Arena Music attempts to right the fallen music industry. As a loss leader streaming service pointing users to artist merchandise, it is also taking the radical step of paying royalties in bitcoin.
Also read: Cryptocurrency Music Heats Up
Hey! Ho! Let’s Go!
Phoenix, Arizona streaming service Arena Music announced it would pay royalties in bitcoin. The independent site boasts a wide variety of musical content, including do-it-yourself punk bands.
It uses the loss leader model, effectively streaming an artist’s music for free while linking fans to exclusive merchandise offers.
Pay for the shirt, basically, get the music gratis. Arena Music uses its model as a brand identifier, often in moral terms, as it evangelizes taking care of artists and customers.
… taking payment in bitcoin essentially annihilates the “black box” accounting subscription services major labels rely on …
All the advantages of bitcoin’s peer-to-peer infrastructure make it ripe to help take the sagging music industry out of financial purgatory.
Cumbersome contracts filled with legalease can be muted. Notorious label accounting tricks become transparent.
And, for the first time in the industry’s history, artist royalties might actually appreciate in value — all without a central authority’s permission.
Now that’s punk rock.
CEO and Founder Damon Evans
News.Bitcoin.com (BN) snagged a few minutes with Mr. Evans to catch-up readers on Arena Music’s nearly year-old experiment in bitcoin.
BN: What made Arena Music decide to pay royalties in bitcoin?
DE: More and more, content and label owners are understanding that bitcoin forces a level of transparency and fairness in reporting and payouts for each person who has contributed to a specific work. That is lacking from all paid subscription music streaming services in particular.
BN: How is working with bitcoin going?
DE: While our international clients are experienced with bitcoin, US clients are just starting to understand what it is and how it works. We believe that by being the only commercial streaming service allowed to offer payout in bitcoin (wholly because Arena Music is the last and only commercial streaming service not financed by or partnered with the major labels), Arena will truly be able to define itself as the industry alternative for independent artists. We intend to make bitcoin a major part of our artist offering.
BN: Have any bands balked at bitcoin payment?
DE: No one has balked, especially when we are able to explain the benefits that come with the cryptocurrency. There is still some hesitation from US based artists to fully trust in receiving 100% of their royalties through bitcoin, but more and more, artists are open to receiving a percentage of their payments in the currency. We explain taking payment in bitcoin essentially annihilates the “black box” accounting subscription services major labels rely on to leverage maximum profits between stream payouts and paying subscribers. This detail also explains why the world’s most known subscription services will never be allowed to offer payouts in bitcoin. It essentially removes the ability to fully control the music industry from those who have historically been able to keep the system broken.
BN: Is the Phoenix area/scene comfortable with bitcoin?
DE: Absolutely! We are seeing more and more interest in artists wanting to understand how it works which will ultimately translate into adoption. The market tests we’ve done in Atlanta have also been well received. Currently, 30% of our artist clients have, or are, accepting payments through bitcoin and we expect that number to grow the more we market and promote the option. Bitcoin will be prominently featured in the crowdfunding campaign Arena Music is launching through Wefunder.com next month.
What do you think? Can the music industry be ”saved” by bitcoin? Does it need saving? Is paying bands in bitcoin going to further decentralize the industry? Tell us in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Icons8 and Modern Luxury.
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