The chance to own a portion of the rights to a Drake song? Make it ‘Hotline Bling’ and we’re in!
Make it ‘Jodeci Freestyle’, a 2013 collaboration with J Cole chucked out for free in the promotional run-up to his ‘Nothing Was The Same Album’? Well, that’s a little less appealing. As popular as it is with hardcore Drake-heads, how much money is it really bringing in four years on?
Still, ‘Jodeci Freestyle’ is the focus for the “initial song offering” (ISO – a musical riff on the ICO fundraising mechanism that’s been growing in prominence in 2017) for a startup called Vezt. It’s the latest company offering the online crowds a slice of song rights, except in this case there’s a cryptocurrency twist: to get in, fans will have to buy Vezt’s own VZT cryptocurrency. And only non-US residents are eligible.
“Vezt will make available a 10% copyright stake in the song ‘Jodeci Freestyle’… The time is limited! The ISO will begin at 9:00 AM UTC on Thursday, November 16th, 2017 and close after 100 purchases,” explained the company.
“The first 100 individuals to purchase Vezt’s cryptocurrency (VZT) will receive a prorated portion of the 10% copyright stake Vezt is making available.” And the more cryptocurrency they buy, the greater the portion of the song rights they’ll own.
So, by buying VZT someone can bag themselves a share (with 99 other people) of 10% of the rights to a song that was recorded by Drake – as opposed to the actual master recording itself – whose earning power in 2017 is unclear.
Also, they can only buy the VZT using the ether (ETH) cryptocurrency, and in Vezt’s official FAQ about the ISO, the question ‘Which exchanges will VZT be tradable on?’ is answered ‘We have been advised by our Legal team and our Advisors not to discuss anything about the exchanges’.
Vezt’s ambitions to get more artists and rightsholders selling off a portion of song rights to fans and then using blockchain technology and smart contracts to share the royalties could turn out to be interesting.
But with anything like this, fans will need to ask plenty of hard questions about what exactly they’re investing in, and what the likely returns are realistically going to be.