artists reclaim some of the balance in terms of revenue sharing.
This is just one of the ways in which blockchain can revolutionize industries. Apart from its obvious impact in terms of cryptocurrency transactions, blockchain systems have many more applications in other sectors which will be extremely useful. The growing acceptance of cryptocurrencies, especially online, has also created demand for blockchain systems to safeguard transactions and protect data. This is being seen the most in online casinos, where users can now play games such as crypto blackjack, where they can place bets using cryptocurrencies. In such a scenario, it is even more important that users are able to trust that their personal and financial data is safe from hacking or fraud attempts, and so we are seeing blockchain being used more and more outside of the traditional environments where we would expect to see it being applied.
As stated earlier, music is one of those sectors, and ROCKI, which is a music streaming and digital payments service, has recently been in the news for this very reason. It is run on the underlying ROCKI token, and is the first platform which allows users to pay artists directly for their music online. This has allowed the platform to take a huge step towards solving one of the biggest issues in the music industry, where artists get a very small share of the revenue from streaming. In fact, Spotify pays over 90% of royalties to less than 2% of artists, showing how smaller, independent artists receive the equivalent of pocket change, even if their music has been played quite a lot on the platform. However, ROCKI could begin to change that. Guy J, a ROCKI exclusive artist, recently sold the first royalty rights income non-fungible token (NFT) for one of his songs on ROCKI for 40 Ethereum, which converts to just under $25,000 at the time of writing. This NFT would be valid for 50% of future royalty rights on the song, and was auctioned on the decentralized auction platform Bounce.finance.
Artists on ROCKI can earn revenue in both regular money and cryptocurrencies, further increasing its appeal for them. This has led to a lot of interest, with thousands of artists having joined the platform during its beta period, and over 30,000 tracks already having been released on it. It will soon launch beta access for the public, and this will hopefully be the first step towards solving a big issue in the music industry. Even though the independent music industry has been the fastest growing segment of the music business, having grown by 35% since 2017, according to a report by Citigroup, on average, artists end up with just around 12% of streaming revenue. ROCKI should be the first in a wave of platforms that looks to change this balance.