• Holly Herndon Sets Up a Music NFT Auction House on Ethereum

  • It’s intended to be a supplement to the composer’s new digital instrument, Holly+.

    Holly+, a platform for creating music with a digital model of her own voice, was launched in July by American composer Holly Herndon.

    Holly+ is a type of deepfake software. Holly+ spits out strange, garbled versions of audio files in what sounds like Herndon’s singing voice, much like digital effects artists can summon hyperrealistic versions of Tom Cruise or Barack Obama.

    Herndon is now incorporating an auction house component, which will allow users to profit from the songs they create.

    Once you’ve finished composing a song with Holly+, you can submit it to a DAO, which will vote on whether or not to auction it. A DAO is a type of corporate governance structure backed by cryptocurrency; each member holds a set number of tokens that function as voting stock.

    The Holly+ is DAO is currently invite-only, and Herndon has stated that it is mostly made up of friends and close collaborators.

    Tracks chosen by the DAO are minted as NFTs and auctioned off. The artist receives 50% of the profits, Herndon receives 10%, and the remaining 40% is returned to the DAO’s treasury, where token holders can vote on what to do with it. The same split applies to secondary market sales.

    In a statement, Herndon expressed her hope that this financial model will “create a virtuous cycle,” in which the sale of one work will fund the purchase of more art in the future. Zora, an NFT marketplace funded in part by Coinbase, developed the customized auction house protocol.

    Herndon is also selling some of the voice data used in the Holly+ program as NFTs, with a minimum bid of 15 ETH, or about $50,000.

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