As you all know, making our projects better every time takes a ton of work. For years, we’ve done an amazing job of combining individual users’ donations and commercial data users’ financial support to be a sustainable non-profit which finishes almost every year in the black (see our financial reports), which is quite the achievement when even tons of commercially successful companies lose money every year and only survive through new investment. That said, IT is a very competitive field and we can’t pay the most competitive wages, since we’re still a relatively small non-profit. That means we keep losing some of our talented engineers to large companies who can afford to treat them a lot better. After years of this, we’ve decided we need to find additional sources of income.
During the last couple years we’ve been following with growing interest the talk about Web3 and specifically Music3, and how it has become a great way of giving users something they really want and enjoy while raising significant amounts of money in the process. As such, we’ve taken a historical decision: We’re going to sell NFTs of MusicBrainz artist pages! (and book people, don’t worry; if the reception is as positive as we expect, we will expand this to BookBrainz author pages to help finance and accelerate the development of BookBrainz).
If you purchase an NFT of a MusicBrainz artist page, you’ll not only get the NFT itself, but you will get credited on the artist page so that everyone knows that you supported us by purchasing the NFT (and, of course, so that they know who to contact if they want to make you an offer to buy it for themselves). We will track any resales and update the displayed name accordingly.
We can already announce the system we’re planning to use for determining the starting sale price for the NFTs: we will base it on the ListenBrainz count of listens for that specific artist (see the stats for the top artists). For example, given that Radiohead have (as of now) around 840,000 listens, while Def Leppard have around 84,000, we would set the starting price for the Radiohead NFT around 10 times higher than the Def Leppard one. Of course, that’s just the starting price, and resale prices will likely depend also on the specific buyer’s music tastes! We are still working on deciding what the cost-per-listen will be, but expect a new post with more details about pricing soon. You’ll notice this also means that the more usage ListenBrainz gets, the higher the prices; this is intentional, and we expect that this system where the income grows as ListenBrainz does too will help us scale the development as needed.
How will you be able to purchase our NFTs? We weren’t really satisfied with any of the available options, and we want to be in control of the whole process, so we’ve teamed with a group of blockchain experts to build our own blockchain, which we’re naming Ricast. We are aware of the large environmental impact of the most common proof-of-work blockchains, so since we’re an environmentally conscious organization who was never gonna run around and desertify the planet, the Ricast blockchain will operate on a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism, which has significantly lower environmental issues. Our PoS NFTs will allow you to support MetaBrainz without feeling bad about it! We will give more details about the Ricast blockchain in a further, more technical post, so for the geekier of you, stay tuned! Together with the Ricast blockchain, we will also be launching its accompanying coin, the rollcoin.
We’re hoping this is a huge success, because it would really help us hire more full time developers to give our users all the new features they’ve asked for for years (and some we know they’re aching for, but have been too shy to say it). We’ve known each other for so long, and we really want to take this relationship to a new level. Trust us, and we’re never gonna let you down!
As a final teaser, here’s the icon for our new coin, the rollcoin:
We understand some of you might be skeptical about this whole idea, whether for technical or ethical reasons. Our founder Robert Kaye goes deeper into our reasons for doing this and why we think it’s the right decision for us at this moment in this video. If you’ve watched it and your doubts are still not assuaged, feel free to start a discussion in the comments below! Don’t worry, we would never tell a lie nor hurt you.