Blockchain’s latest real-life application is here: live events. The very first blockchain-powered music festival, called Our Music Festival (OMF), will be held in San Francisco on October 20.
It is the brainchild of DJ and producer 3LAU, aka Justin Blau, who has become one of EDM’s most successful independent DJs, and live event guru Adam Lynn of Prime Social Group, who are partnering with blockchain entertainment studio SingularDTV to take it live.
Zedd, one of the world’s highest-paid DJs, will headline the night at San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza, alongside a host of EDM and hip-hop acts—including 3Lau himself.
This year’s festival will launch the company’s OMF Token, which will be available publicly following the event and is powered by Ethereum. The idea is that fans can use OMF tokens to purchase tickets, VIP upgrades, merchandise, food and beverages.
Blau got started in cryptocurrency long before it hit the mainstream. In 2014, he met the Winklevoss twins, who were working on their Gemini cryptocurrency exchange at the time. Intrigued, he bought some bitcoin and didn’t think much of it until a few years later.
“I looked at the dollar sign and was like, this is cool, but what fascinated me even more was doing a transfer—seeing how quickly you can move money around without an intermediary,” recalls Blau, who quickly began to read up on the topic. “I started to think, ‘How could this tech eliminate a lot of the inefficiencies I’ve experienced in music as an artist?'”
Blau’s father suggested a crypto music festival and the idea clicked for the DJ, who makes most of his cash on the road. The biggest festival expense is artist fees, which can scale up to seven figures for major acts such as Kendrick Lamar. But Blau was stunned that audiences don’t get a say in lineups.
“The fact that fans aren’t involved at all is a problem,” says Blau. “If the fans felt more invested in the actual event, wouldn’t they promote it more and tell their friends?”
Blau says he spent his own crypto earnings on legal bills, which quickly soared into six figures as OMF tried to figure out how to make their company compliant. OMF has $3 million in funding committed in a forthcoming round that will likely value the endeavor in the mid eight figures on paper.
“With over 900 concerts and 50-plus festivals produced in our career at PSG we’ve learned all the positives of this amazing industry,” said Lynn, Prime Social Group’s founder and co-CEO, in a statement. “We’ve also found some room for improvements, and with the team of incredible partners and technology experts we are going to break down some barriers that we never would’ve thought had been possible.”
The aim is to make it as easy to buy tickets with OMF tokens as it is to use airline miles to book plane travel. For OMF, it’s an opportunity to employ blockchain technology to alter the music business’ many issues, from scalping to the ticket price inflation. They plan to make October’s event as affordable as possible, with ticket prices yet to be announced. Ultimately, the hope is that token holders take the power back by using tokens to influence festival lineups and locations.
But their biggest challenge will be making it easy for fans to understand. To wit, the first festival will feature educational booths that explain blockchain, says Blau, and everyone who buys a ticket will get an Ethereum wallet.
OMF’s strategic advisors include agency powerhouses such as AM Only founder and Paradigm partner Paul Morris, as well as Paradigm’s Lee Anderson, CAA’s Hunter Williams, Red Light Management’s Sam Hunt and 30 Under 30 honoree Phil Quist.
“With so many projects focused solely on their ICOs, being able to have a music festival this year itself is a huge step for all of us,” SingularDTV CEO Zach LeBeau said.
The company is already planning year two, with thoughts to expand into other markets with high crypto penetration, such as Japan. Next on the agenda: forming partnerships with artists and festivals around the world.
Promises Blau: “We’re not looking for money, we’re looking to give fans an experience.”