How musicians are using blockchain to make a profit from their songs
Bitmark Ambassador Series: Pochang Wu works to defend property rights for music hosted on streaming platforms
The Bitmark Ambassador series highlights innovators who understand the importance of property rights for data and digital assets. They are industry pioneers — artists, lawyers, scientists, health researchers, hackers, makers and creators.
“We want to develop a complete ecosystem for indie music….We created an infrastructure that we hope allows all the people in this industry to build a decentralized distributed system for managing artist rights.” says Pochang Wu, the first Bitmark Ambassador (see video embedded at end of this story).
Wu is an entrepreneur and the lead singer for 回聲樂團 (Echo). He has been a major player in a movement to correct issues in Asia’s independent music industry. Wu is the founder of iNDIEVOX, which was the first DRM-free music store in Taiwan. iNDIEVOX’s decision to remove DRM was an important one: it recognized and corrected a problem with online MP3 sales, where DRM was restricting the property rights of consumers buying digital music.
Generally, this has been Wu’s approach in his endeavors: to identify the flaws in the music field and then correct them.
“Give the power back to the people, to each individual, the creators, and those who love music.”
Property rights for songs and royalties.
Wu has worked with many music industry institutions, including labels, streaming services, and more. By using the Bitmark digital property blockchain, he has created a digital solution to the complicated management process of song rights and royalty payouts.
Streaming music services have done much to raise the profiles of indie musicians by providing instant distribution to a mass audience. Yet, the process of paying royalties has generally remained a cumbersome, manual process that can take up to twelve months after a song is released. (Typically, royalty rights are recorded in spreadsheet files stuck behind corporate firewalls.) This time-intense and costly process cuts into the profits of both sides and reduces transparency for the artist.
“We created an infrastructure that we hope allows all the people in this industry to build a decentralized distributed system for managing artist rights.”
Now artists, like Wu, can register song rights as property via the Bitmark blockchain. This enables them to track who owns which rights more effectively, without cumbersome databases or paperwork. Rights owners can more easily transfer their holdings. With clear property ownership, royalty payouts will go directly to the artist.
“Blockchain gives us imagination and possibility, allowing each individual to control his or her own things, whether they are rights, assets, documents, or information.”
Wu is leading the music industry toward a much needed collaborative system of transparency for music rights and management. This is a fantastic first step for individual artists, who will be able to make a living from their digital content because they can legally prove the rights to their original works. It is also pioneering a path, for the music industry as a whole, to implement more transparent systems that benefit everyone involved.
“I think to hold rights in our hands, is a core concept and value for blockchain as well as independent music.”
Watch to learn more about what drives Pochang Wu to help musicians all over the world.