During Spring 2021, a constellation of organisations partnered up to design and build Autonomies, a project using decentralised technologies with the aim of empowering electronic music artists, collectors and fans. This formidable team is made up of Keyko, Ransom Note, Ecce, B.A.D, Loominate, Arroz Estudios, as well as independent artists and collectives all looking to build tools to empower artists for the future of the electronic music industry.
Our premise was simple: with self-sovereign publishing tools being increasingly available to creatives thanks to innovations happening in the web3 space (most notably Non-Fungible Tokens, or NFTs), our community could write its own digital future in a way that totally shifts how value is being created and distributed, and create a collective platform at the service of artists rather than corporations.
After writing our manifesto and discussing potential paths to meet the objectives set, the time has come for us to unveil our first two deliveries to the community. Early summer 2022, fans and collectors will be able to buy and sell access to exclusive audio files from carefully curated electronic music artists on the Autonomies marketplace, and to participate in the governance of the project through the Autonomies Decentralised Autonomous Organisation (DAO). With so much jargon, rabbit holes and stigma on web3.0, autonomies is about keeping as simple and easy as possible for musicians and collectors to engage.
The team has been hard at work spreading the word about the project, drawing interest across the board to be able to satisfy even the most demanding audiophiles. It takes the best from discogs and bandcamp and enhances it with the properties of cryptocurrencies and decentralised systems. Autonomies aims to be the first music marketplace that is truly owned by the artists and the collectors who use it.
While collectors will be able to buy and trade the download access to audio files from their favourite producers, musicians on Autonomies will be able to fully embrace the capabilities of web3 in the process of selling music. Splitting revenue with their collaborators, setting up custom royalty policies and freely defining their runs are only some of the benefits that will be made available to them.
To address concerns regarding speed, costs, and the ecological footprint of decentralised Proof of Work networks such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, The Autonomies marketplace will initially run on the Polygon network, which plans to go carbon negative in 2022.The deployment of the Autonomies app and DAO on Polygon also allows us to benefit from the bridges available to transfer assets directly from Polygon to Ethereum. This represents a big advantage for our users, given that Ethereum concentrates the largest collector community and dApp offering. In short, we are committed to ensuring that Autonomies has the lowest possible carbon footprint, while also guaranteeing its community access to the most interesting features of web3.
Our marketplace is built using nevermined, a network agnostic software development kit already deployed on Ethereum, Celo and Near. This means that not only do assets have cross network portability, but the entire autonomies ecosystem, should it be needed, could also migrate.
It’s important to stress that autonomies is not here for a quick money grab, and that the Autonomies marketplace and DAO are only the starting point for us to deliver the vision of the manifesto. While delivering the most value to our community using the latest tools available from web3, we aim to fully decentralise the application, its underlying layers (governance, storage, curation…) and give the full ownership of the system to its users.
Autonomies is here for artists, collectors, first time web3 users and anyone with a deep love for music. If these are your first steps in crypto and the learning curve looks steep, don’t worry, we have a Discord community that will help you get started, as well as the rest of our upcoming blog posts. The autonomies team will maintain an FAQ page based on community needs and grow a library of educational content.
Our long standing involvement in web3 and in the electronic music scene has taught us a lot about the importance of having community members whose values are well aligned, for these communities to thrive and to continue growing sustainably. Since NFTs started capturing a lot of media attention in the past year, there’s been a growing appetite from creative communities and particularly musicians to start using the tools web3 has to offer. As a result, the list of crypto music projects has grown exponentially (sound.xyz, MODA DAO, nina, pianity…).
While the pressure to push a product out to the market quickly is real, observing other projects’ approaches allows us to define best practice and to take the time to draft a modular and community-led roadmap for Autonomies. The current landscape of music NFT projects varies in shape and decentralisation degrees, but currently no project is led by and directly owned by the community. While guaranteeing Autonomies DAO members to turn proposals into actions, the Autonomies product team will also host regular town-halls on Discord to keep the discussion open on what core features to plan and build for the community.
One of our goals is to hand over the full governance of the project to a DAO managed by the Autonomies artists and collectors, effectively turning them into active shareholders of the ecosystem. By extension, we want to create a decentralised cooperative for musicians and collectors. That being said, we have witnessed the drawbacks of projects that rush to launch a liquid governance token and a DAO infrastructure where the utility of the system has yet to be proven. These approaches favour hype and speculation over a clearly identified product-market fit and a self sustaining community.
For this reason, we’ve decided to follow a staged tokenization strategy, where the tokenization of the ecosystem will first decentralise the projects’ operations before facing external markets.
At launch, the core team will therefore be managing the marketplace and Autonomie’s treasury through a governance token, designed to vote on proposals and bring the highest level of transparency towards the community. As our intention is to give the community control over the project’s future, we will roll out a program to distribute tokens to our contributors and our community of collectors and musicians. This program will reward collectors and artists using the marketplace and will incentivise music sales and collection. More information about how users can benefit from this program will be provided in a separate article.
As we enter the last testing phases, artists and collectors can already create a profile, browse through the catalogue to purchase and sell exclusive and rare digital music on the Autonomies marketplace in a test environment. If you’re an artist willing to take part in this testing round, please feel free to reach out at email@example.com. Our plan to deploy to production is now only a few weeks ahead and we look forward to having you use our product.
Once live, all actions and transactions will be recorded on-chain and will prepare the ground for the full tokenization and decentralisation of the project.
If you’re an artist interested in making music NFTs, you can sign up to our whitelist here, and jump into the conversation in our Discord server. If you’re a collector and curious to find out which scarce digital music files we have in our marketplace, you will be able to start collecting music through Autonomies as soon as we launch. We look forward to having you re-imagine the future of digital music with us.
If you’d like to learn more about our views for the project roadmap, its governance at present or if you have questions related to the tokenization of the ecosystem, we invite you to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or using any of our socials.