ICO Review: Dench Music
Dench Music is a Dutch full-service music production company that produces music and music videos, recruits and manages talents, as well as provides a full suite of music production and distribution tools for domestic and international markets. Their ICO is intended to fund the expansion of their for-profit production of music videos.
Looking to raise a hard cap of approximately $40.8 million with their ICO, here’s what we think about their whitepaper:
The goal Dench Music looks to implement a system that changes the way songs are created by utilizing Blockchain, as well as their global network, personal contacts with well-known artists, and new talent.
The Problem In The Music Industry
A problem Dench Music views in the music industry is that it’s closed off and not open to the general public. For artists, collecting funds from partners or investors can be a difficult task, as well as signing deals to bring their music to radio and Spotify. However, Dench Music believes blockchain can change all of this by delivering more access.
How Dench Music Aims To Solve It
With the blockchain, Dench Music claims their business model will generate profits for both young talent and ICO Investors while cutting out intermediaries and instead of working directly with the artist. An example they give is a project they’re working on with artist Chris Brown, whom they’re pairing with a DJ, and then producing a music video. Furthermore, they also plan to prepare a distribution campaign, including:
- Determining audio and video streaming channels.
- Outline marketing strategy to promote the artist and song.
- Secure rights distribution by registering the song with Performing Rights
- Determine release date, activate strategy, and work to create a pre-release hype.
- A video is then released on chosen channel release dates.
Regarding their budget, the ICO is hoping to dedicate a soft cap of $584,225 towards their Chris Brown project, which they note falls within the range for a typical music video of that stature.
Dench Music lists their revenue streams to include:
- Pay-Per-View/Stream Revenue: This is revenue from sites like YouTube and Spotify.
- Download Revenue: Placing the song on iTunes and similar sites for purchase.
- Booking and Performance: Booking the artists for performances.
- Performing Rights Organization: PROs ensure that the music rights’ owners are paid every time their music played on the radio, in clubs, etc.
- Platform Revenue: Dench Music will host events, launch parties, VIP parties, meet and greets, as well as host video prop sales, attend shoots, backstage passes, and cameo appearances. All of these will be obtained with MIC Tokens, the token available in their ICO.
The mission for Dench Music is to allow for a decentralized exchange of transactions between the platform and token holders. They view this as a much more secure and safe way to transact on a public ledger, as well as reduce costs. Dench Music also hopes to create smart contracts that automatically payout artists.
Overall, Dench Music’s whitepaper leaves a lot of questions, as there isn’t much that goes into technical details of how the project is going to work. Furthermore, there is a laundry list of other issues with this project, including:
- No specifics on revenue model; the project fails to mention in what method (as well as what percentage) Dench Music or the artists will take on. Furthermore, it’s unclear if fans invest in Dench Music as a whole, individual artists, or songs.
- No details on how multi-sided market will work; while they do mention that fans can ‘invest’ in artists/songs, the whitepaper does not list out specifics on how they can invest, why they’d want to, or how much of a return they’d be expected to see off your average song. Seeing a roadmap of how this product works would be helpful.
- Lack of decentralization; Dench Music notes they’ll be in control of distribution strategy, which mostly only gives users the ability to invest in Dench Music with their MIC Tokens, as well as purchase Dench Music products or services, such as events and prop sales. In short, this is viewed as more or less investing in them as a company.
- Lack of scalability; aside from mentioning a proposed video with Chris Brown, Dench Music’s model essentially is contingent upon who is in charge of bringing on artists for music videos. Although they have some star power in former MTV Host Adam Curry, this is still a lofty bet, as your expecting passive income returns from a percentage of the streaming platforms revenue picked by a single entity. Plus, even if they do get an artist to agree to a video, numerous factors could kill the project (I.E., copyright issues, the artist not showing up, poor planning, lost footage, etc.) in which Dench Music doesn’t make any mention as to what happens in those situations.
- Reliability of outside factors; for Dench Music to be successful, it’s also relying on the business decisions made by streaming platforms like YouTube. For example, if an artist is signed to a record label that negotiates an exclusive partnership with YouTube that cuts the artists pay in half, there’s little Dench Music can do, which unfortunately means investors are going to have to take that loss as well. Granted, many of these risks are the same you’d experience otherwise as a producer to music videos, only with Dench Music as the intermediary.
Dench Music is a project where its value comes from investing in its team, as well as a first proposed project with Chris Brown. Although Adam Curry just might have the clout to bring on a consistent lineup of artists, DJs, and music videos, Dench Music doesn’t necessarily need the blockchain to accomplish this, as it’s not a genuinely decentralized project. After all, if Curry decided the day after the token sale he was bored with the project and wanted to leave, what’s left for Dench Music to stand on?
Overall, this is a project heavily reliant upon how successful the team is at bringing on artists, negotiating a pay structure with them, producing the work, setting up distribution, and then providing an ROI to their token holders, which some might consider a lofty bet long-term.
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