Brian Eno says NFTs let artists “become little capitalist assholes”

Brian Eno has weighed in on the ongoing debate around NFTs, and it’s safe to say he’s not a fan.

Various artists, influencers and celebrities have begun selling music, artwork and other items as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in recent months, with some positing the crypto-based craze as a new, revolutionary means for artists to get paid fairly for content that they create. NFTs have been heavily criticised, however, for their impact on the environment.

In a recent interview with The Crypto Syllabus, Eno was asked about his views on NFTs, and why he hadn’t yet got involved in the craze. “I’ve been approached several times to ‘make an NFT’,” he replied. So far, nothing has convinced me that there is anything worth making in that arena. ‘Worth making’ for me implies bringing something into existence that adds value to the world, not just to a bank account.”

He added that if he “had primarily wanted to make money, I would have had a different career as a different kind of person. I probably wouldn’t have chosen to be an artist. NFTs seem to me just a way for artists to get a little piece of the action from global capitalism, our own cute little version of financialisation. How sweet – now artists can become little capitalist assholes as well.”

Asked whether his opinion could change, Eno said: “I am trying to keep an open mind about these questions. People I like and trust are convinced they’re the best thing since sliced bread, so I wish I could have a more positive view but right now, I mainly see hustlers looking for suckers. And lots of bright-eyed artists willing to play the latter role. Forgive my cynicism… I’m not feeling too positive right now.”

Earlier this month, Eno collaborated with the Paul Stopler Gallery to create a colour-changing turntable.

Read DJ Mag’s March 2021 feature breaking down what NFTs are, and how they could impact the world of electronic music, here.

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