The vibes are off on this one.
Not content with simply being a Grammy-Award-winning musician, John Legend on Wednesday announced his latest business venture. And, yup, you guessed it: Legend is a non-fungible token guy now.
More specifically, Legend is now officially the cofounder and chief impact officer of OurSong, a new NFT platform with an emphasis on minting music as NFTs. But make no mistake, according to OurSong, it doesn’t traffic in just any old JPEG NFT fit for right-click saving.
“Everyone can now turn stories, music, photography, and any kind of art into NFT trading cards called Vibes,” promises the company. “Vibes allow you to unlock exclusive updates and access private chat communities where you can meet like-minded others.”
In what is surely a case of curious timing, the Feb. 2 announcement of Legend’s involvement in OurSong comes less than 24 hours after musicians around the world expressed outrage at a separate music-focused NFT project called HitPiece. But this is definitely different.
That’s because, according to OurSong’s terms of service, people can “only” buy Vibes via “OurSong Dollars.” And what are OurSong Dollars? Glad you asked. Essentially, they’re like arcade tokens.
“OSD is a transaction point used on the Platform, and the purchase price of Vibes will be set only in OSD,” explains the TOS. “You can deposit OSD in OurSong by purchasing it with credit card, debit card, wire payment, or USD Coin deposited in your wallet on Circle’s blockchain[.]”
So, what kind of NFTs — uh, pardon us, Vibes — can you expect to find on OurSong? As of this writing, a quick tour through the OurSong iOS app reveals numerous GIFs for sale priced anywhere from $.50 to $25 worth of USDC.
Interestingly, the OurSong website and linked ZenDesk support page don’t appear to address the one concern that, if the HitPiece fiasco is any indication, actual artists will have. That is, how can artists submit takedown requests when they discover someone has minted a Vibe of their work without permission?
If does, however, attempt to address another burning question: Why would anyone in their right mind actually pay real money for OurSong Dollars in order to buy a Vibe when, if a person is actually interested in buying NFTs, they could instead acquire them on the Ethereum blockchain with traditional cryptocurrency?
“The direct answer is,” explains OurSong, “because they love and support you.”
Musicians simply asking fans to buy copies of their work seems like it could have saved everyone involved a lot of trouble.