Muse releases new album in NFT: a bad dystopian joke?

After the pictorial arts, NFTs are conquering the world of music. Rock band Muse releases new album Will of the people also in this form. It’s ironic, as this marketing gimmick is so inconsistent with the band’s passion for a critical approach to the future through dystopia.

Muse group, led by Matthew Bellamy, releases their new album on Friday 26 August 2022. Baptized Will of the people, contains 10 titles that, faithful to the passions of the group, immerse us in a form of total dystopia. An atmosphere also transcribed in the first parts of the album.

Self Will of the people is a great return to origins for Muse in their unbridled and hybridized approach to contemporary rock, there is something new, and it is not really about the musical work of the three companions: the album will be sold in the form of NFT for up to to 1000 copies.

Warner announced this in early August. The album is therefore available on the Serenade website (on Web3), where it is already sold out.

Muse and futurism, a long history

If there is one feature that binds the entire discography of Muse, it is its science fiction thread. As much through the lyrics as the sounds or the clips, each album dives into a futuristic world that is sometimes spatial, sometimes ultra-technological or post-apocalyptic. And it’s not a particularly happy future: Muse is dystopian music – remember the music video for folly who paid tribute to 1984. Will of the people it is no exception to the rule, describing a disastrous, authoritarian and collapsing futuristic world.

We may be surprised, barely a few years after the very cyberpunk album Simulation theoryor even the ecological fable The 2nd lawsee the group sell their music under NFT, a contested technological practice (even within the tech community) with regards to its utility and ecological impact.

Finally, let us return to the eternal paradoxical observation linked to science fiction, in particular regarding those who are political and dystopian: it does not present alleged futures that have come true or any morbid fascination for what it describes, it shows its drifts so that knowingly, these cannot happen. In short: being passionate about the future does not necessarily mean adhering without filters to any new emerging technology in fashion. The distribution of a Muse album in NFT therefore releases a certain irony.

This will be counted in the UK rankings

In any case, the sale of the album in NFT will be a point of reference: it is the first time that an NFT musical will be counted in the charts, at least in the UK. In fact, the UK Official Charts Company (OCC), which regulates these issues, validated the principle a few months ago. All albums sold in NFT are technically compatible with the charts; and it is the first time that a new audio format has been included in this ranking in 7 years.

The Muse album is simply the first to enter this category, but it won’t be the last. And that comes with a small twist: You notice on the sales site page that the NFT is selling for £ 20. Yes, pound sterling. This is not about Bitcoin or Ethereum. If the buyers have crypto wallets, they can use them, but if not, they can simply buy the album with “normal” money, which will create the virtual wallet.

This seems to facilitate the democratization of NFTs, but it also makes the very principle of what we actually buy through this system a little more vague.

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