One of the elements of blockchain technology that’s been getting some people in the music world excited are ‘smart contracts’ – rights contract that are automatically executed for every payout from a stream or sale.
For a dose of cold water on the excitement, though, read Music Tech Policy’s interview with blockchain expert Alan Graham. “The idea of using a smart contract as a licensing mechanism has been proposed by many people who look at the mess involved with managing rights and being able to automate the process of granting rights for any use imaginable,” he said. “It sounds like the perfect utopian execution of how we should be doing things, but anyone who really has worked on both the personal and data sides of music know this is just not feasible. The reason is that in order to build effective and powerful smart contracts for the music industry, complexity is required and complexity increases the possibility that something will break. Complexity is also the enemy of security.” Read the full interview – the first of a two-parter – for more detailed thoughts on why this is the case, and other aspects of blockchain’s potential role in music.