Holly Herndon, an American singer-composer, appears to be capitalising on the concept of deep-fake technology by allowing fans to use a digital version of herself to create unique artwork that they can then sell on the internet.
Individuals who want to make their own deepfakes using the musician’s distinct voice and look, as revealed by Herndon on Twitter on Thursday, will be able to sell their minted creations through the nonfungible token, or NFT, marketplace Zora, which will take nonfungible tokens.
As part of its first announcement, the project stated that it will take public contributions and utilise a smart contract to generate three “genesis” Holly+ NFTs, which will then be minted and auctioned on Zora the following month.
Users will receive a percentage of any revenue, with 40% going to the DAO and the remaining 50% going to Herndon herself. The reserve price for two of the genesis NFTs is 15 Ether (ETH), which is about $48,150 USD at the time of writing.
“Creating work with the voices of others is something to embrace,” Herndon says. “Anyone can submit artwork using my likeness.”
It’s likely that Herndon’s digital doppelganger, Holly+, may have significant ramifications for musicians who want to maintain control over their image and voice.
Despite the fact that the musician’s first two NFTs are unlikely to be confused for a real speaking or singing voice, deepfakes have been used to disseminate disinformation and modify the facts in a number of scenarios.
In this scenario, more realistic — and lucrative — digital replicas of Herndon may be made in the near future with the artist’s agreement and support, and with technology likely to develop in the future. For the time being, the DAO will pay anyone who earns money through non-approved voice samples.
“Vocal deepfakes are here to stay,” Herndon said last month, announcing the release of Holly+. “A balance needs to be found between protecting artists, and encouraging people to experiment with a new and exciting technology. That is why we are running this experiment in communal voice ownership.”