Imogen Heap Wants to Decentralize the Music Industry With Ethereum

Imogen Heap

Amid the Ether hype, British pop artist Imogen Heap has announced she is working on a decentralized music distribution service, which will run on the blockchain and be linked to the booming currency.

Also read: PeerTracks ‘Blockchain 3.0’ Platform MUSE Set to Transform the Music Industry

Imogen Heap Embraces Ether

Imogen Heap has already released the single “Tiny Human,” available for purchase using Ether, which has since considerably increased in value following its uptake by Microsoft.

Speaking to Quartz, Heap said the plan was to develop a fairer method of distributing artist rights and ensuring fair payment for sales of copyrighted content. Heap:

When someone buys a piece of music or plays a piece of music, ultimately in the future there will be no need for a middle, centralized service. The fan will be immediately paying the artist.

Imogen Heap

Heap continued that while the record industry will still play a part in the process in terms of marketing and other mainstream services, the project, dubbed Mycelia, is “about trying to take away the power from top down and give power […] to the artist to help shape their own future.”

Imogen Heap has not yet revealed whether Ether will be the currency of choice for Mycelia, or whether the role will be filled by Bitcoin, fiat currency or a combination. However, a hackathon is planned for April to raise funds and awareness of the new project.

Smart Contracts Take Center Stage

Back in October, Heap and digital strategist Phil Barry spoke to the IB Times about how the Ethereum blockchain and smart contracts could be used to make Mycelia a one-of-a-kind offering. Everything, down to individual components of songs (known as stems), could be licensed to target audiences.

“These are essentially code; rules written into code which determine what happens when money comes in or when certain actions take place,” Barry said. “So in the case of just the stems, for example, you could say, I’m happy for them to be downloaded for non-commercial use for $45. If you want to use it in a  commercial record then I’ll give you 50% of the rights and the recording but I still own the song.”

Championing blockchain to level the playing field in the music industry is in vogue internationally. A blockchain distribution system, MUSE, is slowly gaining traction offering artists similar benefits to those which Imogen Heap hopes to bring to the fore.

Its first implementation occurred last month when OpenLedger partnered with Danish cryptocurrency exchange CCDEK to offer artists a peer-to-peer solution to better monetize the sales process for their work.

How do you envisage blockchain technology disrupting entertainment? Are smart contracts the ultimate solution? Share your opinion in the comments section below!

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