Grammy-winning remixer André Allen Anjos (R.A.C.) and Los Angeles-based producer and DJ Josh Legg (Goldroom) announced Wednesday (May 1) that they have launched a new record label, Minerva Music. But Minerva, which takes its name from the Roman goddess of wisdom and patron of the arts, isn’t your average record label: It’s the first to distribute all of its music on the Ethereum blockchain.
This isn’t the first venture into decentralized digital currency for R.A.C. In 2017, he became the first artist to release a full-length on the Ethereum blockchain with his most recent album EGO. In fact, the electronic music community has always been receptive to the potential of cryptocurrency: Last year, big-tent regulars like Mija, Gramatik and Gareth Emery were either investing in or researching the mind-bending technology. With Minerva, Anjos and Legg will be unveiling music from emerging artists including Mets?, Chela, Nolan Garrett and NASAYA, who provides the imprint’s first release, due May 8. “Our goals are to give artists a higher level of autonomy, more separation from the traditional music industry, and ultimately insure that the way they are paid is as streamlined as possible,” Anjos adds.
Minerva Music will also be partnering with Stem, a startup that tracks and organizes revenue streams for artists and labels (clients include Wyclef Jean, Bryan Adams, Noname, and Chromatics) and Ujo Music, another startup aimed at providing friction-less transactions between seller and consumer. Imogen Heap enlisted Ujo to release her 2015 track “Tiny Human,” and R.A.C. used the company to build his own webstore, where he sold EGO using Ether cryptocurrency. “These partnerships allow us to execute flexible deal structures in a way that was impossible a decade ago,” Legg says.
“We are honored to be a part of this venture, which advances Stem’s mission. We believe it should be simple for everyone involved in the creative process to get their well-deserved share of the earnings,” says Milana Rabkin Lewis, CEO and founder of Stem. “Remixers are too often left out of the financial upside when a track does well, simply because of the accounting headaches. It’s especially unfortunate because it’s often the remix that breaks through and gives the original track momentum. We are thrilled to empower Minerva with the flexibility they need to make these types of deals work and give everyone a piece of the upside.”
“Labels and tech companies working together creatively will be a requisite for the music business going forward,” adds Jack Spallone, Ujo Music. “RAC and Goldroom have both pioneered their own pathways for sustainable careers as musicians, inspiring us at Ujo how access to a global audiences can do the same for many more. With this mission shared strongly between us both we are so excited to make them our first official label partner. “