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Are cryptocurrency-based sites like UJO the future of music publishing?

Ethereum

In recent times, it has been hard to avoid the talk of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum being the future of internet payments, and the way both currencies enjoyed dramatic increases in value during 2017 shows the faith that many people have in them. Bitcoin was hovering around the $1400 mark early last year, but has now risen to more than $10,000. In the same timeframe, Ethereum has gone from being virtually worthless to now being valued at over $1000. Online companies are beginning to realise that e-currencies can benefit them, and the music industry is the latest to start putting the technology to good use.

One of the standout music sites that has opted to use Ethereum as a form of payment is UJO. The music platform is still in its early stages, but in 2015 Imogen Heap jumped on board to help demonstrate how “Ethereum could help usher in a modern music supply chain built on the backbone of prompt and transparent payments.” 40-year-old singer, songwriter, and record producer Heap is known for writing the music for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, but she has also taken time out of her busy schedule to back this innovative approach to music publishing. She even released a track with the company – Tiny Human.

The idea behind UJO is that it will allow musicians to instantly publish their own work onto the platform without having to go through publishing companies or registering copyrights. Users can then control licencing options as well as set their own distributions. The site runs with decentralized file storage, and the use of Ethereum allows automated payments between consumers and creators, cutting the middleman.

Ethereum is already being used in the booming online casino sector because it is fast, efficient, and reliable. Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto invented the idea of blockchain technology, but the newer cryptocurrency took this idea further and improved on it. Ethereum, famous for its smart contracts, means that payments and funds can’t be messed with or altered. That’s why a lot of businesses are opting to use it over its predecessor.

Sites like UJO are certainly good news for musicians who want to get their work out there and get paid for it. In the past, going through all the correct channels to release music was a time consuming and difficult process for many, and this was enough to put people off. Now, those who create new music have no excuse but to put it out there and get some public feedback on it.

Dance artist RAC, also known as Andre Anjos, recently released his album EGO using the webstore function of UJO. He said that “being able to support the artist directly is pretty important,” but also stated that he didn’t believe the software would replace Spotify or iTunes anytime soon.

More than 1400 artists have already signed up with UJO, and that number is set to rise. If Ethereum continues to boom as it did in 2017, the cryptocurrency could come into widespread use and make companies like UJO seem much more attractive. We may soon be moving towards a world in which everyone publishes their own material and gets paid with e-currencies.

Photograph by Ethereum Classic

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