INTERVIEW: DJ Gramatik launches new currency

Gramatik will play a New Year’s Eve show at Terminal 5 in New York City. Photo courtesy of Gramatik.

It’s customary for musicians and DJs to put out new music and entice fans with clever lyrics, catchy beats and stirring harmonies. For Gramatik, the electronic dance musician who is currently on tour in Europe, the new releases extend far beyond music and albums. He has a new EP (Re:Coil Part I) out, but also new currency.

SingularDTV, an entertainment studio, has partnered with Gramatik on a new blockchain project called the GRMTK coin. Here’s how it works, according to official press notes: Gramatik, originally from Slovenia and now based in Brooklyn, New York, will be able to share his new music and a host of other goodies (short films, tour videos) on SingularDTV’s Tokit app. Fans, in turn, will have unique access to the EDM all-star and be part of the investment in his artistry.

Here’s more information from the press release: When projects “generate revenue, that revenue instantaneously appears in the token for the fans to either withdraw or store. Tokens can also act as the means in which to pay for content as well. In the present dynamic, fans don’t receive any tangible value for spreading the word to friends and family about their favorite film, television show or song, but if they hold their favorite song’s token, when their friends and family pay to access that content, that revenue is pushed into the token for the fans to benefit from. Now word-of-mouth marketing has real value.”

The project has met with instant success. According to a press agent: “Gramatik reached his goal of raising $2.5 million worth in Ether currency within 24 [hours]. This means his fans and investors bought $2.5 million worth of GRMTK tokens, which make them part owner of his creative work.  SingularDTV’s apps based on block chain make it possible for everyone involved to see what’s happening with that money at all time, meaning total transparency — a game changer for the music industry.”

Recently, Hollywood Soapbox exchanged emails with Gramatik and SingularDTV CEO Zach LeBeau. Questions and answers have been slightly edited for style.

On how he got into music …

Gramatik: “My older sister had a large cassette collection who turned me on to tapes of funk, jazz, R&B and other genres that naturally lent themselves to dance floors. At 13, I was making beats on my PC, and a few years later, my productions found a loyal fan base and, eventually, the attention of the Colorado-based Pretty Lights.”

On why he decided to work with SingularDTV:

Gramatik: “I’ve been waiting for a platform like SingularDTV to come out that utilizes blockchain technology to cut out the gatekeepers and middlemen. I just want to release my own music whenever I want, on my own terms. I want to get rid of all that bureaucracy. I just want to make music. Living in a world that’s owned by banks and corporations, blockchain technology is pretty much the only thing that gives me hope for the future.”

On his New Year’s Eve show at Terminal 5 in New York City …

Gramatik: “I look forward to playing with my homies Big Wild, Ramzoid and Cobrayama.”

On how the collaboration began …

LeBeau: “I’ve been a big fan of Gramatik’s music for years. I saw an interview where he was speaking about the state of the music industry and his philosophy behind his music. It was then I knew I had to contact him. We were saying the same things. I immediately got in touch with his manager, and the rest is crypto-history.”

On how fans can take advantage of the project …

LeBeau: “It’s about the rights and royalty claim embedded in his tokens. When his audience holds his token, they are holding the rights and royalties of his intellectual property. They own a piece of his music, of whatever he creates. So when his music generates revenue, they get a piece of that revenue pro rata how many tokens they hold. Gramatik’s releasing 25 percent of his tokens to the public, so the public will receive 25 percent of everything his IP generates on the blockchain.”

On why it’s important to be forward-thinking and ahead of the curve in the music business …

LeBeau: “It’s important because artists are not slaves, and they are exploited as such. For years, the music business has been leading the way to look for alternative models that don’t screw the artists, but the technology that can provide a real solution never existed, until now. All of the platforms out there benefit the audience and the owners of the platform, not the artists. Blockchain technology and the applications we are building finally put the artists in the center of their success and in control by eliminating the power the gatekeepers and intermediaries had over their property. Now artists can be in control and have a truly reciprocal relationship with their audiences while reaping the benefits.”

By John Soltes / Publisher / John@HollywoodSoapbox.com

Click here for more information on SingularDTV. Click here for more information on Gramatik.

John Soltes

John Soltes is an award-winning journalist. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Earth Island Journal, The Hollywood Reporter, New Jersey Monthly and at Time.com, among other publications.

E-mail him at john@hollywoodsoapbox.com

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