I have an idea for a NFT format for vcv but im a musician, not a programmer. Need some help!!

I Have been thinking about this a lot lately because i have been reading up on NFT and selling art online and all this. Is there some way to create a format that plays vcv rack patches like a normal audio format .mp3 or something like that, not like a recording but rather like a render of the process, that plays the patch indefinitely. This would be great especially for generative music. Some sort of file you can just play on your phone or computer, but plays that patch for ever. It would have to be like a frozen version of vcv where you cant change anything in the patch it just plays. If anyone here knows anything about it, or someone who is working on it im very much interested. I think you could sell these patches as NFT with some sort of generative visuals that go with it, and make some good money. Let me know if any of this makes sense an can be done from a programming stand point.

Oh and please let me know if i should post this somewhere else. kind of new to this community!

You’d basically need to do a separate player application or a plugin for an existing player application that has all of the VCV Rack code in it (or at least substantial parts of the code) and a way to install any external VCV plugins/modules that a piece of music requires. While it probably could be done technically, it would in practice be quite complicated. You’d need to take into consideration various licensing issues. AFAIK Rack or derivatives of the code couldn’t be distributed on the Apple App Store for use on iOs, for example.

If you are serious about such a project/product, it might be less hassle in the end to develop a completely new modular synthesis system from scratch. That way you could license things exactly as you like and so on.

I like where your brain is at, but there’s something that I’m unsure about. Instead of entire patches, let’s say that you use the same concept on bytebeat equations. Perhaps your “patch” in bytebeat is w = (t/((t+81+(p1<<4)|t)%((t*(p3+1))&(t|t)-(935+(p2<<2)))));

This could evolve for a very long time, depending on the equation. Of course, smaller examples exist, such as: ((t >> 10) & 42) * t

The latter equation is popularly known as the “42 melody”.

Here’s my thought: Patches are fairly reproducible. It’s not impossible for someone to create the same patch in VCV Rack as someone else. It would be unlikely for large patches, but it’s still possible. I don’t know if that violates the concept of a NFT? I suppose that this is more of a question than anything else.

It occurred to me that perhaps one way to avoid the client side hassle of playing the VCV patches could be avoided by running Rack on a remote server and by streaming the audio into the client device. This could be expensive (in terms of money to run the servers) and could still involve some licensing issues, though.

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I didn’t even know about the whole NFT thing until reading the original post here and quickly looking up at Google/Wikipedia about it. It seems to me that the whole idea of the NFT is that it can be proven who actually created a media file, and I would assume there will be a time stamp. Then, if several identical sounding generative patches appear and it matters for some reasons for the original creator and/or for the consumer buying the media, the time stamp would tell which patch is the one that was created/published first. The generative patch that was published first could be considered more valuable on the market and patches that came later could be considered to be of less or no value, for example.

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The Hidden Costs of NFTs: Ecological Impact and Unpredictable Volatility | PetaPixel


Ah! Cool beans. That’s pretty interesting. Thanks for the info!

Insn’t an NFT supposed to be something that doesn’t move ? Or at least stays always the same ? Like a picture, a video, an audio recording, i don’t really see how a generative patch that would produce different results each time be one.

Also yeah, NFTs seems to be not great when it comes to carbon footprint, and it seems it’s already declining :sweat_smile:

Imo it’s just more profitable to make an Album and sell it rather than delve into that stuff as a small creator.

And even if you want to sell patch themselves, i mean why not ! People do sell VST or hardware synth presets right ?

You’ll probably make more money selling many preset packs for 5$ than selling one or 2 NFTs for idk 20$ :slight_smile:

I think the idea here is that the patch creator bets on someone wanting to own a unique patch for a considerable amount of money, say $10000. At first thought it maybe doesn’t make sense, but investing in art is a thing. Also rich people might buy such things just for the heck of it without any particular reason.

Yeah i agree with that, but getting into the high stakes speculative art market if you’re not already rich or famous, that’s not how it works :sweat_smile: . You can’t just pop in, stick a banana to a wall and sell it for a hundred grands if you don’t already have a foothold in the “”"""“art”""""" industry

If you take a look at NFT marketplaces, there is a ton of stuff sold between 0 and 100 $. Actually a lot under 1 dollar

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Sure, but if I understood right, that or a similar business model is what the original poster is aiming for.

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Right, this is how I understand it. I think just the .vcv patch file could be turned into an NFT (although I’ve not seen one for sale as an NFT before) or an mp3 of the performance.

Stipulated that I think NFTs are dumb. They try to make something scarce that actually can be copied endlessly. It makes no sense to me. It’s like “here’s a digital thing. people can copy it endlessly, but if you’re willing to give me a bunch of money - digital currency - then I’ll give you a long string of hexidecimal digits that say you OWN that digital thing.”

If it’s more complicated than that, no one has explained how it works to me to my satisfaction.

Example: AFX Twin recently sold an NFT for 72 ETH ($237,396.96!). It’s here

But anyone can download a copy of it here

What did the person who paid close to 1/4 million dollars get that I can’t download for free? A string of digits that says ‘I am the exclusing owner of this 48 second video.’ But if ANYONE can download it it, copy it, remix it, etc etc. What has been sold? What was bought?

Sure, but the same pretty much true of a painting or a photograph. Does the value of a painting change if it is authenticated or if it’s proven to be a “fake”? It’s the same paint on fabric.

But a physical object can be scarce. A painting is unique. A copy of a painting is not the same painting as the original.

A copy of an MP4 (or JPG or GIF etc) file has the same identical bit pattern, file length & checksum. What you get when you buy an NFT is the privilege to say “I own this” but you can’t prevent other people from possessing an identical copy.

So what you own is a string of digits that point into a block chain, not the object those digits denote.

No one has ever explained to me how you aren’t just buying a string of digits. Large number represented in hexidecimal are cool and all, but are they art?

Sure, in physical terms, they’re not the same.

But a lot of art forgery has been valued as the real deal and exposed in museums. If I make a Van Gogh forgery that’s so good it fools even the best experts (for the sake of argument, let’s say I use a special technology that even fools scientific dating measurements), what really separates it from an original Van Gogh?

If it’s the fact that one is made by the real Van Gogh and one is not, then we’re not judging the value of the artwork itself, but artificially added value by tons of different factors. The concept of scarcity, as you mentioned, is one such factor that was used to determine value for a long time (for example, oil painting was an expensive medium, so only the rich could afford to have artists paint for them, and the painting itself generally showed things the patron owned, like land, or real estate, or exotic and expensive objects).

The invention of photography, and hence the ability to “reproduce” visual works of art ad infinitum, changed that whole dynamic. Now, artworks were no longer confined to a singular existence in space.

(at this point it should be painfully obvious that I’m shamelessly paraphrasing John Berger, so I’ll leave this documentary here)

Anyway, I don’t know how to relate all of that to NFTs. To me they’re an unintentional expression of how money, value, scarcity etc. are all artificial, arbitrary concepts (I’m not talking about natural scarcity). You take an infinitely reproducible thing and make an artificial license of unique ownership or something, and the marketplace is full of greedy speculator wannabes to pump and dump shit, and in the end we just keep raping the planet in the arse a bit faster. Oh, and money laundering. Like, a lot.

Damn I love capitalism.


well the idea would be precisely that to sell them to art collectors as kind of sonic sculptures. a unique piece that is always playing and always different. or maybe as an art instation, or your idea of streaming it, though it would be expensive. Maybe the NFT thing is not the best idea in terms of like making money, but Im interested in the format, nonetheless. I was thinking about the NFT because I have some friends in the business and they have told me its a good idea and they would buy, but maybe we could just try and figure out a format and if it is possible, we can think about how to sell it hahahah. I like the idea of a kind of patch player. maybe an extension of vcv that comes with the program where you can load patches and they just play indefinitely.

Yeah i see what you mean.The truth is i don’t really understand that. it seems the value of these NFT exists only on people’s perception. The only reason any NFT sells for a lot of money is because there is a general perception that that particular thing has value, so people buy and sell it at that high value, but isn’t that the same for all art? Like the only reason art has value is because people give it its value. So like yeah anyone can just download the AFX twin song that one guy bought for a shit ton of money, but only the guy that owns that NFT can make money out of it. it’s like the art itself is not unique but that code in the blockchain is, and that code is directly associated with a piece of art. Maybe the value is in the uniqueness of that NFT code, rather than the art itself? I really don’t know, I’m just like a musician trying to sell his music and NFT seem to be an interesting way to go. The concept of owning music has never really existed in the same way you can own a painting. music has always been this ethereal thing where you can listen to it record it have it on your phone, but you don’t own it. the record label owns it. It’s probably not for all music, but it could be a new avenue of distributing unique music. maybe like unreleased songs, or different arrangements or personalised pieces. I don’t really know what will happen in the future moving forward, but it seems interesting.

Yes! thats the whole point, you could sell the .vcv patch file as NFT, but the buyer would have to have vcv rack and all the modules to play it. if a person could just install a “vcv patch player” and could play them it would be a lot easier to distribute. and so imagine the artistic opportunities it could bring. If that vcv patch player could send midi out you could control light shows, or kinetic sculptures that are triggered with the music and are always changing. Or have animations that are triggered by midi, so you could have generative music, and generative video. I don’t know, it seems like some things art collectors would like, in the real and digital world.

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