Category Archive: Imogen Heap

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Imogen Heap Releases New Single Using Ethereum

In a recent event at Guardian live!, popular music artist Imogen Heap talked about the release of her new song, Tiny Human, on the Ethereum blockchain. By working with BitTunes, Ethereum Developers recently demonstrated smart contract functionality by purchasing the song using Ether. Imogen started with just a thought:
And I thought, wouldn’t it be nice if I could decide what I wanted to do with my music, who I wanted to have it for free, or not have it for free?

She eventually found her way to the bleeding edge of technology and has now officially brought her music to the digital age with blockchain smart contracts.

Music Is Finally Entering the Digital Age

Since the days of Napster, LimeWire, and even iTunes, music has come a long way in the digital age. Before physical mediums for music storage and music playing were developed, the only way to purchase music was to buy a single listen in the form of (likely) an orchestra or choral concert. With physical medium such as vinyl, cassettes, CDs, and now MP3s, the business model changed to allow consumers to buy “unlimited” listens by having the music file. Newer services such as Spotify, Pandora, and 8Tracks have created a newer business model that returns to using the “listen” as the basic unit of measurement. Music ownership has progressed and regressed; however, the connection between artist and music buyer has only continually grown wider and wider. Imogen commented:

“…now, you get a download, but often it’s not connected to the artist in any way.”

Blockchain Technology Allows for New Possibilities

After talking about blockchain technology with her friend Zoë, Imogen realized that technology had finally reached a point where users could get a download that is connected to artists in a financial way. Imogen described her realization:“I realized there is actually a way that you can connect a file with its payment attached into a digital wallet. And so when somebody listens to a track — the technology is very close to being there — it immediately recompenses me, and then I can split it off to my choreographer, to Zoë for thanking her, to whatever, it can immediately go into their bank accounts. Instead of having to wait two years, sometimes, even more, for money to come back to me, it can be instant.”

It turns out that technology can benefit the fans, who can receive provable special attention from their favorite artist, and the artists, who can receive payments sooner and with less middle men in between. Imogen Heap’s decision to use Ethereum and blockchain technology now that she is free of the shackles of contracts made by record labels tells us something about the future. This same move toward smart contracts will be emulated in other industries. Ethereum, and by extension Bitcoin and blockchain technology as a whole, will change the world.

 About the author: Caleb Chen is a cryptocurrency advocate and research assistant at the Chamber of Digital Commerce.

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