This crowdfund is to raise 12 ETH (hard cap of 44 ETH) to enable me to buy-back the rights to 7 of my albums from two record labels, offer $BUYBACK tokens, NFTs and more to contributors, and fund ways to reimagine my 20-year catalog while leveraging it to build community governance and create new works.
I’m a musician, composer and producer raised between New Zealand and Japan, calling LA home after a decade in the heart of London’s club music community. I’ve been recording, releasing and touring for over 20 years, mostly exploring between jazz and electronic music - a hybridity that I’m proud to have helped define and be an example of through my life’s work. Through deep-dive projects, I explore themes of heritage and cultural connectivity, taking inspiration from the intersection of myth, folklore and cultural history with sci-fi fascinations… ancestral futurism.
Music has been my lifelong love. From starting piano at age 4 with classical lessons, teaching myself pop songs, then falling into jazz and improvisation, the piano was always central. Hearing hip hop changed me on the spot and in high school, I got a synth and drum machine and was trying to emulate what I’d hear on records. From then on I’d go back and forth between wanting to be a ‘serious’ acoustic jazz musician and wanting to make beats. Today, that combination isn’t seen as strange at all - but combining an MPC drum machine with my jazz group in 1999 though? We were exploring brand new musical possibilities, a live fusion of organic musicians with beats technology and sensibility.
If you want to jump into the full story of my journey, here’s a bio installation created by Initiatives of Change where I was inaugural Artist in Residence for La Ceiba Festival 2020.
This music has taken me all over the world - sharing a bill with Inner City and De La Soul main stage at Detroit Electronic Music Festival, turning the street into a full-on party at the Montreal Jazz Festival, playing a tiny club in Aoyama, Tokyo for 7 hours and emerging victorious to daylight... I’m guessing it’s been more than 1,000 shows around the world, but who’s counting ?! I’m truly grateful for all the amazing adventures - and for all that’s still ahead. My catalog includes more than 15 solo albums, numerous EPs, dozens of singles, remixes, productions and collaborations. They’re snapshots of time, documentation of my perspective and experiences.
When it comes to releasing my music, I’ve worked with both major and indies, and been through almost every sort of traditional record deal there is. All along the way, I’ve experienced and witnessed numerous issues with conventional industry systems: when an artist is no longer in their new-release cycle, and the label stops proactively pushing their music; when a track hits a few million plays but the check is inconsequential; when a lifetime of commitment to the craft, creating and contributing to culture still leaves an artist grinding just as hard as when they started. The scenarios and stories are all way too familiar and endlessly cliched. It’s been time for all that to change.
Late 2020 (not counting some short-lived crypto purchases in 2017), I jumped down the web3 rabbit-hole and truly haven’t looked back since. With guidance and support from the pioneer Sirsu, I minted Motherland - a homage to my Japanese heritage and ancestors, and possibly the first-ever audiovisual album on the blockchain. Motherland was then followed by a series of 1/1 NFTs on Catalog.
Getting to know the community, creators, collectors and starting to understand the possibilities that blockchain technology offers has inspired me in a totally new way. I’ve loved the welcoming energy of the space, made a crew of web3 friends - most I haven’t met IRL yet, launched a creator club to mentor musicians into web3, joined a team creating a whole new web3 music platform, joined FWB, and even wonder if I’m turning into a bit of a degen sometimes - it’s an inspiring and fun journey of discovery and learning, each and every day. Finding new value in my music at a scale that’s been unprecedented until now, and the entire concept of immutably preserving culture on-chain has me excited to see everything we’re building - for now, for the future, for you, for me - for everyone.
The notion that independent artists now have tooling and resources to create sustainable careers, communities that have value, and can keep on growing without old-industry middlemen (or deals weighed heavily against the artist), is literally nothing short of a revolution.
This crowdfund is rooted in the ideas of self-ownership and community governance. I tweeted a thread last October thinking about my catalog while reflecting on how problematic traditional record label deals are. Sirsu’s two-word reply: “FREE MARK” said it all - and put wheels in motion for me to think about how I can change my situation for the better. $BUYBACK is the answer.
Over time, some of my album masters have reverted back to me, but 7 albums I don’t currently control are released on two labels - one of which has licenses with significant years left on them, and the other where I have an unrecouped balance but, with only streaming revenue to fund that, those licenses will continue indefinitely until they’re fully recouped (around a decade at the current rate). Both of these record labels supported the albums when they were released and now, as catalog items that typically get no special attention under existing industry models, I’m motivated to bring them back under my own control and gain the freedom to maneuver without being encumbered by a label. A lifetime of work that I’m ready to house under one roof, use as a springboard to build community (more about that below), and launch my next chapter.
I’m far from the only artist in this predicament - you might be surprised (or not?) how many artists you regularly listen to who can relate all too well to my tale - records caught up in long-term, or even perpetual contracts, with little possibility of change. It’s one of my hopes that this crowdfund inspires others to explore how to reacquire their catalogs and be empowered to move into completely new ways of doing things.
My minimum crowdfund goal is 12 ETH which will fully fund the reacquisition of the 7 albums, while stretch goals will support further reimagining, exposure and presentation of the music, through to creating the next dream project. All crowdfund contributors will have voting and governance opportunities as the road maps out.
The three top ETH contributors will be finalized as podium winners - after the crowdfund’s first pledge is received a 48 hr countdown kicks off, at the end of which the three highest amount contributors will earn top contributor positions and rewards:
After this crowdfund is completed, I’ll be introducing a new social token representing Mashibeats (a DAO in the making) and available to the general public. All $BUYBACK holders will be founding members of Mashibeats forming the governance level of our music community and future vision. The new social token will be issued through Rally, airdropped to all $BUYBACK holders, long-time supporters, be available for public purchase and represent the community at a sub-governance level.
Originally my own imprint, and now an emerging discord community of enthusiastic music creatives and fans, Mashibeats is an artist-initiated concept to be focused on music and community primarily at the intersection of jazz/improvised music and electronic music/beat culture. A space for creators and collectors to connect and get to know each other, and importantly a means to red-pill artists into web3 via the community and a treasury (funded by a % of NFT and social token revenue) to fund new projects by artists which in turn, also become vehicles to onboard them (and their peers) into the space, tools and mindset of web3. As a tech-loving, career, niche artist with 20+ years experience all over the world, and learning through majors, indies, self-releases and now web3, I know I can help to bridge and contribute to the continued evolution of the web3 music space - I’m excited to channel that into Mashibeats and have you on board for the adventure.
01 - Launch $BUYBACK crowdfund campaign
02 - Crowdfund closes two weeks after launch or when the hard cap is reached
03 - Catalog reversion process and repositioning on DSPs (3-6 months)
04 - Launch Mashibeats token with $BUYBACK holders as Founding Members
05 - Creation of the dream project (pending 100% crowdfund goals met)
This crowdfund is an experiment that has potentially profound implications. For me personally, its success would rebalance the value proposition of my life’s work, with full rights reversion of my back catalog plus the resources and support to move forward in even more meaningful ways. For other artists who may relate to the situation I’ve found myself in, it’s hopefully proof of concept - an example to interpolate, extrapolate and evolve from... emergence!
Thank you for supporting my vision, my music and the whole notion of culture on-chain. So many people inspire me on the daily and it’s literally magical to see the change we’re all making happen. Thank you for being part of the revolution - I’m beyond excited for the future and for all of us.
Huge thanks to everyone who has been part of my web3 journey so far - and special thanks to Henry Chatfield, cxy, Alix Kun and Pete Rango for taking extra time with me as I shaped this project from an idea into the here n now! And huge thanks to the mirror.xyz team 🙏
Join the Mashibeats discord: