While rappers and pop artists flaunt their riches in music videos and in their songs, singer and songwriter Tatiana Moroz created her own form of money. The New York musician is the woman behind the first ever artist coin. Her forthcoming LP will be the first funded entirely in cryptocurrency form.
Moroz, who graduated from Berklee College of Music, has independently released two LP’s, two EPs, and several singles. She releases her forthcoming, third LP in Fall 2015. Her latest project, Tatiana Coin, allows her to work together with her fans to bring them what they want. Moroz believes there are incredible opportunities to use block chain technology in music.
Block Chain + Music = Artist Empowerment
“There are lower processing fees, the ability to micro-tip, and, of course, create artist tokens as I have done,” Moroz told CCN.com.
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“There are ways to track streaming and use of digital music being developed,” she said. “Overall, I think the block chain can bring fans and artists closer together, as well as save the artists money on administrative expenses, freeing resources for making more music.”
Moroz launched Tatiana Coin last year. She raised funds in June of 2014, and, with the help of Adam B. Levine from Let’s Talk Bitcoin, Moroz executed the idea. Tatiana Coin used Counterparty for the coin and organized a crowd-sale through CoinPowers.
“I considered myself the willing guinea pig, providing real feedback on what an artist would want and also making sure that things were easy enough to understand,” Moroz, also the founder and CEO of Crypto Media Hub, said. Her coin is different from other altcoins: She considers the coin a ‘meta-coin’ since it derives value from the content Moroz creates.
“I wanted to be sure that there wasn’t any pumping and dumping, as that defeats the point,” Moroz told CCN.com. “I was lucky that the people helping me were ethical and totally on the same page with that.” Despite a great team, there have been hurdles for the artist.
“I didn’t know what I was getting into, and it isn’t a matter of just creating the coin. You have to make it easy for people – especially non-Bitcoiners – to participate,” Moroz explained. “You also have to have a place where people can use it.”
When CoinPowers closed unexpectedly in November, one of the main components for the coin’s functionality – having a place to use the coins – was eliminated. For her, the hard work was worthwhile.
“Artist tokens seem to be the most accessible way to involve the creative community with Bitcoin,” Moroz said. “It’s a longer term relationship than just a regular Kickstarter type campaign.” Moroz believes artist tokens allow an artist to connect with fans directly, and provide rewards to those who followed an artist from the beginning.
“The journey of an artist is an incredibly dramatic one,” Moroz admits. “We feel things keenly, and it can be very challenging. Knowing exactly who your fans are and getting their support, not only financially, but almost as members of your tribe through a token system, is truly encouraging.” Coin holders can also offer artists feedback on marketing, Moroz points out.
“I think the fans enjoy Tatiana Coin, too,” Moroz adds. “It’s like a fan club with rewards, but coinified.”
With the token sale, Moroz collected enough money to fund her forthcoming third LP. While recording the album, she paid her musicians and engineer in Bitcoin. She even signed up the studio where she recorded the album, Premier Studios in New York, to accept Bitcoin. As far as she knows, the album will be the first ever funded completely through digital currencies.
While her album is recorded, recording can be but a small part of the total sum when it comes to releasing recorded music. Some mainstream labels spend more than a million dollars on marketing an album alone.
To that end, Moroz is still offering tokens. Levine and Tokenly have designed a wallet as a Chrome extension for the coin and, on her website, one can purchase Tatiana coins with a credit card. Moroz did not design Tatiana Coin solely for digital music. She can also sell autographed albums, personal concerts, and even consult other artists in exchange for the artist coin.
In the future, I would love to be able to incentivize my fans to share my music on social media by rewarding them with Tatiana Coin. Throughout history, music, and the arts have been a way of speaking for the people. Artists can influence culture and show the truth in a way that can’t be said by people in other professions.
“There is a great power in the emotional connection to music that transcends lines of color, language, and class. As a musician, I strive to connect with other humans and hopefully make a positive impact on the world.” She loves Bitcoin for idealistic reasons, ones that mesh with her musical aspirations.
“Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies can be a great liberator of untapped talent and productivity around the world,” Moroz told CCN.com. “It’s a way to fight poverty through empowerment, and a way to educate people on the truth about the modern banking system.”
It’s not only the modern banking system the musician and businesswoman opposes.
“When I use Bitcoin, I can withdraw support for the war machine by starving it of its lifeblood, the inflated US dollar,” she said. “At the least, it provides competition to the antiquated systems of old and encourages transparency. It is all-inclusive and fair.” For this reason, Moroz penned ‘The Bitcoin Jingle.’ While others develop apps to change the world, Moroz believes there is a place for music towards the same pursuit.
Support for Ross Ulbricht
“I think connecting with people on an emotional level may be a better way when combined with advances in the tech,” she said. “Red Bull has a recording studio. Why? It’s not because they need to make music. It’s because they realize music ‘makes them cool’ and gives them street cred.” Moroz envisages a new music studio model based on cryptocurrency. It’s her Libertarian background that led to these views on the future of music, as well as to write the song, ‘The Silk Road.’
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“I wanted people to understand the very real struggle for freedom. I wanted to bring a semblance of sanity and compassion and help people to see that the prison population is not all murderers and rapists,” the artist says. “They are flawed people with problems.” Ulbricht inspired Moroz.
“Ross did a very brave thing and did it because he thought it was the right thing to do,” she adds. “That kind of character is rare.”
As a singer-songwriter, there have been many frustrating moments in Moroz’s career due to the nature of the music industry. Part of the reason for her lack of success early on, she believed, was her lack of resources.
“I used to be the manager at several high-end recording studios, and I used to get depressed listening to the music coming from the rooms,” Moroz told CCN.com. “The artists who were often funded had a lousy message and weren’t the best talent. Meanwhile, great artists weren’t able to get signed because the industry only wanted 14-year-old artists who were easy to manipulate.” Technologies like BitTorrent, in a way, did a disservice to independent artists.
“The advent of illegal downloading sucked the money out of the system making it harder and harder to compete.” For Moroz, music always provided her great comfort and guidance. In her opinion, over time, the quality of music has declined. So has the message.
Editor’s note: Tatiana Moroz contacted us and asked us to clarify that her belief is that digital music piracy “made it harder” for the music industry in general, not just independent artists like herself.
“The messages usually encourage the basest behaviors,” the artist said. “This is so discouraging to someone like me who grew up influenced by the singer-songwriters of the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s and 1970s.” Moroz is skeptical of modern airwaves.
“Today’s music is basically about glorifying violence and an expensive party lifestyle that no one can afford,” the indie artist noted. “I am not a prudish person by any stretch, but why is almost every music video a porno? This music doesn’t resonate with the soul; it’s vulgar stupidity.”
“Indie music is the lifeline of music,” she added. “It is empowering, but difficult to maintain.” For music to reach its true pinnacle, Moroz believes something must change. Hence, TatianaCoin.
“If you are not wealthy, then you have to have a full-time job, and then when you get home, you have to have the energy to create,” she told CCN.com. “That would maybe be manageable, but there are recording costs, artwork, marketing expenses, attorneys, and the conceptualization and execution of a strategy.”
“Getting a manager isn’t easy, and of course you have to worry about getting screwed over left and right,” she said. “All of this can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars at a minimum. Most artists are not business people, and even for someone like me who is business-minded, it’s simply too much. That stress alone is enough to kill creativity.”
“The possibilities are endless,” she said. “My only concern is that the benefits of block chain technology will be utilized only by the big companies. The Tatiana Coin concept is about the indie artist, it’s about freedom, and that is something that I hope can benefit all artists, not just the industry that eats them for breakfast.”
However, in Moroz’s opinion, the industry is necessary. “We need people to help artists flourish and to manage all the other aspects that go into making a successful career. Hopefully with these developments, a more equitable, transparent, and efficient system can be put into place.”
Images from Shutterstock and Tatiana Moroz.