PolkaMusic is a DDEX compatible substrate-based public chain created by a Polkadot Ambassador and a Web3 Foundation grant recipient. PolkaMusic is crafted exclusively for operating decentralized music businesses on the blockchain. While PolkaMusic.io is envisioned as a 360 infrastructure for decentralized music using which music entrepreneurs can not only create their own micro-economy for their music platform but also leverage the ever-growing list of features such as music ranking, NFT, crowdfunding, decentralized storage and more. PolkaMusic also allows existing music blockchains to connect to the PolkaMusic ecosystem in order to interconnect siloed music economies and enable interoperability, wherever possible.
PolkaMusic is trying to solve 5 major problems that are unique to the music industry:
  1. 1.
    Pro-Rata Royalty Payment Model: Due to the computation complexity, on Spotify, Apple Music & other popular streaming platforms, rights-holders are paid according to market share; how their streams stack up against the most popular songs in a given time period. The pro-rata model favors artists/tracks with the biggest amount of played streams, regardless of if they are created by a large number of users with few plays or a smaller number of users who have played them repeatedly. The user-centric model favors artists with a smaller number of streams, especially when the overall stream count is smaller. Here's a study that compares Pro Rata and User-Centric Distribution Models: Study
  2. 2.
    Lack of transparency: You cannot get actual data, especially financial data, from centralized streaming platforms. Data frauds can happen where certain artists are favored to receive fake streams in order to get a favorable position on music ranking charts. This combined with Pro-Rata Model puts smaller artists at risk of losing royalty payments to popular artists. With the lack of live events due to the Covid pandemic, smaller artists, who otherwise are dependent on offline gigs, are increasingly dependent on online platforms for their livelihood. Here's an investigation into a popular platform called "Tidal" for data fraud -> Link
  3. 3.
    Digital blind spots: Bad metadata have contributed to a "royalty black box" of unpaid money, thought to be somewhere at least in the millions. Every platform and royalty collection agencies have their own proprietary database, and sometimes there's a mismatch of database structure which leads to corruption of meta-data, and organizations do not really know who to pay. Such inefficiencies result in unidentified rights owners and unattributed royalties.
  4. 4.
    Slow processing: It takes Spotify up to 90 days to report earnings to distributors, and this is the best-case scenario. It could take up to 18 months before an artist gets paid.
All the above problems are due to the fact that the innovation in the music delivery side has far exceeded the innovation of the backend infrastructure. Digital Streaming Platforms require a digital backend in order to accurately process billions of transactions daily. All the above-mentioned inefficiencies in the existing system can be solved using blockchain technology with no middlemen.
PolkaMusic System Diagram
PolkaMusic public music blockchain will enable:
  1. 1.
    User-Centric Model: A user's royalty pool allocation will be distributed to the artists she's actually listening to. This way, the livelihood of smaller artists is preserved.
  2. 2.
    Transparency: Every stream report is picked up by the off-chain worker which calculates payments as per the user-centric model and reports to the SSP Smart Contract for further processing. The royalty payments can be verified by anyone via the block explorer.
  3. 3.
    Smart Record Contracts: Smart Record Contracts are smarter versions of legacy "Recording Contracts", which consists of all the meta-data about the music, including ownership splits. Smart Record Contracts live on the blockchain, accessible by anyone, solving the "royalty black box" issue. Anybody having any doubts about who to pay for a particular song can always refer to the public database and even send money to it, which will automatically split such payments to constituent copyright holder's wallets.
  4. 4.
    Hourly Royalty Processing: PolkaMusic will process royalties every hour, which is unheard of in the traditional music world due to inefficiencies in the traditional payment infrastructure.
We want to revolutionize the back-end of the music world, so anybody who wants to imitate the business model of PolkaMusic doesn't have to jump through the hoops of forking and creating their own blockchain, but can just initialize the "Smart Streaming Platform" smart contract with custom token name and inflationary properties through an easy GUI, instantly spinning up a new micro-economy for their own streaming business on the blockchain. The new Smart Streaming Platforms can leverage the public "Rights Management" infrastructure of PolkaMusic for payment purposes, though the artist/rights holders have to individually permit the listing of their songs on these SSPs as they'll pay in their own tokens.
In addition to solving the above-mentioned problems, we are also focusing on solving the existing centralized music ranking system using decentralized voting via bonding curves.
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