The Music Industry Is Broken

Pat Lewis
3 min readApr 28, 2021

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But This Startup Might Have The Solution

Illustration by Paul Blow

As music sales continue to decline and music streaming soars, giants like Spotify have attracted huge amounts of criticism, with some artists withholding their work or pulling entire discographies from the platform in protest. Producers and performers claim they are being unfairly compensated for their work or are at the mercy of archaic industry methods like ‘pay for play’, whereby labels lay down huge sums of money to promote their artist in order to have maximum exposure across the platform. This makes it hard for small fish to compete in the global pond. For the small independent artist it’s next to impossible to compete with Beyonce or Drake, who allegedly had music appearing in all sorts of playlists across Spotify that had nothing to do with the hip hop artist, after his double album ‘Scorpion’ was released in 2018.

Emanate, an Australian start up, is looking to change all this. Ushering in a new era of music distribution that promises to reimburse artists and fans fairly for their participation on the platform, Emanate is using blockchain technology to put the power (and the money) back into the hands of the artists. Emanate will pay artists on a ‘per second’ basis, rather than the ‘per stream’ method currently offered by Spotify and most other streaming platforms. I should point out that on Spotify, an artist only needs to have the first thirty-seconds of a song played in order for that to count as a stream. This method of revenue calculation has left the door open to all sorts of scams. A quick Google search of ‘phone farms’ will unearth a con artists basement full of insight into the corrupt money making methods Spotify is turning a blind eye to — but that’s another story.

On Emanate, artists are paid in blockchain currency, known as EMT tokens. The tokens can be cashed out for real money or used on the platform to reward your favourite artists. A single EMT token is the equivalent of one cent (USD). This might not sound like a lot, but when compared to Spotify’s pay per stream method at a nanoscopic .003 cents, calculations show that Emanate can pay artists several times more than Spotify.

But for many of us, the world of blockchain and crypto currency is still a very confusing space to occupy. Emanate however is providing a seamless user experience, with the every day listener barely noticing they’re using crytpo currency at all. Creating an account is done using your name and email address with subscriptions being payed monthly using a credit card, much the same as any other platform.

Emanate believes the most important part of creating a meaningful crypto-economy, and indeed a music crypto-economy that works for all participants, is the alignment of incentives. Emanate tackles this by encouraging each participant who wants to join the network, to own and stake EMT tokens in order to have access to the network. By owning a small part of the technology itself, users are incentivised to honour the terms of use, as the growth of the network benefits EMT holders directly. Put simply: the more people on the platform, the more EMT tokens are put in circulation, increasing the value of the token.

With a growing roster of artists taking part and countless others preparing to upload their music to Emanate, the first version of the mobile app is expected to be released in May 2021. Spotify, SoundCloud; Apple Music, they’re all steps in the right direction. Emanate is taking it one step further.

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