Music has largely moved into the digital domain by
predominantly a download-only product. Physical media
exists (including fond revival of vinyl (but for some reason
so much in favour of cassette)), but the tide is moving
download-only being the mainstream, if not now,
One of the problems facing the music industry is that of
piracy. People purchase the music, someone else fancies a
copy of it without having to buy their own published copy,
they sit down with a pen and write out the manuscript by
hand. Fast forward a century and people are still copying
the radio onto tape home taping is skill in music. Into the
early 21st century we saw the whole story all over again
illegally obtained downloads and napster and file sharing
We still have a situation where downloading is easy, but the
market is different now. We no longer really have record
companies (what with no records and all that), which
like the onset of the collapse of the whole industry, but
actually has turned out to be a good thing. People are only
just realising that they were making money before, in the
days of the 45, but the record labels were making a
considerable amount more money for a pennies worth of
vinyl. Now, the artist is in position to keep most of what
make, if they indeed do what the record companies
themselves used to do with all of that easy money
promote, market, persuade (hence the excessive parties,
press launches, publicity stunts etc. of the past). Also, the
market model is different, with iTunes, Google Play,
setting quite low unit prices, as a norm. People are more
inclined toward purchasing if the price is hardly a
commitment or crucial decision. Again, this is a good thing.
Still, it is possible to launch a record and see it copied
whilst selling hardly any at all through legitimate channels.
How can we solve this?
Rights organisations exist to try and protect the artist and
label in terms of catching airplay and other types of
performance or broadcast. There exist fingerprinting
technologies to identify songs and link these up to the
identity of the owner/publisher.
Cryptocurrency such as bitcoin and the like are also
disrupting their own domain, and I dont think many of us
doubt that soon all money will be of that sort, even
permitting a few public outrage disaster stories along the
way. Its simply the way things will go.
What about combining these two digital assets?
A song (digital download) is fingerprinted in such a
steganographic manner that it has no aural effect on the
sound of the song, but is also an entry into a blockchain of
cryptocurrency. In other words, the song is also the coin
to pay for it. The digital song is an individual
coin, the face value of which is the value of that song.
It would be interesting to divide it such that the coin for
purchase of your instance of a song is an individual coin
unlike the coin I used to purchase my instance of the same
song. However, for a given song, there is also a part of the
coin that is in common. Hence maybe in the future, some
songs will become more valuable than others, based on
attribute of the song itself (since to a future collector,
all be in mint condition forever, being digital). So the
value of a song is the price of a single or an album when it
released and charting, then it sinks into obscurity or
a long tail of sales, then later it gets rediscovered (or not)
and the value may exceed the original release / face value
the coin, for all coins of that song.