Art is timeless. Much the same as a favorite food or a first love, a great piece of art can create a core memory which lives in the beholder forever. It is our sincerest hope that your art will live on Ghostnote in a similar fashion, inspiring those who happen upon it, as well as those who contribute to its legacy.
The Origin Story is where you get to make a case for your item as a unique and valuable piece of artwork. Like the artwork itself, the Origin Story is timeless - once an item is sold, its story can no longer be edited. As such, care should be taken when crafting your stories to ensure they will withstand the test of time.
A good Origin Story serves to give history and context to your artwork, as well as to strengthen the fan-to-artist connection. Consider the following when writing to improve the quality of your stories:
- History. Where does the item come from, and why?
- Process. What were the steps you took to create this item?
- Features. What makes your item a true one-of-one creation?
Your Origin Stories do not need to be overly long, but they should endeavor to give your fans a reason to read them, and to continue supporting your art. Here are a few examples of good Origin Stories, which you can use to help conceptualize the writing process.
Nick Spear - '1 of 1'
"Streaming is nowhere. I was sick of whoring out every song to Spotify playlist tzars and YouTube algorithms. This is my album. The only copy. It’s not online. It’s nowhere, except inside this government issue digital talking book player. Nine songs that no one has heard… and that no one WILL hear… except the owner of THIS ONE BOX.
Intermittent “low battery” announcement during playback. Honestly, it’s kind of haunted and will power on at random when plugged in. It WANTS you to listen. And for the record: while technically “government property,” this unit was purchased fair and square at a thrift shop before I opened it up and impregnated it with nine golden secret songs."
Nick's Origin Story describes where this item comes from and what makes it unique, and includes some of his perspective as an artist. You get a sense of who he is just by reading his Origin Story, which serves to heighten curiosity about how these "golden secret songs" might sound.
Denver Dalley - 'Telephone Microphone'
"We made this telephone microphone to try and get the sound of a telephone in a live setting (without filters or effects) and used it on the initial Desaparecidos tours in the early 2000s. It would sit on Ian's keyboard and so he would mainly use it, but any of us could come up and contribute those low-fi, slightly distorted vocals at any point. I believe the telephone itself was a thrift store find. We enlisted the help of my brother to help us get it running correctly. I had been going to our record label and hand making 1 inch buttons, so I took one of the pre cut papers and put in the face of telephone, to kind of help mark it as our own."
Denver's Origin Story is economical in length, yet effective in content. We get information on why the item was created and how it was used by the artist, as well as a more recent customization to enhance the one-of-one nature of the item.
Kenan Bell - 'NEXT demo instrumental beat tape'
"1 of 1 original copy of a beat demo tape circa 2002/2003. Way before you could bounce to disk, save to mp3, or export audio, we had to record our instrumentals live to tape on a TASCAM 4-track recorder. The individual tracks was also recorded live on a COMPUSERVE desktop using a demo version Fruity Loops 3, which didn’t allow us to save ideas, so we had to leave the computer on for hours, sometimes days, until we could borrow my friend’s dad 4-track mixer to record the instrumental. What a time to be alive and recording music using digital equipment and bouncing to tape and not just to be cool or simply to create an aesthetic reminiscent of the warmth and crackle of the analog era but because it was the only way to make music."
Kenan's Origin Story does a great job of giving the reader historical context for this item. It serves as a reminder that the process of recording music wasn't always so immediate, but the act was worthwhile nonetheless.
Brett Allen - 'The Ghostnote'
"The Ghostnote. The in-betweens. The absolutely essential, yet uncelebrated means to the end. I have always felt more comfortable working in a behind the scenes role. I feel that I am a bit of a ghostnote myself.
I have been working on what is now Ghostnote for the last 20 years - I didn't know it at the time, but it's clear to me now. I’ve always felt drawn to helping improve the creative experience for my friends. In 2020 when everything shut down, my musician friends suffered the most. Digital platforms thrived, and some of my friends saw success. But we all missed that real-world connection.
I dabbled in interesting new technologies, like immersive audio and digital collectibles, but never felt really strongly about those mediums. That dabbling made it clear to me what was missing - something tangible you could hold in your hands while experiencing a moment. This is exactly what has made the vinyl medium a classic, and still relevant today.
I've loved being there. Those recording sessions when the music comes together - that sticky mojo. I’ve never been able to fully describe or manufacture that mojo, it just happens when people get together, and make things matter. Lyric sheets, broken drumsticks and music video props - I've discarded so many things we've taken for granted - something tangible, unique and personal, tied to that mojo moment.
The Ghostnote hat is me drinking my own kool-aid. It's me looking back at all of the hard work my friends and I have put into this creative life. The messy means we experienced are surely something else, when you hold them in your hands, realizing what they collectively became."
With 'The Ghostnote,' Brett sought to create the perfect template for a Ghostnote item. This Origin Story provides history and context for the artist as well as for the item, while also generating a certain mystique about both. When in doubt, compare your own Origin Stories against this one to help formulate new ideas.
Please remember that these Origin Stories are shared as examples, and should be used only for inspiration. Your art is unique, and it deserves the same individual care and attention that the above have been given.
Your Origin Story is a vitally important part of the Ghostnote process. Great Origin Stories give viewers a direct look into your artistic process, and further reason to treasure the items they buy. Please refer to this guide when writing your Origin Stories to ensure they are living up to as high a quality standard as your art!