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It’s 2018 and Gareth Emery is riding high. After decades of being one of dance music’s most in-demand DJs, he’s found himself in the unlikely position of being CEO of Choon: the blockchain’s biggest music streaming service at the time. A self-described crypto hobbyist since 2013, Emery founded Choon in 2017 alongside Cryptopunks creators and NFT OGs Matt Hall and John Watskinson. Choon was something he had dreamed about for years: a solution to many of the music industry’s most fundamental problems.
“I guess we were about three years too early,” Emery laughs, when chatting about the Choon days. “We pioneered some incredible technology for artists: tens of thousands of artists were getting paid for their music every day, and our accounts engine was splitting royalties between collaborators in real time, paying artists via an Ethereum contract. It was pretty amazing”.
Unfortunately though, Choon wasn’t to last. Faced with an investment drought following 2018’s market crash, the company simply ran out of money. “Those were tough days,” Emery recalls. “In six months, the market changed so much that we went from having people beg to invest in us daily, to not being able to raise a thousand dollars, despite having achieved everything we’d set out to. It was brutal”.
Choon ceased operations in 2019, but left a substantial legacy: the promise of a fairer, more equitable world for artists — one that’s finally taking shape in 2021, and one that Emery is delighted to see. “Although Choon didn’t make it this far, the fact that NFTs are helping artists regain control vindicates the mission we were on. I don’t regret it”.
Since the Choon days, Emery has remained one of the biggest names in dance music. With millions of fans on social media, over 100m lifetime YouTube plays, and audiences of thousands flocking to shows like his fully immersive arena show Laserface, there’s little doubt that he’s happy as an artist, and keen to explore the world of NFTs from the other side.
His debut NFT artwork builds on this long-standing passion to seek a fairer deal for artists. FUTURE OF MUSIC playfully depicts that ongoing challenge, showing the great hope of NFTs – depicted by a golden Grammy-esque fist – pitted against a room full of legacy music industry titans who still take the vast majority of profits from all music consumed online.
“ ‘FUTURE OF MUSIC’ is about that battle. It’s about the 20 years fight that musicians have been on since the days of Napster to be fairly rewarded for their work. It’s about money going to creators, rather than intermediaries. It’s about the great hope of NFTs finally giving artists a shot in a battle against massive established interests that’s seemed lost for a long time”.
‘FUTURE OF MUSIC’ launches Tuesday March 9 at 4pm EST on superrare.co/garethemery. The winner of the auction will also receive ownership of the full copyright to the music in the 1/1 piece – a rare and unique opportunity to own highly coveted IP – and the first of its kind.