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

After the pictorial arts, the NFTs are conquering the world of music. Rock band Muse release their new album Will of the People also in this form. It’s ironic, as this marketing stunt is so incoherent with the band’s passion for a critical approach to the future via dystopia.

The group Muse, led by Matthew Bellamy, releases its new album this Friday, August 26, 2022. Baptized Will of the People, it contains 10 titles which, faithful to the passions of the group, plunges us into a form of total dystopia. An atmosphere also transcribed in the first clips from the album.

Whether Will of the People is an excellent return to basics for Muse in their unbridled and hybridized approach to contemporary rock, there is something new, and it does not really concern the musical work of the three companions: the album will be sold in the form of NFT up to 1000 copies.

That’s what had announced the Warner, at the beginning of August. The album is therefore available on the website Serenade (in Web3), where however it is already out of stock.

Muse and futurism, a long history

If there is one characteristic that links the whole of Muse’s discography, it is its science-fiction red thread. As much via the lyrics as the sounds or the clips, each album plunges into a futuristic world that is sometimes spatial, sometimes ultra-technological or post-apocalyptic. And it’s not particularly happy futures: Muse is dystopian music — remember the music video for madness who paid homage to 1984. Will of the People is no exception to the rule, describing a disastrous, authoritarian and collapsed futuristic world.

We can be surprised, barely a few years after the very cyberpunk album SimulationTheoryor even the ecological fable The 2nd Lawto see the group selling their own music under NFT — a technological practice that is contested (even within the tech community) as to its usefulness and ecological impact.

We finally come back to the eternal paradoxical observation linked to science fiction, in particular concerning who is political and dystopian: it does not present futures supposed to come true nor any morbid fascination for what it describes, it shows the drifts so that knowingly, these cannot happen. In short: being passionate about the future does not necessarily mean adhering without filter to any new emerging fashionable technology. The distribution of a Muse album in NFT therefore releases a certain irony.

This will be counted in the UK charts

Anyway, the sale of the album in NFT will be a landmark: it is the first time that a musical NFT will be counted in the charts, at least in the United Kingdom. Indeed, 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 this is the first time that a new audio format has been included in this ranking in 7 years.

Muse’s album is simply the first to enter this category, but will not be the last. And that comes with a little twist: you notice on the sales site page that the NFT is being sold for £20. Yes, pound sterling. It is not about Bitcoins or Ethereum. If buyers have crypto wallets, they can use them, but if they don’t, they can simply buy the album with “normal” money, which will create the virtual wallet.

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

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

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