Music-streaming is currently an intensely-competitive market that’s daunting for new entrants. Could blockchain technology provide a way in though?

Berlin-based startup Resonate hopes so. The company describes itself as “a blockchain-based streaming music company owned by artists, fans, labels, managers, agents, and anyone else… all as equals”.

The company is certainly confident. “Unlike other streaming companies, we’re direct-to-artist and pay-as-you-listen. We think we’ll be able to pay artists up to 2.5x more than our competitors, while also offering better data and management tools,” explains its website. The pay-as-you-listen model is one of the most interesting aspects, too.

When it launches today, Resonate will charge people an annual membership fee of $5, which will enable them to vote on key issues with the platform, nominate and elect its board members, and “get cash bonuses if we’re profitable”. The company is seeking $350k from around 70,000 ‘owners’ to build its platform.

But for the actual music consumption, the model will be “stream to own”: Resonate users will pay 0.002 credits for the first stream of a track, then the cost will double with each play until it reaches 1.022 for the ninth stream – at which point the listener will own the track.

So far, 730 musicians and 101 labels are on board, with the company starting to build a blockchain database and “curator player” this month too. Imogen Heap, Shlohmo and Meat Beat Manifesto are among the most prominent independent musicians on the platform.

The blockchain aspect is bound to get Resonate headlines, but the important thing here is the sight of this kind of platform getting up and running, to identify and tackle some of the inevitable challenges through a live service. In the short term, the lessons learned could be as important as its popularity.

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