Today, music consumption is stronger than ever, but you probably would not be surprised that a great many consumers are turning to subscription-based platforms rather than actually purchasing songs or albums. The bulk of this consumption comes from streaming; companies like Spotify, Pandora and Rhapsody are leading this trend. However, there are many artists that are adding as many of these methods as they can, in order to give their fans more convenient and simple ways to get their hands on new music. Although most of these artists are embracing the use of Spotify and other streaming platforms, we have began witnessing what could be a monumental shift in how music is purchased online; allowing consumers to use Bitcoin to purchase new music.
In the past month, nationally-known artists like 50 Cent and most recently, Mastodon, have announced their support of Bitcoin payments. Currently under Warner Brothers Records, Mastodon has become the first major label recording artist to accept Bitcoin. The Atlanta born hard rock group is one of the most successful bands within the genre in the past decade and have partnered with BitPay, a Bitcoin payment processor and fellow Atlanta natives.
Why should artists accept Bitcoin?
For artists, Bitcoin presents many advantages, including zero processing fees, transaction security, low fraud risk, no chargebacks and increased exposure to new markets. Bitcoin also enables artists to create a larger web presence across new and existing platforms, leveraging support for technological innovation and driving interest from new fans. For instance, musicians can utilize social platforms like Reddit to spread the word to the growing Bitcoin, music and technology communities, while also pushing out their message across their existing social platforms. In terms of independant artists, Bitcoin also creates the opportunity to have complete control of one’s funds, due to its decentralized nature. By partnering with a payment processor like BitPay, every musician who chooses to accept Bitcoin can make the decision to keep their funds in Bitcoin or settle in their local currency.
For a band like Mastodon, who is currently accepting Bitcoin for purchase of its new album “Once More ‘Round the Sun,” the utilization of digital currency in the music industry can help many other areas of an artist’s efforts. A group at any stage in its career gets a majority of its support from merchandise sales. Whether independent or signed to a major label, Bitcoin can help artists save a great deal on credit card processing fees. Instead musicians can save that 3 to 4 percent and put that money towards continued growth and support of their craft. Bitcoin can enable artists to have more control over their business as a whole, while also gaining exposure to new fans; these and Bitcoin’s low transaction cost have the power to revolutionize how musicians do business, and how fans purchase music and merchandise.
What’s in it for the fans?
Music lovers and concert goers can leave their credit/debit cards and cash at home. By using Bitcoin to purchase your favorite artist’s music and merchandise, you are supporting them more than ever before. In addition, because of Bitcoin’s transaction security, you will not have to worry about fraudulent purchases or losing your wallet, because all your funds are stored on your mobile device. Many artists are also giving fans who pay with Bitcoin access to exclusive content. For instance, by pre-ordering Mastodon’s upcoming album “Once More ‘Round the Sun” you will receive two downloadable tracks before the album’s official release on June 24th.
As more record labels, musicians and fans get behind this new and innovative payment method, the use of Bitcoin in the music industry and throughout its fan communities will continue to grow. Music groups are always seeking ways to be different. Bitcoin provides possibilities that are mutually beneficial for fans, artists and labels.
“We want to give our fans as many options to buy our new album as possible, and are happy that bitcoin can be one of those choices,” Mastodon stated. Those wishing to pre-order or purchase Mastodon’s newest album can visit http://mastodonrocks.com/bitcoin.
Adam is a writer and musician on a mission. With a strong background in marketing and sales, Adam covers topics aimed directly at spreading knowledge of and supporting the growth of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Adam resides in one of the best tech hubs in the US - Atlanta. @adamhhofman