Bryce Weiner believes his blockchain, Tao, is the future of the music industry.
A “Fortune 500 guy” who has worked for the Reuters news service and Lockheed Martin among other businesses, Weiner is an engineer who has spent the past several years developing a blockchain with the music industry’s woes and opportunities in mind.
He compares the concept of a blockchain with a plant, an organic, living thing that grow and change and take on new direction as the environment shifts. While all blockchains may look the same from the outside, if designed correctly and with the intention of being “immutable and permanent and could live for hundreds of years, potentially,” that only underscores the importance of getting it right the first time, “especially when you talk about things like intellectual property right and copyright.”
As discussed on this page previously, blockchain structures have the potential to be hugely beneficial when it comes to cataloging and properly tracking the rights affiliated with songs. But not everyone is always fully represented.
Take sound engineers, a vital part of the music recording and concert going experience, Weiner says. “They are woefully underrepresented when it comes to royalty splits, that kind of thing.” Adopting a blockchain platform would make it easier to ensure sound engineers are included in royalty divisions from the start by logging that person’s name in the track’s metadata.
“If you’re able to trace all the individuals who touched that work and contributed to that work being what is eventually brought to market, then what you have not only is preassembled metadata, but you have tNhe ability to include every single individual in those royalty splits,” he says. “The difficulty has always been managing those splits from a financial aspect. You’d be talking fractions of a penny from mechanical royalty, and a sound engineer could see a fraction of a fraction of that penny. One of the things that blockchain technology enables is the ability to split value down to literally millionths of a penny and be able to remunerate artists accordingly.”
He envisions blockchain technology applied to all art forms, not just music but paintings, plays, any kind of creative endeavor, but he built Tao with musicians in mind.
The industry, it seems, is starting to wake up and share this enthusiasm.
Weiner and Hakim Draper of the Boogie Shack Music Group announced on August 16 the formation of a “strategic partnership to develop and implement the Tao Network as the underlying technology behind Boogie Shack,” according to a press release. The two organizations will share office space in California and the partnership “will include the analysis of the business operations of a functioning, profitable music publisher in order to develop the tools and services able to serve an entire industry.”
Draper, a former executive at Warner Music, said he’s looking forward to “developing artists and building careers rooted in creativity and new and future technologies like the Tao network.”
In the press release, Weiner says the Tao Network and partnership with Boogie Shack is “an opportunity to build technology directly for and with the music industry and members of the artists’ community. I’m honored to be part of such a historic project.”
There’s one thing that sets Tao apart from other blockchain concepts: It’s moved beyond the theoretical discussion and is moments away from becoming real and useable.
Currently, Tao is in the midst of a crowd sale aimed at raising no more than $30 million through the sale of 30 million Tao Tokens, each selling for no more than $1. (More information on the sale is available at http://tao.network/crowdsale.html). At the end of the 30 day sale—which could be as early as August 28, unless it is extended for another two weeks—the blockchain will go live. As of 11 p.m. Wednesday night, Aug. 24, $45,257.29 had been raised from the sale of 87 tokens.
This particular blockchain has the support of some notables in the music industry in addition to Boogie Shack, including Joe Solo, a producer who worked with Macy Gray, Michael Jackson, Fergie and Will.i.am, who has posted a video explaining his belief in the technology.
We’ll have more on Weiner and the Tao blockchain in the coming weeks.