The best that’s ensuing for blockchain and the creator economy in 2022
After two years and several COVID-19 restrictions finally coming to an end, the world is welcoming the return of in-person theater, movies, comedy, music, and sports. This has led some to wonder what will happen to the legions of digital creatives, who have captured and entertained us at a standstill in ordinary life – and the multi-billion dollar economy they inhabit.
Will the world forget the platforms and artists they discovered during the pandemic, now that the doors of festivals, fashion shows, and music festivals are open again for them? Is the creator economy, which recent estimates suggest will exceed $100 billion this year, strong enough to withstand a stampede back to real-life experiences?
Government-imposed restrictions may have stimulated the pace of change, but the transformative trends in video streaming that we saw during the pandemic were just beginning at first and would have taken hold regardless.
Blockchain is one of the most transformative new technologies to arise in decades. It is the technology that will entirely reshape digital life, supercharging the creator economy in the process.
Playing on a digital stage
The enforced slowdown has given many artists the time – and push – needed to experiment in the digital sphere, find new audiences, and explore new ways to showcase their talent.
Even musicians who would have never seriously thought of live streaming a concert have turned to the digital stage. And, there is proof that this will go on with. Take singer Dua Lipa, who broke the paid live streaming record with the 2020’s Studio 2054 concert. Initially said to be reluctant, Dua Lipa agreed to go the Livestream route after being compelled to postpone an album tour. It turned out to be a good call: her digital appearance has drawn over five million views globally.
A survey by Middlesex University and funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council revealed that some 90% of musicians and 92% of fans believe live streaming will remain an effective way to reach fans who are reluctant or unable to travel to the post-pandemic world. Providers should take note: The study also found that audiences do not require free access to live music and are not especially discouraged by paywalls.
The growth in creative energy has inspired the developer community as well. New niche streaming platforms have evolved, helped by the emergence of low-cost decentralized infrastructure that allows application builders to encode video, store data, and handle identity without paying expensive centralized cloud providers for such services.
These centralized providers will increasingly discover themselves on the defensive. Two attention-grabbing incidents in 2021 are examples: hackers attacked twitch and released private data about its code and its users to the world. And, the prolonged shutdown caused massive reputation damage to Facebook, and whistleblowers claim that its management has repeatedly chosen to prioritize profit over security.
Big Tech’s woes and pandemic-related restrictions have already accelerated fundamental changes in how the world produces, consumes, and uses video content – with the potential to propel growth in the creator economy well into the future. And, given the increasing availability of low-cost decentralized blockchain infrastructure, these emerging players have a chance at mounting a serious challenge to the FAANG-run streaming providers.
There are five ways in which the blockchain will accelerate growth in the creator economy, and help it solidify as a central force in worldwide culture and entertainment:
Non Fungible Token- (NFT-)Gated Access and NFT ticketing are two decentralized tools that improve the digital experience for event-goers: NFT Tickets curb scalping while lending attendees unique souvenirs all while token gating supports unique experiences for fans such as private groups and direct messaging with creators.
The Web3 era is defined by the shift from extracting value from renters to value for owners. Just as blockchain enables fans to engage directly with creators of their options, it provides a path for asset ownership in individual creator economies outside of traditional centralized platforms.
Video streaming accounts for over 80% of Web2 Internet traffic and counting. Developers, eager to invade a piece of this market without being crushed by high costs, are seeking blockchain-based affordable infrastructure to support creator streams. With their new ability to attract a global audience through on-demand access-anywhere streams, creators are turning to specific Web 3 features like tipping, paid entry, and live shopping to monetize their content.
The interactive nature of Web3 publishing is already lending a path to immersive interactivity that rewards users for participation. With the ability to record immutable and securely on the blockchain, creators can encourage interaction without sacrificing privacy.
While Web 2 was built to scale, Web 3 is built to accommodate niche. With its low cost, increased security, and resistance to censorship, blockchain makes it possible to build micro-communities serving smaller niches than is economically possible in Web 2. It’s a fundamental change that not only puts creators in control but also makes communities less adorable to attention-seeking trolls.
The stage has been set for the growth of creative activity to flourish, and those poised to take on it will be assisted by decentralized infrastructure.
Digital creatives have always recognized that they need to be nimble to be successful. Now, there is a technology that will empower them and their peers to reach new audiences without having overpowered or advantages to tech behemoths like Google and Amazon.
The ability of musicians, gamers, influencers, and creators to adapt to and thrive in the new realities ahead has never been stronger.