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Brian Eno slams NFTs: “How sweet - now artists can become little capitalist assholes as well”

Brian Eno NFTs
(Image credit: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

He may be known as a strong advocate of the digital arts, but pioneering producer Brian Eno is no fan of NFTs.

When quizzed by The Crypto Syllabus on why he hasn’t chosen to dabble in them himself, Eno confirmed that, while he has been asked to make NFTs, he can’t currently see “anything worth making in that arena.”

Warming to his theme, he said: “‘Worth making’ for me implies bringing something into existence that adds value to the world, not just to a bank account. If I 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.”

He added that: “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.”

While Eno admits that there are some around him that are convinced of the benefits of NFTs, he remains cynical, adding that “right now I mainly see hustlers looking for suckers. And lots of bright-eyed artists willing to play the latter role.”

He also highlights the environmental costs of NFTs, noting that creating a new technology that requires huge amounts of energy just to demonstrate ownership is “insane”.

Eno isn’t the first artist to speak out against NFTs. Earlier this year, pianist Nils Frahm called them “the most disgusting thing on the planet right now,” and expressed disappointment that “even some of my heroes like Aphex Twin are selling, sorry, crap for 130,000 bucks... It’s unforgivable to participate in something which is so bleak and wrong.”

NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are unique digital assets that can be bought and sold, with records of ownership stored on the blockchain.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Group Content Manager for MusicRadar, specialising in all things tech. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 20 of which I’ve also spent writing about music technology. 

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