One year ago, CHAOS was born.
77 human beings from all over the world converged on the Songcamp discord server for 12 weeks to form CHAOS, a massive multiplayer band make up of musicians, visual artists, engineers, storytellers, economists, and coordinators - each splashing their own colors onto a giant collective and co-owned canvas.
Over the course of a 12 week songwriting camp / hackathon, CHAOS created a collection of 48 songs, produced a generative visual art project, developed a custom smart contract, designed an interactive web experience, and ultimately gave birth to one of the wildest and most successful on-chain music projects to date.
A lot has happened since CHAOS launched - so here’s a lil overhead view of all CHAOS related happenings over the past year.
77 participants from 12 different countries were chosen out of 200 applicants to participate in the 3-month camp. Once the band members were solidified, the musicians began creating songs from scratch in randomized and reshuffled groups of three, as the visual team simultaneously developed a fully realized generative art project to act as the album art for the music. These expressions of color and sound were developed against a backdrop of chaotic, ethereal lore, as every few weeks the band members would be visited by Eris, the goddess of chaos and discord, to receive prompts and pieces of creative input.
The result of all of this frenzied collaboration was an NFT project wherein CHAOS sold the songs in the form of “CHAOS PACKS.” “CHAOS PACKS” contains 4 CHAOS songs, each with a completely unique generative album art attached. The profits from pack sales were shared between all 77 members of CHAOS - enabled by a technology developed specifically for CHAOS by 0xSplits called Liquid Splits.
For 77 people to share ownership of chaotically-created IP is a complicated matter. CHAOS partnered with 0xSplits to develop a new technology called Liquid Splits to better facilitate co-ownership of artistic works.
The concept behind liquid splits is that each member of CHAOS would receive a number of “Supercharged” NFT’s proportional to their ownership of the entire project. Each “Supercharged” NFT would represent 0.1% ownership of the project. As CHAOS packs are sold on the secondary market, proceeds flow to the wallets that hold Supercharged NFT’s proportional to the amount they hold. For example: if one wallet holds 10 Supercharged NFT’s, that wallet would receive 1% of the royalties.
Liquid splits are groundbreaking in that all 77 participants are able to co-own the project directly, but also in that they create a free market for ownership of the project in general. Participants have the option to sell some of their supercharged NFT’s if they choose to and as soon as a new wallet is holding that supercharged NFT, its future royalties will flow to that new wallet.
For a deeper dive into how Liquid Splits fit into the economics of the CHAOS project, jump into the following essay on CHAOS’ value flow design:
Since being developed for CHAOS, Liquid splits have become widely available as a public good via 0xSplits, and they have been prominently featured in many web3 projects such as Catalog, Sound, and Arpeggi Labs.
The CHAOS art and NFT project was unleashed in the form of a 3 hour digital listening party/festival - hosted on the songcamp discord and MC’d by Eris herself. Well over 250 people bore witness to the moment CHAOS sprang into the world, and it was certainly a spectacle that will stand in time for anyone who attended.
About an hour and a half into the festival the CHAOS packs became available for purchase and within 10 minutes 1200 packs sold (roughly $430,000 USD at the time).
Even more importantly the music was now out in the world and many fans/collectors began the game of trying to hear each song and collect the ones that resonate. A scramble to fill out song inventories at chaos.build began and persists still to this day (how’s your inventory looking btw??).
Before CHAOS packs even launched a smaller cohort of CHAOS band members harnessed some residual chaotic creativity into another CHAOS initiative in the form of CC0Lab. The CC0Lab cohort saw musicians creating 16 new songs that were made available for use under Creative Commons, while visual artists built 3D digital cloaks.
Canon 1 of 1 versions of each song were minted on Catalog, and the stems for each song were also made available on the project’s website. All 16 songs and their stems are fully open for use under the Creative Commons license. The digital cloaks were showcased via a digital fashion show in collaboration with DIGITALAX at NFT NYC 2022. For a deeper dive on the CC0Lab check out this essay:
CHAOS converged on NFT NYC 2022 to perform live for the first time ever. An assortment of CHAOS musicians filled the stage first at Music NFT Movement and then at wavWRLD and sang together through pieces of the CHAOS catalog. Riding the good live vibes from NYC, CHAOS followed up the NYC shows with shows in Toronto and Detroit.
Later in the year, the Los Angeles chaos cohort threw a self-produced event alongside Seker Factory which served as a celebration and schelling point for CHAOS members to come together and party to the music they made.
Heading towards the end of 2022, some of the CHAOS visual team began to experiment with merch concepts. Their mad ideations resulted in a 50 piece run of a high quality shirt that features Chaos art. Each piece includes a digital collectable version of the shirt that is accessible via a tag embedded in the sleeve of the shirt. The CHAOS live show in Los Angeles provided the perfect opportunity to launch the T-shirt. These pieces quickly sold out and will stand as rare pieces of CHAOS memorabilia.
As would be expected, collaborating with a goddess of CHAOS can be a bit painful as ideas crash into each other. In the aftermath of the CHAOS pack launch, a few bruises began to form in the shape of distribution and value allocation woes.
A lack of foresight at the planning stage of the project led to difficulties in releasing the CHAOS music to traditional music DSP’s as there was no formal agreement between participating band members that the music could be released outside of the NFT project as the band “CHAOS.” While some members maintained an ongoing communications with the rest of the CHAOS band, other members justifiably turned their focus towards other projects and it became increasingly difficult to communicate and reach consensus with the band as a whole. Ultimately it was decided that ownership of CHAOS IP in traditional music channels would be returned to individual band members so that they have the freedom to release the songs they worked on to DSP’s if they choose.
Another point of contention arose within the band towards how ownership of the project was distributed. Value allocation was an increasingly difficult factor in camp CHAOS as the tools that were chosen to distribute value in a decentralized way began to prove flawed for the CHAOS use case. A team was formed to make some manual adjustments to value allocation and the results were signed off on by the band, but within the chaos of completing and launching the project, some band members didn’t realize what they were signing off on. As the NFT’s began to sell and the final value allocation became more apparent, some members verbalized disagreement with how value allocation had been adjusted. It also came to light for some CHOAS members who hadn’t known, that the core operators of the project were recieving a salary via newly-raised funds into Songcamp before CHAOS had began. The ambiguity of where Songcamp ended and where the CHAOS project began caused tensions within the group about what equitable value looked like for all those involved.
After a lot of internal debate and conversation, the members of CHAOS that had received the most value in the project decided to give some of the value they personally received back to the rest of the band, establishing a CHAOS Common Pool that could be accessed by any CHAOS member.
The CHAOS radio team continued to document and release podcast episodes as CHAOS continued to experiment externally and work through the aforementioned trials and tribulations. The podcast is still ongoing and can be listened to here.
The visual members of CHAOS created a lot of beautiful work that was chopped up, remixed, and reused in order to create the generative album art portion of the project. The CHAOS gallery initiative saw visual team members participating in the SuperRare Space Race in order to create an online gallery for the original pieces they created for CHAOS.
You can view and bid on the SuperRare-run CHAOS Gallery artworks here.
With the success of the initial CHAOS t-shirt, the visual team began to expand on CHAOS’ offerings. This run included t-shirts and sweaters at higher quantities and a more affordable price point. These pieces are currently available here.
CHAOS’ year culminated in another live event, this time at NFT NYC 2023. CHAOS and Catalog combined forces to create a B2B two-night live music experience, the first of which was CLUB CHAOS. CLUB CHAOS was in some ways the physical version of the CHAOS festival with Eris re-emerging and acting as MC once more. However - rather than launching the CHAOS packs, this time Eris led CHAOS in the burning of all remaining pack supply.
CHAOS launched 5000 packs initially, and by early 2023 around half of them had been sold. As a final ACT in the CHAOS saga, all unsold packs were burned, locking the supply of packs at 2489. Some of those packs have been opened, revealing the songs within, while others are being held unopened in mint condition. While it remains unseen, the rarity of CHAOS songs and art have been officially set.
With all the CHAOS art released, and pack rarity set, what’s next for this 77 person band? Well.. Chaos of course. All 77 members have access to the aforementioned common pool of funds and are able to make proposals around how to use those funds to advance CHAOS works. Each member also has full autonomy over their contributions in web2 world and are able to distribute the music they worked on to DSP as long as they have permission from their teammates. The first CHAOS song is live now! Many more releases are sure to follow! CHAOS is meant to spread onto DSP’s and move forward precisely in accordance with it’s name: chaotically.
Manifested by Songcamp.