Musicians are known for being early adopters of new technologies, but how might the bitcoin technology benefit the musician community?
For those of you that don't know, bitcoin is a form of digital currency, otherwise known as cryptocurrency. Unlike normal money, it is free to send and receive, transactions are instant and no central body controls it.
The potential of a global single currency that remains outside of government control would potentially be of huge benefit to us all. Supporters include global artists like 50 Cent and Mastodon, the former of which have become the first major label artist to accept bitcoin as payment for their album.
But how realistic is it to think that an untaxed, unlicensed, and unregulated cash-based economy could take hold?
Bitcoin was released in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto as open-source code. In the last few years bitcoin has become the world’s fastest growing economy with a $10 billion global market cap. That is still tiny on a global scale but there is a very strong and supportive community fuelling its growth.
Furthermore, it is estimated that 22,000 businesses globally accept bitcoin with a number of retail giants announcing the acceptance of bitcoin in exchange for goods and services. These include Microsoft, Dell and even a Latvian airline! So far, people have bought everything from stamps to cars using bitcoin. The cryptocurrency seems to be working ... at least for now.
Apple Beam's London recording studio will soon join the many businesses accepting bitcoin as payment for some of their recording services, namely their popular online music production service which was set up for songwriters.
They told us, "we wanted to support the bitcoin movement out principle as well as function because we believe current financial systems are failing everyone. The cryptocurrency technology seems to present many advantages over debt based inflationary systems. We believe that more and more musicians will adopt the currency because of the convenience of instant payments and no transaction fees."
The ability to effortlessly pay anyone from your phone in seconds is very much welcomed by musicians. Cheers is a mobile platform that enables bitcoin tips to be sent to musicians. Users are able to use the app to search for new artists to support and 100% of the tip money goes directly to the artist.
Apple Beam producer, Darren aka Ghost comments how "artists could one day release a full album and charge a micro-payment (the equivalent to, say £0.03) each time a song is played. Listeners would pay most for the songs they liked best which seems like a perfect catalyst to ensure bands up their game and make each song on their album as good as possible!"
Darren adds,"because bitcoin can be sent like a text message, performers could sell exclusive content to their audience and be paid immediately. A performer might play a song which is not featured on their album and offer a download link to fans who text a payment at the live gig".
Music consumption today is actually stronger than ever, but consumers are turning to subscription-based platforms rather than purchasing songs or albums. FanDistro has started taking bitcoin for online music sales and a few others are starting to join the movement.
Bitcoin is the first payment service in the world that is entirely between users with no third party control and certainly shows promise in it's potential to reinvigoration an industry that has seen falling revenues.
Do you use bitcoin and where do you see the currency going in the future?
Join Music Gateway for opportunities in the Music Industry! Whether you're starting a project or looking for work, there's plenty to choose from.