Last week, global emerging music and technology conference, Mondo NYC was hosted in the Williamsburg Hotel with a full day agenda of panel discussions, speed meeting sessions, NY music industry meet-ups and more. Local musician and technologist Nathan Windsor attended and shared his key takeaways from the event.
Disclaimer: I’m a musician and I run a blockchain software company called Macroscape. I moved to NYC in 2006 to play music, wrote a rock opera, and worked as a music therapist. When I started to run out of money, I switched to software development and cryptocurrencies.
Now if you’re not constantly huffing the fumes of crypto-crack like I am every day, you’re probably not familiar with all the totally arcane and useless facts that I know. Luckily, someone compiled all the failed crypto projects in one place for you right here. Like, you probably don’t know that Ripple is a highly centralized database and most of its founders hold huge amounts of it. That hasn’t stopped it from raising an obscene amount of money (the current market cap is $28.38B), and people from bringing class action lawsuits against the company. As McCartney sang “will you walk away from a fool and his money?” You also probably don’t know that EOS took out ads for its ICO in Times Square, which violated US securities laws.
EOS and Ripple fit into the bucket of projects that have reached what I call “terminal financial escape velocity”: they’ve raised so much money that they can just pay off whatever bills the authorities throw at them. “Ah, who cares,” they probably think. “They’ll sue us in whatever jurisdiction, then we’ll confuse them with nuanced jargon, and pay whatever fee they want us to pay.” (think the FAANG paradigm…)
Getting back to the event of this article, Mondo NYC was created by Joanne Abbot Green and Bobby Haber, who were the also the founders of CMJ. Along with Northside Festival and SXSW, Mondo is another festival working to give musicians the exposure, network, and tools to make a living. Having attended many of these industry festivals over the years, I often come away with a feeling of “ok, so now what?”
I spent three hours listening to panel discussions on blockchain and the future of the music industry and while we are getting better at crafting tech solutions that “cut out the middleman”, we still have a long way to go. Many times in the age of the internet, we solve one problem and then create a whole slew of new ones.
Here are the dark secrets of the music and blockchain industries which no one wants to tell you, and which are symptomatic of the much larger issue of global wealth disparity and the coming AI technological revolution.
1.) Our culture does not understand how to use units of accounting to value the work of people who create “art” (music, performance, visual art). While we all believe the story that art is “valuable” or “unique” we simply don’t know how to assign these things value. That does not mean that we can’t assign it value, it means we don’t. Yet. The same applies to our other valuable assets like data and attention, which is why we give them away for free cat videos.