Patrice Baumel isn’t just an amazing artist. He’s also extremely knowledge when it comes to crypto and blockchain as well.
Hi Patrice, you recently saw our article with Rui Da Silva, who warned Blockchain could revolutionise the music industry. Some people felt he didn’t explain how though or what Blockchain actually does. What’s your your take on it?
Patrice Baumel: Firstly, I’m not expert of Blockchain technology by any means, just someone that’s very curious about the technology and its possibilities.
In an nutshell, a Blockchain is just a database (so something that contains a lot of information ed) that’s distributed over a large network of computers. There is no real size limit, just as long as the network can handle the data load.
Once information is written into the Blockchain, it becomes like transaction record (just like a charge on your bank account ed), except that transaction is stored publicly (for all to see) and that record is set in stone. The record is a code – so it doesn’t reveal who you are lol. The information cannot be changed, unless the majority of the entire network (millions of machines) decides it should. So Blockchain makes information safe from corruption by any one party, so it’s more trustworthy.
In real life, Blockchain technology removes the need for a middle man between two parties doing business with each other. For instance, if party A pays party B online – the bank currently supervises the transaction. It makes sure that the money is deducted from one account and added to the other. Sometimes the money is available instantly. Sometimes there’s delay. Especially with international transactions.
With Blockchain technology, the bank is no longer needed. Two people can do business with each other instantly. So Blockchain technology is going to disrupt any of these middle man industries.
How long do you think we’re away before mass adoption?
Patrice Baumel: I think Bitcoin will lead the way first, then mass adoption will start happening in 2018 once big institutional investors start pouring money in.
Music will come a bit later than that, but I believe the whole landscape will have changed in 5 years.
Make no mistake, blockchain technology is going to alter our lives in just as profound a way as the internet did.
Can you describe one key issue Blockchain could solve for musicians?
Patrice Baumel: The key issue Blockchain can solve for musicians and other content creators is transparent payment of royalties. Right now, collection agencies like PRS, ASCAP or GEMA are responsible for royalty distribution to artists. They are incredibly ineffective, opaque and also biased towards major labels. Also a lot of the royalty income disappears in the upkeep of the distribution system alone.
In the future, Blockchain will register usage of every song and regulate payment from end user to creator without the middle man, providing a much fairer, faster and more cost-effective mechanism.
So in future, could you see outright track sales becoming a thing of the past in future?
Patrice Baumel: Yes – i believe we’ll move from selling mp3 files to directly streaming content eventually, even in the DJ world. For this to happen, we need the playback devices to be connected to the cloud and a wireless network fast and stable enough to handle the data traffic.
Instead of carrying USB sticks with music around, Djs could just log into the music player with their fingerprint, connecting them to their playlists stored in the cloud.
I still see a future for companies like Beatport. They would just have to pivot from sellers of digital files to providers and curators of streaming content, much like Spotify. The value of Beatport right now lies in having a bunch of electronic music stored and catalogued in one place.
Once we move towards storing music itself directly on a large public Blockchain, streaming will become the norm. Music streaming services will basically become playlist curators connecting listeners straight to the music on the Blockchain.
That will open the door to more competition for Beatport, Spotify or iTunes.
Can you see the industry moving towards a universal payment model, which also incorporates performance royalties?
You could bundle pay-per-listen royalties and royalties gained from use in radio, commercials or movies in one place. The Blockchain would register a song after it is created, keep track of where and how often it is played and make sure the money flows from consumer to creator. This could work for other content providers, such as photographers or film makers as well. All of this could happen pretty much automatically btw…
…The music industry is going to fight a hard battle to keep this from happening, though. Major labels and collection agencies have made it their business model to rip off artists and take a large piece of the pie.
Eventually, the better system will prevail but I anticipate a hard-fought battle.
What other problems can you foresee Blockchain tech solving for the music industry?
Patrice Baumel: One huge area will be concert ticket sales. The blockchain could be used to verify every ticket transaction, whether it is the first sale or resale. This could put an end to scalping and exorbitant black market prices. An interesting startup called Aventus is already busy implementing a solution in that area.