Updated: Jun 9
Artists and blockchain used to be two words that didn't go together in the same sentence. Nevertheless, many artists have struggled during the last two years - especially freelancers - due to a lack of clients and fewer jobs. They had to get creative to survive, so why wouldn't blockchain be an option? From faster payments to engagement tokens: new possibilities are arising in the space to assist artists in both management and creation of new pieces. If you are one of them, don't miss out on this article.
Author: Carmen Rodríguez
What is the blockchain?
Defining blockchain itself is necessary to understand how this technology can help artists. Belonging to the group of Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLTs), blockchain utilizes its node-operators to store the history of all transactions that became executed. Those transactions become stored in "blocks" that get generated each ~10 minutes. After creating a block, it gets linked to the previous block forming the blockchain.
Each node-operator has a duplicate record of every change made within the network. Thus, manipulating past transactions is impossible because all other operators can easily detect incorrect actions by comparing the block hashes. Due to this, the network is immutable and secure.¹
Now we can discuss some of the possibilities that blockchain technology can open for artists, starting with payments. Nowadays, transactions can take much time; you can not do them on the weekends or holidays unless you pay an extra fee due to restrictions of the traditional banking system. Exchanging your money into a cryptocurrency allows you to send and receive payments at any time within seconds.
There is much distrust with major music companies, and using the blockchain as the underlying infrastructure could make deals more secure. Another benefit is smart contracts, which allow the creation of digital art in the form of Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs). Utilizing those allows for introducing royalties which pay the artist a percentage of every trade made on secondary markets.
A new niche of clients can also be accessed when artists decide to accept payments in a cryptocurrency. These clients can have the same interest as fiat buyers in a piece of art but may not acquire it if there is no alternative to pay with fiat. But let's talk about specific fields…
… What if I am a painter?
One of the things you probably want to avoid is people selling fake versions of your pieces. by creating a non-fungible token (NFT), you can prove its creation time and data. This means that only one person can have the original, and you could even make a profit every time it changes owners. ²
Another interesting approach is generative art, which unites an artist with a random algorithm. The creation process can be explained in three steps:
1. The artist designs traits for different parts of the NFTs (f.e. for eyes: sunglasses, laser-eyes, etc.)
2. The artist creates the algorithm (minting contract) running on-chain
3. The contract allows for minting NFTs using randomness without human interaction
Recent projects such as Fidenzas or Ringers have profited enormously from this technique that allows the buyer to set some preferences over the piece and therefore obtains a personalized work of art. ³
… What if I am a singer?
If you have different sources of income such as merch, licensing, streaming, touring, you might also want to store all that information in one ledger. This way, you can identify with one look where the revenues are coming from and monitor the worth of your art. ⁴
You can also follow the example of Portugal. The man, this grammy winner band, has launched an engagement token.
These tokens give holders access to various fan-related membership perks. This is a great idea when you can not go touring because you can connect with your fans through exclusive live streams and share unreleased music or even a VIP channel on discord. ⁵
… What if I am a dancer?
If you are part of the commercial dance scene, you might be interested in protecting your intellectual property from video games. Video game companies are profiting from dance moves they didn't choreograph and obtain from TV. Snap Boogie finalist of America's got talent has been one of the first ones registering his move Speedy Walkovers as an NFT. ⁶
On the other hand, there are also advantages to more classical styles. Natalia Osipova, the principal dancer at the Royal Ballet of London, transformed some of her performances into NFTs, such as the iconic Giselle and the contemporary duet Left behind. ⁷
Given all the benefits we reviewed, there might be an increase in the use of cryptocurrency among artists from different disciplines. Above all, the usabilities of the blockchain are still being explored, so new developments can appear shortly. It is for sure that basenode.io will continue helping artists in this path, automating the calculation of token gains, identifying trading partners, and preparing regular reporting documents.
At basenode.io, our mission is to eliminate the gap between traditional accounting and blockchain-based accounting. Basenode.io is the first token-based accounting solution that offers seamless fiat-to-crypto invoicing. We provide a self-explanatory user interface with a clean and modern look, that naturally supports your workflow. Furthermore, we will integrate support for the most popular networks like Bitcoin, Bitcoin Lightning, Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, Polygon, and more. Find out more on our website: www.basenode.io
Carmen Rodriguez is the executive assistant at basenode.io and community manager. Before, she worked in educational entrepreneurship for one year. Besides her degree in business administration, she holds a master's in social innovation. You can contact her via LinkedIn.