Since the music industry reeled from the long pause in live performances, streaming has been a saving grace for artists and labels alike. While not a perfect solution, it has slowly brought the music industry back from the early 2020 declines..
We now face a new technological upheaval: 5G. A topic rife with conspiracy theories and predictions of all kinds, creatives are surely wondering what impact this will have on music and video streaming.
Ultimately, there is no clear answer, but experts in the music management industry like Mark Gillespie think the possibilities of another Napster-like fiasco is not only inevitable but closer than we think.
Claims of Higher Streaming Speeds
One of the ways 5G claims to be beneficial for streaming content is its increased speed. At peak rates, it delivers about 20 gigabytes a second. But what’s really impressive about 5G is its ability to increase network connectivity, allowing for faster connections and fortified mobile networking that uses less bandwidth.
In theory, this could be good news for the streaming market. This means higher quality files like 4k, 8k video, and lossless audio could be streamed with no strain, and on the go for that matter.
Potential for Decentralized Networks
The reason that piracy became such a huge problem in the early days of the internet was largely due to decentralization, meaning that networks of connections could exist with virtually no oversight.
Your identity was, for the most part, impossible to trace. Now, networks are governed by corporate interests and regional authorities, giving piracy a drastic drop in popularity with the rise of streaming.
5G opens the possibility of creating decentralized networks, thereby giving a clear pathway for hackers and piracy.
Ownership and Copyright
The threat of piracy making a huge comeback is not an empty one. The truth is, it never went away, it just became less common. The music industry still struggles to this day with bringing value back into creative work. If anyone can just take a piece of digital media, what role do copyright laws and ideas of intellectual property have at this point?
Non-fungible Tokens (NFT’s) are digital signatures used in a blockchain to determine the authenticity of digital media. Blockchains are what make cryptocurrency possible, and they can be extremely useful in protecting private information.
This has potentially huge implications for the streaming industry. If artists and music executives can start using this technology in relation to streaming, there could be hope for artists retaining ownership of their work in this new technology landscape.
In short, the music industry needs to start utilizing this technology rather than running from it. This was one of the huge issues in the early 2000s, music executives and artists weren’t prepared for a new and unpredictable market.
This time, with the knowledge we have now, it’s essential for the music industry to understand and utilize these technologies. Not only to retain the industry as it is, but so that it can continue to grow and flourish as culture does the same.