Noizd’s Jason Rieff on Decentralizing the Music IndustrySep 27, 2021
The ethos of cryptocurrency has always included a broad anti-establishment streak. And for several years, the principles of decentralization have primarily been used to disrupt power structures in the financial sector. But this year, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) exploded onto the cultural scene, taking decentralization into a whole new area: the music industry.
According to Jason Rieff, co-founder of music NFT marketplace Noizd, record companies previously held the power to decide which artists get heard—and which do not. "Record labels offer bands and artists record deals, and if they don't accept those deals, then the industry snubs them," he told Orchid's Derek Silva on this week's episode of Priv8.
"It's kind of like a threat: you either take our deal, or we're going to ignore you. And as an artist, you don't want to be ignored—especially if you're facing tough economic circumstances."
Because record companies hold the keys to financial wellbeing, artists often do not really have the choice to decline an offer—no matter how exploitative it may be. "If artists sign the contract, they can make some cash and won't be ignored," Jason said. But those who refuse low pay face the prospect of fading into obscurity.
Jason is hesitant to call this financial stronghold "censorship." Still, "a lot of this kind of business is morally incorrect. Taking advantage of people's life situations is just an immoral thing to do. Artists who come out of difficult financial situations shouldn't be strong-armed into producing multiple albums for small sums of money."
Jason believes that NFTs offer another way. Because they allow independent artists to earn a living without record companies, they can upend the power structure in the music industry and empower audiences to choose who gets to be heard—not record labels.
So far, the growth has been massive.
"I don't know how big the NFT music market is alone, but the total NFT market cap expanded from $2.5 billion to $22 billion in just a couple of months earlier this year. And the space is just going to keep growing—it could potentially be bigger than DeFi."
Listen to Derek's entire conversation with Jason here. And don't forget to subscribe to Priv8 Podcast on your favorite streaming service.
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