Hosted Auctions / Splits

Heads up: all past and future Catalog memos (including this one) now live on our own blog, Liner Notes. Teleport for new stories and updates. Thanks for reading 💽

Hosted auctions are live on Catalog, allowing labels, DAOs, artists, and fans to champion musicians they love and share in the upside through on-chain revenue splits. Although we expect most hosted auctions to be pre-coordinated in the early days, any artist or record owner can send a host request to any Catalog account or Ethereum wallet address. We're using Zora's open and permissionless Auction House, which means hosted auctions on Catalog may also exist outside our platform, such as a label website or DAO NFT gallery. We hope this tool helps establish a better pathway between talented artists and curators with the platform and passion to spotlight them.

How does it work?

  1. An artist or record owner creates an auction request by selecting a host and inputting a host share.

  2. Offers are disabled while the request is pending and it can be cancelled at any time.

  3. When the host accepts a request, the record is displayed on both profiles and becomes available for bidding.

  4. After the auction ends, all parties automatically receive their share of the sale.


Alongside this feature, we're allowing select curators to onboard artists to Catalog independent of our regular submission process. These groups will help introduce artists to Catalog through education, onboarding, and promotion, and share in the benefit when they sell records using hosted auctions. We're kicking things off with FWB, Leaving Records, and The Park — three groups with a history of advocating for artists, putting on great music, and experimenting with fairer incentive structures on the internet. These curators will be welcoming talented new voices to Catalog including Thys, Colloboh, Jesse Boykins III, and many more. As we learn and iterate from this release, we'll add more curators – taking small steps towards decentralizing onboarding beyond our core team.

We're intent on bringing in curators committed to equitable deal structures – pressuring artists off-platform for predatory or inequitable revenue splits doesn't have space on Catalog. The splits for hosted auctions are public and on-chain, encouraging fair play across the board. Since all Catalog records originate directly from their creators, artists holding their initial sale through a hosted auction input the revenue split themselves. The artist's creator share remains intact for all hosted auctions in both primary and secondary sales. With these guardrails in place we can start to explore better reward systems for everyone creating value on a protoform, including the DAOs, labels, and hybrids putting in the work to support and provide valuable signal for artists entering web3. If you're a pillar of a given music community and/or want to leverage your audience to support artists you love, hit our line.

How do we decide on curators?

Here’s what we look for in individuals or groups who want to curate music on Catalog:

  • A commitment to equitable revenue splits that favor artists

  • A reputation in / relationship with different artist communities

  • An ear for great music

  • An eye for overlooked or underrepresented music

Thys x FWB

We’re thrilled to debut this feature with an exceptional piece of music from Thys — one of the masterminds behind Noisia and a pioneer of experimental electronic music. We're honored to give his new EP a home in the ether. In the host seat: FWB (Friends With Benefits), a seminal crypto x culture collective redefining what it means to create value together, whether you're in Discord or on the streets of Paris.

Closing Thoughts

We’ve all seen web2 behemoths accumulate 10-digit market caps and fail to allocate that wealth to the people writing the jokes, designing the memes, curating the playlists, sharing the music, etc. In response to this broken model, we're evolving Catalog into a place where anyone creating value can benefit if they’d like to. The on-chain splits in hosted auctions also provide a powerful visibility check – unfair financial relationships between artist and industry might not remain so widespread if you could see deal terms on streaming services while you listened. That said, monetized curation has other implications to consider. These are just some of the questions we'll continue to chew on while we keep building:

  • To what extent might monetized curation risk cheapening curation itself, turning it from a trustable labor of love into a paid advertisement?

  • How can we improve monetized curation so it incentivizes supporting undiscovered, overlooked, or underrepresented artists, in addition to those who've already found success?

  • Will competition between artists drive their self-selected share of revenue downward in an effort to appeal to curators?

We look forward to putting these tools into the hands of as many artists as possible without replicating the same supply-demand problems that reinforce music’s grossly lopsided status quo. If you’re interested in cracking this code, join us, and thanks for reading.

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