Music Industry  –  A Blockchain Model for Other Verticals

By: Wolfgang Senges

28, June, 2017


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Wolfgang Senges, Founder of Content Sphere, recently took part in Blockchain Expo Europe as moderator of the Blockchain for the Music Industry panel alongside panelists from DDA Law, Resonate, Institut for Applied Informatics and independent artists. Senges ‘Results from Blockchain Expo Europe’ follow below. 


I recently had the pleasure to curate and kick off a panel on the status of Blockchain in music industry at Blockchain Expo Europe in Berlin. Hopefully it is possible to continue it as a series of Blockchain panels and workshops for the entertainment industries at this conference. One-off panels are great but the topic needs continuity, and Blockchain Expo is the matching frame.

BlockchainExpo is a unique conference with a cross-industry focus on the Blockchain concept. The global conference series aims at discussing the implementation and opportunities of Blockchain as well as how the still new concept can be adopted. This is the perfect environment where coders, customers, and strategists can meet.

The music panel represented just one industry amongst lots of others. It rather stuck out as a niche market between logistics, finance and more. Despite its exotic touch, there are several reasons for increased attention towards this very niche in Blockchain:

  • – Compared to verticals like financial, energy, and government, music industry is a market that is by far less critical and therefore more suitable for studies.

  • – Approaches for Blockchain projects in music go beyond a scope that is narrow at first sight only. Besides having an immediate impact on the entire entertainment and content industry there are strong parallels with Intellectual Property (IP) based markets in general. This includes life cycle management and workflow around patents which by nature are essential to most industries.

  • – Entertainment and media industry are nested with a large number of other markets such as marketing and online services. The same is to be said for automotive, software and computer industry, or telcos. All of which undeniably have a much more significant turnover than the music business.

  • – Nevertheless, the complexity of transactions, ownership, processing, monetization and distribution in content industries and intellectual property is incredibly challenging compared to common products and services.

But, the music business in particular is also very sensitive considering potentially disruptive changes as a result of technology. On the one hand, the Napster phenomenon has led to a nervous fear to miss out on another technological opportunity. Yet, on the other hand there still is the tendency to be highly sceptical.

The result is a dilemma between “we must do it” hype and angst-ridden “don’t change it” blocking. The good thing is, there’s a balance between a healthy drive for progress and a cautious control of details.

No matter how small, no matter how “niche” it is — it is important to pay attention to the Blockchain debate in music. If one can come up with a hands-on and reasonable Blockchain solution for content licensing that is ultimately based on stakeholders’ requirements then you will succeed. The result, in architecture and workflow modeling, could be a template for other industries which are less complex yet more critical, and more significant in turnover.

Like Sinatra sang:

“If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere.”

This exactly is why we need more discussions, including a cross-industry exchange. We need discussions and workshops in Blockchain that enable constructive criticism. It’s necessary to dig deeper than to have a look at selected proofs of concept only.

That’s why I’m looking forward to Blockchain Expo in Santa Clara.