Philly’s Disco Biscuits drop NFTs and prep for New Year’s shows

DISCO BISCUITS – PRESS PHOTO – DAVE VANN
The Disco Biscuits officially entered the NFT world on Monday.
Dave Vann

Since their auspicious introduction to each other on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus in 1995, Jon Gutwillig, Marc Brownstein and Aron Magner – with Allen Aucoin, representing the totality of the Disco Biscuits – have always fashioned an inventive brand of electronic music, loosely-knit jam band rock and prog-jazz into one tight, danceable improvisational mélange.

Beloved for their sleekly produced recorded output (1996’s “Encephalous Crime,” 2002’s “Señor Boombox” and 2006’s “The Wind at Four to Fly,” in particular), and off-shoot solo projects, the Disco Biscuits are notorious for crafting innovative ways in which to see the band live, where they truly thrive (summer’s annual outdoor Camp Bisco project, their always-bold productions for New Year’s Eve), as well as looking for new entrepreneurial visions in which to present their jam-out aesthetics.

So not only will the quartet close out the year with a two-night run at their unofficial clubhouse, the Fillmore Philadelphia on Dec. 30 and 31. As of Monday, at exactly 9 a.m., they will have forged their own future by getting into the non-fungible token game – NFTs – with YellowHeart.

Founded in 2017 by blockchain innovator Josh Katz, YellowHeart is a leading NFT marketplace for music NFTs, tickets and community tokens, notable for having worked with top tier artists such as Brandi Carlile, Kings of Leon, Maroon 5 and XXXTentacion.

For the uninitiated or those late to the game, NFTs are unique digital files that are stored on a blockchain (or a distributed ledger), compared to a centralized server that is owned and controlled by one entity.

“For artists this allows for rights, or ownership, to be memorialized, royalties to be transparent and for payments to be paid directly to creators,” explains Katz. “The other major benefit is that the blockchain allows for secondary sales revenues to be paid to artists in perpetuity. So, artists receive additional revenue directly, every time a work changes hands. NFTs also allow for provable scarcity with transparency and provable authenticity, so both fans and artists can see how many units are sold and how many exist. Imagine you owned a rare original Beatles album and knew exactly how many were printed, who owned them and how much everyone paid; and the Beatles continued to receive payments each time it changed hands.”

Katz is always looking for authentic artists who want to create a direct and symbiotic relationship with their fans and retain a certain purity – this, of course, is the very soul of the Disco Biscuits. “We want to work with artists who always know what to give their fans because it is intrinsic for them,” says Katz. “This is certainly the case with Bisco. The first time that I saw Bisco live, many years ago, it was very clear that the Disco Biscuits are true artists, that are on their own journey and the fans can feel that.”

Marc Brownstein of the Disco Biscuits welcomes NFTs as a forward-thinking technology to distribute music in new and exciting ways, no different than moving from physical product to streaming.

“But NFTs and web3 in general do favor the artists rather than the distributors; that’s a big allure for artists,” says Brownstein. “The relationship on the blockchain can be direct between the buyer and seller. It cuts out the middleman. Artists can interact directly with their fans in a relationship where they have control over their own content and how it’s distributed; exciting in that it deepens the relationship between the artist and their loyal fans. The NFT becomes a token that gains access for fans in ways they never had before. The NFT isn’t even about the art in many cases. It’s about proof of ownership. For many people, the NFT can be their digital identity, both figuratively and literally. Your web3 address, the .eth address that identifies you on the blockchain, is an NFT.”

Once Brownstein went down the rabbit hole of the blockchain, web3, and crypto, both he and Katz had to decide on an artist who would create an NFT collection of animated artwork along with access to redeemable exclusive live show content (The collection also offers fans advanced access to pre-sales for upcoming NFT drops, meet-and-greets with the Disco Biscuits, VIP show tickets to the New Year’s Eve party, never-before-seen live show sets recorded in February 2021 and more). They settled on world-renowned visual artist the Real Theory – “a huge, hardcore Bisco fan,” says Katz – who created some truly psychedelic artwork to go with Monday’s NFT drop which can be accessed at https://yh.io/.

Brownstein rhapsodizes about the many benefits that come with the YellowHeart NFT – access to rare secret warehouse recordings and band hang-outs included – with one prize focusing on their end-of-the-year bash.

“The golden ticket 1/1 from each release comes with a VIP box for the New Year’s show, and Lively (my start-up) will host the winner for a session to sit and write a set list with me for the shows.” Mentioning the NFT’s connection to the Disco Biscuit’s always-interplanetary NYE party, however, is as elusive as the token itself.

“I can’t say anything about this New Year’s show,” says the secretive Brownstein. “But I can confidently say that if you are truly a fan of this band, and you miss it, you’re going to regret it.”

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