Creating the world’s first collaborative, tokenized song

Taryn Southern
Nov 7, 2017 · 4 min read

Join the first experiment in which YOU - the blockchain community - will write a song together and own a percentage of the song’s royalties.

The experiment ends on Friday, November 10th.


Every once in a while a new tool emerges that’s powerful enough to challenge the status quo and change everything.

Within the creative community, the printing press was one of the first. Film and television came a few hundred years later. Then there was the internet, YouTube, and social media.

I believe blockchain is next.

And it’s for this reason I’ve launched the first ever tokenized, collaborative song experiment utilizing blockchain technology — all I need now is you and your brilliant brain.

But first: why blockchain?

If you’re an independent creator, the traditional system is shitty.

First, you have distributors like YouTube taking 45% of revenue on views of your content, or in the case of Facebook, not paying you at all. As a result, you are completely dependent on third party advertisers to make a living.

Second, it takes money to make great content. Either artists either have to pay out of pocket to fund production, or they have to give up ownership (and financial upside) to a distributor willing to fund them. In the music industry, practices are particularly corrupt and unfavorable to artists.

There are a number of additional reasons it’s difficult to make a living as an independent creator — algorithms, competition, piracy, to name a few — but point is: the current incentive structure gives all the power and control to distributors and advertisers, not artists or viewers.

Fortunately, tools like Kickstarter, Stem (helps collaborators split payments), MudHut (provides cover song licensing for independent musicians), and Patreon (enables direct fan to creator funding) have been paramount in allowing independent artists to adapt and survive in a constantly changing media ecosystem.

But that’s not enough.

About nine months ago, I started looking into ways blockchain technology like smart contracts and tokens could expose the pipeline of monetization and distribution and create better incentive structures that are favorable to creators and their fans.

Ethereal Summit in SF

So two weeks ago at Ethereal Summit in San Francisco, I launched the first of a series of creative experiments aimed at solving the problem of shitty incentive structures. First up?

We’re going to create the world’s first tokenized, collaborative song. In other words, you’ll help me create a song…and own a stake in its success.


HOW IT WORKS

To realign incentive structures toward collaboration between artists and viewers/fans, we need to first demonstrate the current economic pipeline of a creative asset, in this case a song, from development → production → distribution → royalty payments.

Thanks to smart contracts and the teams at TrustToken and Stem, this is now possible. In this experiment, you’ll not only participate in the creation of a song, but you’ll also receive a portion of the royalty money generated from the song’s distribution.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Enter your public ethereum wallet address here and you’ll be issued a token. If you don’t have a public ethereum wallet address, here’s how to get one. It’s free to participate and you have until November 10 to enter.
  2. Your token will give you access to a slack channel, wherein you’ll all participate in the writing of lyrics and receive a percentage of ownership in the song.
  3. I’ll record vocals and release the song online!
  4. We’ll all share in the song royalties, paid out by a legal entity called a SmartTrust (powered by TrustToken), which is controlled and owned by an Ethereum smart contract. The royalties will be split 50/50, between myself (songwriter #1) and YOU (songwriter #2, my collaborator entity) — just as if were collaborating on a piece of music in real life.

The point of this experiment is not to make a bunch of money (unlikely) — but rather, to compare shine a light on how collaboration and collective ownership between artists and fans can potentially transform the creative industry.

And if the song becomes a top 10 hit on the radio, well, we’ll all share in its backend success and go out for a nice dinner at Chipotle.

So if you want to be part of the world’s first ever tokenized, collaboration song, just visit this QR code or taryn.trusttoken.com.

taryn.trusttoken.com

LET’S DO THIS.

Taryn Southern

Written by

Writer/YouTuber. excited by neuroscience & technologies that improve well-being. http://youtube.com/taryn.

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