Bad Boys Media have launched an ambitious project to help artists get better pay, using a new cryptocurrency.
We Are Tribes will help Australian musicians to sell albums, VIP experiences, merchandise and tour packages using non-fungible tokens (NFTs) direct to their audience.
An NFT is a unit of data that is stored on a digital ledger that certifies a particular asset – a file such as a piece of digital art, or a VIP music experience – is unique. They act as a one-of-a-kind trading card that can’t be replaced.
Bad Boys Media director Shayne Brian said cutting out the middleman would play a key role in enabling artists to access better royalties for their work.
“Artists are usually the last link in the payment chain, and in some cases, it can take months or years to see that income,” he said.
“The system is definitely broken … there has to be a solution.”
Mr Brian also said the decreasing revenue in music sales had nearly eliminated a steady or reliable income since the pandemic.
“Artists have had to rely on touring as a solid source of income and 2020 demonstrated that it can all be removed in a blink of an eye.”
NFTs give musicians the ability to receive direct sale profit while still ensuring proof of identity.
Big artists cash their chips
Household names such as Grimes and Kings of Leon are among international artists that have adopted the use of NFTs. Last month, the Kings of Leon became the first band to release an album as an NFT. It was available in the usual ways, but the NFT version came with special extras.
Virtual band Gorillaz, often the benchmark for innovation and creativity in modern music, are also using NFTs to commemorate the 20th anniversary of their debut album.
However, this sparked furore from fans, who saw it as sacrilegious to the 2010 concept album Plastic Beach, which detailed the negative effect of ecological destruction.
The irony wasn’t lost on many, as it has been revealed that NFTs have an unseen environmental cost.
Research by digital artist Memo Akten found that the average NFT left the same carbon footprint as a month of electricity use for a person living in the EU.
Most of the environmental damage caused by NFTs is during the creation phase when people want to “tokenise” a piece of work on a blockchain, which is usually Ethereum blockchain.
To blockchain the work, Ethereum miners use crypto mining computers and rigs that cause immense ecological damage. Ethereum mining consumes 26.5 terawatt-hours of electricity, which is more than all of Slovakia’s population.
Ethereum mining could use renewable energies, but mining is most profitable when done using cheap electricity.
Australia’s high electricity costs make mining less appealing to its citizens, but with the global success of NFTs more people will be urged to take part.
The developers of Ethereum have said they intend to implement new methods to decrease the environmental impact by 2023.