SongCoin Idea

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jb
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SongCoin Idea

Post by jb » Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:58 am

I was listening to a podcast this morning, because I am one of those people.

Anyway, it was about money and had a segment about cryptocurrencies. Specifically there's an artist who minted a currency and then backed it up with his art... so the whole thing is basically an art piece. https://www.forbes.com/sites/oliversmit ... a189d0647b

That made me think about creating a "SongCoin" somehow. Where a song would be the "gold standard" and people would buy pieces of it via the cryptocurrency. And whatever happened to the song would be your return on that investment.

Imagine going on Patreon and selling futures kind of like Bowie did (he paid them all, by the way), so that anybody who gives you money owns a tiny piece of a song.

ANYWAY, thought I'd share.

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Re: SongCoin Idea

Post by Lunkhead » Tue Nov 06, 2018 1:38 pm

Sounds cool. How do you get it started?

Meanwhile, Jonathan Mann has been trying to get a blockchain tie in for Song-A-Day going for a couple years. (He's mostly been stymied by lack of programmer resources.) His model is more like CryptoKitties and CryptoPunks, making his songs into collectibles with the blockchain as the ledger for folks trading/buying/selling them.

https://www.jonathanmann.net/iso/
https://medium.com/digitally-rare/song- ... b8c5921294

Hm, seems like maybe he's gotten it going and sold his first song, from 10/31.

https://www.jonathanmann.net/devcon
https://superrare.co/artwork/b-u-i-d-l-871

https://www.cryptokitties.co/
https://www.larvalabs.com/cryptopunks
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Re: SongCoin Idea

Post by jb » Tue Nov 06, 2018 4:09 pm

I have no idea how to get it started. More like spitballing the concept.

Oooh or what about if you use blockchain to say that you can only listen to a certain song a certain number of times. Make listening to “A Day In the Life” a finite resource.

I know that would freak people out. But music is too cheap now and people will never ever stop listening to fucking Steely Dan unless we do something drastic. I already freak people out when I tell them I have a self-imposed rule of never listening to Classic Rock even if I love whatever song they name.
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Re: SongCoin Idea

Post by fluffy » Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:57 pm

I have to say I'm pretty blockchain-negative, at least in the sense of bitcoin/ethereum/litecoin/etc., just because it has a HUGE environmental impact and not a lot of utility outside of extremely volatile financial speculation and conning investors into throwing a lot of money away.

Also, it seems to me like the way that blockchain is being used for Jonathan Mann's thing is it's just trading around tokens for who "owns" the song, but everyone can still listen to it an infinite number of times. It's less paying for the song itself and more paying for the bragging rights of being the sponsor. But sponsorship rights are themselves traded directly, without any residuals going back to the author. So it doesn't actually help with that sense either.

Cryptokitties was very popular for about a month and during that month, trading the kitties took more energy than the entire country of Denmark. And they're basically beanie babies but with numbers. They have no intrinsic value, except that the public ledger says who was silly enough to pay money for a token saying that they "own" the kitty, or to pay even more money to "breed" (i.e. randomly combine the bits of) two other kitties.

Blockchains can be useful - I like to bring up that git is a blockchain, for example (it just uses manually-processed merges instead of consensus hashing for its validation) - but at least how Jonathan is using them it's at best a gimmick, and at worst an ecological catastrophe.
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Re: SongCoin Idea

Post by Lunkhead » Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:16 pm

Jonathan's project seems like a no-risk thing for him. He's going to make the songs anyway. He can still do everything he's currently doing with them. But he can also potentially sell them in this marketplace as collectibles. He only gets the money from the initial sale, sure, but he got ~$550 for that one song. It'll probably have a pop of interest, then die down to just a few hard core "whale" fans, then trail off from there, and he'll have gotten some thousands of dollars of income he wouldn't have gotten otherwise.

The energy use for mining is pretty appalling though, sadly. Ethereum is supposedly switching to "proof-of-stake" at some point which I guess is an attempt to change the incentives to try to make it not worth it to people to mine just to try to get rich? I don't entirely understand that, I really need to dig deeper into the whole thing.
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Re: SongCoin Idea

Post by jb » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:23 pm

Yeah I don't really care about blockchain necessarily-- I think the rush to apply it to everything is foolish. But as a thought experiment about how to value and support songwriting, or even as an art experiment about how to enforce manufactured scarcity in a digital good, it's interesting to think about.
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Re: SongCoin Idea

Post by Lunkhead » Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:34 pm

OK, so, what would be the end goal of what you'd want to implement, hypothetically? Is it for the writer of a song to get sustained revenue from the song? That's proportional to the times people listen to the song? Or something else?
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Re: SongCoin Idea

Post by fluffy » Fri Nov 09, 2018 7:50 pm

We do definitely need a system for musicians to get fuckin paid. The current royalty system is definitely not working for anyone except the major labels.
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Re: SongCoin Idea

Post by jb » Fri Nov 09, 2018 9:49 pm

Getting paid would be great. Maybe that's it.

Essentially a mechanism for creating, selling, and accounting for shares in a song. When you create the song, you own all the shares, and then you sell them off and put it all into the ledger system And anything that's done with the song that makes money would be paid into the system and then divided among all the shareholders. And if it seems to be a really lucrative song, you might sell the shares in anticipation of it making money for a long time-- on radio play, used in movies and television, as part of a classic album, streaming success on Spotify.

Imagine if you could've bought 1/10th of "Stairway to Heaven" or even "Uptown Girls". Much less whatever bullshit Major Lazer puts out that goes crazy on Spotify and eats everyone's revenue potential for the month.

I'm not super at math so I'm just spitballing.
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Re: SongCoin Idea

Post by fluffy » Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:43 pm

This sounds like a particular case of fractional ownership, which certainly has plenty of legal frameworks in general (like how corporations are structured, or tenancy-in-common ownership of buildings in California or whatever). But that presupposes that a song gets big enough in the first place.

Right now I feel like a big part of the problem, such as it is, is simply that music making is so accessible to everyone that there's a lot out there, and there's still only so much money going to the music out there. Supply far out-stripping demand, as it were, and so this means that it's even easier for the already-big players to present themselves as the tastemakers who are able to push stuff forward. So it's the age-old problem of discovery and managing to get heard and resonating with a fanbase or something. I feel like any focus on the mechanics of how to disburse money is premature because first we need to be getting the money in the first place.

But maybe selling shares in music has something to it -- if you can convince people to invest in shares of a song, then they have a vested interest in trying to promote your music so that they can get money from it. Hmm.
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Re: SongCoin Idea

Post by jb » Sat Nov 10, 2018 12:57 pm

I don't disagree about getting the money, but the money *is* there-- the streaming services may not be profitable but they sure do have revenue. Total music industry revenue in 2016 is like $7B. https://www.recode.net/2018/2/28/170644 ... -daniel-ek

Kinda feels like the music industry is one big Snowpiercer train, and most of us are in the back cars eating mashed up bugs.
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Re: SongCoin Idea

Post by Lunkhead » Sat Nov 10, 2018 3:00 pm

I was just looking at data around this recently and even my cynical assumptions were much rosier than what I saw. The distribution "curve" is really more like two perpendicular lines. A statistically insignificant percentage of the artists get practically all the streams, and practically all the artists get a statistically insignificant percentage of the streams. I don't know if that's the same at all streaming services but I would guess it is.

I think fluffy made a bunch of good points. Artists would need listening distributed to them more, then hopefully revenue would follow. But who in the system has an incentive to make that happen? I don't think the major labels do. The streaming services maybe do, to reduce their dependence on the major labels, but they're nowhere near being able to afford doing anything that might jeopardize their relationships with the labels. And it doesn't seem like listeners care, judging from their listening habits.

It seems like other types of revenue provide better opportunities for indie artists for now than streaming. :(
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Re: SongCoin Idea

Post by jb » Sat Nov 10, 2018 4:27 pm

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