Poll The music industry has been a petri dish for some fairly atrocious digital ideas, but few can be as desperate as Blockchain.
Is this the worst Blockchain idea you’ve ever heard?
We thought the business had scraped rock bottom with blockchain .bc “format”. This got oodles of press, as Imogen Heap was fronting the publicity for the tech venture. Heap has since released a single on Ethereum.
“An entirely new landscape for distributing and monetising music and all its related data and content,” burbled Jamie Bartlett, “It could completely transform the music industry.”
It seemed impolite to point out that all this did was wrap up some back office functions in fashionable crypto woo.
“Music has billions of events with financial implications (each click on a play button) but relatively few of them are actually transactions. It makes no sense to increase massively the number of transactions that need to be recorded and reconciled, and would be absurdly expensive to do so,” wrote state51’s Paul Sanders.
After the Blockchain hype fades, the industry “will go through much the same process as any of the other manic episodes in our recent history, and end up in the same kind of bewildered slump,” Sanders predicted in a pithy must-read.
Listeners to one of Heap's presentations weren’t told that the Blockchain ledger could only handle three transactions per second (some argue as many as seven) if nobody else was using it. And the subsequent theft of $50m from Ethereum (which has since been forked) may, you think, have sobered some people up. That’s a lot of royalties to go missing - even for Imogen Heap.
But we think we’ve found an idea even worse than Mycelia. It comes from Barney Wragg, most recently head of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Company, and before that, a short-lived digital whizz around various large record labels.
Allow the press release to explain:
“Bandnamevault.com uses Blockchain technology to help musicians protect their band, DJ, or stage name without spending thousands of dollars to register a trademark.
“Using a customized search engine that draws data from multiple major music services and databases artists can now search potential new band names for free. Once an artist finds an available name, for $15 they can create an immutable record of that name, and critically all of their uses of that name including every gig, recording, public performance or other appearance. All of this information is permanently linked to the Blockchain and can be independently verified at any time in the future. Following registration with Bandnamevault.com the name is usually published and verified on the Bitcoin Blockchain within 30 minutes.”
Why, you may wonder, does all that administrative cruft need to go in the Bitcoin ledger? Because Bitcoin, stupid.
We called Bandnamevault to enquire whether they'd be registering your band's trademark as part of their vault's "services" - and would be advising bands to register for a trademark anyway?
Barney Wragg replied:
"A successful Trademark application does offer a full set of legal protections and licensing opportunities that our simple registration serve does not," he admitted. "However, a Trademark application in multiple countries and multiple categories will cost several thousand pounds. This is a huge burden which almost no band starting out can afford.
"The purpose of bandnamevault.com is to provide a very low cost way for a emerging artist to create an indisputable record of their use of a name, and associate with that name details of how, when and what it was being used for."
Over to you then.
If you have a worse business idea that uses the Bitcoin ledger, we'd love to hear it. Just vote and then describe it in the Comments below. ®
Relatives of Satoshi Nakamoto, Imogen Heap or Barney Wragg are not eligible to enter. Readers can vote multiple times, even after the polls have closed. We couldn't care less.