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NFTs: Umek to sell rights to live show as a token

Music analytics and data platform Viberate will tomorrrow be the first company to test the concept of a ‘live event NFT’ by selling the rights to a live performance as a non-fungible token.

The upcoming NFT ‘drop’ – ie the release, and subsequent auction, of the blockchain-based tokens – will start on 29 April at 8pm UK time (3pm EST) and run for 24 hours. Focusing on the work of techno DJ Umek, the drop will see buyers bid for rights one of three remixes of Umek’s 1999 hit ‘Lanicor‘, a livestreamed concert, or an in-person live performance.

Bidding for the livestream NFT begins at US$2,500, with the concert NFT starting at $5,000.

“We’re excited about NFTs and blockchain technology in general, as it really opens up new opportunities for artists and organisers to create transparent and secure bookings,” says Vasja Veber, Viberate co-founder and Umek’s manager.

“We hope to prove a concept with our NFT drop”

“The industry’s been in a sort of limbo this past year. As there are no live events, the artists try to make do by streaming their performances, but there’s no clear answer as to when and how things will return to normal – or even what ‘normal’ will mean by then.

“We hope to prove a concept with our NFT drop – any artist can make sure they’ll have a booking waiting for them once live gigs are back in the picture, and the terms of that booking are agreed upon in advance.”

If the concept proves successful, Viberate plans to provide its blockchain-based verification and token-minting services to the hundreds of thousands of artists in its database.

The NFT boom has so far seen artists offer VIP tickets, digital art and collectible albums in the format, though the Viberate event, in partnership with Blockparty, is the first to leverage the technology for booking artists.


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Report: Covid-19 to cost festival sector $16.8bn

Festivals around the world are set to collectively lose almost US$17 billion due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new report carried out by music data start-up Viberate.

Using data from Viberate’s recently launched Sick Festivals tool – which monitors over 5,000 data-enriched festival pages from the company’s blockchain-based music industry database – the report estimates the monetary loss for festivals in 2020, as well as the number of fans who will miss out on festivals this season.

The report, entitled ‘The economic impact of coronavirus on the music festival season’, also catalogues the number of festivals affected worldwide by Covid-19; the countries with the highest proportion of cancelled or postponed festivals; and the rate at which organisers made decisions on the fate of their festivals.


The losses in numbers
Viberate calculates that the direct economic impact of Covid-19 on music festivals is $16.8bn, with $5.1bn – or around 30% – of that coming from losses in ticket sales.

The remainder of the monetary loss comes from other festival site businesses, such as food and drink suppliers, merchandise vendors and other paid-for onsite facilities.

The company also provides a breakdown for the types of festivals likely to lose out most due to coronavirus, with “mega” festivals – those for 80,000 visitors or more – taking on almost 75% ($12.4bn) of total losses.

“Huge” festivals – those for 30,000 to 80,000 fans – account for $2.4bn of total losses; “big” festivals (15,000 to 30,000 visitors) for $1.2bn; “medium” festivals (5,000 to 15,000 visitors) for $500 million; and small festivals – those with a capacity smaller than 5,000 – for $300m.

The estimated number of fans unable to attend music festivals this year is estimated to be 13.2m worldwide.


The most affected countries
Over 750 festivals have been affected worldwide by Covid-19, according to the Viberate report.

The Netherlands is the country with the highest number of festivals affected by the coronavirus outbreak (121), followed by the United States (90), the UK (86), Germany (84) and France (80).


How quickly did organisers react to the outbreak?
The report shows that festivals planned ot take place from march to May were the most likely to be affected by the outbreak. However, some optimism remained until the end pog April, with around 50% of festivals having been postponed, rather than cancelled, at this point.

A total of 127 festivals were cancelled or postponed in March, with 230 also getting the coronavirus treatment in April and a further 193 becoming affected in May.

Organisers of some of the largest US festivals, such as Stagecoach, Bonnaroo and Coachella, were among the last to call time on 2020, holding out for autumn editions until finally cancelling in June.


How festival organisers can get back on track
The report also offers words of advice to music festival professionals on the back of its findings.

The first piece of advice is to make “less risky, data-based decisions”. The likelihood for smaller budgets in the future calls for a greater use of data to drive decisions. The Viberate team is developing Viberate Pro, a tool offering data-driven insights to those in the music industry.

Currently in beta trial, the tool allows users to explore Pro Charts, filtering artists by nationality, genre and subgenre, and to sort by Viberate popularity, desired timeline and other channel-specific parametres.

For more information, email the Viberate team.

The other recommendation is to maintain good levels of communication with fans, which is possible via a customisable, sector-specific mobile app.

The full report can be accessed here.


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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2019 Under the Microscope: Who was on top in electronic music?

Anybody working in the live music industry today will tell you that 2020 came out swinging, with the colossal price tag of the coronavirus pandemic rising steeply every day.

As the industry came to a halt following the cancellations of gigs and festivals all over the world, Viberate looked back on brighter days and crunched the numbers behind the top 100 DJs across all genres to see who’s behind the mixing board.


We could just say that the average top DJ was a 34-year-old EDM-playing American who gained the highest number of new followers on YouTube. This, however, doesn’t hit all the right notes, as the wider picture is much more colourful. So what else is there?

As a global music platform connecting over half a million artists and around 5,000 festivals, Viberate analysed popularity across numerous social and streaming services in the past year in order to put the top 100 DJs in the world under the microscope.

Using similar data gymnastics, Viberate populated the artist-specific categories for the International Dance Music Awards, which are traditionally presented at the Winter Music Conference in Miami, but remained in the digital realm this year.

This review provides a fuller reflection of the industry…


1. The mainstream and the underground: Who’s winning the genre game?

EDM takes the crown

The undisputed winner is dance, as more than a half of the top 100 DJs have it as their main subgenre. At the end of the day, mainstream popularity brings the numbers, so there’s no curveball to be expected here.

Next is house, which is represented all around the world, and then dubstep, downtempo and trap/future bass, which are the most popular in English-speaking countries. In dubstep, eight out of ten DJs represented are from North America, while one is from the UK and one is Israeli. In trap/future bass, six out of nine DJs are from North America, and one is Australian.

Techno, however, is Europe-based, as all representatives (except the one Siberian in the mix) are European. Trance and drum and bass remain more underground, but have one strong representative each, both Dutch: Armin van Buuren and the Noisia trio, who are on their farewell tour in 2020.


2. Building a fan base: The strongest channels

How many followers did the average top DJ gain in 2019?

Taking a closer look at the numbers of new followers on Spotify, Instagram and YouTube per genre, it’s clear that the average dance DJ is the winner of 2019. Of the whopping 3.5m new followers on average, 43% are YouTube subscribers, 35% were gained on Spotify and 22% on Instagram.

Next is house (860k new followers), with the growth per channel more evenly distributed. Trap/future bass is at its heels, with 850k new followers, almost half of them on YouTube (47%). The average Techno winner of the year got 710k new followers, most of them (72%) on Instagram – not surprising, as neither YouTube nor Spotify are the main outlets for techno artists.

With downtempo (420k new followers), the allocation of new followers is pretty proportional, while dubstep (260k new followers) mirrors dance, gaining most of its new fan base (43%) on YouTube.


3. The demographics behind the superstars

Where do the top 100 DJs come from?

The countries that have given us the most Top DJs are the US and the Netherlands, with 28 and 12, respectively. While Marshmello, Skrillex, the Chainsmokers and Steve Aoki, representing the US, have become household names, the picture changes if we consider the population of both countries.

The Netherlands is around eight times more populated with top DJs such as Martin Garrix, R3hab and Oliver Heldens – there must be something in the air. And if we compare Europe and North America as a whole, 46 of the top 100 DJs come from the Old Continent, and 35 from the US and Canada.

How old are they? Almost half of the DJs are in their 30s, and 4% of them are still going strong in their fifties.

And where are the ladies? In electronic music in general, men have the numbers, but in techno the situation is level at the top, as the wave of successful women is taking the lead: Charlotte de Witte, Amelie Lens, Nina Kraviz and Deborah De Luca are challenging the status quo. The sister duo Krewella has been rocking EDM, and you can’t miss Alison Wonderland and REZZ in bass music.

The fastest rising stars were Peggy Gou, Charlotte de Witte and Amelie Lens, who each at least doubled the number of followers on all three analysed channels and made 2019 their year. Even though the world of electronic music might still seem like a boys’ club, there are strong players fighting to change the stereotypical figure behind a mixing board.


4. Sick Festivals: What does the future hold for 2020?

To stay informed about postponed and cancelled festivals, Viberate has created the website Sick Festivals, where you can follow current information.

At the moment, the coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll on more than 550 festivals – find out more at SickFestivals.com.


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Sick Festivals: 300+ events now affected by coronavirus

With the coronavirus forcing festival cancellations on a daily basis, music data start-up Viberate has launched Sick Festivals, a list of some 5,000 music festivals, updated daily, tracking which events are on, which are postponed and which have been cancelled altogether.

Slovenia-based Viberate has, at the time of writing, identified 141 cancelled and 185 postponed festivals. The data is sourced from artists, venues, events and festivals featured in Viberate’s blockchain-based music industry database, which the company hopes will become the ‘IMDb of music’.

The idea for Sick Festivals came when one of the company’s founders, techno DJ Uroš Umek (aka DJ Umek), started receiving a slew of festival cancellations, he explains: “Just a week ago, I played on the Resistance stage at Ultra in Melbourne and Sydney, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. When I landed back home and turned my phone back on, most of my upcoming gigs had already disappeared from my calendar.

“That was when I realised how serious this outbreak had become in a matter of days. It feels eerily dystopian.

“It’s up to us to do whatever we can to manage the damage”

“Now it’s up to us to do whatever we can to manage the damage. At Viberate, we quickly put together a service that we hope will help people see what’s going on with the festival they had been planning to visit, and shed a light onto industry professionals’ income loss, which is no laughing matter.”

In addition to listing festivals’ current statuses, Sick Festivals allows fans to express their disappointment at cancellations/postponements, demonstrated by a sad-face emoji next to the festival’s entry. (At press time, Coachella had 19,175 sad faces, some 5,000 more than Ultra Miami and 9,000 more than Glastonbury.)

Viberate, one of the first wave of music-focused cryptocurrencies, started out as an Airbnb-like service which promised to cut out the agency middle man and connect unsigned musicians (who would be paid in Viberate’s native crypto, the vibe) with a database of those who might want to book them.

Nearly three years on, its creators are focused on building blockchain-powered database that maps the entire live music business, including artists, music venues, booking agencies, festivals and other music events.


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Creative Passport appoints new CEO, board members

The organisation behind the Creative Passport, a blockchain-based, data-collection tool for those working in the music industry, has appointed a new CEO and board of advisors.

Founded by Grammy-winning artist Imogen Heap, who is also the creator of wearable tech product Mi.Mu gloves and an advisor to music industry blockchain specialist Viberate, the Creative Passport enables users to update, manage and share information easily and quickly, acting as a digital identification tool.

The platform, which is launching in beta mode next week, was presented at the International Live Music Conference’s (ILMC) New Technology panel in 2018.

Carlotta De Ninni is serving as the new CEO of the company, having worked on the project since its inception and previously holding positions at the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) and think tank Mycelia.

Tech and music industry veterans Cliff Fluet, founder and managing director of business advisory Eleven; Eva Kaili, chair of the future of science and technology panel of the European Parliament; Jeremy Silver, CEO of technology innovation centre Digital Catapult; and Zoe Keating, a cellist and composer known for her use of technology, make up the organisation’s board of advisors.

“I am very much looking forward to making this the industry-leading premium digital identity tool for creatives”

“It is rare that you get the opportunity to jump into the driving seat of an organisation like The Creative Passport which is totally changing the game in the music industry in terms of how people manage and own their data,” comments De Ninni.

“I am very much looking forward to both leveraging my experience and know-how and to working with our new Board of Advisors, to make this the industry-leading premium digital identity tool for creatives.”

“Carlotta has tended the first seeds of the Creative Passport and heard directly from hundreds of music makers around the world why this needs to happen – there is no better person to head up the organisation,” adds Heap.

“Alongside Carlotta, I’m delighted and honoured to have these four outstanding humans as our first Board of Advisors.”

Companies presenting at the new technology panel at this year’s ILMC include festival travel portal Festicket, virtual reality company MelodyVR and augmented audio specialist Peex. ILMC is taking place from 3 to 6 March at the Royal Garden Hotel in London.


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YouTube-conquering Blackpink become biggest K-pop act

After their song ‘Ddu-Du Ddu-Du’ earlier this week become the first by K-pop act to surpass a billion views, girl group Blackpink are officially the hottest Korean pop export, outranking even BTS when it comes to online buzz, according to Viberate.

Using data drawn from streaming services, social platforms and official artist websites, Viberate found that Blackpink (pictured), signed to YG Entertainment, just edge out the Big Hit-signed boy band to become the most popular K-pop act.

According to the platform, “it’s a close call, but the answer is Blackpink. Blackpink tops BTS in Viberate’s overall rankings, as well as their mainstream pop and Asianpop rankings, which are calculated according to digital popularity on Twitter, Instagram, Spotify, SoundCloud, and YouTube.”

Not surprisingly, it continues, “YouTube is where Blackpink especially dominates, with 4.5 billion yearly views and of course the recent ‘Ddu-Du Ddu-Du’ benchmark. BTS only surpasses Blackpink in Twitter followers and SoundCloud popularity (where Blackpink has no presence).”

Courtesy of Viberate, here’s how the K-pop titans stack up:

Viberate BTS vs Blackpink

Viberate, one of the first wave of music-focused cryptocurrencies, started out as an Airbnb-like service which promised to cut out the agency middle man and connect unsigned musicians (who would be paid in Viberate’s native crypto, the vibe) with a database of those who might want to book them.

Two years on, its creators are focused on building blockchain-powered database that maps the entire live music business, including artists, music venues, booking agencies, festivals and other music events. Dubbed the ‘IMDb of music’, Viberate allows artists, music professionals and fans to add artist/agent/venue/festival profiles to its database; following review by a team of around 80 ‘curators’, the submitters are rewarded with cryptocurrency.

Following news that its biggest stars would go on a touring hiatus, BTS’s management company, Big Hit Entertainment, recently announced plans to hold global auditions for a new girl band, to rival the likes of Blackpink and Twice.


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Historic bar and music venue for sale in cryptocurrency

The owner of Stone Jug, a historic restaurant, bar and live music venue in Carbonear, Canada, is accepting buyers using the cryptocurrencies Bitcoin, XRP and Ethereum.

Stone Jug owner, Bruce Branan, is accepting the three leading cryptocurrencies as well as 28 fiat currencies for the purchase of the historic bar and restaurant, priced at CA$6.8 million.

The venue has a capacity of 370 people across three floors, including a conference room and multi-purpose theatre, used for musical performances. Stone Jug hosts local entertainers for traditional Irish and Newfoundland music sessions each weekend.

The live music industry is no stranger to cryptocurrencies, or the blockchain technology behind them

The live music industry is no stranger to cryptocurrencies, or the blockchain technology behind them.

Blockchain technology is currently used by Ethereum-based platforms Aventus and Crypto.tickets to regulate and standardise live event ticketing. The same technology is also used by Ethereum platform, Viberate, a decentralised talent ecosystem for live music events.

The potential uses of blockchain technology in the live music sector extend to licensing, live streaming, marketing and fan-to-artist interaction, among others.


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Viberate adds CTS Eventim to ticket sales partners

Blockchain-based live music marketplace Viberate has increased the number of tickets on sale through its platform to 70,000 by partnering with CTS Eventim.

Since raising more than US$10m in an initial coin offering (ICO) last August, the Slovenia-based company, which aims to “map the global live music ecosystem” using blockchain technology, has grown its database of musicians, venues, booking agencies and promoters by 270%, and had its VIB tokens listed on 14 cryptocurrency exchanges. It also already has ticket distribution agreements in place with Ticketmaster, Eventbrite and Skiddle.

Oliver Fraemke, senior vice-president of international business development at CTS Eventim, says: “As Europe’s leading ticketing company, generating reach on the web is obviously among our core competencies. Teaming up with an exciting start-up like Viberate adds yet another powerful channel to our ever-increasing number of affiliate outlets.

“Teaming up with an exciting start-up like Viberate adds yet another powerful channel to our ever-increasing number of affiliate outlets”

“Our cooperation will help us draw a much sought-for and highly-attractive customer group to our own Eventim web shops, to the benefit of music fans and artists alike.”

According to the STA news agency, the partnership with the German company will also include its local operations, including Slovenia’s Eventim.si.

“Getting the recognition from the big players in the industry is a huge reward for our work so far,” adds Vasja Veber, Viberate’s COO. “Our team is fully devoted to developing a completely new digital playground for music enthusiasts, industry professionals and crypto fans that will make a huge impact on the industry.”


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Imogen Heap announces tech-focused new world tour

Grammy winner and tech innovator Imogen Heap has announced details of her new 40-city Mycelia world tour – her first in eight years – combining songs from her three-decade musical career with the launch of the new Creative Passport platform.

The tour will comprise concerts, talks, workshops and a exhibition of Creative Passport, which serves as a “digital container” for artists’ information and aims to become a digital identity standard for music-makers. The service will utilise blockchain technology to do so, and was showcased by Heap at this year;s ILMC 30 conference.

The tour will start at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm on 3 September during Music Tech Fest, then continue on to concert halls in cities including Barcelona, Copenhagen, Oslo, Lisbon, Helsinki and beyond.

“Finally, after years, all the threads of my life are coming together on this tour”

Heap’s live shows will feature both solo performances by the artist, as well as an electronic duo with Frou Frou collaborator Guy Sigsworth. The tour is also the first to showcase Heap’s innovative Mi.Mu gloves.

“Finally, after years, all the threads of my life are coming together on this tour, as I get to share my passions and projects in music and tech all around the world,” she says, “exploring each city we visit with family, friends, fans and colleagues and collaborating with the music-maker community as we go. 

“What could be more exciting? I especially look forward to airing a positive outlook for music-makers and the business that surrounds them – as, for two decades in my own career, this wasn’t always the case. I truly believe a big change for good is upon us with the Creative Passport and other technologies, as we transform the music industry into a fair, flourishing and vibrant place.”

Tickets are available from myceliaformusic.org/tour.


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An introduction to music cryptos

If you had invested $1,000 in Bitcoin five years ago you would be a millionaire by now. It is not too late to get into cryptocurrencies, though, as more than a thousand cryptos have been developed, with many of the most promising coins having applications in the music industry.

Here, we take a look at five of the best and explain what their projects are about.

Voise is an anonymous decentralised music platform that has a token which makes use of Ethereum’s smart contract ecosystem for transactions. Voise cryptocurrency is an innovative coin for the music industry that allows artists to monetise their music in a P2P marketplace. The artists are allowed to set a price for their tracks, provide sample tracks for free and seek support from their fans and other users on the Voise platform.

The process of selling music by artists and its purchase by users is pretty straightforward. The artist that wishes to sell his/her track puts the digital file on Voise. After the track has been uploaded, it will be published in a P2P network, with the track becoming visible to users. A user can discover relevant tracks and even listen to part of it before deciding to either purchase it or not.

After a user makes a decision to purchase a track, he/she will use voise tokens to complete the transaction. The transaction is made visible on the blockchain. After confirmation, transfer of the funds to the artist’s wallet is done, with a small fee deducted from it.

Musicoin was developed for the purpose of supporting the creation, distribution and consumption of music. Its system makes use of an algorithm that generates a currency called musicoin ($MUSIC). Musicoin uses a special algorithm to support smart contracts which makes it possible for musicians and their fans to exchange value in a smooth environment.

The musicoin digital currency was developed to support global trade in the music industry and other music-related businesses. Musicoin is designed in such a way that it isn’t issued by a single entity. The issuance is done by a network of computers through mining. Smart contracts on the platform are automated and distribute $MUSIC as payment for transactions that occur on the Musicoin platform.

Voxxo is a fast-growing decentralised music platform. Users that hold voxxo tokens have the ability to plan musical events and concerts. This can be done with the using the platform and raising funds via crowdfunding.

The concept behind this cryptocurrency is to empower the music community to raise funds on the Voxxo platform. Voxxo is obliged to return the funds to the initial investors and add some revenues to them as initially agreed after the concert. However, this can only happen if the concert is successful.

Using it comprises three stages:

This music cryptocurrency was developed back in September, with the company raising more than $10.7 million in an ICO crowdsale. This sum, raised by selling the VIB token, was generated in less than five minutes.

The platform has more than 150,000 band profiles, 60,000 venues and 500,000 events, with more investors. Users on the platform are paid using the VIB coins. The platform is currently focused on accommodating the entire live concert industry. Transactions on the platform are made using the VIB tokens. They are currently working on using smart contracts to enable some features such as advanced ticketing.

VIB tokens are currently worth around $0.15.

This cryptocurrency allows music users to carry out several activities. For musicians, they can register their music, manage and pay out royalties and execute crowdfunding activities on the platform.
Music lovers, meanwhile, can listen to music legally, donate or invest in a musician or a particular track, all using the moosecoin token. They can also share in the profits for the songs or musicians they invested in.

Moosecoin also allows you to create or connect with a streaming service on their blockchain. You can also benefit from existing contracts or payment services available. Moosecoin has become popular due to the ease of transactions and the almost instant payment of funds.

The platform is designed to make it possible for an artist to create his/her unique business model while giving him or her data insights. Artists are also given the autonomy to raise funds easily to support their project.

The platform is currently working on ways to ensure that every user has the incentive to add value to the system using the moosecoin token.

The cryptocurrencies listed above are some of the top music cryptos currently available in the industry. Each of them has a different design and target but they are all similar in that the platforms make use of blockchain technology to make a decentralised network. They also use tokens that make payment and raising funds much easier for members of the platform.

Welcome to the crypto space. Happy investing!


Amir Gvili is a cryptocurrency expert. He has traded cryptocurrencies for more than five years and is an experienced blockchain programmer. He is also one of the authors of aBitGreedy.com.