Millions of musicians worlwide miss micropayments due for their music as they are costly to collect. Blockchain will give artists what is rightfully theirs. Digital Asset Live Editor-in-Chief talked to Lee Parsons, Founder and CEO of Ditto Music and of its blockchain solution, Bluebox.
Q1: Let’s start with the main question: what will Bluebox give to musicians?
Bluebox will give musicians the ability to legally register their data at the point of creation. Then when they send and share music with each other, it’s completely protected.
They’ll also have the ability to pay multiple people at once. Data is easily manipulated across all industries, but particularly in the music industry by people who stand to gain from providing false data. Bluebox puts the power firmly back with the creators and will provide them with higher revenues than traditional collection and payment methods.
Q2: And what about us, listeners?
A lot of people work within the music industry but don’t create the music. Bluebox will let them share music in a controlled environment, tracking the music and stopping leaks.
Q3: And to streamers?
Although this isn’t a product directly aimed at listeners, as we progress and sites like Spotify are able to pay directly to creators, users will be safe in the knowledge that their subscription money goes back to the creators.
It is often difficult if, for example, you want to stream covers to play at your own venue, to clear rights, or not to be removed by Facebook and YouTube robots.
YouTube has the same data issues as the rest of us. We’re working toward untangling these claims and providing clearer, more accurate data points based on blockchain technology. It’s currently such an outdated method in the music industry we just accept that a huge percentage of our revenue won’t be collected.
On Youtube Content ID, a huge percentage is never picked up. Blockchain is the only solution I can see that will add transparency.
Q4: If you were to explain how your system functions to an outsider, how will you do it?
There are currently over 1 million data collection points for any single song. That song may have up to 100 writers.
Right now it is not possible to successfully collect that data and pay the appropriate people.
Bluebox is the cleanest way to register and track your music and pay multiple parties.
Q5: To sum it up, what new functionalities will Ditto Music introduce in its blockchain solution, that is not available in the existing, traditional solutions?
Ditto will be using Bluebox to handle our split payments at first. Ditto works with over 5,000 record labels. Currently we will pay a label and then they will have the task of paying out their creators manually. Using Bluebox, Ditto labels will be able to pay everyone separately along with other great features like invoicing and signing contracts for new projects.
Bluebox will be collecting publishing royalties for Ditto’s clients including over $10m of annual mechanical royalties.
These features are not only available to Ditto but other companies we are working alongside such as MGM and Sentric Music.
Q6: How will you promote Bluebox? What market share are you viewing?
I’ve built Ditto’s user base up over a decade with no funding; just hard work and listening to our customer needs. We have a very loyal and progressive user base who are always first to adopt new technology. All Ditto users will have access to Bluebox as well as having the free app available to them for creating contracts and split payments. We will then offer more Bluebox services starting at $20 per year.
Q7: Will it be available only in the US or globally?
This is a global product. Ditto has offices in 25 countries and artists everywhere. Some of our biggest emerging markets include Africa, Latin America, south east Asia – the list goes on. The music industry is predicted to keep growing. In fact, Goldman Sachs has credited revenues will treble over the next decade.
This means more lost income for creators. We are in a perfect position to fix the problem now with Bluebox.
Q8: In the ideal blockchain world, how would music distribution work?
In a perfect world an artist would upload their music to the blockchain and that would connect with Spotify or Apple Music’s blockchain and they would be paid for every stream.
Right now though, we pay subscriptions meaning that revenue is totaled up and split between everybody. This leads to many artists missing out.
Micro payments are the future and Bluebox is in a great position to work with Spotify who are currently a partner of Ditto Music.
Q9: What impedes this development, and what is realistic to achieve in the next 1-3 years?
Blockchain is still in its infancy and it will take 3-5 years before it is part of our everyday life. But there is no doubt in my mind that we will eventually have a blockchain solution for all of the music industry pain points. The first step is to get artists on to the blockchain and have them register their music properly. Then we go and create those data points gradually, working alongside the current data collection companies and helping them achieve greater transparency.
Payments are a huge pain point for all of the major labels as well as the artists, and that is something Bluebox can help with today!