Whether your chosen medium is music, text or video, the array of content online is astounding.
However, the middlemen, who own the distribution platforms, take home the vast majority of money paid for content. Those who create the content are often lightly compensated, if at all.
Why Decentralized Content Can Benefit Artists and Users
Lack of pay for artists can lessen the overall quality of the media presented. This is not to say that streaming platforms like Netflix or Spotify are bad, but there could be better alternatives.
We need a free and decentralized system that pays creative people for their efforts, and they can reinvest this compensation back into their projects to produce better quality products. Then, the market, not the platform, is allowed to determine what is popular.
Blockchain Technology and Decentralized Digital Content
Audius, AXEL and Binance Labs are among the first to enter the digital content marketplace hoping to revolutionize it with blockchain technology.
All of these entities use their own digital coins as payment tools. Users watch or listen to ads, and they receive payments with the system’s tokens. The system deducts coins from users’ blockchain-secure wallets to pay the artists directly as users stream content. The bulk of the payment goes to the artists, not the platform.
Audius is setting up to challenge music streaming services like Spotify, Napster and Soundcloud. AXEL and Binance Labs are gearing up to decentralize both audio and video content.
Initial Artist Offering via Crypto Coin
With an IAO, your band would create and sell a certain quantity of a crypto token, like the digital version of a baseball card or vinyl LP. Once you’ve sold a set amount to fans, you can then offer special releases, live experiences, or even physical band memorabilia, in exchange for your token.
The more popular you and your music get, the more value your token will have. Since blockchain also records transaction dates, length of token ownership could also be a consideration in offering content and access. (Finally, your annoying friend who brags about liking a group before they got big can get rewards for it.)
The Potential Pros and Cons of Decentralized Digital Content
While the overall concept is sound and the many reasons for moving in this direction are sensible, there are potential problems with the models. For a new technology to take off, it requires a low barrier to entry and at least as good of a user experience as the platform it replaces.
Any plan based on users having to engage with ads to use the system has a huge flaw.
Simply put, users do not willingly engage with ads consistently, even if there is a reward attached. If the ad system is more cumbersome or time consuming than say YouTube’s, the platform will have a tough going. (Though some are working on rewarding users for their data.)
While some users worry about who derives the revenue from artistic endeavors, most are more concerned about inexpensive access to quality digital content. These users see platforms like Netflix as content designers and may not understand the value proposition of decentralized platforms.
The “killer app” to get users to move to decentralized digital content could be out there, though, and once found, the user base will follow.
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