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Music, Technology and the Future





Those who have attended a music expo in the last couple of years have certainly come across the topic: "Blockchain is the future". However, very few people are truly familiar with this novelty which promises to trigger a revolution in the music industry as well as a radical change in the way people relate to one another. Too farfetched? Remember that just 30 years ago, if someone had said the same about the internet, few would've taken them seriously, and nowadays the Web is inextricable from everyone's daily life. Experts believe the same will happen to Blockchain. Are you ready for it?

BLOCKCHAIN IS A RECORD MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY THAT USES DECENTRALIZATION AS A SECURITY MEASURE.


Blockchain is a record management technology that uses decentralization as a security measure. Data is distributed and shared across the globe in order to establish an index of all transactions in a given market.

BLOCKCHAIN IS DECENTRALIZED, AND NO ONE - NEITHER BANKS NOR GOVERNMENTS - WILL SET UP RULES AND TELL YOU WHAT TO DO - RODRIGO LOURENÇÃO


British Lee Parsons, the founder of Ditto Music (a distribution company present in many markets - Brazil included). He says he glimpsed Blockchain back in 2013, after a two-day conversation with a Filipino producer. He can now sum it up: "I 'm not going to take two days of your time: just imagine you are going to buy a house and need to look at the land registry, the deeds and you need to trust that there are no errors. With Blockchain, this data is reliable and secure, and all the information about the house, each brick and each light bulb is accessible to everyone and cannot be modified".

HOW DOES BLOCKCHAIN WORK?


Here's how the safe transparent virtual transaction technology works - and how it prevents frauds.

1. Someone perform a transaction using cryptocurrency (Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum).
2. The transaction request is transmitted to a P2P network formed by a interconnected web of computers, called "miners".
3. The nodes network validates the transaction and the user's status using verified algorithms.
4. A new block with the verified transaction is then added to the existing blockchain, in a way that is permanent and unalterable.
5. The transaction is complete.

GETTING RID OF THE MIDDLE MAN


Rodrigo Lourenção, salesman at OriginalMy (a digital certificate business specialized in Blockchain), compares the technology to a large accounting book “in which you can jot down all financial income and outgoings”, he explains. “Now imagine this book is made of stone. What you wrote gets set in stone, literally. Basically, that ’s it ”, he warns. He points out one of the most important characteristics of the technology: “Blockchain is decentralized, and no one - neither banks nor governments - will set up rules and tell you what to do. It ’s all in there, and anyone can see it ”.However, “Blockchain is far more than an ordinary register,” notes Tatiana Revoredo, Blockchain strategist at the University of Oxford and co-author (with Rodrigo) of the book Cryptocurrencies in the International Scenario” (2018). “It will generate new governance models, broker relations, and change the way people, governments and industries interact”, she anticipates.

BLOCKCHAIN RETURNS THE POWER TO THE MUSICIANS AND COMPOSERS - TATIANA REVOREDO


Readers need to understand that Blockchain is a network for data sharing that replicates documents across computers for all end-users, and that ’s why it’s so revolutionary. The end-user uses the network (“And there are many Blockchain networks, I have seen about a thousand myself ”, notes Tatiana) through apps of fering a wide spectrum of services paid with decentralized digital money, the cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin is the most popular one, but there are many others). It’s important to note that these currencies override intermediate layers and taxes. “Blockchain gives the power back to musicians and composers”, Tatiana states: “The music industry royalties often end up in the hands of the companies that stick a price label on the artists. The large music platforms control the market, not the content producers, but this is about to change with Blockchain”, she reckons.

IN ACTUALITY, WHAT WILL HAPPEN IS THAT THE MIDDLEMEN WILL BECOME MORE SOPHISTICATED - LUIZ AUGUSTO BUFF


A virtual currency accepted worldwide without the influence of any government or central bank.
Its produced in a decentralized way and controlled by a computers network that inscribe all the transactions, the blockchain ("block chain"), like a cashbook.
According to the Coinmarketcap platform, there are more than 1,800 different virtual coins, among them the pioneers Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and Ripple (XRP).

THE IMPACT ON THE MUSIC MARKET


How will this change happen? It’s rather simple: as soon as the artist uploads their MP3 on a blockchain app, several payment methods for listening to the song will be defined. “We will know your song was played in South Africa at 1:30am thanks to a series of internal tags (encrypted in MP3). Because it all gets reported to Blockchain, your royalties will be paid instantly, and you will be able to split them amongst the 20-30 people that worked on the track (producers and all people involved) straight away”, explains Lee Parsons. He emphasizes that the technology has the potential to untie “one of the biggest knots in the music industry nowadays: lack of transparency and payments”.
Tatiana Revoredo mentions another practical example of Blockchain use in the music market : “You will be able to sell tickets on the platforms, overriding ticket touts. Not just because the ticket will include the buyer’s code. There’s more: you can arrange the settings so this ticket is only visible on the day of the concert and within one kilometer of the stadium. You can prevent this ticket from being resold more than once and that its mark-up does not exceed 5%”, she comments. “Just imagine how many middlemen you cut out, placing the real value in the hands of those who really matter: the composers and the musicians. You put the price tag where it belongs. Music buyers will also like it because it makes the product cheaper for them”, she’s confident.

ANYTHING THAT'S NEW AND CHALLENGES OLD PATTERNS WILL ENCOUNTER RESISTANCE FROM THE CURRENT MARKETPLACE - TATIANA REVOREDO


"People expect whole new levels of independence and a DIY culture, but they should be more realistic. What will happen is that the middlemen will become more sophisticated, will work in a more transparent fashion, with more technology and a quicker information flow", warns Luiz Augusto Buff, lawyer, founding partner and CEO of 1M1 Arte, a musical production and management office. "What it'll do is put the control of the royalties - and its responsibilities - in the hands of the artist. It means it'll be possible for the copyright owner to be more fairly paid, but it won't mean there will be no middlemen."

BIG DATA AND THE MUSIC INDUSTRY


Big data is the analysis of large volumes of data and informations unstructured. Big Data tools enable marketing strategies that increase productivity and make smarter business decisions.
Streaming services like Spotify use Big Data to create user playlists like "Discover Weekly," which gives suggestions of artists and songs based on the most watched tracks of the week.
Small data is structured data and ready-toanalyze, different from big data. Nevertheless, both are complementary, used to make decisions more efficient.

DECENTRALIZED REVOLUTION


Resistance to Blockchain, however, is soaring due to its revolutionary streak. "Anything that 's new and challenges old patterns will encounter resistance from the current marketplace, but it 's a oneway road", Tatiana explains. Rodrigo agrees, as he ponders: " It 's very difficult to forecast how many people will migrate to Blockchain. It might happen in a year or two, or it might take 10 years. Lee Parsons is a little more optimistic: "People are already using Bitcoin, they are paying for stuf f with their cryptocurrency. I think both you and I will be using some sort of Blockchain tool as soon as we get up in about three years time”.

THE EU WANT TO BE TRAILBLAZERS - TATIANA REVOREDO


Many countries are making large investments, taking this into account. "There have been some public interest in Brazil related to blockchain", Tatiana reveals. "But the discussions are rather rudimentary compared to what 's being discussed abroad". She says that many governments have come to the conclusion this technology is an economic development tool. "There's a legislative race taking place in order to decide which country will attract the Blockchain industry f irst ". Switzerland, China,Japan and the EU Parliament are very commited. This year alone, the EU Parliament invested €300 million plus an additional budget of €82 million in incentives for applications and discussions about the platform created for sharing data amongst 22 EU countries. The EU aims to be a trailblazer. They have already realised this is the future".

BRAZIL IS BUREAUCRATIC BY NATURE - RODRIGO LOURENÇÃO


For Parsons, Brazil would be one of the best places "to use Blockchain, because the country needs transparency (not just) in music". Rodrigo Lourenção, on the other hand, sees red tape as a barrier: "Brazil is bureaucratic by nature. We’re reshaping the culture by streamlining systems and processes, but there's still a long way to go". Tatiana remembers that, in terms of cryptocurrency, "there's the Bill 2303, which has been on the table since 2015. There have been many readings in Congress, but the discussions were confined to this topic, not touching other technologies. I believe these technologies should walk hand-in-hand so we'd better move quickly. The future may not forgive such delays!"

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN MUSIC


Combined with method of data analysis, Machine Learning and Big Data, artificial intelligence is used by streaming portal services such as Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music and YouTube to capture trends and musical tastes of its users.
Mood playlists and related artists are defined through the algorithm, which customize the each user experience.
Producers, artists, filmmakers and advertisers are increasingly using musicgenerating programs through artificial intelligence.
Compositions are created by crossing information like duration, rhythm, beat and mood of the audience, using apps like Amper, Magenta (Google), IBM Watson Beat and Melodrive.
The idea is for the system to listen to the artist and suggest changes, variations and improvements, helping his creative process, explained Douglas Eck of Google Brain (division of the company specializing in the use of deep learning) to the Spanish newspaper El País.

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