If most blockchain-based music ventures are variations on a theme, Viberate is an attempt at a new chorus.
Instead of trying to set up a new system of smart contracts to give musicians and fans direct access to each other, Viberate seeks to play in the live music sphere.
An early round of funding brought in $580,000 in April 2016 and an “angel investor” provided $440,000 more in February 2017. But the company, based in Slovenia and San Jose, Calif., kicks off a crowdfunding round in early September to bring their total cash holdings to $12 million.
Focus on live music, not music sales
COO Vasja Veber says that his company picked the $12 million level because, “with all due respect to other ICOs, we think that valuations and caps should be set realistically. There are too many ideas raising crazy sums of money that can be compared to C rounds in venture investments and we believe this isn’t good for the industry.”
Veber and his team envision Viberate as an “IMDb for musicians,” where artists create profiles and offer gigs or events to venues and organizers in exchange for cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin, Ether or Vibe (Viberate’s currency).
Eventually, Viberate wants to make it possible for musicians to charge for their gigs in cryptocurrency and use their popularity to book gigs at partnering venues. Madison Square Garden in New York City is an ideal candidate.
The company’s mission is pretty straightforward:
“We are focused on giving every musician on the planet an equal opportunity to get into the spotlight, no matter if they are a garage band or a stadium rock star. Good musicians need good representation and we are here to do the job.”
That almost makes it sound like Viberate wants to act as the artists’ agent.
Viberte wants to “revolutionize the way musicians are presented and booked as well as to open the world of live music to anyone who wants to participate in it by decentralizing discovery and booking process with the use of the blockchain technology.”
Among the musicians already on board: Robbie Williams, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, Del the Funky Homosapien, Bugzy Malone and Neve. One of Viberate’s founding members, Uroš Umek, is an “A-list world famous techno DJ” with more than 20 years’ experience in the music industry.
Ranking based on social media popularity
Musicians’ ranks depend on their popularity on social media, so the bigger the artist, the higher the rank. Allegedly this will help make it easier for smaller artists to “get into the spotlight” and get better gigs as they become more popular.
The list of musicians on Viberate’s website currently aren’t necessarily artists working with Viberate. Instead, the website shows how those artists are ranked, ie, which artists around the world are the most popular now, based on genre, country, etc.
Question: how is the company is going to help shine a light on new, younger, developing and smaller acts if their “value” is based on social media popularity? How can someone get more popular if they have a small following? How do they book better gigs if their value depends on their number of “likes”? Seems counter-intuitive.