On November 12th, SingularDTV will launch the LIGA Token, affording artists on the island a chance to be their own music industry…
Alongside the creation of the GRMTK Token on November 9th, a flagship music endeavor of the much-awaited SingularDTV launch is Liga De Artistas. The project is based in Puerto Rico, an island of rich culture and remarkable communities that has been held back by centralized forces for centuries. That’s why the notion of a decentralized economy and SingularDTV mission has taken on so strongly there, even as the island battles through trying times. Liga De Artistas will be an opportunity for artists in Puerto Rico to create a future that works for them, on their own terms.
Here’s how it’ll work: On November 12th, Liga De Artistas will launch the LIGA Token, a world-first application of an Artist Consortium model of tokenized ecosystem. It will empower a collective of artists to create, perform, and distribute their own work, while sharing in the revenue with their collaborators and fans — all on the SingularDTV platform.
We spoke with Alexis Martinez, a Puerto Rican filmmaker and Lead on the Liga De Artistas project, about the LIGA Token, the San Juan underground scene, and the spirit of the island…
The people of Puerto Rico have really shown their resilience and character recently…
It’s been a very difficult period for everyone. Puerto Rico’s economy has been tanking for well over ten years now, stuck in a never-ending recession. Bills have piled up to the sum of $73 + billion dollars. Add to that austerity measures, public institutions and services closing down. And then on top of that, you have a hurricane that pretty much destroyed the whole island’s electricity infrastructure. Right now in Puerto Rico, you have over 70% of the population without electricity, 30% without water. It’s a time of extreme difficulty. We’re hoping that Liga De Artistas can offer people a much needed chance to focus on doing something they love, when they’ve been struggling for survival in recent times.
So how does Liga De Artistas and the LIGA Token work?
Liga De Artistas will be a self-sustaining collective of musicians and artists, whose work lives on SingularDTV. The idea behind the LIGA Token is that, long-term, it becomes a sustainable economic model. It’s an artist consortium model, where artists share their intellectual property. Artists create content, that content becomes intellectual property that gets distributed through EtherVision. The value and revenue that gets generated when it’s consumed is shared amongst all the different artists, creating a cycle of funding for the artistic endeavors of a whole community. SingularDTV CEO Zach LeBeau did a really informative explanation of how it works in his Tokenomics 101 Blog Post. It’s really worth checking out.
What’s the underground scene like in Puerto Rico?
There’s a very prolific underground arts scene, especially the music scene. You have a lot of people producing great music in a lot of styles and genres. There are a lot of punk bands, rock and roll bands, psychedelic, reggae and dub bands. There’s a lot of electronic music, from house and techno to more experimental stuff. There’s even a venue called La Bóveda, an underground bar space, that’s become a hub for noise. There’s a lot going on! You can usually go to a show and see four different bands back-to-back that are totally different. Because it’s an island and a small community, we’ve learned to coalesce and enjoy each other.
What are the economics of independent art and culture on the island?
It’s a labor of love. If you’re middle class, maybe your parents can help you out! But that’s usually not the case. There’s a lot of unpaid work and a lot of favors you have to ask for in order to get things done. Thats lead to an interesting collective mindset where many artists are usually more than willing to help out with resources and ideas amongst each other, which is very nice. But still, money is always a problem. I’ve worked on shows with friends in bands that take weeks to organize, rehearse, and at the end of the show, there will be a total revenue, distributed, that’s like $10 each per band member. It can be very depressing. To live from your art is a daunting task at the moment for many artists. The idea behind this is to empower artists. Once they get to participate in their own economy, they also get to make their own calls about what and how they’re going to produce and what the economy behind this is going to look like.
How is membership in the Liga decided?
Once the Liga De Artistas platform is launched, artists will start submitting proposals. Liga De Artistas will function as the first crypto fund in Puerto Rico. Short term, it will have a committee selection process that we’ll be overseeing. Long-term, the people that participate in Liga De Artistas will vote democratically, so it will be governed via a decentralized apparatus. The projects that get chosen to showcase on the Liga Channel — which will be on EtherVision, SingularDTV’s distribution and streaming platform — will get their funding through the Liga crypto fund which will jumpstart the production for each artist’s respective project.
Tell us more about the economic model at play here…
It’s a little bit different than the single artist model. You could think of it as a collective. The shared work that artists put into the channel, will be equally shared as a bounty. The thing behind this specific model is that it’s designed for independent and emerging artists that don’t have a huge following yet, but for them, there can be power in numbers. For a more established artist with a huge fan base — Gramatik for example — they would create their own economy based on their own network.
Do you think music and art can play a role in rebuilding Puerto Rico?
It’s a time of introspection. The island is going through an existential crisis at the moment. Art can definitely help shape the conversation. I feel that art has a political nature and can function as a medium that can give new perspective on things and help usher in new ways of thinking. We definitely need a new vision on the island considering that we are currently living through the last stages of a failed colonial, neo-liberal, free-market experiment that failed miserably. Maybe Liga de Artistas is our second attempt at rebuilding a decentralized economy that works for the people. Maybe this decentralized economic model works for other industries as well throughout the island. Who knows. I do know that we have to adapt and fast. There is no other choice.