V.com weekend vote: What do you think about NFTs featuring the violin and violinists?

December 31, 2022, 10:32 AM · What the heck is an NFT?

I bring up the topic because last week the Sejong Soloists, an established chamber ensemble with international acclaim, released a series of NFTs called the Stradivarius Violin "Cobbett" NFT collection. It's their second series of NFTs.

violinist Stephen Kim
Violinist Stephen Kim of the Sejong Soloists and art from their new Stradivarius Violin "Cobbett" NFT collection.

If you haven't heard of NFTs, or if you have heard of them but remain baffled about what they could possibly be, you are not alone. "NFT" stands for "Non-Fungible Token" - think crpyto art. It's a "digital asset" that comes in the form of art, music, videos etc, that is sold online and has a unique identifying code that makes it a sort of "limited edition." It's often bought and sold using cryptocurrency.

My first reaction to this is - "???" However, if artists are making money from something (and that's a big if - more on that later), then I think it's worth learning something about it.

To elaborate on the Sejong Soloists project, they will release 350 NFTs called "Cobbett" No. 2. The NFTs feature the Fuga from Bach’s Solo Violin Sonata No. 1 in G minor, performed by violinist Stephen Kim, a member of the Sejong Soloists, on the 1683 "Cobbett" Strad. They also feature visual artwork by Amy
Kang
, who is a cellist and a painter. It's not exactly a music video - "as the music plays, the artwork develops in tandem."

Around the same time as this release by the Sejong Soloists last week, The Guardian published an article about a new service called "Unsellable," which helps people sell their "totally worthless" NFTs for a tiny fraction of what they paid, so they can report the loss as a tax write-off. Of course, if the NFTs do suddenly start skyrocketing in value, "Unsellable" will have all kinds of holdings.

The big questions is: where do artists musicians stand in this game? Is it worth the time and energy, to create this "digital asset" form of art? Will artists and musicians benefit in any way from NFTs? Is there a chance these NFTs will somehow gain traction and increase in value? Please participate in the vote, and then share your thoughts on the subject.

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Replies

December 31, 2022 at 06:43 PM · Honestly my gut reaction is that it is just one more way to rip off musicians.

December 31, 2022 at 08:32 PM · A fundamental rule of personal finance is; Do not invest in anything you do not understand. That rule has kept me away from cryptocurrency, paper gold, tax avoidance schemes and all forms of derivatives and pass-through accounts. The result being that after a lifetime of less than median income I have retired with a higher than median net worth, for my age.

December 31, 2022 at 09:18 PM · NFTs are a scam amongst scams, that will never accomplish the use case claimed that they might return some power and leverage to artists. They are precisely formulated to make money for hustlers and rip off artists and credulous fans.

January 1, 2023 at 10:06 AM · If it serves to part those with too much money from their lucre, good luck to the scammers, I mean brokers. I can't see that anyone else stands to benefit.

January 1, 2023 at 05:00 PM · The whole point of an IRA is that when you make contributions, especially in biweekly or monthly installments, you are not merely investing -- you are also saving. Anything where you can set up a monthly "set it and forget it" type of self-garnishment of your own wages is good, even if the amount you set aside is relatively small, because then you're not making the decision every month whether to save. Unfortunately, as easy as that sounds, there are far too many people who simply cannot do this at all. I'm not sure these are the folks buying NFTs, but they do spend a great deal, as a population, on lottery tickets.

January 1, 2023 at 05:23 PM · I have created some NFTs. I certainly encourage people to be skeptical and cautious. In most instances it is easier to come to harm from lack of caution, than from being too cautious.

If you consider nfts more akin to a recording, than some form of investment, then I think you will be fairly safe. They are a digital object, like a modern recording. They can be transferred, etc. They can also have other data, videos, computer programs, etc.

I do not think they are as bad inherently as some people say. Yes, there is a computational cost. The upside is that there is a record/as in a history, and they can be transferred.

I would encourage musicians and record companies to look into them, and see if the cost of their creation is financially viable. It can help set an artist apart, and is essentially a type of advertising, which can be desirable.

January 1, 2023 at 05:23 PM · I have created some NFTs. I certainly encourage people to be skeptical and cautious. In most instances it is easier to come to harm from lack of caution, than from being too cautious.

If you consider nfts more akin to a recording, than some form of investment, then I think you will be fairly safe. They are a digital object, like a modern recording. They can be transferred, etc. They can also have other data, videos, computer programs, etc.

I do not think they are as bad inherently as some people say. Yes, there is a computational cost. The upside is that there is a record/as in a history, and they can be transferred.

I would encourage musicians and record companies to look into them, and see if the cost of their creation is financially viable. It can help set an artist apart, and is essentially a type of advertising, which can be desirable.

January 1, 2023 at 08:50 PM · Whatever they are, they don't seem to have anything to do with music. They seem like an exotic object that needs an impression of some sort to stamp its individual character, music being one of many possible sources of that impression. But the ordinary functions of music don't seem to require entering into the exotic realm of NFTs, which seem entered into for quite other purposes.

January 2, 2023 at 07:25 AM · I admit I'm being naive but the description of the Cobbett NFT reminds me of the Jacquie Lawton ecards: as music plays, a picture gets created by an invisible artist. People pay for the privilege of sending her ecards; as long as the NFT isn't thought of as an investment then I don't see a problem with buying the NFT at a price the buyer thinks it's worth.

January 3, 2023 at 01:26 PM · As Joel and Warren Buffet advise: "Do not invest in anything you do not understand."

I find human behavior fascinating. Novelty is attractive and there are scam artists who are more than willing to take your money. Sadly there are a lot of humans who willingly spend their money on chasing the current bright-shiny-object.

January 3, 2023 at 07:09 PM · We used to buy a record or CD and own it. We could use it or we could sell it. Now we 'buy' a recording - but we don't own it at all, only access to it. Its a lease, not a sale. Something you 'own' you can also sell.

As I see it (and I am definitely a neophyte here) NFTs, or some future variant, might make it possible to 'own' a virtual recording and sell it like your old record. Indeed, if you own one that becomes a collectors piece you might even sell it for more than you bought it.

Note, that we didn't expect records or CDs to increase in value either - but if they became collectable we were pleasantly surprised.

January 4, 2023 at 07:10 PM · Just a little aside - the Rose Parade had a float last week that was actually an "NFT" - honestly it was so puzzling!

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