In this day and age, there is no escaping the entertainment industry.
Just as we were getting used to one format, a new scheme takes over. This happened with theater, vaudeville, film, 3D cinema, Cinemascope, Blockbuster, Netflix, etc. The list goes on and on, and with new technology developing every day, we’re bound to see another change soon.
That change might be found in the blockchain, or more specifically Ethereum. A new open source platform welcomes developers to build games, applications, and contracts all while publicly recording transactions. Through coding, a developer can create a more decentralized world.
What does this have to do with the entertainment industry? Well, using this technological language, we can create a more constructive, transparent, and honest industry.
By allowing more transparency, production and music companies could implement smart contracts in every level of pre, post, and regular production. These contracts are electronic agreements put on the blockchain that cannot be manipulated or tampered with. This would also prevent any top executive from changing what was originally discussed. The contracts spell out each term included, which is perfect for any upcoming filmmaker or artist who fears they will be cheated.
By using smart contracts, rights, royalties, and profits will only go to those involved. Ethereum-based companies are already developing this new and honest format. For example, Ujo Music, launched a prototype last year featuring Imogen Heap’s song “Tiny Human”. The smart contract was designed to distribute the profits from the download to those who created the song. With just one download, the user could see how their funds were sorted out.
Similar to Ujo Music, SingularDTV, a blockchain production studio, will use smart contracts to protect creative rights. SingularDTV will also showcase the project’s revenue, and who gets what percentage. Along with the creative team (writers, director), talent (actors), and below-the-line people (crew), those who invested will receive a percentage of the profits.
Investing in these projects are becoming easier and easier. With crowdfunding sites growing, fans can help their favorite movies or writers get the money they need to create the projects they want. In 2013, the film "Veronica Mars" raised $5.7 million in just one month. With the help of the fans, they made this the most successful crowdfunding film of all time.
Ethereum and other virtual currencies are making it possible for films and other projects to raise funding. Hedley Productions created Vulture Capital (VCAPs), a token built on the Ethereum blockchain, to help raise funds for their upcoming film Listen Carefully. The company promoted this campaign by giving the audience access to something they’ve never had before. By contributing virtual currency, fans were able to receive profits, help greenlight the next project, see their name in the credits, and be allowed to visit the set.
Recently, aKenEvilThing opened their crowdfunding campaign for their upcoming film, The Pitts Family Circus. This campaign was designed using a smart contract that gives investors dividends on profits for the next twenty years. If it proves to be a success, this will be the first Ether funded film.
It may take another year, or even ten, but this is the time for entertainment. A place where the creative team becomes their own business and fans become the investors.