Crowd Remix was inspired by the 7 billion monthly streams with no revenue going to artists. At it's peak Napster had 3 million users and it changed the music industry. We see an opportunity to provide value to the music community by providing a legal remix environment via a web application potentially monetizing 7 billion streams.
Our hackathon project explores the possibilities of placing the ownership percentages of new digital goods on the blockchain. Putting music rights into smart contracts could remove the friction of collaboration with drag along rights ownership. This is an exciting new field that should be thoroughly evaluated for the music vertical.
What it does
Our team created a library of all of the music that can be used in remixes (CC0 & Public Domain). It contains over 100,000 songs and sound effects. We then created a web audio engine that will bring this music into a mobile or desktop browser.
This library of sounds can be turned into new compositions using our crowdremix.io web application. This provides a fun remix environment where anything that is made can be published to Spotify, Pandora, or the blockchain. Our goal is to drop the cost of creating sellable content within the grasp of anyone with a smart phone or computer.
We track original content during the creation process to create a piechart of ownership for the new digital good. The pie chart of ownership is then turned into a smart contract on the ethereum blockchain. When payments are distributed by Pandora or Spotify they are processed through the smart contract and into the artists wallets.
How I built it
We used a React frontend and PHP backend located on AWS servers. When publishing a new composition it creates a JSON file that is turned into a smart contract. We used the Ethereum platform for the smart contracts but future versions could use Waves or our own lightweight version.
Challenges I ran into
Blockchain technology is cumbersome and the creation of a smart contract will burn cryptocurrency. There is a possibility of maximizing the efficiency of this delivery system by delivering content via a blockchain based P2P network. The real challenge of the blockchain in music is the overhead of processing transactions. When it comes to small payments such as streams it makes sense to be an aggregator that holds funds and distributes large cryptocurrecy payouts.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
There's a lot of ways to bake the blockchain into music. The biggest question is how can it be used for the benefit of the artist, the fan, and the technology. Our implementation takes music that is essentially free and turns into into valuable digital content with the rights managed on the blockchain.
There has never been a 100% secure solution for monitoring the content that is in a remix. We are the first to provide this full remix environment that is populated with permissive music. The music engine that we created is a unique way to identify content and is the only secure solution for remixers and labels.
What I learned
When connecting with the BuzzAngle API to create our curation algorithm we found that it could be used on a large scale to identify potential superstars. Our machine learning skillset in the audio space allows us to analyze sales and streaming data and create a predictive model for finding new superstars.
While this idea was not feasible to complete during a hackathon we will certainly explore this idea that our team will pursue. Machine learned A&R for a major label would be extremely valuable when it comes to picking winners to invest in. We will begin research this year.
What's next for Crowd Remix
We are going to do user testing to determine if we should pursue blockchain technology. This will determine if blockchain is helpful in a B2C music environment. While we are doing user testing on Crowd Remix we will begin R&D on a machine learned A&R analysis. Our primary B2B goal is to find a major client to provide our A&R analysis services.