Posted inNews

Stablecoins, Bitcoin’s wild volatility, and how the crypto market works

There’s something funny happening with cryptocurrencies right now, and if you have any interest in combining music with crypto technology (like dropping an NFT, for instance), read on. Actually – this isn’t news, as such: there’s *always* something funny happening in the world of crypto – which is the reason you need to understand it, if only a little bit.

You’ll have noted that the value of Bitcoin – and thus all other cryptocurrencies of note – have dropped significantly recently and that NFT activity and hype has dipped too. In fact, between writing and editing this article, the price of Bitcoin dropped a further 10% and then went up again by 11%. That’s not just volatility, it’s bananas.

Knowing how the crypto world works – or being aware that you don’t understand it very well – is important if you are considering investing time, money and your artist’s reputation into it.

We’ve written a lot about things that live on various crypto frameworks – things like NFTs, that can make artists a lot of money very fast, or more slowly, by creating meaningful long-term relationships with fans. And we’ve written about technologies that promise to revolutionise how artists raise and share money, like Ditto’s fascinating Opulous “Decentralised Finance” (DeFi) platform.

Posted inNews

Bitcoin expert claims the cryptocurrency has failed

For most of its lifetime, most of the music industry has viewed the bitcoin cryptocurrency from an (often baffled) distance, although recent excitement around the blockchain technology that it is based on has sparked more interest.

But among people deeply embedded in the bitcoin world, there’s a big debate this week sparked by an article by developer and expert Mike Hearn.

“Despite knowing that Bitcoin could fail all along, the now inescapable conclusion that it has failed still saddens me greatly,” he wrote.

Posted inAnalysis

Imogen Heap: blockchain tech is ‘really shaking things up in a good way’

Bitcoin and Blockchain have become music industry buzzwords over the past few months with many players hoping the two will transform the music industry’s payment system from what some deem chaotic and unfair to efficient and transparent.

Imogen Heap has become a spokesperson for these technologies after working with startup Ujo to create an online interface called Mycelia, demonstrating what the new tech could achieve for music.

Her track Tiny Human, released as a digital contract on the page, looks like a spider’s web with every contributor and rightsholder named and one-click ways of buying licenses and samples for the music.

Bitcoin – the cryptocurrency that’s currently a £9 billion industry – is what underpins the blockchain, which verifies and stores the information from transactions happening between people worldwide.

“It means people know that money is being sent and received by somebody in an official way without the use of a centralised system like a bank,” Heap tells Music Ally. “I could pay you directly, do a deal with you about the mortgage of my house, and I could put the data of the ownership of that house or a song in

Posted inAnalysis, News

Blockchain technology and music: two contrasting views

There has been a surge of discussion in recent weeks about whether blockchain technology could be part of the drive for more transparency in the way digital music services’ payouts make their way to artists and songwriters.

A report by Rethink Music pitching a role for blockchain tech and cryptocurrencies ignited the debate, while interviews with musicians Zoe Keating and Imogen Heap have emphasised that some musicians are already getting to grips with the implications.
A blockchain is a public record of all transactions that have ever taken place in a cryptocurrency like bitcoin. A new ‘block’ is added roughly every 10 minutes, listing all the transactions taking place during that time, with any change to the database requiring the support of more than half the currency’s users, for security purposes.

It’s the engine of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, but could it really have an impact on music? Music Ally has been canvassing opinions for our latest (subscribers-only) report, and thought it was worth giving two contributors’ views a wider airing in front of our paywall, to continue the debate.

Posted inAnalysis, News

Discussion around blockchain and music is heating up

We reported last week on the suggestion in a report from Rethink Music that blockchain technology and cryptocurrency payments could be part of the answer to the music industry’s transparency issues around digital services and royalty payments. But that report was part of a wider discussion around these ideas that is starting to pick up steam.
Berklee College of Music is heavily involved: its associate professor George Howard has been talking to tech luminaries and musicians alike about the idea of using blockchain technology – sequential databases used to track transactions such as those used for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies – within the music industry, and publishing their thoughts on Forbes.