A year ago, Brooklyn-based producer and rapper Julian Xtra was looking for ways to connect with a new audience. Facebook and Instagram had been worthy distribution points, but their algorithms’ continual changes made it hard to find new listeners.
Admittedly obsessed with cryptocurrency and blockchain, Xtra joined Vezt, which enables the artists, songwriters, and producers direct access to funding from their fans in exchange for royalties. After an “Initial Song Offering” to raise money, Vezt helps distribute artists’ songs on digital platforms and promote the content.
To convince fans to invest, Xtra sold the opportunity’s unique benefits: “If you want to hold some of the rights to my songs, it’s basically like a Kickstarter or crowdfunding site, except you’ll actually have a stake in this. Instead of getting a free album, you’re going to have a portion of this song.”
Startups test the blockchain model
Several startups like Vezt are using blockchain to create distribution platforms with greater transparency that give proper compensation and credit to the appropriate individuals. FilmChain works similarly, using blockchain to encourage transparency throughout the development and distribution processes. The Xaya gaming platform enables developers to host software using a decentralized system that requires no servers.
The entertainment industry has long suffered from issues of ownership and confusion about attribution. The implementation of blockchain could lead to more equitable, transparent systems that detail the individuals entitled to compensation and why.
Working with Vezt, Xtra has raised thousands of dollars. Now he can afford online ads on social media sites, which “helps me get more fans, and get larger streams, and start getting payouts for the people who bought [rights in those offerings].” He’s been able to buy some ads on YouTube, which have led to five figures of new views. The most expensive ad was “pushing 90,000”…