The budding creative industry can leverage blockchain technology to provide transparent transactions, more efficient contracting, reduced overheads and less reliance on intermediaries.
The embryonic blockchain-enabled creative economy has opportunities to synchronise the old industry incumbents and new technology by embracing an open and accessible Internet of value.
The East African Community member states can provide adequate infrastructure to facilitate digital transformation.
The need to educate creative workers to be entrepreneurial and adopt digital-enabled business models is vital.
The industry needs to enhance business skills through simplified and automated business processes.
Blockchain-based applications are one way to lower the cost and complexity burden on creative businesses, especially those that lack specialised professional support.
The outcome could be lower-risk, better-run businesses that are geared for administrative efficiency and regulatory and legal compliance, enabling better financing and growth.
Besides, they should co-ordinate with other stakeholders including art organisations, creative firms and funders to realign their operations to embrace the shared digital infrastructures and open standards.
For the creative industries, blockchain can trace work across a supply chain, implying that it can be used to distinguish genuine articles from copies or fakes. Distinct platforms reduce the need to verify and audit information about the quality and characteristics of any context of joint production. This may include not only provenance but also contracting, licensing, certification, royalties or broadly any context that requires a trusted third party to verify or authenticate the information that is an input into production or consumption.
The platform resolves issues in the broader industry ecosystem as opposed to providing alternatives that bypass these systems by connecting musicians directly to fans.
Blockchain can make smart contracts and payments more efficient. Smart contracts can be used to facilitate digital collaboration by clearly ascribing, attributing and remunerating work.
Besides, automatically remunerating artistes a predefined percentage on secondary sales, whereby an agreed-upon percentage of the total revenue is paid out to contributors based on how many streams were recorded on the blockchain.
Creatives require platforms that can deal with complicated agreements that may arise from time-to-time, which involve getting a production or music to market and to reduce difficulties in getting payments to those involved.
Therefore, having a single, shared contract between parties that can respond to data inputs such as from online distribution services would be transformative.
Blockchain technologies can also be used for managing investments, including from multiple smaller parties such as fans and impact investors.
Deferred payment projects are often considered useful for emerging filmmakers, for example, a group of students who can only raise a limited amount of funds from investors. Small investments can be very difficult to administer, requiring small payments to multiple parties if the film is picked up by festivals or distributors. Smart contracts could solve this issue by automating payments to all those who worked on production if it sells.
Digital art, which can be copied or manipulated in ways that undermine the principles of scarcity and originality that drive art markets has been resolved through blockchain’s rare digital objects or digital collectables made possible through a software innovation called non-fungible tokens.
As such, blockchain-enabled NFTs facilitate asset provenance or tracking and verify asset ownership or authenticity.
By integrating these distinct functions into a single technological infrastructure, blockchain may significantly change how the creative industries operate on the business side and enable peer-to-peer markets.
As a result of these features, creative practitioners may be empowered to find new means of connecting with audiences and fans and find that creative collaboration is easier to manage.
Nancy Marangu, via e-mail