Say Hello to the Web3 Startup Helping Artists Keep Their Royalties

Utilizing Web3 and the blockchain, Unchained Music aims to 'take the shackles off musicians' so they can be free to create.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
You're reading Entrepreneur Europe, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Since the dawn of the streaming age, musical artists have been rightfully concerned about how they're supposed to get paid their royalties. One blockchain startup, Unchained Music, is helping artists around the European Union, and the world, get their royalties from Spotify, Apple, Tidal, and other streaming services.

Vasyl Dolmatov | Getty Images

The service "undercuts the entire market and allows artists to keep more of their value," says Matt Waters, founder and CEO of Unchained Music. Typically, artists pay yearly or per album to distribute their music release or distributors take 10 percent to 20 percent of the royalties, he says. "Because our entire back end is decentralized finance, we're able to provide those same services and access to a lot of Web3 tools completely for free."

Unchained Music distributes artists' music on its own platform, but also through other platforms to generate revenue that the artists then access on the blockchain.

"The royalties come back to us from places like Spotify and Apple Music and then on our back end, we plug them into a decentralized finance application called Aave," says Waters, who adds that it "earns a very small amount of yield," so Unchained Music keeps the interests and artists keep 100 percent of the principal. This process covers the entire technological stack and more.

While the service is in a closed beta with a waitlist right now, artists have already signed up around the world and Waters sees this as an opportunity for them to reach even more fans while keeping their money and honing their craft with fewer financial stressors.

One European act that's taken advantage of Unchained Music is Bars & Melody, whose Leondre Devries tells Entrepreneur, "Unchained Music's use of DEFI and Web3 immediately increases value for both established and independent artists alike. They are really aiming to take the shackles off musicians so we can be truly free to create."

"Decentralized finance and blockchain more broadly allows artists more flexibility and more opportunities when monetizing their music," Waters says. "Artists from Europe now have the ability to reach directly to fans across the world without industry intermediaries, unless they choose to do so."