Web3 and the Creative Industries: How Blockchains Are Reshaping Business Models
Forthcoming in S. Cunningham (ed) A Research Agenda for Creative Industries
23 Pages Posted: 14 May 2019
Date Written: April 15, 2019
Web3, underpinned by blockchain technology, is an evolution of digital infrastructure, whereby protocol-enforced consensus mechanisms facilitate the direct (that is, peer-to-peer) exchange of value between users, removing the need for trusted intermediaries. Existing blockchain experiments seek to create artist-centric business models, dismantling agency-centred business models that brokered and organised connections between artists and their fans or buyers. By enabling the automation of payments, licensing, intellectual property management, contracting and governance, digital content storage and access, blockchain technology also enables artists to set the terms of their market participation. An emerging decentralised ‘internet of value’ has the potential to reshape creative industries business models.
The extent to which creative workers and cultural products are transformed by these infrastructures may depend on the adaptive responsiveness of existing institutions (including law, philanthropy and finance) to technological opportunities, although it is also possible that change may occur regardless of institutional efforts. A research agenda for Web3 creative industries would therefore extend upon existing knowledge of creative work, policy and funding models, as well as the consequences of technological change for distribution and access. In this chapter, we discuss case studies from music (Ujo-music and dotblockchain), collectibles (cryptokitties), visual arts (dada.nyc), and storytelling (Cellarius) and the policy and research questions that arise. In addition to offering new methods for the buying and selling of creative works, with implications for how creative production is rewarded, some of these experiments are seeking to destabilise the digital economy more broadly and to create avenues for values-based markets that provide creators with alternatives to commercially-oriented income streams.
Keywords: blockchain, creative industries
JEL Classification: Z1
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation