[THIS ARTICLE WAS PUBLISHED ON APRIL 2015 FOR A JOURNAL OF MUSICAL THINGS]
Bitcoin and the Music Industry Part-1 What is Bitcoin and Why Should Musicians Care?
Peer-to-Peer and the Music Industry
Music has a long history with peer-to-peer technology. Napster was the first to allow us to download mp3s directly from our peers. Music fans were so frustrated with the pricing strategy and delivery mechanisms dictated by the Music Industry that they felt justified not paying for tracks. So what killed Napster? The fact that it only benefited the consumer and not the artists or the Record Labels. By bypassing the artists, record companies/labels, consumers – even if unintentionally – eliminated intellectual property royalties from the business equation. And if artists are not being fairly compensated, the music suffers – and we all lose!
When Napster died, other peer-to-peer companies jumped in to fill the void (e.g. Kazaa, Ares, and Morpheus etc.). They, too, didn’t last long – and the reason has to do with the fundamental flaw in their model: the inability to reconcile file sharing and fair compensation to the artist.
The blame here is not all with the consumer and tech companies. The record companies refused to invest in solutions to remedy the problems. The music industry stood by flailing their arms while their business model imploded. From the shadow of Napster emerged new protocols like Gnutella (e.g. Ares, Morpheus) and BitTorrent, which has remained top of the heap for the longest of any of the peer-to-peer (p2p) technologies… Continue reading about Bitcoin on Alan Cross’ A Journal of Musical Things