Craig DeWitt, director of product at Ripple, has been working on a personal project for a couple of months now. His mission is to connect digital content creators, such as musicians, directly with consumers to help cut costs.
“When you cut out the middlemen you get lower prices, more revenue to the artists, and more art,” DeWitt told The Block. To that end, he has built a blockchain-based platform called xSongs, where artists can upload and sell their music directly to users for XRP. When an artist uploads music to the platform, xSongs runs a series of checks, including copyrights.
The platform has gone live today in beta form, which means users can buy songs in XRP. They can pay either via the Payburner wallet or any other wallet. Payburner is a noncustodial crypto wallet, also developed by DeWitt, on top of the XRP Ledger.
“We’ve built a wallet experience designed to allow artists to accept payments from anywhere in the world and for buyers to have that 'one click' experience anywhere on the web,” DeWitt told The Block.
DeWitt further said that he got inspiration from Bandcamp for developing the xSongs platform. Bandcamp is an online music company that allows artists to share and earn money from their music. “They’ve done an amazing thing and they clearly care about their indie artists who would probably never be able to monetize without their platform,” he said, adding:
“While Bandcamp charges 15% plus a 6% processing fee for a total of +21%, xSongs is a direct to artist model which means that platform fees and processing fees will always be 0%.”
Despite those fees, fans have paid artists $445 million using Bandcamp, and $8.9 million in the past 30 days, according to its website.
When asked about monetization plans for xSongs, DeWitt said he is currently “not interested” in doing so. “I’m personally covering the costs...I think when you build something that people love, then monetization stuff will take care of itself in time.”
DeWitt said he has personally funded about 500 Payburner accounts i.e. 10,000 XRPs - currently worth about $1970 (When you initially fund an account on XRPL, the ledger reserves 20 XRPs).
Previously available in closed beta form, xSongs had around 100 artists and about 500 songs on the platform, said DeWitt. Looking ahead, he hopes to have at least 1,000 artists on the platform and 10,000 music sales by H2 2020.
DeWitt is currently working with Chris Opler, a software engineer at Ripple, on the xSongs project. The duo has also got a hackathon team that is starting to work on the project in their free time, said DeWitt.
“Once we have a following and are seeing some real scale, we’ll start adding the same kind of artist-centric marketing and content that Bandcamp offers today,” DeWitt told The Block.
He added that music is “just the beginning;” anything digital such as e-books, art, etc. will eventually be sold directly from creators to users. “With a peer to peer music marketplace scaling on its own, imagine all the other digital content that could be sold in a similar fashion."
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