With all of the excitement surrounding blockchain and tokenisation, or token economies, there is a unique angle and market becoming available which receives minimal coverage. This could well help indie music artists to unlock totally new financing opportunities which would not require that that they sacrifice their rights to ownership and contract, including control of any future royalties, to recording companies and intermediaries.
Token economies recognise and reward enthusiasts for coming to the stage and making use of services: on this stage, artists are able to make tokens available to fans directly, and use the money from these sales in order to fund their creative projects. By leveraging and making use of smart contracts, artists can enjoy instant payouts and the money their songs generate, much like wins from online pokies gameplay! There’s no waiting around for months, or even years, to see the results of hard work.
Independent Musicians Have it Tough
The main focus for musicians is, ultimately, to make great music and create a meaningful live performance. However, the digital age brings with it its own demands, and in order to be successful one needs to rise above the noise in order to get recognised, by recording companies and fans alike. It’s not about having a good portfolio and streaming numbers anymore: it’s about getting your music heard, and the strategy you have for your particular brand.
The first question record companies ask is what your social media numbers look like: it’s not so much about the actual music anymore, something which bothers a lot of people. In order to reach scale and optimise time, artists require capital in order to build strong networks, and they need a competent team around them to do so.
The Record Label Takes All
One way of achieving this is by securing an agreement with a record label: in exchange for a percentage of royalties yet to be earned, publishing, touring, and merch revenue, and potentially even creative control, labels provide the finance necessary to the project, and the promotional muscle that secures better placement in order to cut through the noise, and, of course, to maximise the potential return on their investments.
But while this may be acceptable for certain artists, it’s career doom for many others. Why? They may lack the recognition, numbers, traction, and plain legal knowledge that can provide them with any kind of leverage in their negotiations.
Consequently, there are horror stories about smaller bands and musicians unwittingly entering incredibly predatory agreements, or even having to cede creative control 100% to the label they’ve signed with. The logistical side of this business may well douse the flames of creativity and passion quite quickly, and bad contracts end up destroying the product they were supposed to foster.
Make Way for Smart Contracts
While music labels can provide a lot of value, depending on what you’re looking for, they can also simply take advantage of musicians who do not have the business knowledge or leverage they need to cut a good deal. For musicians who are constrained in terms of resources, tokenisation and decentralisation may well assist them in getting their projects financed, and do this by harnessing the greatest power there is: the bond between an artist and their fans.