Music and NFTs
How the NFT standard can be leveraged to change distribution on the internet for music, videos, and other forms of content.
The evolution of music distribution is largely characterized by incremental developments based on technology advancements. From early recordings and cassettes to digital media and MP3s, a song has always lived as a static piece of information interpreted by a machine to transfer an experience between humans.
The problem with this trend is that the machine vendor has always established the terms of access to the song. Along every step in the progression, this model has crushed creators—eliminating any control over pricing, and the ability to directly connect with consumers. With SHARE, we introduce a technology advancement that disrupts this trend by redefining digital content (such as music), not as static information, but as a dynamic self-contained machine. A simple analogy is the vending machine. A vending machine can be placed anywhere in the world, and its owner controls its access independent of the property on which it operates.
As technology has advanced, those who control the flow of music, the vendors, have streamlined distribution to the point where every stream of creative work is priced the same, making value indistinguishable and commoditizing the art. This lack of variable pricing has forced many creators to transform their work to fit the technology platform paradigm, or leave the business altogether.
SHARE was created to change the paradigm. The solution to this problem is to package both content, and its access code into a self-contained virtual machine. This inverts the dependency––from creators depending on technology vendor rules, to technology vendors depending on creator specified rules. This is uniquely possible due to blockchain technology (see notes on the Ethereum Virtual Machine to understand why blockchain is the right tool for the job). While non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have introduced a powerful cross-platform standard for ownership and provenance, NFTs alone do not solve the access inversion problem.
At the core of SHARE is the idea of a pay-for-access smart contract. The price per access (e.g. view or listen) can be set to zero as is today for nearly all NFTs, but it can also be set to a nonzero value. This means that content will exist which cannot be observed until a micro-payment is recorded on the blockchain. In order to enable high-volume transactions at low cost, SHARE supports the Polygon Proof-of-Stake (PoS) sidechain, and will support both additional chains, and new EVM compatible ZK rollups as they launch. See scaling rationale in SHARE Whitepaper section 10.
Unlockable PFA experiences at scale can create immense impact for creators. At high volume, micro-payment transactions on observables are much more sustainable than trying to sell a single NFT for a high price to one buyer. Rallying a community to establish value around an NFT can be a stressful endeavor for artists, and an alternative model is to charge a creator specified price for the ability to experience the art.