Blockchain and Smart Contracts in the Recording Industry

Nicolas Neysen
European Research Studies Journal, Volume XXIII, Issue 2, 174-185, 2020
DOI: 10.35808/ersj/1587


Purpose: A burgeoning body of research has described how the blockchain technology may affect the way firms operate within the recording industry which has undergone profound changes due to the dematerialisation of music and the emergence of now consumption habits. The purpose of the paper is to explore both the challenges and the opportunities related to the application of smart contracts and blockchain mechanisms to the recording industry. Approach/Methodology/Design: Based on a review of contributions made to the literature in various fields, we discuss recent developments, relying on several examples and use cases which bring an updated perspective to a topical question. While the blockchain brings interesting solutions in favour of an improved management of copyright data and fees collection, several barriers impede their uptake and large-scale adoption. Findings: We argue that the absence of both technological and regulatory standards, the resistance to change, and the necessary use of cryptocurrency, are all obstacles to a profound transformation of the sector. Practical Implications: To overcome these limitations, we suggest three recommendations that deal with technological standards, cooperative agreements, and international regulation around blockchain. Originality/Value: So far, the literature tends to focus either on blockchain technology or on smart contracts when discussing technological evolution within the recording industry. In this paper, we bring together these two elements which are definitely complementory to each other. Further research efforts are required to investigate in more details the feasibility and relevance of the recommendations we make.

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