Story So Far
Bittunes began it’s journey in May 2013, when we took a very basic version of the Bittunes app to the San Jose Bitcoin Conference and a week later to a Music Tech Conference in San Francisco. However, the idea of a new kind of ‘Independent Digital Music Market’, was conceived as far back as 2006. During that long period we had been waiting till we felt that the market conditions were right for implementing our strategy, with one of the key conditions being met when Bitcoin suddenly started to gain much wider acceptance early in 2013.
Like millions of people around the world, we had witnessed the amazing potential of Napster and Limewire and were dismayed as the Music Industry tried to destroy rather than leverage these new technologies. However, it seemed obvious to us that their lack of success could actually be put down to two primary factors. a) The sharing of ‘rights encumbered’ (copyright) music and b) the lack of an effective monetization mechanism to incentivize users to upload, share and collectively benefit from the sharing process. These two factors formed the basis of the Bittunes plan.
By self publishing, Artists can effectively move the money down to the network..
What became glaringly obvious to us was the fact that the basic principles of P2P file sharing could facilitate a massive people powered publishing network. As long as we could make sure that the artists who owned the copyright to their material were the one’s who uploaded, and gave permission, then one of the key problems with previous file sharing applications would be fixed. It would be 100% legal.
This strategy is about moving the massive amounts of money made in the music industry pyramid, down to the network, that the people who actually create the music and the people who buy the music already use. By incentivising both groups and allowing them to work in partnership, new value and dynamics are created.
Even 10 years ago, global self publishing was impractical.. what’s changed?
With access to cheaper and better music production tools, ever increasing internet bandwidth and the continued rise of social media with services like Youtube and Snapchat that enable mass promotion, we are seeing a world with infinitely more potential for content creators to thrive. This is even without even considering the potential of Bitcoin and Blockchain technologies that in fact are total game changers. As hundreds of millions of new consumers come on line every year, we are already in the middle of an era of unmatched potential, the sheer scale of which, few of us can even comprehend.
Why don’t we already have such global self publishing networks?
Quite simply.. Its a matter of ‘vision’.. and collective organization by the people who will benefit from a change to music’s status quo. We think that time has come, and its an easy sell, if we can put the infrastructure in place. The popular music services like Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music etc, will eventually be at a disadvantage in this new ecosystem in the same way that the music industry struggles to come to terms with Youtube. These services are characterized by two factors a) they cater to the demand side of the music equation (the consumer) by offering cheap ad-supported music streaming at the expense of long suffering Artists around the world, and b) they are very heavily subsidized by the music industry. We think they are on the wrong side of history.
So we built an application to sketch out a possible way forward..
The Bittunes app was our way of illustrating a vision of how things could be done. What we found was that the conditions are right for developing a completely new model for music distribution. That model needs refinement, but the basic principles are sound, and they are in line with the general thrust of the more progressive developments on the internet. Its about empowerment of ordinary people.. working musicians, talented song writers and the fans that support them and are tired of being spoon fed the same old bullshit by an increasingly desperate old guard of the music industry.
Its time for radical change.. 🙂