Blockchain and artists
The pilot music and tech festival at Imogen Heap’s studio complex was packed with performers, technologists and industry gurus, and featured artist-centric discussions about Blockchain and the importance of data for music makers. Imogen has been leading the Blockchain for artists debate, and in a first, released a track with the Ujo platform that automatically distributed payments using smart contracts. She believes that Blockchain could help musicians make money again.
Currently too much data is going missing or is not connected well enough to enable artists to know what is happening to their tracks, and to organise licensing and other deals.
“We are not recognizing digitally what we are physically,” Imogen said. Her solution – as founder of the Mycelia research and development hub for music makers – is an all-in-one hyper-connected passport that contains everything from release info to Smart Contract templates.
“Curated data is everything and if it can’t be found, someone is losing out,” Imogen explained.
At the event we were each given a beautifully-designed sample passport, a physical manifestation of what will be launched digitally, and the range and depth of info was staggering.
Imogen Heap keynote
Creative Passports with linked in apps and services
Imogen used her own work as an example, and her biography, official artist accounts, data sharing preferences, collaborations, hardware, sponsors, payment mechanisms and many more elements, were all gathered in one place.
The idea is that verified apps and services all link in, which could be fair streaming service Resonate coop, PRS, management service MPAL, Auddly song data hub, and many more.
Imogen says we have reached a significant technological milestone that will enable the Creative Passports, and that is Blockchain technology. Blockchain legend Vinay Gupta who launched Ethereum and is CEO of Mattereum gave a powerful talk about the technology’s benefits and possibilities. He was followed by Vanessa Read of the PRS Foundation, and then a panel comprised of Zoe Keating, Sammy Andrews, Cliff Fluet, Panos Panay, and Eva Kaili MEP who promotes innovation and Blockchain.
Imogen Heap Creative Passport profile
The Mycelia vision is that the passports will be free for music makers and there will be a subscription service for businesses who want to link in.
To kick start this, the Mycelia World Tour will set off and cover huge ground this year. It will consist of a 3 day music and tech festival, that will visit over 40 urban hubs and deliver the passports along with a inspiring event with Imogen and other musicians performing. It will connect with local music makers and technologists, hackers, and also work with children.
The idea is it will continue each year, nourishing a giant music ecosystem and empowering artists.
Mi Mu gloves
At the pilot, we were given a rare chance to explore Imogen’s studio and play some priceless instruments old and new, and talk to composer and collaborator Nick Ryan about their recent work on the animated short film Escape featuring the Imogen Heap song Magic Me, using the new Dolby Atmos sound.
Three leading mi mu glove artists also performed in the same room for the first time – Chagall, Kris Halpin and Adam Stark, who is the gloves developer. Mi mu will play a leading role in the tour which will also bring together the glove community.
Chagall, Adam Stark, Kris Halpin
After a day of firsts, we were led to the very high-tech Barn for the evening climax. Kitted out with surround sound using D&B speakers, and with a glowing tree installation centre stage, that became a light show, expectations were running high.
Imogen and Frou Frou, with superb musicians including Guy Sigsworth who will join the tour, performed a mesmerising set, of songs old and new, with Imogen dazzling in her use of the mi mu gloves.
Tim Exile swiftly followed with a techno-orientated performance that was the cue for an eruption of dancing, and he even took requests.
The following day saw more child-focused sessions of making, and creating artwork, with some amazing inventions brought to life by Little Inventors who turn children’s ideas into real objects.
At the end another show from Imogen with a bunch of young children joining her on stage, some of whom didn’t want to leave! As if that wasn’t magical enough, it was the first time her daughter had ever seen her perform.
The Mycelia pilot excited and inspired, and was a beautifully-produced sampler for the tour.
- New developments on the Creative Passports are expected this week, and you can find out more about them at Mycelia, plus info about the world tour.