More than an aptly-named domain extension, .RECORDS is a clean slate for music-specific naming and identity. It is a chance to reconsider a name registry’s design without the technical or social debt of existing namespaces. How can name distribution, registry governance, and future development be aligned in service of artists and the on-chain music ecosystem? We think different design tradeoffs may make sense in this context. We are sure that the ideas of persistent artistic identity are worth exploring.
From Ujo, June 2017:
“A persistent identity is about making sure that an artist can easily retain control of their music and data, regardless of who the service providers are. It is about making sure that artists don’t have to sign up, re-upload, and re-share everything in every new platform that comes around. It is about making sure that they also become easier to pay, an anchor, independent of other financial service providers.”
Music’s provenance, metadata, and distribution are being reshaped by cryptonetworks in real time. An artist-first, decentralized name registry can support a human-readable on-chain music library without compromising on the community’s ideals.
.RECORDS itself is a top-level domain anchored in Handshake, a global and permissionless root zone. Handshake affords the .RECORDS namespace a chain of trust while also importing DNS functionality out of the box. Handshake resolvers like Fingertip, browsers like Beacon, and nameservers like Varo are all compatible with .RECORDS domains.
The .RECORDS top-level domain points to the Impervious name registry contract on Ethereum. Bridging the namespace to Ethereum relies on the HIP-5 standard for alternative namespace resolution. You can publicly verify the name records for .RECORDS here.
The Impervious Registry Protocol is a fork of ENS that facilitates the issuance of Ethereum subdomains beneath Handshake top-level domains. Impervious enables customized, programmable namespaces across dimensions like distribution and governance.
On distribution, a selection of active on-chain artist names and other names were reserved initially. Artist names can be claimed with the Ethereum address listed on records.domains/reserved. All non-reserved names are available to the public to register today at records.domains. A reservation system to get names into the hands of the early, active on-chain music ecosystem is an important evolution of name distribution for the .RECORDS namespace.
On governance, an NFT representing control of the .RECORDS registry contract will enable the transferring of governance rights over time in order to progressively decentralize the namespace. ENS serves as an example for structuring namespace governance, in this respect. The next step is identifying a set of willing and able community stakeholders to seed a multisig. From there, considerations on how best to structure a future DAO can be explored.
One advantage of an application-specific namespace is a heightened level of focus in treasury allocation. Registration fees can be used to support expansion of the .RECORDS namespace, pursuing adjacent tools for artistic identity, and the on-chain music ecosystem as a whole.
Impervious is the first Ethereum user interface to supports on-chain DNS records (via EIP-1185), making .RECORDS domains equally viable as domain names for websites and on-chain identities.
Some early sites configured on .RECORDS domains you can visit today include catalog.records, headlesschaos.records, turnable.records, and audius.records. Accessing .RECORDS websites requires a Handshake resolver. We recommend Fingertip or Beacon, which you can pair with your favorite desktop or mobile browser of choice.
Connect your domain to a website today with a spectrum of hosting options. Vercel works (just ignore the ‘Invalid Configuration’ warning). Spheron works with IPFS and Arweave site deployments. Off-chain nameservers like Varo work for private and gas-less DNS updates. Or you can run your own personal nameserver with Handout.
As on-chain IDs, .RECORDS names already map to various artists (oshi.records), protocols (zora.records), projects (futuretape.records), and label DAOs (nouns.records). It’s the start of a global, public address book of the on-chain music ecosystem.
We can imagine querying .RECORDS names to retrieve on-chain profiles of songs minted and collected. There is one integration you can try today — go to hns.chat/#channel:records and connect your wallet with your .RECORDS domain to chat in a subdomain gated messaging channel. We hope to see more integrations for names to be used as ENS-style usernames inside of and across music platforms.
We welcome your thoughts. Please share questions, comments, and ideas regarding the registry and related topics of artist naming and identity. An application-specific namespace is only as useful as the community wants it to be.