Jon Porter
7 hours ago

  In recent years most discussions of blockchain technology have related to Bitcoin, the digital currency that recently saw its value skyrocket to over $19,000 before plummeting to just over $7,000 at the time of writing.  But while cryptocurrencies are the most widespread use of blockchain, in truth its potential use cases are many and varied, and the latest problem that blockchain enthusiasts want to solve is ensuring that musicians are fairly compensated for their songs. Enter Choon, a new streaming service co-founded by the DJ Gareth Emery.

Choon plans to harness the transparency and record-keeping advantages of blockchain to cut out the middle men and deliver revenue directly to artists. As Emery describes it: “Our way of doing royalties and accounting was basically designed in the days of jukeboxes and sheet music and has been grandfathered in across every new innovation, and we just have a system that is completely not fit for purpose.

“Rather than trying to innovate on top of a system that is fundamentally flawed we’re trying to create a new system that has no connection to the old one.” In Emery’s view, the current problem with the music industry is that there are too many middlemen, with each of them demanding their cut of the profits, leaving close to nothing for the artist who actually created a track.  “We’ve all been sort of sold this myth that there’s no money in recorded music,” Emery explains. ”There is actually – it’s a $16 billion dollar industry– it just goes to the wrong people.” Gareth Emery is one of the co-founders of Choon, which wants to cut out the middlemen in the streaming business so that more money goes to artists And Emery’s argument isn’t just that these middlemen suck up too much of the money in the recorded music industry, but that their very existence is undemocratic.

Emery shares stories of managers encouraging artists to wish Spotify’s playlist curators a happy birthday on Twitter, or send them gifts to secure a spot in a playlist with millions of subscribers.  “Careers can get made or broken by being in those playlists,” he adds. Emery talks about his own experiences of having to schmooze the curators of the electronic music playlist, and says it’s similar across other music genres.

“I guarantee you now that if you had somebody here from an indie rock band they would know who the power player is who creates those playlists for indie rock, and they would know how you get on their side.” The fact that the music industry also continues to be dominated by male acts lends yet more weight to the argument that the industry’s trendsetters are out of touch.  Choon’s solution is twofold. First, it will dispense with all aspects of human curation of its homepage.  “There’s gonna be no smoke and mirrors about how our home page is structured,“ Emery explains. Read more from…

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