How does blockchain solve the artificial intelligence problem in the music industry?

When Napster appeared in 1999, the music industry went through a crisis. The emergence of peer-to-peer digital file sharing devalued music and caused the entire industry to decline, leaving traditional gatekeepers unsure of what would happen next.

The emergence of the music streaming ecosystem provided a viable solution. But before this, record companies and artists lost billions of dollars in revenue due to digital piracy. With the advent of artificial intelligence, the potential impact of this technology on intellectual property rights and compensation has worried many people that history will repeat itself.

The music industry has learned from the Napster era: it has taken measures to protect copyrights and intellectual property, ultimately leading to the development of digital music platforms and streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music. Just as Napster completely changed the dissemination and consumption of music and disrupted the entire industry in the early 2000s, the revolutionary impact of artificial intelligence on creation will also change the model of the music industry.

Many people are concerned that artificial intelligence could bring about a new era of online music piracy, just like Napster. The advancements in artificial intelligence in music creation mean that copyright ownership becomes increasingly complex. AI tools can create entire songs without direct human input, but the models used are based on human creation, which raises questions about who owns the rights to these creations and how they can be licensed and monetized.

In an environment of uncertain and ambiguous rights, the transparency, decentralization, and immutability of blockchain can balance the introduction of AI-generated content by creating a fair monetary system and protecting the intellectual property of musicians.

Tokenization provides a path for musicians to define digital ownership and transparent rights allocation. In this process, digital intellectual property (i.e., song copyrights) is confirmed by tokens minted on the blockchain (typically NFTs or non-fungible tokens). Then, royalty payments are facilitated through secure and transparent smart contracts built on the blockchain, without the need for intervention from third-party banks or music companies. Most importantly, royalties can be distributed permanently, ensuring tracking and attribution throughout the entire lifecycle of the creative work.

Integrating non-fungible tokens (NFTs) into AI-generated works and workflows will ensure clear traceability of music ownership on the blockchain network and ensure that creators receive fair compensation. In theory, by providing verification of the original song or track, specific artists can receive royalties as long as the AI model creates output containing their sound. This way, the combination of AI and blockchain will benefit well-known artists, fans, and musicians.

When artists know they have the opportunity to protect their works, they still have room to experiment with using AI in their creative or synthesis processes and even share royalties with fans. Musicians like Holly Herndon and Yacht have already embraced artificial intelligence as a tool to challenge their creative limits, while artists like Grimes have gone further, publicly stating that she will share 50% of the profits from any successful songs created using her AI-generated sound models.

Ultimately, the future of music lies in the hands of those who adopt and drive innovative technologies that change the game. By fostering a culture of innovation and embracing new technologies, the music industry can create an environment that benefits everyone. Blockchain has already addressed the music industry’s biggest problems, and artificial intelligence has the potential to improve processes, but this is still an area that needs further exploration.

As new technologies are introduced to the music industry, we have a responsibility to avoid past mistakes and focus on creating value for all participants. It seems that the music industry has already recognized the potential dangers of artificial intelligence and hopes to see opportunities for creative progress.

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