How Blockchain Could Disrupt the Music Industry

Imogen Heap joined the likes of Taylor Swift and others in criticizing the music industry’s treatment of independent artists. (Source:

When Grammy-nominated British recording artist Imogen Heap released the single Tiny Human,

a ballad to her newborn daughter, QZ explains,

via the Ethereum blockchain for $0.60 per download last summer (above picture), she proved the viability of blockchain technology.

She then founded  Mycelia for Music, which uses blockchain technology to bring a fairtrade music industry:

We are at an amazing point in history for artists. A revolution is going to happen, and the next year it’s going to take over. It’s the ability of artists to have the control and the say of what they do with their music at large. The answer to this is in the blockchain, she said.

The importance of this story relies on the fact that nowadays artists do not have control over their own work as who mainly benefits from their work are third parties as pointed out by the Berklee Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship which stated:

Anywhere from 20-50 percent of music payments don’t make it to their rightful owners.

A recent research by Deloitte, pointed out the current royalty payment mechanism:

Today, the distribution of royalty payments builds on multiple contracts between artists, producers, and music publishing houses. For instance whenever a song is played on TV, radio, at events or is streamed online, the rights holders should receive a royalty payment in a contractually defined split.


However, this could change in the next future, the study argues:

Thanks to blockchain, the distribution and monetization of bite-sized content becomes much more fluid and prevalent. Blockchains enable copyright owners to track the usage of their material. It also ensures they receive their fair share of proceeds calculated and collected accurately and cost-efficiently.

Direct Media Customer Interaction. (Source: Deloitte)


Artists can market their songs independently of big platform providers wherever they want, since a blockchain permits easy tracking of usage and deduction of the associated payments.

Potential Change in Distribution of Royalty Payments. (Source: Deloitte)

In other words, this alternative way of producing and distributing music could be a viable one for the content rights owners to be included in the production process and leverage additional revenue streams by taking the most of C2C (consumer-to-consumer) sales .

However, blockchain still presents its challenges being young and evolving and it will take years before its full adoption, Deloitte specifies.

Download the research from Deloitte here.