Estimated reading time: 7 minutes, 31 seconds
Today we are talking about the impact the blockchain is going to have on the entertainment industry.
Everyone knows it’s really hard to “make it” in the entertainment industry, but why? Well, third party gatekeepers, contracts, and the ethics of what is included in those contracts are a large part of the reason.
Most people have heard of the “casting couch” where people have to sleep with executives or directors to get the part or land a record deal, but until Harvey Weinstein and others were exposed through the #MeToo movement no one really tried to come up with a remedy to these morally repulsive business practices. I personally have a friend that had a record deal until she refused to sign the contract at the producer’s private residence. The record deal was ripped up upon her refusing such an inappropriate business scenario.
So how do we fix this?
Well, we give a corrupt industry transparency through smart contracts, and fair monetization platforms via a public ledger like blockchain technology. The blockchain eliminates the need of a third party to verify information is correct. This could be transactions like the Bitcoin blockchain does or any information that is programed into a Smart Contract like on the Ethereum Blockchain. It is an immutable, public, distributed ledger that anyone can read or write that uses cryptography to link timestamped batches of events together in order to make it evident if tampering has occurred.
The blockchain is going to severely change the movie industry, the music industry, and any form of art where people traditionally had to give legal rights of their work to a third party in order to get an audience to see their work. The Internet has already allowed artists more autonomy and integrity. But now the crypto world and the blockchain technology are radically changing that through crowdfunding with cryptocurrencies and Smart Contracts helping artists maintain their digital rights and royalty payments.
Reality TV Shows like The Voice and American Idol have dehumanizing contracts in exchange for fame and financial success. The Voice has a 32 page contract that allows NBC to
“change the rules at any time, eliminate contestants at any time, even if they are “winning” with audience votes, force contestants to undergo medical or psychological testing and under certain circumstances release the results on TV, and the show can sue contestants who reveal these details from the contract for one hundred thousand dollars to one million dollars.”
Having details of contracts like these on a public ledger would give people the opportunity to decide if they want to pursue a show like this; before they spend time and money auditioning and getting voted in. With an increase in transparency, the public and participants can have more say in what platforms they support as artists and as audience members. I personally no longer want to support a show like The Voice or American Idol after learning about their contracts.
Smart Contracts are built on the blockchain and a triggering event like a strike price or execution date will execute the terms of the contract without a middleman. It is somewhat like a legal vending machine, instead of going to a lawyer or a notary and paying them, (and then checking their work) you drop a bitcoin or ether into the ledger and your escrow, driver’s license, and any other supporting documents drops into the account.
In addition to having the contents of the contracts be public without providing the information of the parties in the contracts, Smart Contracts will even allow artists to control what type of brands they want to be affiliated with via the ads that play in between their content. This would give an artist that is a vegan the ability to choose what ads play so a McDonald’s commercial isn’t shown during their program.
The most important part for artists is that this technology will give artists more control and legal claim to their content. Jokes and movie ideas get stolen or modified all the time. Agents may refuse to take blind submissions to avoid legal issues from unrepresented talent’s, but movies with oddly similar plots have been made after having meetings with executives to pitch ideas. Now artists can have a public record that is easier to prove if their content was stolen. They can show record of copyrighting a material, and who it was sent to and who it was presented to in a meeting.
These kinds of public records help artists best protection of their intellectual property can use the copyright office and register their work with the Writers Guild of America but this gets expensive as the Writer’s Guild is $25 per submission and the copyright office is $35-$55 per entry.
Financing of films and other artistic projects with bigger budgets have only recently been playing around with crowdfunding. Traditionally there were gatekeepers that had control over which movies were invested in and shared with the public and what content was not made or not made. This is really dangerous to free speech as 90% of our media is controlled by the same six companies; National Amusements, Disney, Time Warner, Comcast, News Corp, and Sony.
Most normal people would have no idea how to invest in a movie, and if they did the current structure involves padding the budget with little transparency to investors about how their money is being spent on the movie. The blockchain would allow transparency to investors about the allocation of funds on the set.
Currently in Hollywood, you write a script and pitch it to studios. If the studio buys the script you might go through years of rewrites and testing. If the project goes into production (and many don’t at this stage), the original script the studio bought barely resembles the highly edited version and vision the writers had for the project, which is why crypto crowd funded projects are starting to emerge.
Hard Fork is a crypto-noir series with a decentralized filming approach, being funded largely by the Dash community. Dash is a cryptocurrency that has a voting system in place to allow changes to the coin to be made without a hard fork of the currency. The Hard Fork Series is set in a dystopian future where cryptocurrency and augmented reality rule. The series has used Steemit.com to build their community.
Steemit.com is a cryptocurrency-backed social media platform where artists earn money for the content they post. They raised $30 thousand dollars on Steemit and were able to film their teaser trailer which debuted last year at Steemit’s conference last year. The series is revolutionary in many ways. It is the first project to utilize funding by a crypto community. Plus, it held web-based casting on the blockchain. And it is utilizing DTube (a decentralized streaming video platform linked to Steemit) as well as traditional channels like YouTube. This project is a multi-million dollar series that is the first large-scale mainstream production.
Since releasing their trailer they have raised around a million dollars from the Dash community which allocates an amount of coins mined each month to funding crypto-related projects. I can’t wait till all my friends have to stop moving to LA.
TatianaCoin was the first ever musical artist with her own coin built on Bitcoin. Tatiana built a token on top of Bitcoin and has funded her album “Keep the Faith” entirely through support of TatianaCoin. With the help of Adam B. Levine from Let’s Talk Bitcoin, Moroz executed the idea. Tatianacoin used Counterparty for the coin and organized an initial crowdsale through CoinPowers. Her coin was focused on her fans getting rewards specific to her and her music and content.
MusicCoin is a music streaming platform built on the blockchain allowing for listeners to stream songs from independent artists on a free platform without ads that compensates the musicians more fairly than the major music streaming platforms. James Blunt tweeted that thanks to Spotify he gets paid only £ 0.0004499368 or $0.0005517475 per stream. James Blunt is an award winning artist that has a large fan base, new artists trying to survive financially stand no chance of living off of earnings from such a platform like Spotify. Musicoin is a peer to peer platform that gives 100% of the revenue to the artists since there are no third parties involved. They do this through (UBI) Universal Basic Income where artists are paid in MUSIC every time the song is played via a Smart Contract. The other interesting thing about this platform is that it did not hold an ICO, initial coin offering. The tokens earned artists can hold, trade, or convert to fiat on Bittrex and Cryptopia. AudioCoin and Aurovine are also similar platforms to Musicoin.