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Is Blockchain changing the music industry again?

On multiple occasions, lectures use the music industry as an understandable example of an industry constantly threatened by digital innovation. Those presenting talk about the sudden changes from piano-rolls, to vinyl, to cassettes, to CDs, to MP3 and finally to streaming as we know it today. But have you ever wondered what is happening behind the scenes of all those changes?  

Have a closer look where exactly those innovations happened. You will realize that in all those years of innovation, it mostly happened regarding the production and the seller’s side of music. It is true that music consumption has changed, but the processes behind the scenes always follow the same logic and rules that have been in place for over one hundred years. And now, all the sudden there is blockchain-technology supposed to change exactly those old processes. I wonder, is the music industry changing again for good?  

"The impact of the blockchain technology on the entertainment and creative industries is just beginning. "

My name is Vincenzo Neidhardt, I am a master student in Information Systems here at the University of Liechtenstein. I chose this MSc programme and University to make sure I can use the ongoing technological revolution for my purposes in the music industry.  

I have been experimenting as an artist manager for the past couple of years. I always had a strong urge that I wanted to try to do things a little differently than most managers would. I joined an incubator in Zurich, worked out a different revenue-model for artist management and set up a management firm that strongly focuses on ownership, control, and independence on behalf of its clients.   

Machine learning for music business  

I did this besides my studies in Zurich and of course they have suffered. The price was poorer grades and occasionally repetitions, which, however, never conflicted with my belief that it was imperative that I continue my studies. In addition, the whole firm did not classify as a Start-Up and therefor all funds, vanity and support were out of reach.  

Before coming to Liechtenstein however, I spotted an opportunity to spinoff an activity from my routines after my former lecturers introduced machine learning in class. I instantly realized: This could make my life much easier. I contacted a friend of mine, who I happened to get to know during a part-time job and asked him if he was up to starting a new venture.  

Helga.works: Self-determination for musicians  

It is 2022 now, our venture is Helga.works, a management tool, provided as software as a service, which shall fundamentally change the work for self-managed artists and artist managers in the music industry. We aim to consolidate their whole business into one tool, to allow them to make better, data-driven decisions and become more efficient in their careers. To do so, we designed Helga.works as a hyper-focused manager that looks at all revenues received, performs automatic reconciliation, splits revenues to shareholders, runs automatic analysis to determine if all associated revenues that belong to our users have been received and provides alerts or recommendations if inconsistencies have been spotted.   

As this is all easier said than done, the processes and technology we need to establish and apply are a big and daily challenge for us. Furthermore, as we are not only trying to consolidate already digitized, but also semi- and non-digitized revenue reports, keeping track of what we develop next and what we leave for later has become essential for the survival of our venture.   

Blockchain to simplify the everyday life of artists  

And now there is this blockchain. Indeed, we see the potential value of blockchain or smart contracts that could theoretically make many processes we are facing today much easier. Tokenized assets for example could deliver us crucial information for our process of splitting revenues instantly, smart contracts could fundamentally change the way we organize work and automate processes much easier.  

From our perspective at this point, however, we do not think we’re there yet. More research needs to be done in that field, before an ultimate implementation can happen and given that behind the scenes, nothing revolutionary took place compared to music streaming, we doubt the industry is ready for such fundamental change yet.  

Author: Vincenzo Neidhardt, studies MSc Information Systems at the University of Liechtenstein  and is CEO of Helga.works


Helga.works and the Master Information Systems 

In this video, Vincenzo explains why he chose the Master Information Systems here at the University of Liechtenstein and what he expects from the studies for the future of his music management solution Helga.works.

Daniel Knapp, the programme manager of the Master Information Systems, shows the advantages of this English-language program at our small university and which opportunities arise for the graduates already during their studies.   

Meet us in person: Info events at the University of Liechtenstein

Do you want to get off to a flying start in your job and acquire the necessary knowledge to do so? Then visit the campus at one of our info events and get to know the study programmes and meet Vincenzo and Daniel in person.  

All info events at a glance


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