Publishing

Dr. Luke's Publishing Co. Prescription Songs to Start Paying Royalties in Bitcoin

Julian Popov/EyeEm

The independent is the first established music company to pay its talent in the cryptocurrency.

Prescription Songs, the independent music publisher founded by Dr. Luke (a.k.a. Lukasz Gottwald), announced Thursday (April 1) that it will allow its roster of songwriters and producers the option of receiving royalty payments in Bitcoin, making it the first established music company to do so. To facilitate the payments, the publisher has partnered with BitPay, a leading provider of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency payment services.

"Prescription Songs has always been an industry leader providing the best services to our songwriters, producers and artists. Some of our creators asked about being paid in Bitcoin so we wanted to get ahead of the pack and provide that service,” said Dr. Luke in a statement. “BitPay is such a powerhouse in Bitcoin. I’m excited to work with them in the music space.”

There is precedent behind Dr. Luke's interest in Bitcoin: The music producer was an early investor in North America-based Bitcoin mining company BlockCap, which announced it raised another $38 million in a funding round Wednesday.

Prescription Songs' announcement comes amid a wave of interest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, as well as nonfungible tokens (NFTs), which are bought and sold using the same blockchain technology that facilitates the trading of fungible cryptocurrencies. Over the past few months, artists including Deadmau5, Grimes, Shawn Mendes, Ozuna and Kings of Leon have transacted major NFT sales.

Prescription Songs’ catalogue includes hit tracks such as “Say So” by Doja Cat, “Don’t Start Now” by Dua Lipa, “Mood” by 24kGoldn feat. iann dior, “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5, “Starboy” by The Weeknd and “Juice” by Lizzo.

“Prescription Songs and Dr. Luke have always been innovative with their artists and songwriters and giving them the option to get royalty payments in Bitcoin shows once again how cutting edge they are,” said Sonny Singh, chief commercial officer of BitPay. “Using Bitcoin is only the first step for the music industry to start working in the blockchain space as more and more artists start leveraging the blockchain for NFT’s and even digital rights management.”

Though Prescription Songs is billing itself as the first music company to offer payment in Bitcoin, cryptocurrency compensation previously started bubbling up in the world of sports. In December of last year, it was reported that Carolina Panthers player Russell Okung would be paid half of his $13 million salary in Bitcoin, making him the first NFL player to be paid in cryptocurrency. In March 2020, NBA player Spencer Dinwiddie sold nine tokenized shares of his $34 million Brooklyn Nets contract for $150,000 each on the Ethereum blockchain following a months-long clash with the league over his ability to do so, far short of his goal of 90 shares.