Media & Telecommunications

Media & Rights


Today, content creators do not receive their fair share of the value they create as the system for managing IP rights is fundamentally broken. Consider the newspaper industry that is in a chronic crisis. This is a huge social problem leading to the fragmentation of public discourse, and the challenges facing journalists to make a living for their work.

This goes for songwriters and recording artists who now receive only financial crumbs at the end of the process. For example, in the past a platinum song that sold a million singles would earn the songwriter about $45,000. Today, if a song receives a million streams online, the songwriter makes $35 – about enough to get a nice pizza. With new blockchain based digital rights management systems, content creators are empowered, controlling how their music is played, remixed, and licensed, and they get to choose how and when they’re compensated. Blockchain removes the need for many intermediaries such as record labels, agents and other third parties, who for so long have controlled the industry for the sole reason that they been around for so long. What will this mean for existing intermediaries and incumbents?

The Bitcoin blockchain created the world’s first inherently digital property where value can be protected. Before Bitcoin, the concepts of digital and scarcity was antithetical. Anything digital could be copied. Media industries are still coping with the Internet of Information and its treatment of all data as bits and bytes, sold wholesale by monthly packages consumed in gigabytes.

What the coordination and combination of technologies that make up a blockchain has created is some piece of digital code that is uncopiable, unique. All of the sudden, we live in a world where something digital, by being unique, can be traded as digital information of value. While many see this as relevant to finance, intellectual property as an institution also has an opportunity to grow as a result of the type of digital property blockchains have created.