News \

Virtual Currency Songcoin Aims to Save the Music Industry

New alternate form of payment will launch next week

Coinye West may be out of print, but a new virtual currency made for the music industry will soon hit the market. reports that Songcoin — an alternative, online currency exclusive to the music business — will launch next week. The aim behind the forthcoming exchange system is to lessen business fees and offer special promotions for users.

“We’re looking at providing people with a way to not pay transaction fees, not go through international wires, and a way for people to just kind of have something pretty much alternative to a dollar,” says Kasian Franks, co-founder and CTO of Pimovi, the company that will administer Songcoin. “The value of alternative currency has been proven by Bitcoin.”

But Bitcoin isn’t in the best of health at the moment. Mt. Gox, the world’s largest Bitcoin exchange, recently shut down after revealing it had lost roughly $367 million in Bitcoins because of a loophole in software (via Reuters). In a leaked document (via Gigaom), Mt. Gox noted, “At the risk of appearing hyperbolic, this could be the end of Bitcoin, at least for most of the public.”

Good thing Songcoin isn’t meant for “most of the public.” According to Franks, Songcoin will have built-in features designed to benefit musicians and their fans.

“If you use Songcoin to purchase a concert ticket, then we can work with ticket vendors to build in discounts so that if you use Songcoin, you’re going to get a cheaper rate, for example,” he explains. “We’re going to start by building a music recommendation system… and if people can use this system to discover music, we can put tip jars next to each artist, and let the artist know that we’ve set up these tip jars, and eventually, Songcoin will take on a nice valuation, so Songcoins will be worth more and more.”

When asked why musicians would accept an alternative currency when the industry as a whole is limping along, Franks says, “If someone came to me and said, ‘Hey, Kasian, there’s an alternate currency called Songcoin, and we’d like to tip you in this virtual currency, and we’ll see how it goes,’ I don’t even know how anybody would turn it down. Not only musicians and artists, but music journalists as well should be tipped… you just cut and paste the code into an article.”

Yes, please.