It’s Time for Your Close-up: Crypto in the Hollywood Spotlight
Hollywood has never shied from technological progress. In 1927, Warner Bros. released the first ‘talkie’ film, and it was only a short while longer before the full-spectrum glory of technicolor debued. Since then, Hollywood audiences have seen the advent of digital audio and picture, and the exponential rise of sophisticated computer graphics in film.
It’s no surprise then that producers, artists, and investors in the movie and music industries are buzzing about the potential for blockchain technology and cryptocurrency to become the next great leap forward.
In the past, only an elite cadre of venture capital firms had the access and the power necessary to fund up-and-coming projects. But initial coin offerings (ICOs) have shaken up the investment world. As a cryptocurrency that anyone can buy, ICOs give the power back to the people, allowing even those with limited resources to help a project off the ground.
The first and foremost ICO was Ethereum, which in 2014 raised 3,700 bitcoin in its presale, a sum now worth upwards of $50 million; and there have been thousands more since.
The ICO model has fed on a lot of hype recently, but Christopher Woodrow, a Hollywood producer known for critical and commercial darlings such as Birdman, The Neon Demon, and the recent American Made starring Tom Cruise, sees the potential to transform the movie industry. He’s shepherding MovieCoin into existence, a cryptocurrency that allows anyone to invest in future A-list film productions.
To guard against fraud, the ICO is compliant with all SEC regulations, and because the token’s value is linked to the financial performance of the movies it pays for, it has a stable, real world foundation that makes it a safer investment than other ‘vaporware’ ICOs. Look for it in the first quarter of 2018.
Many artists in Hollywood and the music industry are leveraging cryptocurrency and the blockchain to further their careers. Bjork, the legendary Icelandic songstress (and occasional movie star), accepted Bitcoin as payment for her most recent record, Utopia. While the decision was made after fans requested it in droves, she took matters a step further by giving out AudioCoins, tokens which can be used to buy other cryptocurrencies or more music, to the fans who pre-ordered the album.
Like Hollywood, the music industry is plagued by uneven profit distribution. The majority of money earned by artists finds its way into the coffers of a few super execs at the top. These movers and shakers double as gatekeepers, restricting entrance to newcomers unless it serves their interests.
But thanks to cryptocurrencies like AudioCoin and the blockchain’s decentralized, transparent record of transactions, creatives can escape the clutches of the traditional music industry architecture, focusing entirely on building a mutually beneficial relationship with their audience.
Investing in Creativity
The cryptosphere is doing more than facilitating artists through tokens and the blockchain. Many are drawing inspiration in their own work, creating projects centered on the quickly evolving technology. The last five years have seen a slew of documentaries, including Banking on Bitcoin, which details the currency’s struggle to dethrone the entrenched global banking system.
Next year will see the release of Satoshi Nakamoto: True Story of Bitcoin, an exploration into the mysterious, elusive founding father of crypto. Narrative films are exploring the storytelling possibilities of crypto as well. Fittingly given Bitcoin’s decentralized, global applicability, the movie Bitcoin Heist is a Vietnamese production about a team of hackers who have to pull off the titular heist in order to catch a notorious thief.
The rollercoaster ride of cryptocurrency investing is also spilling into the music world. Drew Morisey, rap coach extraordinaire, and Ian Balina, investor and owner of the popular crypto-oriented YouTube channel Diary of a Made Man, recently collaborated on “Moon Lambo“. The anthem captures the dizzying hype and possibility surrounding the budding technology with lyrics like Now from my ICO’s – I see O’s / My coin’s points mushroom like Mario’s. The song is far from the only one about crypto, with respected underground artists like Murs chipping in with their own contributions.
Creative types are often the first to seize on the potential of game-changing technology, from digital moviemaking to the power of the internet as a distribution tool, so it’s to be expected that artists like Bjork are embracing the power of the blockchain to revolutionize the industry. Expect the influence of crypto to grow in the coming years and more artists discover its potential.
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