Frequently Asked Questions
What is MUSE?
MUSE is a Blockchain specifically tailored for the music industry. It is a Membership Organization in the cloud that aims to be the foundation for the music industry’s new ecosystem. It serves as a global database for copyrights, a means of payment for all music related transactions (including royalties) as well as a tool to simplify licensing of musical works.
What is a Blockchain?
A Blockchain is a Peer-to-Peer network. It is a ledger that is distributed across the globe. When changes to the ledger occur (like transfers of value/ownership or writing of a new Smart Contract) the changes are included into a “block” of transactions/changes/updates. The new block is added to the previous block in a linear, chronological order creating a chain of blocks: a Blockchain. This means the entire history of events is recorded on the Blockchain and can be consulted – acting as a public record.
Is this a privately owned network?
No. MUSE is not proprietary. It is an ownerless, automated, globally distributed, Peer-to-Peer network.
Why a Blockchain for music?
Unlike many other attempts at creating a global music rights database, in MUSE the maintenance of content does not depend on trust of a central authority. MUSE’s open, transparent and permanent nature makes it possible for anybody (artists, labels, Publishers, Royalty collecting organizations, etc.) to plug in for free and start building on top of this stable and solid infrastructure. Not being proprietary, there is no need to ask permission to anyone in order to use MUSE. Artists and entrepreneurs can plug into MUSE and benefit immediately from its use while offloading the costs of maintaining their own databases to the Blockchain. Similar to the Internet, there is no need to “build your own Internet” or to plug into “someone else’s internet” in order to benefit from being connected to the world.
Both MUSE and the Internet are free and permanent networks that are open to all.
Other attempts at a global database left it depending entirely on the whims and political/business decisions of the centralized entity that controlled it. It is much too risky for an entrepreneur to base his business model on access to a database that can disappear or fundamentally change overnight.
Is this Bitcoin?
No. Bitcoin is the first Blockchain ever invented. It proved the concept that a P2P network can eliminate both:
- The need for strangers transacting with each other to trust one another
- The need to rely on a trusted third party to act as intermediary
Why not use Bitcoin?
There are a few issues with Bitcoin making it sub-optimal for the music industry’s needs. To list but a few:
- The value of bitcoins is highly volatile
- The network is controlled by miners and mining pools
- The network is currently limited to a mere 7 transactions per second
- Bitcoin’s ledger tracks one thing only: the ownership of bitcoins
- No Smart Contract capability
MUSE is a third generation Blockchain.
- MUSE has Smartcoins – volatility free crypto-currencies
- The network is controlled by people that have stake in the network itself
- The network can currently handle over 100 000 transactions per second – That is the speed of the VISA and MasterCard networks combined
- MUSE tracks multiple types of crypto-tokens (Core Units of MUSE, Smartcoins and User Created Tokens) and has an internal market (a Decentralized exchange or DEX) allowing you to trade all crypto-tokens without ever leaving the blockchain and requiring trust in centralized exchanges
- MUSE has Smart Contract capabilities – allowing it to:
- Be a database for copyrights
- Automatically and instantly split and pay royalties
- Enable simplified licensing
Is there “mining” on MUSE?
No. Mining is required on Blockchains relying on Proof Of Work. The MUSE Blockchain uses a different mechanism to achieve consensus called Delegated Proof Of Stake or DPOS for short.
What is DPOS?
In the Bitcoin network, anyone (whether they have stake in Bitcoin or not) can plug into the network to start producing blocks – becoming a “miner”. In Blockchains that use Delegated Proof Of Stake, such as MUSE, people that have stake in the network itself vote block producers into position. Stakeholders essentially get to decide how many block producers are needed and who exactly should be doing the job. The more stake you have, the more you have to loose, the more decision power you have on the network.
Who controls the MUSE network?
Although the software does all the heavy lifting, MUSE still requires human involvement to run the system. An incentive structure has been put in place to remove the need to trust any of the participants. Power has effectively been decentralized between Members, Witnesses and Advisers. No single human involved in this type of Blockchain has complete control over it. Members, by owning core units, can only vote for the people, settings, projects and ideas they find most attractive and beneficial. Witnesses can only observe what happens on the Blockchain and timestamp/notarize it. They have no say in the ledger’s content. Committee Advisers can merely propose changes to the settings they think would make the Organization better adapted to current or future market conditions. They also have nothing to do with the contents of the ledger.
What are the functions of the Core Units of MUSE?
Memberships into the MUSE Organization Voting rights into the Membership Organization (1 Unit = 1 vote) All updates to the blockchain/ledger cost a transaction fee denominated in the Core Unit Collateral required for the Smartcoins
How does one acquire MUSE Core Units?
They can be purchased through crypto-currency exchanges. CCEDK is the first to list MUSE on its platform.
What is a Smartcoin?
A Smartcoin is a cryptographic token that tracks the value of its real world counterpart. The USD on MUSE, for example, is in effect pegged to the U.S. Dollar. This USD has all the benefits of cryptocurrencies: it's secure, global, instant, censorship resistant, fungible, etc., but without the volatility often associated with first generation cryptocurrencies.
What are User Created Tokens?
Any user is able to create his/her own Token and have its ownership recorded on the MUSE Blockchain. The tokens can represent whatever the creator decides: Frequent flyer miles, concert tickets, wedding invitations, backstage passes, fan club memberships, etc.
What is a Smart Contract?
It is a self-executing digital contract that uses blockchain technology to document and verify the contract’s execution. In the case of MUSE, a simpler way to put it is: programmable money. A user can create a Smart Contract that contains instructions on how any funds sent to the Contract should be automatically distributed. MUSE being a Membership Organization specifically tailored for the music industry, the first type of Smart Contract was called the Automatic Royalty Payment Splitter. That name should say it all but as a simple walkthrough, take an artist uploading his new song to a music service that uses MUSE. He begins by entering the basic information about the song (title, album, artist, songwriter, musical composition copyright owner, sound recording copyright owner, ISRC code, ISWC code, Year of release, etc.), which all gets written up on the blockchain into a Smart Contract. This part is what acts as a global database for music.
Next is where the Automatic Royalty Payment Splitter comes into play. The artist then tells the Smart Contract what is to be done with incoming funds generated by that song (funds sent to that specific Smart Contract) depending on certain conditions. For example: Funds from streaming in the UK might be split differently than funds from retail sales in the USA. Each and every party involved for each musical work can be taken into account: publishers, composers, lyricists, producers, performers, etc. Funds can be programmed to get split up and sent to each party accordingly.
The Smart Contract can even include basic licensing conditions. For example: Anyone wishing to use this song for X must send 100$ (on blockchain!), anyone wishing to use this song for Y must send 1000$, and so on. A buyer could read the licensing conditions of a song and purchase the rights to use it on the Blockchain directly. He would then be able to prove to everyone that he had the right to use the copyrighted material. Companies like Facebook or YouTube could then automatically identify and enforce authorized linking/posting. Without the smart contract there is no way for services to automate the enforcement of contracts.
Why would I register my music on Muse?
A song’s information needs only be entered on MUSE once and all future updates can be done on the Blockchain directly. Once on MUSE, the information, which is updated in real time, is viewable by everyone. All music services can ensure their data is always up to date by using MUSE. These services can also use MUSE as the means of paying the correct rights holders –instantly paid-out royalties. Information regarding licensing can also automate the monetization of the associated song. MUSE can also act as more secure version of the poor man’s copyright.
How do I register music on MUSE?
For the moment, the only way to get musical works on the MUSE blockchain is through the PeerTracks portal, which is currently testing its invite-only Alpha version. More platforms and interfaces to MUSE should spring up in the future, offering such registration services.
Why do people trust MUSE?
Much of the trust in Blockchains comes from the fact that it requires no trust at all. MUSE is fully open-source and decentralized. This means that anyone has access to the entire source code at any time. Any developer in the world can therefore verify exactly how MUSE works. All payments can be made without reliance on a third party and heavily peer-reviewed cryptographic algorithms like those used for online banking protect the whole system. No organization or individual can control MUSE, and the network remains secure even if not all of its users can be trusted.
What happens when cryptographic tokens are lost?
When a user loses his wallet, it has the effect of removing money/Core Units/tokens out of circulation. Lost tokens still remain in the blockchain just like any other tokens. However, lost tokens remain dormant forever because there is no way for anybody to find the private key(s) that would allow them to be spent again. Because of the law of supply and demand, when fewer tokens are available, the ones that are left will be in higher demand and increase in value to compensate.
Is MUSE secure?
Blockchain technology - the protocol and the cryptography - has a strong security track record. The most common vulnerability for all Blockchains is in user error. Wallet files that store the necessary private keys can be accidentally deleted, lost or stolen. This is similar to physical cash stored in a digital form.