Bringing Artists and Fans Together in the Blockchain Age

By yBitcoin Magazine / October 15th, 2014 Sponsored Content

Everything in the music world begins with the artist. Unfortunately, it all
too often doesn’t end with artists receiving adequate compensation for
bringing their artistic vision to life. And we’ve all seen what that means:
fabulous musicians reduced to playing for “drinks and tips” or else no longer
playing at all as they drop out to pursue boring desk jobs that help keep the
lights on in their apartments.

PeerTracks looks to change that sorry aspect of the music business—and just
about every other aspect as well. When it launches in mid-2015, it will do so
by applying the same blockchain technology Bitcoin has used to revolutionize
the currency world, thereby creating a far more democratic, transparent,
decentralized industry where artists are at the core and artists’ fans can
help both further their careers and benefit financially from doing so.

In sum, PeerTracks is looking to tell you: This will not be your father’s
music industry.

At a baseline level, PeerTracks is a music-streaming retail website that makes
music available to the public. But that’s about where the similarity to iTunes
and Spotify, et al, ends. That’s because PeerTracks is “powered” in its back
end by BitShares Music, a decentralized autonomous company (DAC) made up of
tradable units of value it calls “Notes.” These Notes fluctuate in value and
can be exchanged among users in the same way that Bitcoin holders use their

The different wrinkle with PeerTracks is that it’s a music-centric service
dedicated to promoting healthy peer-to-peer relationships among artists, their
followers, and everyone else who thinks highly enough about a given artist to
take some kind of stake in their careers. Artists who sign up for the service
get a powerful promotional tool by being able to create their own
“Artistcoins” and sell them to their fans (or give them away if they’re
inclined). They can then offer perks and goodies to anyone who holds their
Artistcoin, effectively binding their fans to them.

At a basic level, Artistcoins might simply enable their holder to get a
discount on that artist’s music. But an artist might also offer—say, to all
holders of 100 Artistcoins—entry to a special backstage concert and reception.
Or an autographed album. Or attendance at a rehearsal session, or anything
else the artist can conjure to add value to his or her supportive coinholders
and fans. (Backrubs from Beyonce for all her large-quantity coinholders? Well,
don’t hold your breath on that one, but you get the idea…)

“We’ve made it as easy as using your credit card to fund your account in
BitUSD, a cryptocurrency which is market-pegged to the U.S. dollar and
collateralized by Notes,” says PeerTracks President and Founder Cédric Cobban,
a soft-spoken French Canadian whose own music tastes run the gamut from rock
to rap to mainstream, old to new. “That means buyers are protected from the
volatility we see with Bitcoin. BitUSD is the cyptocurrency used to buy and
sell everything on PeerTracks. Songs, albums, merchandise, concert tickets and
more. All while providing a unit of account customers are used to (the U.S.
dollar). BitUSD can also be used to buy Artistcoins.”

Artistcoins function as a way for fans to support their favorite artists and
potentially stand to gain from their successful career as long as fans hold
their coins.

“The more music and merchandise artists sell on PeerTracks, the greater the
value of their Artistcoins, so both the artist’s and fan’s interests are
aligned and incentivized in a completely new way,” Cobban says.

The backbone on which the entire PeerTracks architecture will run is the
BitShares Music blockchain, analogous to the trunk lines on which AT&T
built its communications system, on which everything from Notes to BitUSD to
all Artistcoins reside. The Notes are the basic units of the blockchain and
the collateral behind BitUSD. Whenever there is a purchase on the music
blockchain, the (tiny) transaction fee is in Notes. Noteholders should see the
value of each Note go up over time as more transaction fees are recorded on
the blockchain and Notes begin to be “burned,” reducing the number in

Also, Notes being the collateral behind BitUSD means they work in tandem: the
more BitUSDs that are created, the more Notes are required. So the more that
people start using PeerTracks and the BitShares Music blockchain, the more
demand there is on the Note, bringing its value up.

The upshot is that Note buyers not only participate in the building of a
revolutionary system of music sharing and promotion, but they also put
themselves into position to potentially profit financially as the system is
built out and begins to flourish to all the players’ benefit, without the huge
shares of cash traditionally claimed by corporate interests such as record
labels, credit card companies and payment systems.

All of which brings up a current unique opportunity: The BitShares Music
Foundation is conducting a Notes Presale Auction through December 4 on the
Foundation’s website at The auction
format sees 5 million Notes sold and divided proportionally among all the
purchasers on a given day. All purchases must be made in Bitcoin,
necessitating that the purchaser have a Bitcoin wallet with sufficient funds
for their purchase amount. See the website for details. “Napster showed the
world what can be done with peer-to-peer music file sharing, but the artists
were left out of the equation,” says Cobban. “What PeerTracks will do is get
all parties who love music and want to see it flourish on the same page. Fans
get to support their favorite artists in multiple ways, and the more that they
do, the more money artists make, allowing them to hand out more and better
goodies to their supportive fans in return. It’s the music business version of
the old marketing maxim, a ‘win-win relationship.’

“This will help bring not just music, but the music business, fully into the
digital age. To say that we are excited about that is an understatement on the
order of saying the Beatles sold a few records in their time.”