Why DJ Gramatik has sold his work as a digital token

Why DJ Gramatik has sold his work as a digital token
From BBC - December 18, 2017

Rows between artists, managers and their record labels often become the stuff of music legend, but does blockchain technology mean that musicians could soon just deal directly with their fans - and keep far more profit for themselves?

DJ Gramatik - real name Denis Jasarevic - is a Slovenian electronic music producer with a worldwide fan base.

He's become the first music artist to "tokenise" himself using the Ethereum application, Tokit. It allows users to embed their intellectual property rights, revenue and royalties into a programmable digital token.

Fans and investors who "buy" the token using the Ether cryptocurrency can then - potentially - share in the revenue from an artist's work.

But why has he decided to do this?

"I had a bad experience with a small record label and I have friends in the music industry who have had way worse experiences than me," Gramatik says.

"I do not need a major label sucking the life out of me. I was always annoyed about the intermediaries in the industry who extract monetary value from artists. It means creatives have to be business savvy and a lot of them are not.

"Using the blockchain has fixed the problem for me."

When his GRMTK token was launched in November it raised $2.25m (1.65m) in Ether digital currency in just 24 hours.

"I am cool with being the guinea pig," Gramatik explains. "This tech has the potential to change the industry."

The GRMTK token was created by SingularDTV, an entertainment tech studio set up by Ethereum co-founder Joe Lubin, along with Zach LeBeau and Kim Jackson.

According to Mr Lubin, artists bypassing labels to have a direct financial relationship with fans via blockchain is the future. He explains how it works.

"Artists are able to put their content on the Singular platform. We attach usage policies to that content and then users can buy a licence in real time. And their payments can also be split between artists - and their collaborators, producers, writers - in real time.

"It means artists can get rid of some business sections of the music industry, and perhaps end up charging less for their music, but get a bit more as content creators."

As well as the Singular platform, Mr Lubin is about to launch another platform called Ujo.

Artists are broadly positive about the idea, Mr Lubin, says: "We are talking to some very prominent ones, I just ca not name them."

But the drawback of the Ethereum blockchain is that it ca not yet support large-scale transactions between artists and fans, he says.

"It's not that scalable yet in the sense it can only do about 20 to 30 transactions per second, but the tech is growing pretty quickly.

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