Will Elon Musk save the music industry?

This MBW op-ed is from Ran Geffen (inset photo), CEO of Amusica Song Management in Israel and founder of OG.studio, an extended reality content and business development agency facilitating transitions to web3.


Music companies demanded that Twitter fully license the music.

But, as the potential new owner of the platform, Elon Musk will not play the music industry’s game – instead, the music industry must play its game.

That said, a Musk music DAO initiative (let’s call it MuziX, given Musk’s brand history) might actually be the answer to their plea: it would be a decentralized music rights management platform. blockchain-based authoring and licensing that would democratize the way music is licensed.

The big potential losers if Musk decides to get into the music business? Collective rights management organizations and, by proxy, their respective members. To survive in Musk’s world, they must be the architects of their own (present) demise.

Let’s take a closer look at Twitter’s position in the landscape in a music business context: it’s a gathering space where musicians interact with each other and their fandom, and where web3 music projects are launched and managed.

It was labeled by the IFPI as “an important concern for the music industry” in its submission to the European Union Commission, and PRS CEO Andrea Czapary Martin urged the company to “take responsibility for the music it shares with millions of people around the world.”

Twitter’s response was, “We are always looking for ways to support our community of creators.

Now let’s take a closer look at Musk.

His TED Talk about the future gives a good insight into his way of thinking and acting. His primary interest right now? AI. It took time for the AI ​​in self-driving cars to learn how to use the roads designed for humans.

He had to understand and imitate human vision and interaction. Optimus, Musk’s humanoid AI robot, must also understand humans in order to interact with them.

Twitter is the place to analyze human interaction based on short statements and reactions. Musk would amplify this interaction by allowing its users to see if the algorithm edited a given tweet and suggest corrections. In short: Musk turns Twitter customers into collaborators in his mission to improve human-computer interaction.

Amy Thomson of Hipgnosis suggested the same solution in a recent MBW Podcast – a global copyright database checked by the creators themselves. She also highlights the lack of transparency as a major problem in today’s ecosystem. Transparency is at the heart of blockchain technology.

Tom Allen of Curve Royalty Systems gave a timeline of 10-15 years for the industry to adopt blockchain as a solution (giving the example of self-driving cars) and talked about the scale and high transaction fees on Ethereum.

Musk has pledged to roll out self-driving cars next year. Processing a music transaction would be a walk in the park for him. Transaction costs, which have been flagged as a concern, can be reduced by simply switching to a green, reliable and inexpensive blockchain.

So what would be the components of MuziX?

  1. A registry for all players in the music industry that would provide a unique international identification number and connect them to a dedicated e-wallet that would give them an overview of all their assets and revenue generated in the music ecosystem by type of ‘use .
  2. An open database of music composition contributors with divisions recorded on the blockchain and smart contracts that would set the terms for recording artists, DSPs or anyone else who wants to use the music to stream, sync or distribute. ‘sample.
  3. A registration management tool based on a nominative composition attached to it that would register all participating contributors – producers, performers and session actors – on the blockchain, and the conditions allowing the use of a registration at n any end.
  4. A digital vault of recordings which would include a demo of the new recording to complete the recording of the composition. The demo recording would be analyzed via fingerprint technology to ensure the composition is original and allow sample requests. The system would also upload stalks that can be used under the terms of smart contracts and a fingerprint of the recode.
  5. This would create the same for any visual/audiovisual work attached to a record or any contributor.
  6. A switchboard that would connect all data to an API that would allow anyone who wanted to personally use the copyrighted material or aggregate it to third parties under the terms of smart contracts.

In this new world, songwriters and publishers would be at the center of creation with the tools to dictate the terms under which their compositions could be used. Performers and master owners could also set their terms. Creators could get an immediate license to use the stems to create new works and new revenue for the original creators.

The same goes for AI music creation tools that could give fans access to licensed elements of the music they love. Freedom of creation, transparency and immediate remuneration set by music creators.

The infrastructure is already there, it is evolving and taking shape. Take a close look at the NFT Music Landscape, visit the websites, join their Discord channels, read their roadmap and white papers, talk to them, and connect the dots. Streaming is the main source of income for artists and songwriters. As 80% of artists on Spotify have less than 50 listeners per month, they need to make money elsewhere – in the Web3 and NFT space they can set their own rules and terms of engagement with their fans.

“The music industry invests heavily in metaverse entities to try to harness current trends and bring them in line with the old world. Social media and streaming platforms are embracing NFTs as a commodity to sell, not a utility to pay royalties.

But, as things stand, PROs, majors, and publishers aren’t part of that equation.

Instead, the music industry invests heavily in metaverse entities to try to harness current trends and bring them into line with the old world. Social media and streaming platforms are embracing NFTs as a commodity to sell, not a utility to pay royalties.

(And by the way, I’ve spoken to many Web3 players, and they’re more than willing to play with the mainstream music industry the right way.)


Musk can change that on the fly and invite his fellow crypto-natives from across the music industry — disruptive actors like members of Song Guild of America (backed by Hipognose, backed by Blackstone) and other early adopters in the decentralized area, to create a better place for copyright owners.

Musk has done this successfully with the auto industry, forcing them to develop electric cars. In his TED talk, he described this as an “act of philanthropy”. He can do it for the music industry. If he builds MuziX, they will come.

A simple tweet from Musk reflecting on such a venture could finally unite the music industry in a bid to save themselves… from themselves. The huge amount of money that will be saved on IT development, data storage and administration costs by PROs, record labels, music publishers and DSPs could be allocated to better serve their customers and redistribute wealth to benefit music creators. Remember, without writers and musicians, there is no music business). The authors and their respective publishers (if any) own the PROs and change must start with them.

“The PROs will have to lighten up. We don’t need them to be these big, bloated organizations. Their role in this new world, if they want one, should be to get the best deal for writers through legislation and negotiation and, above all, education.

In 1993, my first mentor in the music industry – Sam Trust, the legendary head of ATV – gave me my first lesson in music publishing: “Go to the collecting society, spit on the floor and n ‘don’t stop yelling until they pay you to shut up’.

Many things have changed since then. The PROs have taken a giant leap forward in providing better service and transparency to their members. The problem is that they did it separately. Why? Ego.

Ego has caused PROs to spend a lot of money recreating the same systems in territories around the world. From GRD to ISWC and so on, they stumbled over and over again. ICE, SACEM and MINT compete and poach each other, all at the expense of their members/owners. Not all of the above are equipped to handle Web3 space. Instead of creating an environment to support it, they try to shut it down, just like they tried with Napster.

PROs can keep doing the same thing and expect different results (Einstein’s definition of insanity) or have CISAC aggregate all the valuable information stored on their members’ systems and use it as global hub for all collecting societies – create their version of “MuziX” with their members as co-owners. If they don’t, other players will step in and allow their members to acquire license rights using blockchain technologies. Some of the players in the NFT music landscape are actively doing a great job preparing this infrastructure to support the likes of Alan Walker, as featured in a recent MBW podcast.

The PROs will have to lighten up. We don’t need them to be these big, bloated organizations. Their role in this new world, if they want one, should be to get the best deal for writers through legislation and negotiation and, more importantly, education. It can only work if they work together and if there are good, smart leaders in the music industry. Putting the ego aside will allow them to take the right steps.

As for Musk? Let’s see what happens if and when he tweets this to his community. The music industry around the world

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