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Mint Season 1 episode 9 features Matt Mcdonald who is the lead vocalist and guitarist for The Classic Crime – a rock band formed in Seattle, Washington in 2004. After leaving a record label in 2011, TCC pioneered the use of crowdfunding and other middle-men bypassing tools, continuing to make music, content, and community experiences for supporters a decade later. Their latest experiment with crowdfunding comes in the form of their social token – CRIME, ticker $CRIME.
On this episode, Matt and I look back on the early days of Kickstarter crowdfunding and how it compares to today’s ICO and IDO models that persist throughout the cryptoverse. We also chat about his frameworks for utility generation, how he’s onboarded his existing fan base to hold his band’s social token, how platforms like Facebook and Instagram help build their audience, but stripped them away from their power to monetize them, 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: We’ll just get right into it Okay? And start with the basics for those who don’t know, you, how’d you get your start in the music industry and kind of where you are today with, with the classic crime?
Matt MacDonald: Sure, well, I joined a band when I was 19, dropped out of art school to pursue that, and we ended up getting signed and, you know, toured the country for several years, you know, played on Warped Tour and summer festivals, and, you know, went out of the country a few times too, and, you know, we had a pretty successful run. But by the end of our tour, our, our record contract, we’d spent about six years on the label. You know, basically, every time we have a record, the label provides the money, and then they recoup the money from the sales of the records, we went through this crazy transition from music being a physical thing that people you know, we would, you know, ship CDs to now being a digital item, and then it, it actually just being a service, like, like streaming. And so it was just this crazy chaotic time to try being in a band really. And so we kind of rode that wave. And by about 2010, we put out our last record on the out on the label. And, and we were, we were off the label, and I decided, you know, I was going to do this thing independently, I was to see if I could, you know, there’s enough tools online, people had started crowdfunding records, and I thought, you know, we’ll give it a shot, we’ll do a Kickstarter. And you know, if this works, we can do more record. And then that’s kind of what I thought was, that would be the end of it. But our fans and supporters showed up big time, you know, we raised over $86,000, which we only asked for about a third of, in a month, and this is in 2011. And, and that kind of kick-started our, you know, no pun intended our independent career, and just making records directly for the people who want a year in advance. So that’s all there is. For us. It’s a way for us to take the time, you know, the six months to write and record an album. And then we print all the packages and the vinyl and the T shirts, everything, we ship that off to everybody. And basically, when the record comes out, we’re no longer recouping once we ship all those packages it’s paid for. And then the royalties are just a stream on top of that, as far as the streaming goes. So it’s been a really cool model to help kind of pioneer and I’ve, you know, run a bunch of Kickstarter for a lot of different bands, normally using social media to promote and, and so that that’s kind of led me into the crypto space and decentralisation because I’m always looking for ways to get behind and around these algorithms that are focused on Well, you know, farming your data and then right and then selling you ads or selling your users or your subscribers ads. And so trying to figure out how to game the system. That’s been my main job for the last decade, in trying to kind of figure out how to access the people who we brought to Facebook, you know, 15 years ago. Do you have a finance background at all? Not finance, no, just marketing. I’m a musician, predominantly. And I became sort of a digital marketer just because I needed to because it was, you know, that’s how I could be fun to my music.
Adam Levy: Crazy. Yeah, you guys, you guys are obviously pretty early in the whole crowdfunding game as well. And crypto is just that natural progression next into crowdfunding. 2.0. I will kind of get behind that the story behind crime your social token, but I was kind of interested about more of your creative process. Like what how would you describe the classic crimes like genre? Where do you guys fit for those who don’t? Don’t know? And what’s that creative process, like when you guys are making music?
Matt MacDonald: I mean, every record is a little bit different. And, you know, I am on one on one hand, you know, when I do these song writing workshops, I’ve done a few of them, where I’ll teach people the very sort of left brained, structured way of step by step process of writing up, you know, like a pop song, like it all follows an order in a structure. And then there’s this other sort of very right brained, chaotic, impulsive part of writing, any making art in any way that that you kind of need to engage with and confront. And so it’s hard to it’s hard to really speak to the part that’s unspeakable, but my process in general is in the last two weeks It’s I actually funded before I’d written anything. And the goal is to bring people alongside into the writing process. But it’s mostly just the start of my process, I can often be just picking up an instrument, or double clicking on the Pro Tools icon on my, on my computer, just doing the first step. And because the process can often be kind of linear, and you just start going down a path and you start chasing a thread of something, you play something like how it sounds, and you just keep playing it and it goes somewhere else. And as long as you’re there to follow that process, you can often get someplace kind of cool. So it’s usually just my processes just to start the process. Taking too much. And then and then hopefully, it takes me somewhere.
Adam Levy: Nice. And how is the classic crimes, genre and style evolved over time? Would you say?
Matt MacDonald: I mean, we were 19 when we started.
Adam Levy: Crazy. That’s so young.
Matt MacDonald: Yeah, so we were just in, you know, just starting college. And, you know, this would have been, you know, the early 2000s 2003. So there was a lot of bands that we kind of like wanted to emulate that were like more in the sort of emo post hard-core punk rock realm. And so we probably sounded a lot like the early 2000s in that regard, as far as like rock and roll goes. And so over the years, we’ve kind of just broadened out into different, mostly stills, it’s still rock music. It’s still melodic, it’s still energetic. But, but you know, implementing different, different genres within the rock umbrella, you know, and some of our stuffs been heavier, darker, and some of us have some of the lighter and poppier and, you know, every record, we try to do something a little bit different. Just because we don’t want to do the same thing over and over. But yeah, I would say rock music very generally, is what we sound like.
Adam Levy: Yeah, no, I, it’s pretty cool. I’m a fan of your stuff. I haven’t been listening to it. I guess, since that early on. I graduated, what college in like, 2019. But I’m a drummer myself, right. Like, I’ve been playing the drums since five years old. Music is like, like, essential to my core, and I fell down the crypto rabbit hole accidentally, which is kind of like my question to you is like, how did you get into crypto, right? Like crypto as, as it seems, at least over the years has been a very financial type of interest, a point of view, right? And now you have yourself and a bunch of other creators kind of tapping into this weird, like grey area of internet funny money, like, how did you get into that?
Matt MacDonald: Well, I mean, I think it’s most it’s not necessarily being a musician, although that’s part of it, I think most of is just being independent. And knowing that, like, so much of what my life has been over the last decade, has been dependent on what centralised corporations decide for me. So like, we were talking about Facebook, like we basically on boarded 85,000 people to Facebook, crazy. And that that’s how many people like their page. And we had this unmitigated access to them up until about 2012 13, when Facebook went public, and decided to start charging pages for access to the people. You know, and naturally, because, you know, to clean up the feeds, and whatever, I mean, everybody was following everything. And so it would have been chaos, if you didn’t have an algorithm that sorted, you know, high value content from stuff that isn’t, but it is, it was sort of under this promise that like, you know, you bring your people here, and then you’re going to be able to connect with them directly. You’re going to bypass middleman and then turns out, no, we’re the middleman. Yeah, and now you have to pay us and, and for a while we did you know, or for a while, we would use whatever, whatever the algorithm was favouring at the time to try to gain the system. Like, you know, they wanted to compete with YouTube. So they were really favouring videos. So we’d do a lot of videos and they wanted to compete with Twitch. And so they’re favouring live stuff, you know. And so we would just do whatever the algorithm would favour for a while. And, but I just hated it. I mean, I hated I hated like, that I had people who wanted to hear from us and what, what projects were working on, and we’re interested in that, but they couldn’t see it. And they couldn’t. It wasn’t a true subscription, you know, and I just hated being sort of extorted for ads. So, I was always looking for like, is there a decentralised way? Is there a way that we can communicate directly with people? I mean, even if it’s less people, you know, like it can be, it doesn’t have to be 85,000 people. I mean, that’s a lot to ask for all at once. But if we had 1000 people, you know, there was all those marketing, you know, podcasts and books about 1000 true fans and all that. And so, I sort of got on that kick like, Well, you know, we’re not really here for the masses anymore. There are people who will support us, as long as they know, we’re doing something, they’ll back it. Why, why can’t we quit sort of nurture and, and gather together a community in a decentralised way. And then, of course, in 2017, there was the big Bitcoin went sort of parabolic. And so, you know, that’s when I sort of I knew about Bitcoin before, but I was like, holy shit, this is something real, you know. And I was, I had a podcast at the time called, don’t feed the trolls. And it was me and my co-host, Nate Henry, and Nate bought, like a whole Bitcoin at like 8500. And rode that to the 20k, or whatever. And so I got in a little after him, but I thought around the top, but then we and then all season followed, and then we were nice. Like, whatever that criminal john McAfee said, we lost harass a few times on him, when we were just learning about it, you know, and so, but the promise was that like, there’s, there’s, there’s this way that you could sort of, you could guarantee digital scarcity, which is something that like my band going through, you know, the physical like, Hey, everyone buys CDs, to now, Hey, everybody buys mp3 is but not everybody. I mean, because you can just send those mp3 to other people, burn them to CDs, and then so it’s like, you can just have one mp3 is a million mp3 is it doesn’t matter, you know, there was no scarcity with digital. And the whole industry felt that the whole Music Industry felt that because the money dried up, and labels couldn’t, you know, promote as much in bands couldn’t do as much without two and a half to two or all the time. So the Id like, kind of what happened this cycle with NF T’s was that really got me thinking about like, Oh, you can make the art that we make, which is purely digital files, scarce, potentially, that we haven’t done that yet. But you could also have an organisation work in a completely decentralised way where there’s not like, one sort of corporate interest running it. Which is kind of the thing that appeals to me about, you know, blockchain in general.
Adam Levy: It’s funny, because your early adoption of Facebook, you guys being an early user, being an early contributor, also being an early like driver for its initial user base, right? You’re telling you brought in 85,000? Fans, right? That’s a lot. That’s a lot.
Matt MacDonald: They might have signed up anyways. But like, when right when we took over our Facebook page, it was about 8500. And like, I personally grew it 10 acts from that got you. Just engaging with people.
Adam Levy: You know, the point of view and the ethos of a lot of these new web three primitive based platforms is that if you help contribute, you also earn, right. And imagine, imagine if Facebook applied that loan, that model early on, it was a pioneer in that and basically rewarded all of its users, which I don’t even think they needed to an extent, right, because I will didn’t people, a lot of what people are doing right now. They’re seeing these web 2.5 platforms, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, how they’re kind of taking advantage of users, right. And now this new kind of wave, this new revolution is, is kind of being birthed from that. Yeah. Right. And I guess no one could have really seen that. That was like the next I guess, transition from Yeah, you’re, you’re a product of the platform, versus now the platforms are going to be after you the product, right? So when you guys are kind of building your fan base, like, at least now that you’re kind of entering more of this crypto space? How are you kind of reimagining growth and reimagining ownership and reimagining? You know, scarcity? Because that was important to you. Like, how are you thinking about that now?
Matt MacDonald: Well, it’s crazy. We didn’t really design. I mean, my way of being in the world is just to go do things and then learn about them as I’m doing them. So I don’t really I have a hard time being theoretical. We get we could have a meeting but like, I have to go do something immediately after that. We can’t talk anymore. Yeah, I figure it out. So doing the currency thing, like I had been watching some, like during quarantine I’ve been watching some streams because I got back into playing StarCraft two, my brother, my brother, brother in law was like, hey, come play StarCraft two with us. And it was seemed like a social thing to do because we were all locked down. So I started playing that again. I was like, Man, this is the best game ever. I mean, it’s crazy. Real-time strategy game, I started watching a lot of streams on twitch and learning how to play. One of the Twitch streamers had had a coin I had also, we toured with a band called Portugal, the man back in the day, they had a token on rally as well. And so I’d kind of, you know, I’d follow I’d seen people come out with their own tokens, and I’m like, What are these tokens, really, about what are people doing. And so I noticed that, like, it was a way to exchange value within a community or it had a discord I had a twitch. But anytime somebody wanted to, you know, tip me bits on Twitch, it was like, you know, 50% of that’s gone, you know, or they want to sub half that money goes to twitch. And so rally seemed to be, like, if you had money in something, it’s a fun little way to pass value around the community that we could tip our mods, or they tip me or I could sell things exclusively in our crime coin. So I signed up, I thought this is going to be like a currency. And, and, and it’s great, because it’s free to transfer once you’re, you know, on the side chain, you can send it around infinitely, and it costs nothing. But, but what ended up happening was people bought in immediately, and then it went like up a lot. And, and then they saw rewards come in for just holding it. So they don’t, they didn’t want to spend it as much, you know, like, so I ended up selling a few things I did like a mystery box where, you know, it’s about $150 worth of stuff, but it was jam packed with vinyl and shirts and lapel pins and tonnes of stuff that’s like exclusive. I ended up making like physical coins that we sold, that were like a, you know, almost two inches in diameter. We made a number of different things, but just as sort of like exclusive perks for people who are holding it. Not even trying to make money off of it just like saying, keep holding it because we get these rewards every week. So I’m starting to transition. Like I thought initially, you know, it’s going to be a currency that we’re all going to use, you know, and that that is a pretty cool you. And, you know, I can see like promo codes for discount tour tickets and stuff using it. So it does work that way. But really, the coolest thing is just to reward people who are holding it. You know, who have sort of like staked ownership in the success of it. And that seems to be like they’re happy to hold it and collect rewards if they’re getting rewards or you know to play poker for I play poker every week with people 10 people using the currency using the currency. Yeah, really? How does that work? Oh, we just have a website and they basically they it’s actually a really good website that some guy made poker now dot info, I believe it’s called or poker. Yeah, something like that. We just send a link in our discord channel that’s like exclusive to bag holders. And we say you can sign up here and there’s like a rally campaign link. It’s like a deep link that basically collects three doll three crime coin for their buy in. And then I can just look at my wall e who’s bought in, I can let him into the game, you know, once they click through the link, and then we’re all basically 10 of us around a table with video and audio, playing a real game of Texas Hold’em. So that’s pretty epic. Yeah, it’s pretty, it’s pretty sweet.
Adam Levy: That’s a new perk. I’ve interviewed a few people so far on for the podcast. And that’s a value out of utility that I haven’t really heard from like using your token. In poker, that’s pretty cool. Like, I feel like that’s like how these creators are winning is that they’re finding unique ways on how to spend their social money, right? And how to how for users to accumulate What else have you kind of approached and have done to incentivize one users to hold you sold physical goods, but I guess like, what, how do you how do you approach that Exactly?
Matt MacDonald: I just am coming up with random stuff. Like I’m talking to people in the discord and like, that’s the thing about I mean, it’s, it’s the spirit of decentralisation is that like, I’m not some Corporation who’s like has a plan to extract money from my customers. I want to give you what you want. So what is it you want? What do you want to do? What could we do that’s fun, that like encourages everybody to either buy, spend or hold or currency? And they come up with ideas and like, you know, the gold challenge coins that we made, we made 100 of them and they’re like, laser numbered. That we call them bag holder. That was our bag holder’s idea. Like they people were like, yeah, I want this. So I basically just go about making whatever they want. Usually, like one thing at a time, as far as that goes. But, yeah, the poker thing. We’re at 13 weeks doing a game a week so far. And that seems to be fun, you know, people come back and there’s like, we have like a leader board of like, Who’s got the overall winnings? So, you know, there’s like a sheet that updates you know that links that you can link to the discord with a command and so there’s like ongoing sort of rivalry stuff and legacy stuff that’s cool. And I just think like, you know, whatever they want in the future as long as we’re all just earning from this thing earning rewards and perks and stuff I’ll just make I’ll just make it because I can because like we together combine our powers to have basically resources to make things essentially I made a seven inch Flexi disc which is which is something you can play on your turntable right out of a song that that I made with the community on Twitch so we Oh, cool, made this like joke song called the Hell yeah. And it was supposed to be like this tough song, tough guy song. And we made it kind of about like the Jimmy like shorts, shorts queen. It was like, it was like, just totally influenced by like, what the viewers were thinking of at the time, like, what’s this about? And we just totally had input, we had group vocals, they’d send their vocals in, and I put that in the song. And then at the end of the day, we pressed the song into this, like little Flexi disc, and I made 20 of them, and sold those in the channel. You know, like signed in hand numbered, like these are really exclusive physical items. Hmm, it’s like, you know, fake digital money, money. Definitely all, you know, put you know, invested in so it’s I just like bringing, it’s almost like song writing to me, and I’ll stop. I’m sorry, I’m going off. But like, it’s like bringing something that’s not there into existence. And so the use of the currency is like a means to birth new physical items. [Broken Audio]
Adam Levy: I think you cut out for a minute. Can you hear me?
Matt MacDonald: Oh, yeah. I’m hearing I’m back.
Adam Levy: Okay. I was going to say, so. What’s the business behind that? Right? You’re creating all this exclusive merch, right? How do you view that as now like an entrepreneur, when you’re creating exclusive discs? Right? Obviously, they cost you something, obviously going to charge your fans a certain amount of the social tokens, right? Do you then you collect them you cash out and pay for those expenses? Or do you see it as like a general expense that you have for the year? How do you how do you kind of budget that? Exactly? And how do you make money from this? Yeah, and I only asked that, because I feel like a lot of people that are considering on doing this, they’re like, okay, but I’m just like people, like, rally or roll, right? All these platforms is just printing value, right? They’re just creating value. Like, how can I actually use this to fund a concert? How can I use this to fund like, what you’re doing mini discs, like, tell me more about that?
Matt MacDonald: Well, you can cash out, I mean, you can bridge out your rally. And so you start you know, rally will start you with a certain amount of creator coins as like a base, you know, you are the main token holder, and then you can distribute those I did a lot of like price matching initially where it’s like, if someone buys 10 coins, I will send them 10 coins, and then go in manually, like do all these transactions which encouraged a lot more people to Alright, well, you know, I get it, you know, I get two twice as many coins for the same price or whatever. And then what happens is the overall price goes up. Initially, it was because the rewards were being paid out to back. So the rally rewards were getting paid out to back crime. And then because this is a you know, decentralised, you know, you vote on proposals type governance token, they voted to, like pay everyone out in rally rewards every week, if you know, if you’re growing as a community. So people started getting these rally rewards directly into their accounts and going Wait a minute, they just sent me free rewards because I bought crime. And they’re like, okay, buy more crime. Keep it going double down? So values created like that for everybody. Which is kind of like the Kickstarter model where it’s like, you get a little bit from everybody, and you can make something big, you know. That’s the crowdfund model, which is we proved we proved that five times, you know, a little bit from everybody and we can make a big nice sounding record that you can get delivered to your door in the form of like, 212 inch vinyl. So like, that’s kind of what I see. This as to it’s like everybody sort of pitching in a little bit. So that I mean, if I needed to, if I needed to press vinyl, and I needed to pay $10,000 to do so I could bridge out part of my supply from rally. You know, swap it into USD coin, send it to Coinbase cash out, and I would have that money in my bank tomorrow. So, I mean, that’s how you make money is everybody going, I want to hold this, and I want the perks from it. And then the number goes up, the rewards come in those rewards you can cash out, and you can print stuff, you can make physical things from them.
Adam Levy: So why did you decide to go with rally versus creating your own altcoin? And what do I mean by that your own traditional ERC 20 that lives on the Ethereum blockchain, because right now, you’re relying on rally to create your own cryptocurrency that underlying values pegged to the rally token, right? And really, your token does well, if rally succeeds, so you’re basing your business on someone else’s success, in a sense, right? Why decide to go through that route, versus launching your own ERC 20. And I only ask that because you have such unique background, where you realised how Facebook and quote unquote, excuse my language, like fuck people over they kind of brought a lot of users a lot of engagement to their platform. And I guess, like, Why not like, because you told me you took a lot from that, right? You’re always trying to game the algorithm. So why go with another platform versus doing a bootstrap in writing your own ERC-20.
Matt MacDonald: Yeah, I think the bootstrap idea was like, initially, I thought, oh, that’d be cool. But then it just, it’s this sense of just a lack of security, you’re out there on, you know, uniswap as an ERC-20 token, that and just whales can just do whatever they want to you, your value is dictated by the completely chaotic free market. Whereas if you band together with other creator, [Broken Audio] who is a little bit more protected from the whims of the market, per se, and is I don’t, I wanted the functionality of a have a platform and a website, that would be adding features that would help my you know, I wouldn’t want to have to develop all these features myself. So and then also what sort of gave me security was rally’s decentralised way of governance. There’s proposals that you can vote on if you hold an amount, you know, my vote has some weight, and I’ve voted on some things. So people have ideas and they propose things to the community and the community actually weighs in and dictates whether or not they collect, they connect their metamask wallet, and they can and that has hold a certain amount of weight based on how many rallies tokens, they’re staking versus how much they have in their wallet. And so everybody votes and so if something was happening, that was against the core spirit of the rally mission at least the community could come together and vote about it which is not the same of with a Facebook for instance.
Adam Levy: Yeah, that makes sense. That makes sense. I guess like when I talk to creators, I talk to musicians influencers, internet personalities, and they’re debating on how should I approach this right Should I go with a roller rally where technically my success is pegged off the value in the success of someone else? Right also it has it also like not entirely like your currency your network does well based off the supply and demand pressure to right it’s not just them but like, should I peg Should I pick my value based off someone else’s business someone else’s token or peg my value in a more decentralised manner where the tokens that I create now plug into the like let’s say if you did the ERC 20 token right, right tokens your fans could use them for like the greater defi ecosystem right and you could collaborate with like Ave or maker and even maybe even lend out these tokens and create like a cool like finance hub for the crime token and whatnot I don’t know like all this all this shit like the cool thing about it so early right there’s so many different approaches you could take.
Matt MacDonald: And I don’t think we’re stuck with I mean, because rally can turn our coins into ERC 20 so and I think they’ve actually done that for one so far. And they’ve like helped assist to like, you know, to give birth to that. So there’s, there’s options down the line. But one of the things that protects value, I think for our coin holders are is the fact that rally is constantly on boarding new creators. Every creator on boards, they’re their core supporters. So it’s like people are constantly getting introduced to rally. They’re constantly buying creator corn coins, which are taken to ethereum main net and using their money to buy rally from the main net to back the creator coin. So being in crypto through a two and a half year bear market, I’m like, I kind of want to be protected from like going to zero, you know, like, because so many adults go to zero. Yeah. And to me, one of the best ways to protect your old coin from going to zero is to have it backed by an altcoin that is constantly onboarding new buyers. And that’s what rally is doing every time they have a new creator come in that creator brings in 100,000, whatever new buyers have rally, essentially. And now that creates a nice, like price floor for rally that like, it can’t go to zero. Because people are using it, it has the actual use case. And people are using it and people are buying it every week.
Adam Levy: Yeah, no, that makes sense. I hear you. I think it’s definitely an approach to the argument. But I guess Tell me more about your community. Because were they crypto native, what did you see like a hurdle and on them that luck? How to overcome that if there was a hurdle?
Matt MacDonald: Yeah, there. There definitely was a hurdle. I mean, and then and that’s the thing too, about using a platform that has a really friendly UX, and kind of designed to make it seem like any other place on the internet that you would interact with, with a profile, you know, is because so many of the people, like I realised that I go, I go first down the rabbit hole. And so and I’m always saying, Just follow me, it’ll be good. And people are trusting me all the time. But like, but sometimes it’s like a big ask, you know, it’s like, hey, put a bunch of your money into this thing. And I promise it’ll work out. And thankfully it has so far, but like, I think it would, I think it wouldn’t have happened. If it was like purely, you know, x’s and metamask wallet and purely decentralised like, you know, the real raw crypto space, I think they needed an on ramp through a platform. And so many of them have gotten metamask wallets or other types of wallets ERC 20 wants to bridge out to Coinbase wallets or whatever. And they’ve gotten on exchanges now to where they can accept rally coin from different you know, in in swap in the AEF. So they’ve learned all the little things that I that I learned years ago, through just having this little onramp. So that’s why I think it’s a good on ramp. And I think there’s potential to like go other places from it. We I made some NFT’s. I haven’t minted them yet, because I’m still waiting on trying to integrate more of rally’s dev team into what we’re going to do. But we ended up going to open C which is you know, decentralised NFT and minting platform and sales platform, and they didn’t accept rally token, and we got them to accept rally. So actually, our fans can bridge out. They can sell crime bridge out their rally and buy an NF t that is related to our band directly with the without having to swap without having a gas fees or whatever. So yeah. So that and that alone is like education and not like I just think like, I’ve taken them a long way in three months if they can.
Adam Levy: So you’re like an evangelist here, man. You’re doing someone’s work, that’s for sure. How have they responded? I know you mentioned a little bit but tell me more. Like, how many how many of the total, I guess your fan base? Were already crypto native versus not crypto native. And in what did that look like?
Matt MacDonald: Well, it’s funny that most I would say 95 to 97% not crypto native, crazy. It’s just I mean and the thing is too is like I’m 38 now and a lot of our fans are in their 30s like you know, they discovered our band in their teens. When I was in my early 20s you know like so I grew up with you. Yeah, so they grew they grew up with us but like they also have families and stuff now you know, like we don’t want you know, we have a good chunk of people in their 30s and it is a missed that. That boat of like crypto they missed 20 1720 and I almost did I just like randomly stumbled across it. But, but the ones who, who we’ve posted and sent a few things on, like, traditional social media, and the ones who like see that we’re doing it who have picked up on crypto and defy and stuff, and especially this last, this last little bowl cycle, that they’re all they all jumped in immediately. Like I had never seen, you know, it was kind of interesting. It was like tagging that like tapping them in and be like, Hey guys, you know, and they’re and they’re showing up and they’re talking about like staking rally and doing all this stuff and like crazy and getting involved in the community. They’re there. They’re on the rallies, discord, and they’re like, they’re keeping me up to breast on like, all like the new stuff that’s going on with the community. So it’s actually really cool to have some people who are like, they understand it. But they really just came out of the woodwork. They were like, okay, one of my favourite bands and crypto I’m in. And so they stay and started engaging that way. But a lot of other folks are just too scared. And you know, I understand that too. Like, they’re just like, you know what, I’ll back you on Kickstarter. But yeah, I don’t know what this is, you know, I’ve heard a lot, you know, they just heard about Dogecoin. Like, it’s too much to ask, you know, to get it to get involved. So, and that’s fine. We’ll do a lot of things and make a lot of stuff. And I have the feeling will there’ll be a few more cycles for mass adoption. I’m fine with people being slower to it if they need to be.
Adam Levy: Yeah, you know, I think a lot of people don’t realise that, at least in my opinion is like this whole creative economy boom in creators personalities, influencers, musician, whatever you want to call them, they end up tokenizing themselves and bringing in a lot of nice, like the next non-super non-crypto native audience into crypto. And they’re really bridging the next wave of mass adoption here. Like you’ll have the shit coins, you’ll have Elon Musk, beaming and tweeting and driving Mark Cuban emulate manipulation, whatever you want to call it. But these influencers This is like a new form of influencer marketing to an extent to a decentralised network that works for all right, yeah, it’s like it’s, it’s, it’s something really powerful that I don’t think a lot of brands are picking up on yet.
Matt MacDonald: Yeah, well, it’s so [Broken Audio] it really is. Yeah, like, the Kickstarter thing is the best, it’s the closest thing that comes to it, because it’s really just cutting out a middleman and having like, a pure relationship, and the relationship wasn’t just transactional. It’s that like, if you give me the money now that you would spend later, like, I will bring you through the process of making this and you are actually an integral part of it. It’s not just someone else gave me the money for this thing, I built it now I have to sell it to you to pay them back. This transactional thing, it’s more like you’re a part of something with the Creator. And I think that had sort of psychologically a big effect. Like I thought we did our first Kickstarter, there’s no way they’re everyone’s come back. And like, every time it’s been more and more people, um, because it’s such a fun experience to be a part of something as a community and just knowing that we’re all community minded people, it just as human beings, you know, social mammals, it’s just such a powerful thing that I think our culture specifically has gotten away from, with you have the producers and the consumers, and there’s separate sort of this chasm between the two, and there’s one, you know, and there’s this facade of like, marketing that, like, hides the real truth and it’s, it’s, it’s a lot of deceit and deception. I think people are tired of that way of like that sort of Mad Men marketing and, and, you know, the, in between the middlemen between the consumer and the producer. And I think people are really ready to be a part of something. And if you’re, if you have, if you all have a currency, it’s like a, it’s like a digital language that you all speak. That sort of glues your community together, that and its value that you can transfer within each other within the community. And then value that that affords you exclusive things that that are related to the content at the centre of the community. So it’s just, I see it as like a glue.
Adam Levy: Yeah. If you look at your last Kickstarter campaign, okay, the seven full length studio album that you guys pushed out, okay, you had about, I just looked what 1541 backers for a total raise of $91,552. Okay, but I want to focus on the 1541 backers, that crowdfunded nearly 100k. Okay, crazy, first of all, and now if you look at crime, because it’s like it’s crowdfunding 2.0, essentially, right, with a lot more benefits, a lot more twists, right, because you could essentially cry Find your next album using crime to an extent, right. But if you’ll if you look right now, there’s about 307 supporters. Right. I don’t know if that equates to actually holders, is it more than 307 holders? I think I think it is 307 holders, if not the token is currently trading at $13.24. Based off what, uh, 15. I checked like 30 minutes ago, okay. And it’s crazy to see the amount of value that Kickstarter is generating. And I guess my question to you is like, how do you now migrate those people from Kickstarter to now except in crowdfund using crime, so that you don’t have to rely on another middleman taking another cut, right? And they provide the nice UX, they provide the nice experience, right? The onboarding, the credit card, the all that shit, right, that makes it important. Yeah, how do you how do you bring the next wave? So you’re just like, slashing middlemen? And yeah, like, like, thinning it down and leaning it down to the extent where it’s just you write a community? How do you do that now?
Matt MacDonald: Oh, that’s, that’s kind of the dream is that like, I even thought, because I was talking to I was talking to some people who build on top of Bitcoin stack stacks or stack everything was Yeah, stacks. Yeah. Money. Yeah. Yeah. And, and they were like, yeah, you know, some people have these ideas where, you know, people, they, you know, they buy stacks or whatever, and then they and then they stake it and they get Bitcoin rewards. And that’d be one way to crowdfund is that like, you just get people a certain amount of people staking their money, and we get a certain amount of rewards and the rewards or the staking rewards. That pays for the project. And then after a certain point, everybody gets their staked money back. So like, people aren’t even paying for it. And I thought, well, that’s a cool idea to passively back, something that you kind of want to see happen, but like, sure, people in our in our realm really want to, they want to support directly. They want to be they want their money taken from them, they just take my money. Get it back to but like, I just thought that’d be the coolest thing ever. If you could just have a bunch of people, you know, stake a token. And then after a certain amount of time, they received their full amount back. And, and, and the rewards are what pays for the project.
Adam Levy: That would be crazy, right? But now try to explain staking to someone like we take it for granted. Right? We’ve been playing with crypto for some time. But staking like what the hell is staking a token? Like I buy my Starbucks with dollars? Like, how are you? How are you going to now like introduce, you know what I mean? Like how do you explain that? How do you overcome those hurdles?
Matt MacDonald: Yeah, yeah, there’s levels. There’s levels to it. But yeah, my marketing mind goes to Okay, just dumb it down. I mean, to me, marketing is like writing a song. Its like, how can you jam the most information that’s easily palatable into the shortest sentence, you know, right. The least the least amount of words. And so you Yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s like interest is what people understand. And when they put their money, they put their money in the savings account, they get interest on it as long as it stays there. And then when they pull their money out, they don’t get interest anymore. So that’s how I would probably do explain staking to somebody. But I think the main thing the main selling point would be like you know how you buy the record? What if you took that money and you just put it there for six months? And then you get it back? And then the record comes to you or the records made? You know just you know just read that’s also weird, right? Like that’s also feels like a Ponzi scheme. Problem with crypto is that it feels like a Ponzi scheme. And it actually functions on some level like a Ponzi scheme. Yeah. But it doesn’t exploit people like upon, like, everyone, it’s a Ponzi scheme in which everyone wins.
Adam Levy: I’m literally like pushing the boundaries of what this can be right now. Yeah. Okay. So tell me more about utility and in the value behind crime what can people do with crime? You gave some examples, but really lay it down like how do you there’s one thing about buying it now what can I get with it? What are you created?
Matt MacDonald: Yeah, so let me just go to my page real quick here. There’s a coin benefits and uses right on our rally page. And it’s a so if you initially one crime was about 35 cents, and so I was like, okay, for Dollar 50. If people hold hot five crime, the bot will let them into this channel bag holders channel on our Discord. And in that channel, I will have the exclusive download to the song that we did on stream that’s not released. And so those are the kind of the two things and then it’s just access to all the limited merge that I sell through that channel. So I’ll put a link on that channel and say, if you guys want a coin, there’s 100 for sale. And, you know, for three crime coin, I’ll send you it, you know, so that it’s mostly just channel access for people who hold five crime or more. If people hold 100 crime or more, they also have another role in our Discord server called moon boss. And they were actually kind of like first in line to get like the highest number of dice that we made and stuff like that. And then it’s just, you know, being aware of like, when the poker games happening, or just being involved in different things like that, like we have exclusive merch for sale. And then the main thing which I put on there recently, which has been everyone’s decided is or has been really good, is earning rally rewards by just simply holding crime. So you know, it’s not about even buying more, it’s just, it’s just holding it to get this this reward system that pays way more than staking for any, you know, way more API than anything else I’ve staked for. So just by holding it, they get rally rewards, which is essentially free tokens. And you know, that that are potentially going up in the future, the more creators we onboard, and the more crypto gets adopted. So everyone feels like an early adopter at this point. And they are, you know, yeah. So they feel like I think all than something.
Adam Levy: Yeah, I think the beauty behind it is that because you’re an early adopter, because the social token wave is so new, because rally is only trading at a certain price. The more this market grows, the more these early adopters really, really win. Right? And I think people are starting to realise that why the hell should I keep my money? And Bank of America where I’m literally earning bread crumbs on $1 not even a half a bread crumb on the dollar? What I could just be supporting Matt McDonald, and in crime, right? A lot of people are like that.
Matt MacDonald: They’re like, Listen, you know, because we went about, we did like a 20x. In the first month. We went from like, 35 to like, $7 because rally went up to over $1 body. And so this is sort of like the tokenomics of it. You know, the price went up, and people were talking about like, Oh, I can finally like buy my new truck. Or I can get like, my, my, I can get my dental work done. I have to get it like a root canal. And it’s like 1200 bucks. And now, I never thought I would buy this, like token for a band that like to get exclusive merch. And now I can do like dental work. I’m like, you’re literally you’re not only producing music, you’re saving people’s teeth. Like Yeah. That’s amazing. And obviously, like, if you have to, if you have a toothache, sell your credit fix that, you know, I you know, I’m not trying to give people the whole, you know, price goes up forever. But at the same time, it’s like, it’s kind of cool to see people use it for actual real life things are not just consuming, you know, entertainment, which is what it was sort of set out to do now. They’re like improving their actual like physical lives with it.
Adam Levy: yeah, but that’s like the sunshine rainbows and roses type of market but then you have rally falling below $1 here and all these fans getting like somewhat fucked, right?
Matt MacDonald: Well, the beautiful thing about it too is once you get in so the dollar numbers, what you’re looking at, when you’re just an eight brain, you’re like, hey, look, it’s this amount, and it’s goes up this amount. But the more you pay attention, the more you realise there’s a ratio of crime, rally per crime. So initially, it was you know, you start out with a ratio of 1.1 rally per crime. So it was it was one rally plus 10% was the price of a crime coin. And eventually, that’s gone up to over 21 rally per crime. So the price of rally may fluctuate, but the value as long as people hold their money in crime, one crime will always be 21 rally. So, you know, rally can go down, and but we’re still earning rally rewards. And as long as we hold, we’re still we still have more rally than you know.
Adam Levy: Sure, you might get like the number of rallies still like association to the number of crime
Matt MacDonald: But the price of rallying the value of those numbers right fluctuates with the health of the market. And the more you interact with this platform and this side chain, the more you realise that this is like, this is something that actually has a lot of future potential. Right, you know, they they’ve taught they plan on getting 10,000 creators, we were in the first 100 Yeah, so like, buying and holding these coins that are worth rally is, it seems like a really smart thing to do is, like you said, as an early adopter, being that the creator economy is just getting going people are just becoming aware of this and more creators are going to be on boarded into the system. And then once that happens, mass adoption, because all the people that follow these creators are going to be aware of cryptocurrency they’re going to be aware of tokenomics and platforms and wallets, and all these things that make them less afraid of it. And so and that’s just good for the good for the whole thing.
Adam Levy: So yeah, when the price goes down, you and your fans in the group chat you guys like have like, you guys like congregate everybody relaxed, like it’s going to be okay, like, we’re going to we’re going to survive this, like, what is it? Like in the group chat?
Matt MacDonald: I mean, initially in discord, yeah. Like, when it went down it, like, plummeted once. And I said, Guys, don’t worry, this is like long term. Rally goes up. A week later was back. And it was more than that, you know. So people, it’s the thing too, it’s like, being in cryptocurrency markets for years, you develop a sort of fixed skin for the volatility. And you develop some patience, because you’re like, Okay, I can’t just me, I’m not a day trader, I’m not a guy that can like trade chop, or swings. I can look at trend lines. And, you know, say, all right, if it hits here, I’m buying. But, but you just learned patience overall. And I think that’s, that’s part of that’s part of adoption is understanding that like, things go up and down, but it doesn’t matter [Broke Voice] in crime is still, you know, it’s still three out of three crime coin for a buy in poker every week. So that’s all you need to know, you know, like you button. Most of them bought a crime coin at like 3540 cents. So it doesn’t matter if it goes down from $13 to $9. They don’t care.
Adam Levy: What a way to make everybody more hard-core, like get them in on the pennies and let them ride the double digits.
Matt MacDonald: Yes.
Adam Levy: I love it. Or I don’t want to take too much of your time. I know we’re coming up to a close. So I have a couple like, final kind of questions to ask you. So first one, I kind of skimmed the surface. He said it’s the dream. When do you imagine yourself like crowdfunding your next album? Like the eighth or the ninth or the 10th? Using crime? What you have a goal for yourself? Do you just like kind of seeing how adoption? Like what’s your thought process?
Matt MacDonald: Yeah, I’m pretty like an in the moment type of guy like, I don’t have like a five year plan. I’m mostly just trying to problem solve, and I get these wild hairs and I just go throw myself at something. So I haven’t like decided that this is the way that I want to go. But I do see it as you know, crowdfunding turned out to be a long term model that I thought was just a one, one stop shop. And it turned out to be a model that people like wanted to, like, they wanted to have multiple iterations of they wanted to be a part of multiple albums for and so if there’s a way that I can integrate that with crime, I think that’d be the coolest thing. Because like, that’s obviously like, what I’ve been working on for the last like, three, four months has been all cryptocurrency related. So if there’s way ways I could sell perks to crowdfund with crime would be [Cross voice]
Adam Levy: Like, like, Imagine being able, like, I’m just thinking out loud, I imagine being able to so you have your Kickstarter page. Right, right. You have the different tiers that people can kind of buy, they can donate if they just want to support. But within those descriptions, you say, yeah, you could you could purchase this, let’s say for $20 with USD, right, you purchase it with crime, you’ll be able to actually get it for $15. Right? Exactly, no, and you incentivize like, is that Do you think you’ll approach it like that? Like, what do you think?
Matt MacDonald: Yeah you could. I mean, the problem is now so many people that backed crime initially insane, which is which is what they’ve already gotten. Like, when I did the when I did the mystery boxes, I put like, I put like $200 worth of merging each one. Sort of like flat rate, USPS medium size shipping boxes, and I put like stuff and vinyl and stuff in it. And like test pressings, like really rare stuff. And I sold like I sold 10 or 20 of them at. But it was like the equivalent of like $150 worth of crime, which was the equivalent of about $15 of initial, like the investment, which was what cost me to ship them, like $14 was crazy. So basically, like the people who backed us in the beginning, paid shipping to get like $200 worth of merge. So like, already, it’s worthwhile for them to even pay more, because they’re using that their money from, you know, their tiny investment to buy to get them a big value in. But if I was to I was to use the crowd fund to try to incentivize people to adopt crime and be a part of our, our creative economy, then I probably would do some sort of discount like that, or like they could get, you know, if there was some sort of way to do promo codes? I don’t know, it’s hard. It’s hard to integrate with centralised platforms, because like they only have so much, you know, API that you can mess with.
Adam Levy: Or you could do this, you can basically say, if you purchase this thing, that’s 4050 bucks, you also get $10 in crime. So now you’re forcing people, now you’re rewarding them for participating, rather than just doing like spend.
Matt MacDonald: Yeah, manually. So basically, they would have to like, sign up for crime if they’re new to it. And they would have to log in with their twitch account or something rally. And then send me their username or something. Oh, yeah. I just, yeah. Anyway.
Adam Levy: Not super scalable, not super scalable.
Matt MacDonald: No, but those are the ways that I always look to like, figure it out is like, what can I automate? And it’s so much of the decentralised cryptocurrency world is so customizable, and so it’s been nice to have, like, I have some people working on stuff that like [Broken voice] or where people can buy stuff just with crime. Which is so cool. And then I’ve got like, I’ve worked with the guy that’s developed it to like, give me a way to like, export their shipping information. So I can import that into, you know, Asian, but like, you know, eventually, it should just be a store that’s like connected through ship stations API. And yeah, customising nature of it all and automating of it is interesting for me.
Adam Levy: Yeah. So, two more questions. You’re obviously an early adopter, you’re I’d even consider like very revolutionary very forward thinking almost as if like a pioneer in in when it came to adopting crypto or when it comes to adopting crypto. And in the music industry, okay. How do you imagine this stuff kind of revolutionising social tokens revolutionising the sector? 510 years from now? Like, do you imagine a world where I mean, I guess it’s leaning more towards that, like a lot more creators, a lot? More musicians will be creating these like more modern day fan clubs. But like, what do you what do you see 5-10 years from now social tokens doing?
Matt MacDonald: Yeah, I see them as the glue that keep the decentralized community together and then the defied space being like the interaction lie the glue that keeps the separate communities together so that you can interact with cross platform. I see the centralization eating everything. Even my brother show me this platform called satellite the other day and people trying to build fully decentralized, customizable, open, free, secure and online.
Adam Levy: Yeah, no, make sense. That’s a very, very positive way to kind of look at the growth of the space, but let me approach it from a different angle really quick. Okay. Right now we’re in an environment place in society where people value influence based off the number of followers you have, okay? Now, we’re kind of transitioning into a world where every creator, or almost every creator is going to have $1 price associated with themselves or the community, right? Do you think? Do you think that that level of influence is going to kind of transition from number of followers to what you’re worth on the screen? For example, Matt McDonald is trading at $13.24. But Justin Bieber is trading at $600 Justin Bieber is more worth more than Matt McDonald. Shane, do you think it’s going to get to that level of like, black marriage type of effect?
Matt MacDonald: You know, Justin Bieber is worth more than me that’s…
It’s an extreme example.
Matt MacDonald: But it’s like, as long as it does, as long as it’s not skewing reality. I mean, his influence, his reach, his record sales, his team, his business, everything he does, is bigger than me. And it might be 60 times bigger, it might actually be 600 times bigger, you know, but like, I don’t like as long as like, as long as it. That having a hierarchy is that big of a deal, as long as like, the little guys at the bottom, like me, are okay to keep making records, which is that that’s all I want to do. And there’s enough 100, 200, 2000 people who support those. I don’t really care. I don’t really care. I think Justin gets.
Adam Levy: A different point of view then. So there’s a gentleman by the name of whaleshark, okay, is an anonymous figure online, maybe you’re familiar with him. He’s a whale. Partway apart shark he does, he does a lot of good for the NFT space, he helps a lot of up and coming artists, he’s made a lot of like, very monumental purchases. And if you look at his big cloud, for example, that’s like around $15,000 right now, okay. And if you look at like, I’m just going to say for the sake of example, Matt McDonald, she probably has a much has more clout growing up and whaleshark was been a character for the last two years, three years. Right now, will people start seeing whaleshark? Much, much more influential and much better than Matt McDonald.
Matt MacDonald: You can be more influential than me if you have a certain amount of money, for sure. Because I don’t have that money. Yeah. But as long as the free market decides, you know, what I’m saying? Like, as long as the market decides, and not some algorithm, yeah, and not somebody’s idea of what should be the hierarchy. Like, to me, it’s like art, yes. like, you talked about followers and number of followers, I find it that that the value of your social numbers, matters less and less over time, because we know number one, those things can be gamed. And number two people can fall in and out of favour with large groups of people, like, you know, if they’re on Twitch, and they’re playing fortnight for instance, they might get a lot of followers, but then they stopped liking playing fortnight and they want to go back to playing, you know, yeah, something else. They’re, they’re not going to have the same appeal, but they might have still have those fortnight followers, you know, I’m saying, so like, to me, it’s like, there’s, there’s people who have a lot more like, followers and likes and subscribers, who, who have come out with, you know, rally tokens. They just don’t have as many supporters as we have, you know, I’m saying, like, as long as people can speak up, and be like, yeah, I’m a supporter. And I’m not just here for to click Subscribe on YouTube, I’m here to send you $50 I don’t really care if you have 4 million subscribers on whatever social platform if none of them will send you $50 for your content. So as long as the number value represents reality, I’m fine with it.
Adam Levy: Love it. I think that’s a perfect place to end off, man. More power to you bro. Good, shit with all that you’re doing. I wish you all the success and I hope to have you again soon.
Matt MacDonald: Thanks, Adam. Appreciate it man. Thanks for having me.
Adam Levy: Of course.