by Nuno Menezes
It seems that Ethereum’s blockchain technology is bound to transform many of the everyday industries, such as Music. Remix Artist Collective, known as RAC, recently announced a full album release using the Ethereum blockchain. Mostly known for their innovative remixes of alternative acts like Two Door Cinema Club, Lana Del Rey, and Foster the People, the group prepared to release a new album this year, but this time, they tried to do something innovative.
The Ethereum network has seen almost 4,000 percent increase in its valuation since the beginning of 2017, growing up to host decentralized applications, which was a major factor pushing the market cap of Ethereum above $30 billion in June. Many initial coin offerings (ICOs) were conducted to crowdfund campaigns for Ethereum startups, proving that there is no shortage of ideas on how this new technology can be put to good use.
André Allen Anjos, a Portuguese music producer and the founder of RAC, thought that he should do something a lot more creative with its latest music production. The new album called EGO was released July 14. With this, RAC turns into the first musician releasing a full-length record distributed on the Ethereum blockchain.
RAC recently got acquainted with the blockchain technology and saw he could have a more creative approach to music. He decided to create a new way of making his music available by using the Ethereum blockchain. This would allow him to detach from the traditional music industry and present a new decentralized manner of distributing his musical productions.
Last November, RAC began spending his free time learning about cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether. In the wake of understanding more about how the blockchain worked, he realized that it could be used as a stage to discharge his new collection. After that, he started putting his plans into motion. RAC told Motherboard in a recent interview:
“It’s very interesting what they’re trying to do, this whole idea of a world computer. Once I got into that I went down the YouTube rabbit hole and watched every Vitalik Buterin interview. That’s when I had this idea; since I have an album coming out anyway, why not try to do something with somebody in that world.”
Back in 2015, Imogen Heap partnered with Ujo Music, a platform owned by ConsenSys, to launch a single that was distributed on the Ethereum blockchain. RAC saw that this could be a starting point and got in touch with Ujo, which promptly started a cooperation with the artist:
“It was the perfect opportunity. I ended up posting on a small ethereum subreddit for trading called ethtrader, just kind of reaching out to the community to see how I could get involved with music in that space. I ended up getting hooked up with this group called Ujo Music.”
Even though other musicians have gone out public with their interest in the blockchain technology previously, RAC is the first to use the network for a full album. RAC is also bringing a number of other big names featured on the record along for the ride, including Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo, as well as the indie darlings Joywave and the South African electropopstar St. Lucia.
What can Ethereum do for Musicians?
The decentralization of the Ethereum network is one of its most important features. Unlike a normal computer running in a single location, the Ethereum network exists across tens of thousands of nodes around the world giving it the advantage of making decentralisation possible. Ethereum can essentially decentralize the music industry offering artists the chance of being both producers and distributors.
Ethereum allows artists and music collaborators to be automatically paid their royalties by cutting out the middlemen by using blockchain-based smart contracts. In 2015, Imogen Heap released “Tiny Human” using the blockchain in a partnership with Ujo Music. This allowed RAC to distribute the theme without going through a middleman:
“I’ve been interested in decentralization for a really long time. I’m not even politically a libertarian, I just like the idea of that kind of freedom. So like I would release stuff back in the day on BitTorrent for peer-to-peer transactions. The thing that gets people’s attention is when you tell them how you’re essentially cutting out middlemen. For a lot of people, that’s exciting because they’re maybe tired of the 30 percent Apple takes from musicians. Even Bandcamp and PayPal take a percentage. There are all these people in the way.”
Loaded with catchy tunes and lots of synths, EGO offers vibrant energy. According to Clashmusic, this is “undeniably and unashamedly, a pop record but one that is content to delve deeply into melancholy waters.” The album was released July 14 and can be bought using ether.