Fool’s gold rush: Blockchain initiatives for everybody! Especially the artists, our eternal and only concern.

 

It’s heartwarming how keen all these “blockchain” people are to helpfully intermediate between you, the artist, and the prospect of money.

Remember that “the blockchain” is just a checksummed ledger of transactions with no central authority. The really exciting bit is where you use about the power output of Ireland to maintain it. This is one of the reasons nobody uses them in reality. Which means their life in the realm of fantasy is rich indeed.

  • Ujo Music posts a rambling nonexcuse for the Imogen Heap “Tiny Human” disaster. Let me translate: “hilarious flop, nobody will ever buy our wizard wheeze, so let’s see if pretending this never happened will work.” Note they admit they only researched what the hell they were doing after they’d done it. As they put it: “But we are but a few bright-eyed technologists with a special hammer, looking for the right nail.”

  • Sadly, Heap herself still has a head full of blockchain dreams. Headliner interview from June in which the Mycelia initiative (the record industry maximalist fever dream of micropayments) is pushed hard, and never mind the actual sales being a bit over $100 in a year. Mycelia seems to be favoured by the Featured Artists Coalition, i.e. the stars who’ve done well out of the major label system and want to preserve something like it.

  • By the way: most press articles on blockchains are incoherent and illiterate, but if one calls it “Blockchain” with a capital B and no “the”, it’s by a foolish person for sure. This is the very worst fool’s gold rush tech press article I’ve seen on blockchains in the last month, which was sent around at work. Fortunately I had the Izabella Kaminska collection to fire back with. Make sure you do too.

  • But will the Mycelia blockchain win? SingularDTV? Perhaps it will be the Dot.Blockchain. Or maybe Berklee‘s own initiative. Or perhaps the TAO Blockchain, which is of course selling its own unlicensed securities tokens: “The Tao Network is a blockchain-based, smart contract DAO platform being offered through public crowd sale to raise funds for continuing development.” Yeah, they invoked the name of The DAO. Note that, like all smart contracts, what they’re pitching literally requires not only perfect programmers who never write a bug, but circumstances that never change the requirements out from under you.

  • But if every one of these different, from-scratch, incompatible initiatives — all of which seem to use the same buzzwords — is, as they keep claiming, for the artist, which should you sign up with? What’s in it for you? The answer is that artists are not in any way the market for this hype — the target is venture capitalists. Blockchain initiatives that can’t work are one of the more grounded things getting investment — there’s so much VC sloshing about looking for a home that they’re literally investing in startups that defy physics itself, with finding a greater fool as their straight-up admitted business plan.

Note that although every one of these schemes shouts “ARTISTS ARTISTS ARTISTS”, Boogie Shack just put all its artists on the TAO, just like that. That is, the role of the artist in the exciting new world is the same as in the old one, i.e., as a sort of industrially-processed cheese slice. You are not and were never the market, and you should continue to avoid everything “blockchain” like the plague.

If your label starts getting heavily into it … worry.

So sorry, our DAO got hacked! All your money is gone. Yes, yours in particular. No, we can’t get it back, smart contract says no. Well, you could sue, I suppose. How much money have you got? Oh, none? What a pity. Never mind.

 

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