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Mint Season 1 episode 7 features American songwriter and producer, Harrison First who produces for other artists in addition to his own solo works through his independent label JNRY FIRST. He is one of Ängie’s best friends and a frequent collaborator. He’s also the creator of $FIRST coin.
On this episode, we talk about his methodology for creating a token-gated audio library aimed at supporting NFT artists who need quality audio for their drops, his view on how social tokens will take the music industry by storm, how he thinks about the utility of his token, his bet on himself for being an early crypto adopter, and so much more.
Thank you to Season 1’s NFT sponsors!
1. Coinvise – https://coinvise.co/
2. POAP – https://poap.xyz/
Interested in sponsoring future seasons? Get in touch here!
Adam Levy: Yo, yo, Harrison First: Welcome to the show. How you doing, man?
Harrison First: I’m good man. I’m good.
Adam Levy: I appreciate you being here. Man. I’m excited to deep dive on all the cool things that you’re doing, especially your latest project First, the social token. So why don’t we just get into it? And tell me a little bit about your background? What were you doing before you started tinkering with crypto? What are you doing now? And I guess where do you hope to be?
Harrison First: Yeah, man. So for me, music is always my main focus, still is my main focus. started around like my big push around 2016, 2017 as a solo artist, as Harrison First: produce artists, and yeah, man just been really putting out some really songs that I like really, like, started working out with St. JOHN, Teflon, Sega. And then once that came over to Stockholm, from New York, that’s when I found this artist, Angie, and we’ve been collaborating, and yeah, and now we’re working on our second album together. So and then, if you fast forward to today, or the past year and a half. That’s what I’ve been working on first and first started out as like a social token. That was just pretty much like for fans, fans of my music fans of some of my other artist’s music. So like a fan token. But then as I started to do more research to figure out, you know how to add value to first. That’s when it’s like, I would say a social token with some pretty cool utility behind it. And one of the biggest components is first audio, which is attached to first. And now, it’s just pretty much taken that to like another level and working on more partnerships.
Adam Levy: Nice man, I feel like the more people that I talk with, the more I realise like COVID had a really big impact on people’s creative process and the things that they experimented with. And a lot of people got out of their comfort zone, especially with the rise in crypto, I guess what, what attracted you to the social token space initially? Like? Were you already playing around with Bitcoin and ethereum? Are you just did you just jump right into first? Like, what’s that crypto background like?
Harrison First: I mean, the background, the beginning is pretty scarce, bro. My first introduction was social tokens. And then it was really getting into ethereum. And that was the blockchain that I was pretty much like obsessed about. Just because I thought it was just a super cool world where it was, it wasn’t just like wasn’t just the currency was like worlds, obviously, it’s like a world built on a currency in a blockchain. And then that’s when I start to dive into like, NF T’s. And then broulee, I just started to spend so much time in it, where it started to become 50% of my time. And I was starting to cancel like music sessions, because I was really fun to learn more and get more into it. And that’s really because they can music. Like you could spend a lot of money in music and think that you’re doing something extremely creative in music. But there’s still so many channels that kind of determine, you know, the visibility, even though you do have more control than you do you had before. But it’s just that now, you know, for me, when I look at social tokens, and NFT’s and just this whole space, in general, it feels like you can get more appreciation for innovative ideas. And that’s what I want. That’s pretty much my where my obsession comes from. So you can see, like the immediate, like value and you know, purpose of something that you do, if it is good. And you can also see like the sudden, you know, detractors if something isn’t good enough.
Adam Levy: And you measure that based off, I guess, what people buy and sell and how much they hold and how much they quote unquote invest. How do you how do you measure that?
Harrison First: Yet for me, I look at there’s two things, two things I look at right now. It’s pretty much like my discord community. So the first club, so I always look at, like, you know, how many people are dropping off? How many people Am I getting, you know, to, you know, to be a part of this special community, a community I think is special. And then I also look at something from first audio. So I can see how many people how many new wallets or how many new addresses have connected their wallets to first audio. And with first audio you need to hold 1,000 First in order to have access to a library of music to using your NFT’s. So I can look at that and see you know how many how many people just you know, maybe they’re done with first audio so they want to sell the first or people who’ve just been there from the start man and they just really believe in so I gauge it based off of that and also some social engagement. But when I look at uniswap and whatever, I don’t really gauge that because I don’t use that as a as a gauge point. Because it is I don’t think it’s purposeful. You’re talking about the actual, like the financial number itself. Yeah, like selling and buying, like buying a sewing everyday. I mean, that’ll always go up and down and down and down and down and maybe up up up. Yeah. It’s not really a good point for me to measure, like, my usefulness.
Adam Levy: Sure. Yeah. Do you think your fans feel the same way about that?
Harrison First: The people who were in from the beginning and also the people who kind of like really understand what I’m doing, like what I’m trying to do, it couldn’t it can take a bit, you know, some time because even though it is a social token, I want to look at it as like, as also a platform, like similar to other like really great platforms that I think are great, like, wearable. I think wearable, mostly I see wearable, because I always look at them as like kind of a pivotal point also, well, I like them a lot. Because they do some special, but any platform pretty much that as like a strong community. Those are the people that I’m kind of like expire aspiring to be. So I think some people understand that. And then it’s my job to continue to remind people like, yes, it’s not just a social token, or like, maybe you it’s not something that is short term, it’s more term, it’s more of a long term type of thing I’m trying to do.
Adam Levy: Yeah. How do you actually approach community building? Like, how do you how do you rally people around first, what do you find, I guess, people being attached to or interested in when they initially join the community? Is it primarily you? Is that what you’re trying to build? Is it what I guess what others stand for? That it’s attracted? Like? What do you kind of see, being that major, you know, point of attraction for many people who are in first?
Harrison First: Yeah, I think there’s maybe like two or three different groups, like one group of people. They’re really like, appreciative of like, maybe some innovative ideas, and you know, somebody coming from music and spending so much time within this space. Then obviously, I have people that come in when there’s like these giveaways, and you know, they maybe they get hooked from those giveaways, and then they appreciate it, you know, I share exclusive music, you know, stuff that’s not even out. You know, I share snippets, and I ask for advice on music for my community sometimes, you know, so, I mean, I’ve had people say, like, Nah, this is not good enough, or blah, blah, blah. And I take that into consideration. So almost as if some people are a part of the creation process. And I think there’s a group of people who really appreciate that, like music lovers and innovators. Like, they really love that. So that’s been like one of the pivotal things. And then I have like my champions, you know, people who are there, who, you know, who are there for the, like big games, the way to earn first. Those are like, really big components. And they’re really like my talking piece that people who really, you know, the retweeted the content, the post the content, you know, they’ll try to direct traffic to what we’re doing over at first. Any you have, like day traders that come in, come in and out?
Adam Levy: Yeah. Yeah, I guess you I know, you said the entry point to enter the community is 1000. First, right? Is there some strategic, I guess, conclusion you came to? That you’re like, Alright, 1000 is like the right number, because of X, Y, and Z. And even more. So you were talking about the different layers, right, the different types of community members? Do you kind of like fragment them based off? How many? Or segment them excuse me, based off how many tokens they’re holding? Right? How do you how do you look at that?
Harrison First: Yes, so the entry point to the first community. There, we tried to do something where it was like 300 person you have 1000 person you have access to everything. So that’s like, monthly air drops, you know, giveaways. Just all just access to things that regular people wouldn’t have access to. But then we dropped all of that. And you know, anybody has access to the club on Discord. But it’s, it’s the thing when we set 1000 first is just that, obviously, the more people holding, the better this for the entire community. And the plan is to you know, slowly increase the amount that you need to hold to have access to certain things. But I think when I tried to do that for like, half 1000 versus the entry point for everything, I think I was blocking out people who have potential to be like really big benefactors in the social in first community. But you know, they just didn’t have the means to have 1000 first and after some time, I said, I don’t want to block them access. So, you know, there’s like a general group where anybody can kind of be in the discord community. And yeah, it’s all you know, it’s all good. No, we have like level ups, which are ways to earn first. So you don’t need to hold a certain amount of first to do that. But yeah, we I just thought that 1000 would be like, a good number. It wasn’t really too much like mathematical algorithm. Solid number. Yes, I’ll do 1000.
Adam Levy: I like that, you know, the more the more people I talk to, the more I try to understand what’s their strategy for creating these like access groups, right, and how many tokens they hold, and I and I keep coming to the conclusion that it really depends on what the token is trading yet, right? Because if the token is trading at $1, you’re obviously not going to charge people $1,000 depending on how exclusive the club is, and what you’re offering, right. But on the other hand, right, if I remember correctly, I checked last night, your token was trading about like half a cent, right? So 1000 it’s like a good entry point, right? To get exclusive content to get to hear never before never before heard songs, etc, etc. Right.
Harrison First: I think it’s like four cents.
Adam Levy: Four cents right now. Okay. Is it four cents? Okay.
Harrison First: It wasn’t. So when we use around 10 cents, you know, but then.
Adam Levy: That’s right. The decimals, man, the decimals, the decimal. Amazing. Okay. So, you know, I caught this tweet.
Harrison First: Last week, too, all time high, we hit 28 cents last week, which is like, really, I started to cut you off. But that was like a big thing for us. Because we were sitting at like, we were sitting at only like three cents for almost an entire year. So last week, we pumped up to 28 cents, which was good.
Adam Levy: What do you think drove that?
Harrison First: Well, right now, we have some people behind the scenes who are really, really, really, really interested in first, like really interested in it. And there’s just some things that are going on currently, right now, that could really take first to the level where I thought I think it should be at because now with what I’m doing is I don’t think it’s extremely new. But I think the way I’m approaching it, and just my care and my love for it now and what I mean, first audio, I haven’t seen anybody do that, I think the certain group of people can see the future value in it. Have the means and our true believers that can take this to some another space?
Adam Levy: So actually, where are you trying to take it? What is that vision, you’re selling them on? Tell me man give it to me.
Harrison First: I don’t want to be a competitor to or I don’t think we want to be a competitor in the NFT space as you know, as it as an NFT platform, right? So I don’t want to do this whole thing where some of these other platforms are doing within the NFT space where, you know, they’re reaching out to artists. And now you can, the whole focus is to mint songs on there. That’s good. I think that’s cool. I like that. You know, audiences doing something kind of like very innovative as well wearable and super rare. And all of them are doing something really innovative. But where I see it, and we’re absolutely going to take it. And what we’re doing right now with a first partnership with sign art is that we want to focus on like the business to business model as a supplier for some of these NFT platforms. So what you have is like there’s an amazing, there’s a tonne of amazing NFT creators. But a problem is that they want to dab into the space where they can use music and not have any issues with using the music. Some people have, you know, they have friends or maybe they do a little bit of music here and there. And they can put together NF T’s. But you know, other times you can run into some copyright issues, you can just take stuff off of YouTube or something right? In your thing, because obviously there’s going to be licencing issues. So what we’re doing is that so far, I’m the guinea pig and I’m I have with first audio. There is a wall of music all instrumentals produced by me 100%. That is token gated, obviously by mint gate, which is another collaborator of mine that does really well but token gating. And all you need is 1000. First, you have access to the vault, and you can download as much music as possible, and use that and incorporate it into your NF T’s. No, there’s no nothing you just need to hold first. So I was like, yeah, this is cool. You know, some people hear about it via word of mouth. I also advertise it on social media a little bit, even though we can go a little bit harder. But then I said, let me take it a step further. And why not just partner up with some of these platforms that I feel like it could be a win situation where you have you know, you can be able to supply music, or I guess the option of music to the people who use your platform. And then you have me who’s able to produce all that music. So it’s like you, there’s like added value for some of these NFT platforms. So right now, we want to partner up with sign art, which is on, I think waves blockchain. And this is simple as like you hold a certain amount of waves or sign, which is their currency. And now you’ll also have access to that ball. And then, you know, signer will have first audio on their platform. So that, yeah, they’re artists can go and click on, you know, first audio and get directly to all this, this library of music. And then they can yet they can choose to use what they want to use from there.
Adam Levy: That’s super cool. Yeah, I haven’t heard of that model before. I know, I know, a whale has like, their huge vault of art, right, that they constantly audit. But it’s a completely different model, obviously. But when you’re talking about a vault of audio, right, that’s slowly accessible by holding an X amount of tokens. It’s an interesting model. And it’s a very web three type of business model, right? Where instead of so what I’m understanding, you don’t need to pay additional first to download the music. So you could actually hold first download the music and then sell first to you can get out. Right? Or do you have any restrictions as well on that?
Harrison First: If you get out, then you just don’t have access to that that ball anymore?
Adam Levy: Do you lose the copyright ability also, to use the music?
Harrison First: No, this is I mean, this is right now, it’s still really much wild, wild west, you know, obviously, people will take advantage of the system. But people who want to continue to get this updated music and get this updated music, which comes out each week, then they’re going to want to hold first if they’re really trying to be like, create amazing like NF T’s and have access to music for as long as they want.
Adam Levy: The most successful NFT artists that I’ve come across have really done a great job integrating the audio and the visual side. And I don’t think people realise the importance behind that because when they think of NF T’s, they think of why are people just buying this JPEG or this mp4 file, right? They forget that it’s intertwined with an audio layer that really either complements the entire piece within itself, or is the main driver behind what that piece is trying to communicate? Right? So I guess from your point of view, when you have these new artists coming to your vault, quote, unquote, right, is beautiful vault that you created with all these different mp3 files? What if they can’t find something that kind of pertains to the image, the energy, the vibe that they’re trying to, I guess communicate to the end user? Can they reach out to you specifically to do a more personalised collab? How does that work?
Harrison First: Yeah, I mean, right now I work a lot with, I was working a lot with Rory boy Dutch tide crypto saltan. And now recently, there’s going to be is one guy Lux who’s really like blowing up in New York City, like just had a billboard in Times Square. So some people I do this, that’s why I’m also an audio and Mt creator, because I do collabs with people that I think are like that, I think we could benefit from each other. I think my music speaks to their work and their work can speak to my music. Yes, so it’s not everybody, they can see all you can I have a specialised thing for this, just because I wouldn’t have that much time. But if you want something more customised, and maybe we can do like a collaboration together. And I do that with certain artists.
Adam Levy: So if someone wanted to find this vault right now, someone listening NFC artists, where could they go?
Harrison First: They can just go to January First.com backslash first audio.
Adam Levy: Got you and then when they get onto the site, they’ll see like, what like a drop down menu. How does it kind of look like that?
Harrison First: Actually, can I share my screen?
Adam Levy: 18:48
Yeah, go for it. I think people are going to be listening this through audio are going to have to go check out the YouTube video, but in general, yeah, go for it. I’ll add it to the screen.
Harrison First: So do you see that?
Adam Levy: Yeah.
Harrison First: So one option is to go to January first.com backslash first club. This way you can at least get to see works. And then we have a demonstration video here where it kind of just goes through it. And I’ll fast forward to the…
Adam Levy: Yeah, man, this is very unique. Connect your wallet right.
Harrison First: So now you’re like Scroll down. [Music]
Adam Levy: No, I’ll good. That’s a really interesting concept. So really all it is it’s like a web page with a bunch of different files on it that’s gated using mitigate right from what I understand. And if they have X amount, the 1000 first tokens they can access a library of unique sounds that can complement the art that they’re creating. It’s beautiful.
Harrison First: Exactly.
Adam Levy: Yeah, that makes that makes a lot of sense. Where do you see this kind of growing 2, 3, 4 or 5 years from now? Where do you see this becoming?
Harrison First: Yes. So soon, it will be like a more built up platform once we have more developers involved. I mean, this is, that’s all me right there, just creating this and curating the whole part. But the next part is to have a team of developers who can really build out the website. And instead of having only instrumentals by me, then what we’ll be doing is the application process where every artist can create their merchants store, or producers can create their merchant store. And then they can start getting their music as well on our platform. So that way, now, it’s like a fully functional, like, supply chain for music, you know, in the crypto space. Yeah, where art of war producers have the opportunity to, you know, upload their content and their music for people to use, and for NFT creators, and also these NFT platforms to like, have this crazy library of music that they’ll now be able to offer to their community as well.
Adam Levy: I wonder if, you know, you have like Getty Images you have, you have all these platforms that allow you to download like, I’m blanking on the name. But we use it at work right now. But basically, you, you either pay a subscription per month, you get access to a library, right of different, like Photoshop files, videos, images, for whatever niche, any keywords you’re kind of looking for, right? I wonder if it would make more sense from like the unit economics point of view, and how this kind of plays down the line, because it’s very much an experiment right now, right to see how this would work. But I wonder if this actually becomes a model down the line for how these bigger organisations kind of adjust their models to accommodate more of the web three native communities, right? Because if you think about it, like, from your point of view, right now, you’re letting users access a library of dope stuff that you’ve spent a lot of time and energy on, right, as long as they have 1000 first tokens. Now, the only downside that I see with that is, like you said, is some people may have used the system, right? They may they may leave, they may sell once they download, right? And I wonder if there’s any way to integrate in the copyright laws, quote, unquote, right? Where it says, once you sell your first tokens, actually, you don’t have the right to use the songs anymore, right. So it actually incentivizes people to hold longer, versus, you know, like, you, you limit that option for them even to try to go against the system in a way.
Harrison First: Yeah, that was that was one way I mean, but I feel like it’s just so like, This space is just so wild men who will do whatever they want. Like, that’s the whole point that I want to still keep it like, you know, that whole concept of decentralised and just like, kind of, not too much, not too much emphasis on, like, the rules, you know, like a rules type of thing. But, but, but what I wanted to also do is maybe have something where it’s like, depending on how many fish you hold, you have a limitation on how often you can download per month. So that’s something I’m like, obviously, I cannot do that on my own. I don’t know how to like code that or something. But that’s where it would be like phase two, where we, you know, actually do have the developers that can maybe look into that, where it’s like, if you hold 1000 first, then you can download, you know, once a week, or twice a week to kind of like limit the abuse where I know, some people might want to just, you know, get it for the meantime and then sell. But yeah, I know that’s going to be the main that’s the main issue, like kind of figuring out how to withhold data abuse from people.
Adam Levy: Yeah, you know, it reminds me a lot of a friend. In a project that he put together. His name is Joni Joey ayeni. So shout out to him. He basically worked with pallets from 808 mafia to create 300 beats, which these 300 beats were basically tunes that palace had already created he just never used right. So he’s just trying to find a different way to kind of repurpose them. Tell them what he did, he created three and he had 300 beats that he previously created. And he created NF T’s for every single beat. And from there, he basically told his fans that they had the opportunity to buy and use one of these beats, but the way he did it is he had a lottery mechanism. So basically, people went when they enter the actual platform, right? They, they claim their interest, right? They connect their wallet, whatever they pay the money, or I don’t know exactly how that process went. But the whole point is that the NFT audio that they would get would be randomised. So you wouldn’t know which one of 300 you’d be getting only until after you buy it. Right. So when you bought it, you actually had 100% ownership to it and the copyrights to it, and you could do whatever you want with it. Right? So it’s similar to your model where you have full copyright ownership as long as you hold the X amount of tokens, right. And I think I think they sold anywhere between like, I think about 200k worth of NF T’s within a few hours or in a week, I forgot how long the auction was. But it was just an interesting way to kind of approach copyrights and transfer ownership using a web three primitive, right? Would you ever consider kind of adjusting that model? I guess, beyond holding tokens? Like do you ever envision yourself launching your own NF T’s and kind of piggybacking off similar model like that, like, Where’s your head?
Harrison First: With NFT’s? Yeah, at least empties already. But before? I think, yeah, we’ve, we’ve released NFT’s before. And we’ve like, well, I’ve incorporated it with like, actual releases from, like, from my projects, to be honest with you. So I did like, I think even I mean, what you just mentioned was actually that’s a good idea doing like that lottery thing. I’ve seen that graphic designers do that. But yeah, so but for instance, for like NF T’s like, I think it was two or three months ago, I was doing something like a project before I was called am other project. And that project is like featuring, you know, pretty much black artists speaking about black issues and social injustice and things like that. So for my song that I did with another artist named Molly waters, obviously, we did that same model that, you know, other people have started to, like, jump into where, you know, we released the NFT with the song, but the thing is, with the song is that we did a NFT giveaway, instead of doing just like, you know, trying to come up off of somebody else’s clout and just sell an NF t from our song, I wanted to be like, really just give back to whatever people was following me. And what we did is that all you had to do to you know, enter into this giveaway, is listen to the music. So you had to listen to the music, guess how many times we say outside in this particular song, then post retweet. And what that did was that it triggered the algorithm, Spotify algorithms, and put it the song into more people discover weekly. Because I think it was a, we had like a lot of engagement on just that one Twitter post. And I only have 500 followers on my Harrison, the first audio Twitter page, but for that particular for that particular post, they got like a huge amount of engagement. And the purpose was to, obviously we wanted to reward somebody who was actually listening to the music, you know, actually wanted to go in. And like you have to listen to all three minutes of the song. And I don’t know if you know, like, when it comes to like the algorithms and music and just how it gets playlisted with some of these DSPs it’s the same as YouTube, like when they help you out with like, okay, what’s the click through rate? You know, how long is somebody listened to it? We managed to have people listen to all three minutes of the song. And yeah, and you know, for the opportunity to get that NFT so that that like that’s been some ways where we tried to I’ve tried to be like, innovative with like NFT drops and music. But now I’ve kind of like slowed that down because I’m really trying to focus on the first audio.
Adam Levy: Yeah. How were users able to prove that they listen to the full song?
Harrison First: So the way that they prove it is by guessing how many times we sit outside. Okay. How many times you said we sat outside so if you wanted to have a chance to win, you’re going to you’re going to listen to the entire song. So the song I mean, the song was actually called outside and we see outside probably around 22 times in the song.
Adam Levy: That’s really that’s really creative. That’s like a like a homework kind of thing.
Harrison First: Your homework man. It’s a scavenger hunt. It was a scavenger songs.
Adam Levy: And that’s a really interesting model. I’ve never heard of someone do that. You know, there’s all these like, I hear different companies building out these protocols of like proof of listen right proof of participation. But it’s like you’re doing it like scraped knees type of like, like, like nitty gritty like, like, now you want this NFT you’re going to listen to the song not only are you going to listen to the full song and to tell me how many times we said this one word.
Harrison First: You never know the future of these NF T’s. And maybe we’re maybe where I go or where I don’t go. So you know, you want to make people, you know, work for a giveaway, dude,
Adam Levy: I love it smart. Smart. I love it. I haven’t heard of that before. That’s super cool. You know, I saw you tweet this one thing, that you only publish stuff once you know, they’re ready. Right? You don’t you don’t you don’t publish things, or you don’t try to have stuff, right? Why was it the right time? Like, why did you know it was ready to experiment on this first social token path?
Harrison First: I had a friend like just he kept like harassing me, they’re like, yo, you really need to get into this space, you really use it, you know, have your own social token is it time for like empowerment as an artist and this and that. And I’ve only seen way. But I am a very experimental person. So I think it was like in the 2019. I think it was just I kind of just gave in and it was the right time for me. And even at that time, I saw it as just kind of like a reward system for my fan base and from my other artists, Angie’s fan base strictly as that. And I was like, Okay, this would be a great way to just reward people, it had no value to it, except for the value that people gave to it, you know, yeah, that type of value. And I said, Yeah, just dive in full fledge. And I don’t even really know why I kept sticking with it. But maybe it was also because the pandemic and I had so much like more time like I wasn’t going on, wasn’t doing any shows wasn’t going on any tours. I was just staying in my apartment. Because some of the most of the studios will close at this time, too. So in my apartment, working on music, working on music, work on music, and there’s only so much I can do like one thing. So and that said, this is Yeah, I really had nowhere to go, man. I was just in here trying to make ideas. So I was like, this is perfect, like social tokens is, is I didn’t understand it. I was just like, yeah, in the beginning is kind of like embarrassing what I was doing, but it’s good. I’m happy where it’s at now. Because in the beginning, I think it was like, we were just yeah, like, if you want access to this music, you need to have this amount of first. But then at the same time, my fans didn’t even know how to get first. So then I was just giving it away. So it was kind of a weird system in the beginning. But I was like, let me just keep sticking with it. And people were helping me out and it kind of like came towards that now.
Adam Levy: But yeah, did you did you approach because like you said, these are valueless tokens, humans like to be rewarded for doing stuff. It’s like, like I remember back in elementary school, like teachers would give out like Scratch and sniff stickers, you know, for like, for like a job well done. Right? So it’s a very, it’s a very, like similar thing is like giving a dog a treat for doing a good action. Right. When you when you approached and started, I guess building out the foundation for first. I know you talked about like, how can we reward people, but at what point did first rd audio come into the picture? Was it we have this interesting concept of creating a vault of music? Let’s do a token around it. Or let’s first do a token and see what comes from it.
Harrison First: Yeah, it was a token first, it was a token first. So I just jumped like I just jumped right in first. And then I was like, let’s discover some stuff out from there.
Adam Levy: Yeah. And how do you? How do you think about utility that in value? Do you have a framework that you use? Like is there because a lot of people like I said earlier, like they just launched these tokens, hopefully it picks up traction, there’s a network effect that really grows the token as long as people hold, you know, as a community. But you need to create utility from it. Obviously, you have an amazing use case with this audio vault, right. But how do you how do you approach value and utility creation? I guess from the point of view of other creators are trying to do it like, is there some type of path that you followed? Questions you asked yourself to kind of determine? This is what’s going to derive first value, like how do you how do you approach that?
Harrison First: Yeah, I just got what I’m good at. And I see okay, what value can I add to people’s lives? What community can I like? How can I add value to this specific community? And then you just go from there, but you have to like experiment. First, it was just first with me it was like fan token. Then it got like, really heavy into entities. But a lot of the entities that we recreating it was being sold in eighth, you know, and then I did some in first. So then you kind of just see what works. And I was doing a lot of like waste to earn first and giveaway first. And then you see people know like, well, you’re giving out a lot of first, but there’s no value being brought into it like, are you just giving away first? So and then you actually have to listen to that feedback, you know, stuff like that. So then that was like around, I would say, the end of 2020. I said, Okay, well, what am I good at? And what can I consistently bring to the table to like, really add value to a specific community. So I said, why not the NFT community. And I’m not, I’m not a good graphic artist, I’m really good at audio. So why not add value to people in the NFT community, who don’t know how to create their own audio, but they want audio, they want to enter into the audio and empty space. So the next one, I just kind of like said, this is going to be the top utility. This is going to be the top use case right here. Within the NFT. Space. Yeah, and then, you know, who knows me like, you know, I also have something where people can pay me in first to come DJ at maybe their crypto voxels event or decentraland. So, its things like that, or you could pay me in first to you know, tweet or say something on Instagram. And then you can also use first to, you know, obviously pay for some NF T’s, you know, get purchased NF T’s. But like I said, like the number one use case is first audio. That’s like the number one priority. And it just came from like experimenting, experimenting, not taking anything personal that people were saying to me, and then looking at, like, you know, other communities, obviously, well, wearable sign Art Foundation, and then just seeing like, what are they doing? Well, like they’re doing these, like air drops, they’re doing these things where they give people titles in the community to doing this. And so said, let me adopt some of those things. And then have my little twist to it.
Adam Levy: Yeah. Yeah, I know, we talked about your point of view, like 2,3,4,5 years from now what this could become. But I want you to think about like, for the music industry, as a whole, right, the greater music industry, where obviously audios is essential to the core business. How do you imagine this way? This way of one producing content from the point of view of attaching like files, mp3 files, mp4 files to these like, token based blockchain based products? Right? How do you see that kind of evolving in maybe even maturing the music industry down the line? Because again, your models very, very unique, right? Not a lot of people. I don’t think anybody’s doing it. But I think there’s a lot of power behind it. So yeah, I guess from your point of view, how do you see this kind of, quote unquote revolutionising, right, as people like to say, the music industry years to come?
Harrison First: I think if the music industry, like what they’re trying to do right now, with NFT’s, gets too involved. For me, it wouldn’t be so much fun. But I think this is an opportunity for like artists, independent artists, or artists who are signed to like major labels to kind of just take some power back, and kind of realise the power that things like this have, whether it’s just creating a social token, or using your you know, using your own music that is outside of your label and your publisher, and then putting it into this new space, where it’s like, it’s an undefined thing. Like, there’s a reason why I don’t even, like I’m signed to Sony. And it’s like, such a great area. People are getting their publishers and their labels involved. And some people are not, and I’m somebody who is not getting them a lot because there’s no definitions around this right now. There’s nothing with within this within this. And I feel like once the music industry is get a hold of this and they want to put some rules around it. And now there’s like, you know, NF T’s in my contract now.
Adam Levy: Do they already exist in your contract?
Harrison First: No, no, no, he’s at all but I know some people who you know, they want to they want to be super careful. And I understand that where they’ll go in their mentioned stuff to the publishers and then it gets really complicated. So I think it’s not something for the actual music industry to help them I think it’s for like the actual players like the artists to be able to benefit them and revolutionise what they’re doing. Like this is revolutionary man like, to be honest with you. Like I’m glad I found this space because like, it helps Meet Me personally, you know to be selfish, it helps me mentally because you know, there comes a point where like, you can be working one linear way. And then you start to think like, well, where’s the room to be innovative at? Like, is it like me making something so crazy sonically? And then you started to think, well, nobody’s going to accept that because they want music this certain way. So like with social tokens, and being able to like say, Okay, well, if my music doesn’t fit in this space, maybe the music will fit in this space, the same thing you said with the guy from 808 mafia. He has, he probably has over 1000s of beats, like 1000s of stuff. So it’s like, Okay, if it doesn’t work here, if it doesn’t work in this commercial, if it’s not getting licenced in this movie, why not see, you know, if it can work as an NFT. And if people can benefit from it this way? Why not? So he’s like, people will see it, like people will see the power. Some people are just any kind of short term, like entities or social tokens, where there’s some people can see it, like five years, 10 years down the line. The possibilities, as artists See that?
Adam Levy: Yeah, no, yeah, yeah, for sure. I think just because you brought up the 808 mafia. Comment is, you are right, a lot of these artists probably have like an archive of a lot of like, ideas that they probably thought is stupid. And it’s not mainstream worth but one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, right? Like, there’s 100%, that saying and value is subjective, right. You never know if your ideas may complement someone else’s idea. So why not just put it out in the marketplace and see what can happen. And more on what they did that I really liked is not only that, they have their randomization where you don’t know which audio file you’re getting out of the 300. But you also have the opportunity to get this golden ticket, where if you win this golden ticket, which is attached to one of the one of 300 files, you get flown out and a full experience expense paid trip to actually hang out with palace and spend a couple of nights with him or a couple days with him in the studio producing and even experimenting with an audio track right. Now, that point of view, right with creating that really like personalised experience. It’s not super scalable. But when you’re talking about it from like, artists to fan relationship, the value in that is valuable. Like you can’t put a price tag on that kind of thing. Like if you’re an aspiring producer, right? If you’re an aspiring NFT artist, and you want to work with other NFT artists like yourself, right? Like, it’s hard to put a value over that level of experience, in my opinion, I don’t know do you think otherwise?
Harrison First: Not definitely. Suppose if I was that age, like if I was a younger producer, I remember when I was like a younger producer, and I would hear on the radio a chance to get a session with Usher or this person. But I’m like, Damn, I’m going to call the radio station, I’m going to try to get a chance to be in a studio. This is my chance. So yeah, it’s totally by value.
Adam Levy: Can you take me more through your process of how you onboard your community? I know one of your key strategies to growth were was giving away tokens for free just take them, enjoy them use them? How did you actually get people to like download their Meta mask? And how did you explain to them gas fees? How did you explain to them a lot of these concepts that maybe you and I we take for granted, because we’ve been playing in the space for some time now. But for the newcomers, it’s such a barrier to entry.
Harrison First: It’s a big barrier to entry. And those were the people that I was targeting in the beginning, like my fan base, like from music. And it was like, very hard. So at the time, it was, I was putting out an album of my artists, Angie. And what we did is like if you want to come to this online, album release party, you just need to have fingers 300 First in your wallet. And some people did you know, at this time, we just had a telegram group. And it was like it was messages kind of like 24 seven? How do I get Ethan? How do I get first? You know, what’s metamask? How about putting it in my wallet. And I would like explain it one by one like, and I think even at that time, it was hard for me to even explain to. But then that’s when I realised like some things are not meant for everybody, right? So I’m not going to try to force people into a space that they’re not super interested in. I’ve introduced it to you. Now if you want to go into it, you can go into it to have access to certain things. But to be honest with you that people who gravitated to what I’m doing there already, I realised I need to make my focus on people who are already in this space. I think probably the past couple of months, people like really got interested in alternative means of like finance, whether it’s like some of these like pumps in the traditional market. And then when they also hear about things like Dogecoin and stuff like that, where like, it’s just like recently now people like people from like traditional parts of music and my fans or just my friends are like, have you heard about this? And then I’ll say, yeah, yeah. And I have my own social token and coin base or is it on coin? Where can I get it? So now it’s become like a thing where people are starting to slowly adopt the whole system more, I’ve had certain people like, I’m like, just download metamask download on Argent, these two are really great. Use this, make sure you have that. And now they’re getting first planted beginning on boarding, I kind of gave up on like, after a couple of weeks. So that gave up trying to explain, explain things to people, because I think they just, they just didn’t get it, they didn’t want to hear it.
Adam Levy: So you’re just like, if you’re not jumping on this waggon it’s going like we’re going if you don’t want to jump on, you’ll get on at some point you might get on like the eighth waggon you know, but…
Harrison First: eighth waggon, you’ll get on but I’ll start to be honest with you to go back on that I give a lot of credit to like the social token community, like there’s been certain groups like in the beginning and still to this day, that like, I keep saying well, because they have been a big supporter, where they’ll just, you know, do an interview with me and say, Hey, you know, come into our, to our Discord. Introduce yourself, we’re going to do like an interview with you talk about your music, and then you get a lot of people in the well community. And the guys over at decentraland just, you know, offer me space to just DJ at. So then you have a lot of people from vcl and Manoj who come through there. So I think it was actually from like, just amazing, like, communities inviting me into their space, when I was new, to give me the opportunity to come speak, you know, and offer some first to people to introduce him to that. That was actually key when you have like a network like that and tapping into those networks. That was that was key for me.
Adam Levy: Yeah, I think Yeah. 100% tapping into other communities on their social token communities, and building a network effect from there. I think it’s super powerful. What, what kind of rewards and perks? Do you plan to kind of experiment more in the future with first right now, of course, you have first audio, right? But like, what are you what are you really excited about? Down the line with enabling using first?
Harrison First: I’m really excited about. What I’m really excited about is these partnerships, to me is really basic. And it’s simple. But when I when I had the first platform, say yes, I was just thinking like, Okay, I got one yes, one platform, we’re still developing the whole bridge. But then it’s like, what if I have 5, 10, 20 different platforms NFTs platforms where it’s just said it has a component of their first audio, and it’s like, wow, you made it that far. So that is something that I’m really excited about. I mean, I’ve experimented on ways on like earning first, which were like, I think, was really innovative. Like, I know, I was the only one going I know this for sure. The first one that I was doing, the only problem was that we weren’t. People weren’t buying as much first as I was giving away. So what I was doing at one point was, I was rewarding people based off of my performance, my streaming performance for my music. So I would look at my streaming numbers on Spotify, a week, per week, and I would do a fraction, I would have broke it down to some algorithm, and then I will reward my community based off of my performance. So for that week, let’s say I did 100,000 streams on Spotify for the week, what I would do is do some type of algorithm and usually it would break down to around 40,000 First that I was giving away for the week. And in my discord, there’s about maybe 500 or 600 people in it at that time. So then based off of the role that you had determined how much first you would get from it, but it was like, it was kind of like telling people like giving people like thanks, even though like my community, they wouldn’t really affect the streaming numbers at that time. But it was more sort of a thing where I was just I don’t I don’t really know how it’s beneficial for me. And I don’t know how it was beneficial for me, but I thought it was just a cool way to say like, okay, so if I do good, you do good, that type of thing. If I stream well, you guys get rewarded first. And then now we also have like first TV. I don’t know if you saw that. No, tell me about that. Yeah, it’s a 24 seven. Broadcasting Station is pretty much ran through another partnership that I work with omnisphere where we just stay pretty much allow me to be able to run on Twitch 24. Seven, and in his streams directly into my crypto voxels house, as well as my website. And it’s just a 24, seven feet of DJs sets for myself, interviews for myself. Advertising some NFT’s. Yeah. And it’s just Yeah, 24/7 people can go with streaming toy. And what happens is that you can stream for free. But you can also if you’re 1000, first holder, you can stream and you get rewarded at the end of the month from a pool of 5,000 First. So what are the top 10 streamers of the content are they get rewarded first base off of that?
Adam Levy: Interesting, interesting, you know, there’s, there’s this question where, like, I’ll give you an example from the conference world. Okay. So the company that that I worked for, that I’m at right now. You know, we scatter, we try to find the best speakers to come speak at these events, these glow these either in person events, or these virtual events we put together. And for example, like a head honcho would be like, for example, jack Dorsey in the crypto world to bring him as a keynote. But he doesn’t do speaking engagements, right, unless you’re like, within his circle. And he recently did one at the Bitcoin conference that was in Miami, right? So the point that I’m getting at is when you’re very scarce, and very limited with your time, when you give yourself out there and you put yourself out there, people see that as valuable versus a lot of these other speakers that we bring to our conferences, and they continuously speak every single conference, and people know them, they’ve already heard from them. So my point being is like, do you ever think you’re diluting? I guess, not your Rarity, per se, but your, your access to someone when you give them this 24 seven content. And they maybe they maybe they don’t feel like, Oh, he’s giving us too much. And we’re not paying enough kind of thing. So the value is missing, you know what I mean? Like the value is misaligned, when you over give and undertake you know what I mean? Do you ever feel like that? Because right now, like you’re doing a great I really feel like you’re giving you’re giving a giving, just consumed just joined, come be a part of it. There’s a lot to be to be proud of, when the future comes, and we build this thing to be a monster, right? But even now, like 24, seven, live our content, right? You have the discourse, you have your music you have you doing even like special giveaways with yourself like, Do you ever feel like you’re diluting your time to an extent and making yourself? Not less valuable, but more available to people?
Harrison First: Yeah, yeah. I mean, there are some things like when it comes to like earning first I have to cut back, especially from the streaming like being rewarded with streaming. So I think that that is one point. But also, I mean, with today, I don’t know, if you, if you look just on all social media platforms. It’s really like out of sight out of mind. And if you’re not tripping up the algorithm, just how we think the algorithm and not being tripped, and there’s like constant engagement and your move to the back of the line. So there can be people like a jack Dorsey or Travis Scott, a Drake, who are Kendrick Lamar, who can disappear for two, three years not released one album, Tyler, the creator, not released an album or the weekend. And then when they come out of nowhere, it’s a special thing, like, and they all do that model. You know, you got Jaden Smith, or whoever their whole Instagram is blank, their whole social media is blank for like a year or two. And then they come out of nowhere, and you miss them and you and you miss that feeling of them. And it’s like such a rare thing. But when you’re at it, like an infant stage, and I was still saying I’m at an infant stage, you need to do everything possible to gain people’s attention. And then you can go and disappear later, they’re going to miss you. After a while. They’re going to be like, he was always engaged. He was always here. He was always here. And now the people will start saying, where’s Harrison First: or Where’s first? Why you know this and that. And then the moment you appear in your pop up, that excitement will bubble up again. And then you do it again. And then you can have more space in between. But I don’t even know if that. I don’t even know if that model works because with crypto, it feels like it moves fast. Like you know, every two weeks every three weeks. There’s something new. There’s a new regulation or there’s a new artists or there’s just this new way of doing things. There’s no there’s no longer NF T’s there’s this thing called GBS and everybody wants to get on the GBS. So it’s like that part. I’m still like, unsure about like, I know, music and celebrity like celebrity culture. And I’m thinking maybe that model will work within the social token space where I give, give, give, give, give, you know, in regards to just being visible, to grow the thing bigger, and then I can disappear later or Yeah, I don’t know. But I think that’s the model that I was looking at right now. It’s just, you know, be visible, be more active, continue to be active. And then, once it’s time, didn’t really take more time out and then have other things in place and maybe not be so much in people’s faces.
Adam Levy: Do you think big artists like the weekend? Like Travis, Scott, Tyler, the creator, do you think that they would succeed in doing their own social token communities? And I’ll give you a reason why I bring this up. Because, unlike you, you’re very heavily invested in the day to day of this community, right? A lot of these other like, let’s disappear for six months, a year, two years and come back type of artists that have built that level of fame. I don’t know. I personally don’t know how involved they are right. But I assume that they have so many other things going on, that it’d be hard to nurture community very personally the same way you do. Do you think that’s like the only model to be successful on social tokens? Or do you think there’s other ways to do it? Beyond being so heavily invested like you are?
Harrison First: Yeah, there’s, there’s, there’s way better ways to doing it. Like if it’s literally me and one other person, when it comes to managing everything. So if I do take the time out to build the team, such as well, we’re well has all these amazing, like, moderators, and admins, you know, to cater to all time zones. And then well, shark can come in when he what needs to come in. That’s the ideal model for me. But people like Travis Scott weekend, Justin Bieber, a little Yachty, soldier, boy, they won’t be able to succeed in social tokens because it is only a fan token for them. And I think they only see it as maybe the fan token or as a cash grab. Just because you have to look at social tokens almost as if like a YouTuber model or a blogger model. Or influencer model. Really, somebody has to be simulated in the community constantly, right? And there has to be things in place for them. So all of those people have really had some nice cash grabs, but it’s, they’re not successful in it, because they’re not really active in it.
Adam Levy: Yeah, now that that makes a lot of sense. I’d imagine that the more success, the more fame, the more you reach that level of status. And we keep referencing the music industry for the sake of the conversation. But I think it also applies in, in sports and film, in acting, etc, etc, right? It’s harder, because everybody wants a piece of your time, especially with these fan clubs. And like the key to staying focused and staying disciplined many say is just say no, right? So now you’re trying to create a community around yourself and the brain that you built. Yet, it requires a lot of your time and requires a lot of your attention. And I think its one thing that a lot of artists may miss in the future, because like you said, there’ll be attracted to the dollar price and what it could do and the concept of having a publicly traded asset, crypto, whatever you want to call it, right, is interesting to a lot of people. And I guess this brings me to my final question, because I want to be respectful of your time is, you know, the more people down the line, I envision this where there’ll be millions of everyday creators, even like famous individuals who will be tokenizing themselves in their communities, right? If we really look down the line, do you think we’ll reach a point of view or time where? Well, where right now we determine society determines influenced by the number of followers you have, right? And they determine your worth. And a lot of people like they have a lot of their self-confidence based off what their images online, do you think we’ll be transitioning into a world where that number of followers will actually now be associated with the publicly traded number that people are buying and selling us? So for example, Justin Bieber is trading at $100. Right? Per token per beep. Okay. And Taylor Swift is trading at? I don’t know, $40. Right. So Justin Bieber is worth more than Taylor Swift or vice versa. Right. Do you think we’re approaching that type of type of world?
Harrison First: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I think the world is always going to be number-driven, and it’s always going to be cloud-driven. It’s always vanity-driven. And, like, I understand that and I know that that’s actually one reason why I’m just like, keep sticking with it because I feel like the same way with NF T’s and everybody’s attention, you know, went to NFTs and went to even just you know, crypto and storage to introduce a lot of people to crypto recently. I think that’s going to happen with social tokens. So like Justin Bieber can hit $100 within the first two days, probably, and probably stay at $100. But for me, it probably would have to be like over the course of five to six years, right? I’m glad I got into it right now, because maybe in five to six years, I’m at 100. And I’ll be at the same level as Justin Bieber, who gets 102 days and people who was Harrison First: and why was he so? But and I think people like you and other like, whales, and people who like just a smart business people, they won’t only look at the price don’t really look at like, what is the token do? What’s the utility behind it? What’s the actual value behind it? And that’s what I always like to focus on.
Adam Levy: Yeah, how do you think we prevent people from speculating and being more involved in the community? Right? So for example, I’d assume like down the line, probably 90 to 95% of people will actually be like trading the token, and like that tend to that five to 10% will actually be a part of first part of beeps, whatever, whatever, whatever community. And we’ll leave, we’ll leave off with this, what do you think would be the best way to kind of incentivize people to not trade and to actually become members of the community?
Harrison First: I think there’s a bunch of ways but I’m think like to come to my mind right now. And you know, one way you have to treat it, obviously, like as a traditional, I think maybe it’s like a traditional stock. And you have dividends and you have incentives like on the financial side, where people can almost look at it as like a like a part of their maybe make a retirement plan or like a long term investment, everything that they can no cash out on in a couple years, or just something that’s like a steady stock in their mind, and reward based off of that with dividends and options and things of that nature. And then the second way, I think is just having like really strong utility and catering to your niche like your community, or your fan base.
Adam Levy: I love it, man. You’re an ocean of knowledge and insight. I appreciate you being on Best of luck to the first community. I really do hope to have you on again. Soon in. I’ll be watching your community and watching it grow. So more power to you, brother.
Harrison First: Thanks Adam Thanks for having me.