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Mint Season 3 episode 13 welcomes the founder and CEO of YellowHeart, Josh Katz, who’s building NFT live event ticketing and collectibles platform for artists, teams, and their authentic fans.
In this episode we discuss:
- 0:00 – Introductions
- 4:11- The “AHA” Moment
- 7:50 – The Birth of Yellow Heart
- 8:43 – The Maroon 5 DAO
- 15:11- Thinking About Governance
- 19:57 – Bringing Web 2.0 -> Web 3.0
- 23:13 – Creating NFTs with Utility
- 26:55 – Connecting with Normies
- 31:55 – Minting NFTs Live & at Scale
- 35:10 – What’s Next for Yellow Heart?
- 41:20 – Friction in Web 3.0 Adoption
- 49:40 – Outro
…and so much more.
Thank you to Season 3’s NFT sponsors!
1. Coinvise – https://coinvise.co/
2. POAP – https://poap.xyz/
3. Socialstack – https://socialstack.co/
Interested in becoming an NFT sponsor? Get in touch here!
Mr. Josh Katz, welcome to Mint. How are you feeling, man?
Doing great, Adam, how are you?
I’m good, dude. Thank you so much for being on. I’m super, super excited to have you on. You and yellow heart. You guys are doing some of the more cooler mainstream things that I’ve seen, kind of trailing online from the maroon five DAO, the Kings of Leon in the past, and all these other cool things that you’re doing. Let’s just jump right in. Who are you? More specifically, what were you like before crypto and where are you now?
Cool. So, yeah, you know, Josh Katz, New York native born and raised outside of the city on Long island. Grew up there and have lived in Manhattan ever since I graduated college. Music fanatic, sports fan, liked to go out, have fun, eat at great restaurants, and just enjoy life and have always just followed my passions for work. My work hasn’t been something where it has been divided between the things that I’m passionate about, it’s always been the same. So you know, prior to yellow heart, I built out a company called EL Media, which was really the disruptor of a company called Muzak, which provides elevator music or background music to businesses. So we pioneered putting cool playlists into Nobu and TAO and all of these cool hotspots. And, you know, that was a labor of love around building playlists and music, and just my deep love of music as a whole and yellow heart has really just been a love of live music and going to live events and trying to fix that experience. So both just passion projects and things that have been near and dear to my heart.
So very much on the music side of things. Do you play an instrument?
I do, I play the guitar. I collect guitars. I’ve got about 10 of them over here.
I wonder if you could like switch your camera. I’d be curious to see. How long have you been playing for?
My whole life. So my father was a guitar collector not by profession, but by hobby and early in the early Greenwich village days, you know, Washington square park, Bob Gill, he was selling instruments and got super into that. I grew up around just like tons of cool guitars in my home as a kid. So it’s something that stuck with me.
Got it. Biggest music influence on your style and your playing?
I mean, definitely as a kid Eric Clapton by far, and you know, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Hendrix, you know, but Clapton was definitely out upfront.
Okay. How do you feel about more of the gen Z guitarists like Omar Fetty kind of coming into the picture?
Incredible. I’m just happy people are pushing the envelope still. That’s what it’s all about. You know, just coming up with new sounds and new cool things and just, you know, the craft that’s what it’s all about.
I play the drums. I’ve been playing since I was five years old or something like that, and for me it’s always been music and crypto. Like I got into crypto 2017, but prior to that, it was like being in jazz bands, being in the record studio, like I was an amateur at it. I loved it. It was a hobby, but I never thought about taking it mainstream, you know, making a profession out of it. How do you think about that?
So, you know, I played the guitar and in high school it became really clear to me that I was better at the music business, like I had no skill, other than getting off my couch, so that was fine. With that said, I just literally went into the music business and it was such a passion for me where other friends of mine would like literally out of college, take banking jobs and make money. I made myself like, literally, I think I made 24 K a year, and yet I was working with Tribe Called Quest and all these things that were more important to me than the money, you know, it was there. For me, it’s all about day-to-day life and experiences and really people and continuing to just, you know, have great interactions and relationships and every day just being a great day. So that was more important to me than money always. And what’s really been interesting is with NFTs and crypto, I always saw as, the minute I learned about it, the intersection of like, wow, finally, I could intersect art and money. This is huge.
The “AHA” Moment
Yeah. I hear you. You know, for me, the aha moment was different. So what initially attracted me was seeing Bitcoin at 20K, what kept me was seeing what companies like Mediachain were doing. Like Jesse Walden and the startup that he created. Because I was a musician that was like the most relatable thing. There’s like this new financial technology, but also musicians are benefiting from it? This is super cool. I then kind of fell down that rabbit hole.
Hell yeah. You know, I came at it from just a different spot because, I had built this, you know, subscription background music business, which I had sold. And I, after I sold it, it happened to be 2016, and I was like deep in crypto and Ethereum. It was almost like the perfect time for me because I, for the first time in my life, had a little bit of money and crypto had just started to happen. I just went deep in it, and I realized for me, you know, you could do so many different things, but I still want it to follow the passions that I love, which revolve around really music and the live experience. I thought that distributed ledger was just the perfect opportunity to fix a very broken industry that I witnessed firsthand. And the truth is, is that I went to the labels and to the copyright holders first, and I asked them about putting royalties on the blockchain and making them transparent and giving artists access to see their streams in real time and, you know, using the technology. They were not hearing that. I mean, transparency around royalties was not even something they wanted to discuss. So by default, the next thing to me seemed like ticketing because that had the big middleman population, rent seeking and, bad technology, you know, the whole gamut of issues that I think we all know how blockchain relates to.
Makes a lot of sense. I want to kind of talk about more of your entry-level into crypto and reason being is because everybody has a unique story as to like the first Bitcoin or the first cryptocurrency that they bought and how that kind of transitioned into them, teaching other people about it. You’re in a position where you’re creating more mainstream communities bringing in more of these existing audiences in mass follower groups into what we call web 3.0, right? So what was the first cryptocurrency you bought, was it Bitcoin?
Yeah, I mean, Bitcoin, you know, early on, which frankly, some of it I don’t even know where it is, but I wish I did. In the end, it was just experimenting with everything. But then it was when Ethereum came out that it suddenly made a lot of sense. I mean, Bitcoin, as a store of value is a cool novelty, but, everyone knew that it would go, but like who knew when and who knew if that was the one and like that tech made sense. The store of value in the whole white paper obviously was brilliant, but like it was unproven and then it took adoption. The adoption happened by having progressive thinkers and people like our community that really want to push the boundaries and see things just get better for everyone. So it’s a timing thing. So for me, once I saw Ethereum and I saw the community that was building particularly around New York with Consensys and other things that were happening, it made tons of sense to me that this was super real and the time was now. You know, I was at a point in my life where I had some success, but I wanted to make sure what I did next wasn’t like me chasing something for seven or eight years and it was in-sight. And when I came in touch with Ethereum and started seeing that ecosystem forming particularly around New York in 2017, I was like, okay, this is happening now. It’s go time. And I went all in and that was it. And I started Yellow Heart and I would never look back and we’re keeping it real and keeping it going.
The Birth of YellowHeart
So let’s talk about keeping it going. Okay. So this is the birth of yellow heart. What is yellow heart? Give us a brief explanation. What are you aiming to solve?
So we’re trying to just create a direct relationship between fans and artists. That’s it.
And it’s through a service play, a software play, what does that look like?
So essentially it’s through using our platform to create your community and then be able to just interact with them directly through the platform. That’s it. And if you’re an indie artist and an artist that needs assistance, having tools to build that community through community tokens, through the ability to sell NFTs or the ability to make music and the ability to sell tickets. So you come on and you basically, as a musician, will hopefully just be the tools you need in the future that becomes an autonomous network that you can just use and frankly, even own.
The Maroon5 DAO
Makes sense. So walk me through some examples of let’s talk about like an artist. Let’s talk about a more mainstream artist. I’m going to use maroon five because you guys are working together and building out their modern day fan club, whatever you want to call it. They come to yellow heart. What are the first things that they do on the platform?
Okay, well, in the maroon five case, they came to us looking to enter the space. Jesse from the band is into NFTs and crypto and blockchain and super smart and gets it. We started thinking about stuff and initially they came about in a manner where it was frankly, almost like another piece of merch where it’s like, okay, we’re putting out a new record and we’re making all this other stuff. We should have an NFT, so let’s do a cool NFT. And the NFT is just kind of a short sell of the album, and will our community get it? We don’t know, but we’re young and cool. And let’s try because, you know, sure. Like they were into it, but like knowing very well that their fans might totally miss this. I said to them, which I still think I was like, okay, if this does not sell well, in 20 years, the lore of the maroon five initial authorized band NFT that came out will become like that Ty Cobb, if you’ve seen one of those. So it was pretty funny conversation, but they just kind of went all in and said, fuck it. And as we went down the rabbit hole, like all the other stuff started materializing where they were like, okay, you could do fan tokens. As we had done them for ZHU, and some other artists where we were minting live at shows, you know, off a QR code. So they were like, great. We’d love to collect fan base info and give people a community NFT for joining the Maroon five community and then get further benefits. So we enacted that program on tour where we then, but very organically. All along, you know, one of the things that yellow heart is super passionate about and all of the members of Maroon five are passionate about is giving back. And the fact that we’ve all been blessed to like, you know, have the things that we take for granted like a clean pair of socks and clean water and just like a house. And like we’ve all been through so much in the last two years that I think giving back is super important. Plus environmental issues are clearly super important and climate change. We need to all think about this stuff and take it seriously. So that alignment led us to opening up what we’re calling the maroon five Dao. And the Dao is for the fans to all be on the same footing. Not in a way where everyone can buy a token at a $50 price point and buy in, and the band basically takes that pool of money and it’s going to float initiatives through charities that we’re partnered with for various climate change and environmental issues and the community, everyone having an equal vote we’ll vote on how those initiatives’ dollars are spent, which proposals they go to. Yellow heart and Maroon five zero admin fee, autonomous network, and a hundred percent of the money put into the DAO will go out to each of those charities. So there’ll be various rounds of it where fans can come in and join on that DAO and hopefully it will grow. And we’re looking now for corporate partners, we’ve spoken to some other charitable organizations that we’re going to be partnering on as we launch it later next year. But it’s really all about just giving to environmental and climate change initiatives.
Yeah, that makes sense. That makes a lot of sense. So the money that basically gets collected from merch, tickets, et cetera, part of that goes to funding the quote, unquote treasury?
All of it.
So let’s say they do a world tour right now. They make, let’s say millions of dollars, whatever the number is. All that gets into the treasury?
No, it’s not the money they make on the tour.
And I’m only asking from this point of view, because these are going to be models that other people use.
I’ll tell you Adam. So what we’re basically trying to do is give every fan the opportunity to contribute as a community. It’s really a donation to give to climate change and then having the vote as a community. Plus, now that you’re in the community, the band clearly wants to give you additional perks because now you’re joining their charitable network as a community. Because their feeling is that, “Hey, there’s a lot more power in numbers going after climate change and environmental and knowing about these charities and there is just as us individually”. So they wanted to interact with the fans and the DAO seemed like a great way to keep everything fair, transparent, equal, where, you know, you could only have one vote in the, in the DAO and hopefully the goal would be, with someone like maroon five, where right now a big DAO might have 30 members who all put in large sums of money and large sums of ETH or whatever they might’ve put in there. This is more about having huge numbers of people that all contribute small amounts of money, maybe corporate matching, and then the DAO basically getting emptied and refilled around utility that the band gives to the DAO, and that’s the band’s contribution. At that level in maroon five, their utility clearly has tremendous value.
Makes sense. I like the corporate matching idea. That’s pretty cool. That can go a long way.
You know, let me put it out there that we are looking for people to be involved in this DAO right now. If anyone out there is interested, just like ping me or anyone at yellow heart, because we’re looking for people that are into maroon five to be out just like being part of spreading the goodness of this, because it’s going to come out next year. When we launch it, it’s actually in three phases. I should explain that. We had a seed stage over the, now what’s called the sprout stage. It’s like another, I think, week or so. And then it’s going to become a living DAO next year. And the living DAO actually is tied to the UFC carbon index and the actual item itself is going to flower based on the carbon index. So it’s a very cool NFT that will be coming out to each recipient, but there is the ability to get three different NFTs for each phase of the DAO. Right now it’s in phase two, so it’s a very cool NFT to own all the maroon five, you know sprout the seed is over, and then the living DAO will be coming early next year and that will then be continuous. And I’m sure it will morph and grow. We’ll see what happens, what the band does as that NFT grows, you know what I mean?
Thinking about Governance
Yeah. It makes a lot of sense. What a cool way and a unique way to bring more novel web 3.0 crypto native design to more of the mainstream and tying a charitable concept to it. Bringing corporations, bringing more normie audiences involved to kind of experience what a modern day kind of fan club looks and feels like from a point of view. One thing I want to talk to you about is, how do you think about governance? Is this something that you’re like starting a snapshot proposal on, or you’re issuing votes on tally? And also, the funds that kind of get collected through the NFT sales and all these other revenue sources, do they sit in a Gnosis safe multisig? Or are there more, I guess, mainstream versions or products that you’re using or that you’re building up?
Well, as far as governance goes, you know, it’s basically in the contract and it’s sitting there. I defer to some of our tech team on more of your technical questions, but at the end of the day, we want full visibility to every single member of the DAO. Of course, you know, you want to see every dime and where it’s going and where it is. That’s what this is all about, these DAOs. It’s giving ultimate transparency to everyone involved. So when the DAO launches, you know, there’s going to be a whole property around it that will give full insight into everything. Into voting and to every single element of the DAO and the charitable donations and everything about it. I think we’re all experiencing this in the world of NFTs where there’s a lot of firsts. So as we put up a charitable DAO of this size, a lot of the decision-making has to be well thought through on how this works and we wanted to keep it very democratic where everyone has an equal say and everyone’s vote counts. So people can come in and say, you know what? This is an important cause I want to make a donation to it. And I know my money’s going there. Plus I know me putting money into this in voting is going to cause other people’s money to go there, which is cool. So we’re going to see how it goes and you know, I think at the end of the day, once again, New tech, new times, and one of the things I will tell you about yellow heart, and this has nothing to do with the maroon five DAO, but like, we look at a lot of the stuff that we’re doing as we have to do it.. And we have to put these types of programs forward. We have to mitigate risk. We have to just for lack of a better term, say F it, because we need to push the NFT industry forward. If we don’t get it right, at least the learning will be there for the entire community. So the next person could do it better than we did. That’s what we want to happen here. So we’re like, okay, let’s go forward with this project, that project, anything , you know, technology, we want to add to a various project, including the maroon five DAO, let’s see how single toking voting goes. Maybe it won’t work. We’ll find out, but at the end of the day, we’re not afraid to kind of move forward and make changes and make them quick, but see through being the first to do something. Being a pioneer saying, okay, we’re willing to get shot coming through the door. Fuck it, we’ll just do it. And if we get shot, we’ll just try again, or come through with a Bulletproof vest.
I tell you this much, I have a bunch of things and so many more questions to add, but just using that type of mentality, opens so much more opportunity, and let’s say you keep throwing shit at the fan, whatever sticks, that’s just going to keep defining the next wave of technology that’s going to come into the picture and you guys be more receptive to adopting it. But there comes a downside with that, because if you do have that type of brand, you do have that level of audience, because there’s that whole element of NFTs are not super friendly on the environment so how are you going to be doing that? You’re fighting like an environmental cause. All these like misconceptions around crypto that are kind of adding to either positive or negative narrative, which could ultimately deter a brand’s brand. How do you think about that? Like what kind of goes on in your mind? And that also comes to the point of view of you trying to sell this stuff to other artists and other bands and get them more involved, right? How do you think about that?
So, myself, you, a lot of people in this community have spent a tremendous amount of time just educating people. Educating brands, educating traditional artists in all types of different fields of artisticness, musicians. All mediums and education has been kind of the job of all of us that have been in the space. So that’s how we think about it. We just try to educate great artists. Here are your possibilities. The issue with NFTs is that the possibilities are endless. So it’s like a rabbit hole, but at the same time, if you put some stop gates up and you explain the tech to really talented people, they come back with great ways to use it I’m finding. So that’s kind of been the way we’ve been approaching it.
Bringing Web 2.0 into Web 3.0
That makes sense. Another thing I want to ask you is like a lot of these tools and platforms because we’re crypto native, Josh, you and I, we’ll go through the mountains. We’ll scrape our elbows and we’ll go through like that shitty user experience that comes with not only building a community, but contributing and monetizing, for example. The mainstream audience, they don’t give a shit. Like won’t go through that hurdle, and when you try to build communities from all these mainstream groups, one of the things you obviously think about is like all their audience lives on web 2.0. They live on Instagram, they live on Twitter, Tik, TOK, maybe Snapchat, maybe like email newsletters, et cetera, and that entire funnel of bringing them in from one platform to another currently is really broken, right? Like from creating that wallet to entering the discord, to making a contribution on chain. All those things are hard to kind of communicate. How have you guys kind of been solving those problems or even more so just thinking about tackling them?
It’s such a weird time right now. I’ll tell you something interesting, Adam. So NFT NYC really opened up I think a lot of people’s eyes, including myself, as to how robust and real this community is. The outlook has always been making non crypto native, non crypto native blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and we lately have been wondering about that because we think there’s going to be a happy medium. What we have actually found through our practice of putting out NFTs and doing large mints is that people are much more adaptive to technology than we give them credit for. We are on our phones, six, seven hours a day on our, you know, laptops and people know how to use tech. So I think the adoption rate here around, you know, custodial and all these other things is going to happen super quick. I think next year, at this time, we’re going to look back and be like that was fast. Okay, it’s on. I think web 2.0 is history, I really do. So I think that there’ll be web 2.0 companies that adapt to web 3.0 maybe kind of like Facebook’s trying to, and we’ll see if that works. Then, I just think web three is going to just blast off faster than anything we’ve ever seen before. I think it’s going to literally just leave everything in the dust. It’s almost going to be similar to web 1.0 where I, just because of my age, remember people were like, oh yeah, what do we need a website for? And like three years later they were out of business. In this case, it could be one year. I think it’s happening that fast.
So you think these creators, these bands, these artists who don’t become more crypto native will actually fall behind in terms of their audience, in terms of their engagement, et cetera?
I think that it’s just now par for the course going forward. Period. I think that we’re going to shop in the metaverse. I think we’re going to, you know, be expecting NFTs as a warranty for everything we buy. I think we’re going to have our doctor prescriptions on NFTs. I just think like everything we do is going to adapt to web 3.0 in like a second, it’s like happening now. You know, it’s on, and I just think that like bridging web 2.0, to be like, excuse my French, like who fucking cares? Like fuck web 2.0. Like, let’s just keep going here on the web 3.0, and I think it’s so much better. So like, let’s go.
Creating NFTs with Utility
Yeah. You know, talking about building a mainstream community with large audiences, either it’s like maroon five or the Kings of Leon, like you did whatever it may be in the future, a lot of questions come to mind. They bought this asset or this token or this ticket or this membership, whatever it may be, what do you do next? Like how do you build utility and how do you do it in a way where it’s designed for your audience and not just in a way where it’s like, let’s just throw cool shit at them kind of thing? For example, one of the coolest utilities is going to NTF NYC having a mutant ape, or a board ape, and like they rented out like a five story yacht, for the board apes of the yacht club, right? How do you think about it? Like, would Maroon 5 five do like a private concert for all their holders? What comes to mind?
Exactly the things that you could think of, we’re thinking of, and it’s on. Like it’s so on right now and more and more artists are getting it, and I must tell you, like three months ago I was getting push back. I’d be like, yeah, let’s do a token anyway. That’s why I’m so convinced on how quickly this is moving, because I even see it at the celebrity artists level, you know, or they’re just like six months ago, like, “yeah cool thing”. You know, and now like three months ago, like, “yea an NFT”, and now they’re like all in. Like, not just like kind of in, but like all in. So I think it’s on, you know, and I think that doing cool utility driven stuff for celebs and for anyone in the space, it’s just par for the course right now. And it’s just like going to be everyone trying to help the next person, and I don’t think there’s going to be any industry norms anymore, and I just think that it’s going to be a creator’s paradise right now coming up. I’m pretty excited for this time.
Yeah, it’s definitely exciting. It’s the whole premise of why Mint started in the beginning to kind of capture that corner of where crypto meets creators, crypto meets artists more like the creative, sexy side of this technology. And we’re seeing a lot of it, I think. Like cheers to you for bringing more of that stuff to the mainstream, or at least attempting to and fucking around throwing shit at the fan to see what kind of sticks.
Yeah, no, listen, we’ve had some amazing successes. We’ve had some drops that haven’t been as well attended for whatever reasons, with the fan bases, but we’re continuing to just do it with more and more fans, you know, we just did a small, early community token for Brandi Carlile, where she did a show at Carnegie hall, and we did a token for anyone that attended the show. There were 2000 attendees and we’ve had 800 redemptions so far, and it’s a pretty high number. We believe literally that a hundred percent of those redemptions are first time NFT holders. We re-engage them a few days later, unbeknownst to them, and we raffled 150 signed heavy tour posters from that show, and that community now is gasping for what’s next. That’s just a recent example over the last week, and we’ve had a lot of those successes that were just ongoing with the fan base. And that’s just something that, you know, continues to happen as we build these really cool fan sanctums, where they can come in and be part of a community that’s just going to keep giving to them, because they own this asset. Like if you look at what Bored Ape has done at the 10,000 scale, which is so sick, where people are using the profile picture as their status the way they used to buy Jordans or a Birkin or whatever it might be now. It’s this 200 K profile picture or whatever they’re going for today, could be more and, you know, that’s awesome. It just all ties into the whole ecosystem.
Connecting with “Normies”
How have you found the best way to communicate an NFT to a normie? What is the lingo and the verbiage that you use? How do you think about that? How have you approached that in the past? What are some of the biggest learning lessons you’ve experienced from doing it one way and then trying a different way? Walk me through that.
You know, the most basic thing I explain to people is that basically everything you do in your digital life is a file, and for the first time ever you could actually prove that you own that file. That seems like the most basic approach for people to understand what an NFT is. How do you do it? I’m curious.
So my whole approach is I like using a visual analogy. So let’s say this right here is like a file, and this is a token. I basically say like the file sits on the token, and for once in your life, you can kind of trace where that goes, and if I give this to you, you’ll be able to tell who owns this right? And the underlying value prop is like the ownership level of being able to see who has what, and doing so in a way where anybody can access it and anybody can buy anything and that any form of digital file will essentially be a token or an NFT for that. So I kind of get into education through the visualization of it. Cause like, if you think about it, we’ve been dealing with files and, and playing with files and downloading files since the Dawn of the internet and I’d assume, okay. I only know it from what I can remember, like two thousands, for example, and this visualization of like, here’s a token, here’s a file, we peg it to one another and now we move that across and this could be a ticket, right? So you’ll never get scammed again by like, that dude standing outside the Staples Center or the crypto.com arena that’s trying to sell you shit, you can now verify that because you’ll see who actually has that token. And then you can use it for merchandise. You use it for this, and you can use it for that, access and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And they typically like to start to get it. Then, I send them some ETH. I show them how to basically buy an NFT on Open Sea, and then they experienced the gratification of being able to prove that they own something. Even if it’s some bullshit, JPEG, it doesn’t matter. Then I take them like, okay, now you bought this NFT, download this really confusing chat called discord, enjoy all the communities and see the hype and the amount of excitement that comes around that, and look what you just bought into. Look at what you belong to now, right? Experience that. Go attend an in-person event and see what that gratification is like that other like-minded people also joined a community by going through that same process or not together. Now everything that you do, you can start a business, and you have a database of customers to tap into because everybody’s like minded like that. Like if you have a Bored Ape, people in the Bored Ape yacht club, do business and develop shit with each other, and that level of trust, that level of gratification, that level of, I guess, security that comes with interacting with people also aped into something like minded, you can’t compare. You can’t compare that to anything else. So going through that process of sending Ethereum, buying an NFT, joining a community, attending an in-person event, flying to a conference, going through all that, you kind of brainwash them.
Oh yeah. There’s a good reason though. It’s an incredible community. I mean, I’ve never in all the industries I’ve been through seen a community like this. It’s so sick. It’s awesome. Awesome people.
There still comes out like a level of misconception of understanding what an NFT is because the press likes to say XYZ about it, you know, and that’s going to die. I think as long as something’s working has the amount of attention you’re going to have your haters, regardless of whatever it is. It doesn’t even have to be technology. It could be fashion, it could be culinary, it could be music. It doesn’t matter. So if anything, it brings more attention to more education, more conversations, and that kind of expands the entire industry as a whole. That’s how I like to think about it.
Yeah, I agree. Really well said. You know, and it’s funny, the whole thing you explained about the apes and about that community interacting with each other is exactly what we’re doing amongst those artists communities. Because when you look at Kings of Leon fans, when you look at XXX fans, when you look at Jerry Garcia, maroon five, any of these, they all want to know each other. They’re all going to events. They’re all part of what old school would call fan clubs, and it’s building each of those. So like, you know, the 7,500 Kings of Leon token holders over July 4th weekend, we offered them all pit tickets, like right in front of the stage, at face value at the time they were on StubHub for like five times face value. But only for the 7,500 token holders community. So like these are the ongoing things, the apes, you know, obviously the best example out there right now, but we’re doing it kind of with all of these different artists. Where it will overlap at some point, we’ll see. It’s an interesting thing, sharing different fan bases and the interoperability of them, but I think the world is going to just become so much more open through this tech.
Minting NFTs Live & at Scale
So ABA, I’m a big fan of the seventies band, right? Hit, after hit, after hit, like there’s no other other music that I can find myself dancing to with happiness. They released a new album now. They are probably going to go on tour soon and haven’t announced anything public, and probably they’re going to do a reunion that they haven’t done in 30 plus years, something like that. It’s going to be nearly impossible to get any form of tickets. If you do, they’re going to be thousands of dollars. I wish I had the opportunity to buy some type of access pass into their community that they would then provide utility like at face value. With that comes tremendous value, you know? And they’re probably like if they were to do something there could be other forms of utility. Get togethers, pre-show, it goes on and on.
That’s our model. You get it, yeah. So like, if you’re in one of our communities, of course you’re getting tickets, the best seat, every other part, of course. We want everyone to be a VIP, because you are.
You know, one thing I want to see these bands do, whether bands have social tokens or NFTs, in-person events are so powerful. There’s so much opportunity for experimentation of doing airdrops, of doing other types of artists to fan collaboration, fan to fan collaboration, all through tokenized assets. One thing that I’ve yet to see come to reality, and I saw Justin Blau do this on a very small scale at a venue in Miami, is you throw a concert for your token holders, and the general audience. And you have all these huge led screens all over the stadium, right? You throw up QR codes or some type of link that airdrops tokens that symbolizes not only where they are right, like a POAP or, you know what I mean? I’m thinking out loud here.
So Adam, are you ready for this? You’re gonna love this. Are you ready? So we actually did that back in May at red rocks and we’ve been doing it. So , that exact program, we launched at red rocks the first week of may with ZHU. ZHU reopened red rocks after COVID for six nights, and at those six nights, we had community tokens or QR codes that were part of the dream versus ZHU production, and joined the ZHU NFT community. I could send you a video, it’s sick actually, and people snapped in and they downloaded their NFT, and then anyone who attended all six nights at red rocks, we airdropped them a seventh, like a few days later. Now we’ve actually had merch sales and other things for the ZHU community of those token holders. We started with ZHU, and then we also took that same program on tour this past summer with maroon five. So we did the QR code at the maroon five tour this summer where same thing, on the tour, you’re able to join the NFT community, anyone that grabbed the maroon five community token at the live tour this summer got a commemorative NFT. We’re continuing to do that quite often. You’re there. You’re right with us.
I want to see that. Like, I want to go to the crypto.com arena and, or like the Madison square garden and see that shit at scale.
It’s on, I’m telling you we’ve done it at scale. We did it at red rocks. We’ve done it. Like it’s on, we have a bunch coming up. We have one in the stadium coming up in Europe, so it’s on.
What’s Next for YellowHeart?
I love it. Another thing I wanna bring up is what else is in the pipeline for yellow heart? Like what else are you guys experimenting with? What do you kind of see as the next big thing for artists in fan engagement? Walk me through that.
So clearly the experimentation never ends, but for the time being, it’s actually at this moment kind of did end. Where we’re headed right now is full web 3.0 ticketing where we launched our mobile app, which, you know, in our world, we call a wallet, but in the traditional world, they’re still calling them apps. For dream verse, really, we kind of pushed out like, you know, the early version of it, and it is now a fully web 3.0 on polygon ticketing application. So the next two quarters we’re going to really be going through a whole bunch of ticketing use cases for web 3.0 and for NFT and the utility. Essentially our wallet and our mobile app are the same thing and they are interoperable and we’re continuing to add utility to them now. Right now, we have rotating barcodes, metadata. We have the ability to gate content. So if you wanted to put music such as a free download of the concert, you just attended both audio and video content are gated. We’re gonna have Apple TV integration coming. So we’re really focusing on the mobile ticketing experience, and by experience, I don’t just mean buying a ticket and redeeming a ticket and walking into a show. Really the community building and being part of the community where, when you go to see Coldplay, like weeks out you buy tickets, giving you the opportunity to buy tickets and good seats because we know who you are and know that you’re a fan, or we don’t know who you are, but you’re you’re coming in and there’s a chance for you to get good seats because we mitigate scalping. Then basically you’re part of that Coldplay community. So now what’s going to happen next? Do you need transportation? Are you going with friends? Do you want to invite friends? Do you want to be incentivized to get other friends to buy tickets? The day of the show, once again, transportation, would you like a drink or like someplace to eat? The whole experience, just enhancing. Do you want an upgrade, we have unsold seats in the section in front of you? Things like that. Getting to the venue and having a merch booth that was open before the show so you can order through your ticket because you’re part of the community. At the show, your QR code reader at yellow heart comes up and there are screens with hundreds of merch items that are official, and you just scan them and they’re sent to your house and, just really increasing the experience post-show. Would you like to order food? How are you getting home? Do you have the token from the show tonight? Maybe you could share three of them with friends and just enhance how that overall experience works. Now comes what we call long-tail engagement, where you went to see Coldplay, and maybe there are other opportunities that you can either accept or decline that are sent to your yellow heart wallet. But since you’re holding the yellow heart wallet, we will potentially try to airdrop you other things because you’re part of Coldplay. You’ll tell us whether you want them or not, but maybe you’ll get an NFT or, you know, all types of other things. We’re doing generative ticketing right now, which is pretty freaking cool. So we can do shows where every single ticket is unique. And like a lot of really cool applications really into the ticketing space is where our main focus is at this moment.
Because there’s so much level of access, and like it’s an onion that you just keep peeling at. Different utilities and experiences that you can add the second you get them at that top funnel. And you can just layer that as it kind of comes down to the tip.
We were in a really interesting spot as a company because we were born as a blockchain NFT ticketing company in 2017, and like, we were ready to go, but at the time we had like a hybrid custodial model, and that was pre COVID. Because you know, a lot of people have a belief that you can’t ticket at a large scale, unless you’re custodial. And a lot of that is up for debate. I know how our community feels about that, so that doesn’t have to be discussed here, but at the end of the day, that’s kind of where that was. But coming out of COVID, that game was off. That had to be changed. So we did, but you know, it’s really pushing web 3.0 and being part of that ecosystem. We want to be picketing in the metaverse. We want to be part of our community and our ecosystem. And that’s really kind of what everything we’re doing is about yet, it is ticket and live event driven where the experience, because we do still have to go out of our houses, just becomes better and more what we’re used to in the other parts of our life that are web 3.0.
But you also capture, like, there’s the one element of doing it, in-person kind of, depending on that experience, but also that translate to such a digital virtual type of experience that extends to the metaverse and these communities and all of these, like, nah, it makes a lot of sense. So from a point of view of infrastructure, and I don’t want to get too technical, but just understanding if you’re issuing NFTs as tickets, it’s on chain transactions. This is obviously not happening on Ethereum. Where is this happening? The reason why it’s not happening, for those who don’t understand, is because the gas fees on Ethereum are too high. It doesn’t make sense to pay a $50 ticket with a $300 fee. How are you thinking about this? Only on Polygon, on Matic?
No. So, right now, we’re on Polygon. Polygon obviously has its capacities, chain line and things like that, but we have literally since we started yellow heart have believed in an interoperable blockchain world where there’d be no one outright winner where different blockchains would be used for different things in different businesses. We see yellow heart, next year, our roadmap takes us to be interoperable with quite a few other blockchains and there’ll be different events. There might have to be multiple tokens that are minted and burned at first, but I have a feeling our community will advance that tech really quick, where we’ll be able to issue cross platform. You know, we love flow. We love Polkadot. We love Polygon too, but like they all I think are going to have various uses and the industry is moving really quickly. Let’s see how all of these chains start to scale as they get more and more production on them. It’s going to be interesting, but we’re big supporters of all the blockchains out there, and we want to inter-operate with everybody who at all touches our ecosystem and we want to support other blockchains.
Friction in Web 3.0 Adoption
What does the tool stack look like for these modern day fan clubs, these DAOs, these communities? Off the get-go, what are the top tools, these top integrations that you’re using to kind of build these things out as a foundation?
You know a lot of this is done internally. At some point you should grab Thomas Emmanuella, chief product officer, 10 times deeper and smarter than I am.
So what you’re saying is that it’s like building the products internally?
Well, no, now we are highly encouraged to go out, and you know, it’s so funny. So when we started yellow heart pre COVID. The outside community was awesome, but it wasn’t like it is now, so many people have come into it this year. But now, we feel like we have to go out and really embrace other parts of the community to use those tools, so we’re out there looking for them. So we’re actively looking for partnerships all over the place on everything we’re doing now, but Thomas Emmanuel really oversees that you know, some are public, some aren’t, but like we’re looking to inter-operate with everyone in our ecosystem as much as possible. There are certain things just from a business decision standpoint that you’re like, okay, they’re awesome, but we just have to build that ourselves as we need it. You know, it’s part of how our business works.
How do these artists and their fans feel about discord and telegram?
It depends on the age group. I mean, obviously we love it. So we’ve introduced a ton of new people to discord. It’s crazy how many new people we onboarded. When we did the XXX and passion and drop we were told that it was their biggest hour in history of people onboarding to discord. Yeah, they sent us an email that there was like the largest onboarding in history that they’ve had the largest day or something. And you know, so people like it, I think some people find it confusing, but once you figure out how to use it, they really love it because it’s not. For us, it’s been something where in the traditional world, as much as we wanted to build a community, and in the NFT world, the community is there. In the traditional world, in some cases, depending on how old the fan base is, it’s become almost like a customer service where people aren’t coming with great ideas and like, let’s meet each other. They’re coming with like, oh, this is wrong and that’s wrong. And that’s that two to 5% who have an issue or just like, don’t know how to use their wallet or whatever their problem might’ve been in this space. It’s obviously a little higher with people who like, you know, are confused and transferring on Polygon and just don’t know how to use crypto. That’s what a lot of it is around Discord with some of the older artists. With the younger artists, it’s super engaging and people want to get in there and meet each other. And discord is just obviously the greatest thing.
Interesting. We were talking earlier about the funnel of being able to onboard an end-user from social media either doing through a swipe up function or a link in bio type of call to action, and then transitioning them into discord and kind of thinking about them if they don’t already have an account, creating an account with an email, with a password and then connecting their wallet, if they don’t, they assume they have one, right? And then typing up exclamation points, joining and triggering out an action that then verifies their wallet and gives them access into the community. From the people that I have either had on or from the creators I try to work with, they say that the entire thing is broken. Like it’s hard to communicate that, right? Like to get them from Instagram, Tik-Tok, Twitch, YouTube, whatever it may be, whatever that pillar platform is, and then funnel them into a sub platform, they find that communication channel, that strategy and just all those steps being super difficult. But you’re saying you found a way to kind of work around it?
No I’m telling you, I haven’t. I’m telling you it’s been really hard. Like, you know, it depends on the fan base. What I’m telling you is that the younger fan base understands tech. They’re up in there, they get it like, oh, this, that they figure it out. A little bit of an older fan base has been a bit of a challenge, and I’ve seen in discord almost become like a customer service channel. And the one cool thing about it though, is that one fan can answer other fan’s questions. So we’ll see someone will answer something and someone else will have asked the same thing a week ago and repost the answer, and like, then they interact, but they’re not interacting saying, “oh, did you also hear about this?” the way we interact in these other channels. And like the older demo, Jerry Garcia, Kings of Leon fans, they’re just around like, not in there for that. If you go into X and Maroon five, they are.
That’s so funny. You know, in season one, episode one, my very first episode of Mint, I had Allie McPherson. She has like a half a million subscribers across Twitch and YouTube. She’s a gaming creator and she has the $ALLIE coin, which is one of the top performing coins on route. And I think at the time it was like $43. So, the takeaway is when you give the community some type of X, whether it’s a token, a membership, whatever you want to call it, and you have them buy it and then join a community of other people that bought it, you start to see something really interesting that happens. She spent a lot of time onboarding normies and kind of breaking down that customer service pipeline. But then she educated so many people in the community that then they felt more like inapt to be in the community because they got so much personal attention from her, but then they take it upon themselves to educate others in the community, which is what you’re telling me occurred with your community.
We’re building new NFT users every drop, it’s crazy. Like just because we’re working with these large established mainstream artists who have fan followings who want to come on, every NFT drop we do, we’re getting brand new NFT buyers. First time buyers, users. Every job we’ve made, we’ve had those people making instructional videos. This is how you download a wallet. This is what Meta mask is. You know, this is a yellow heart wallet, if you want to pay with a credit card. Then just walking through the steps and literally showing, here’s how you put in your Google Chrome or and like, no seriously, because believe it or not like literally downloading an app on Chrome for most people is challenging, very challenging. But at the end of the day, that’s the thing. So, you know, you have ease of use and people who are building these applications. That’s why everyone’s like, oh, non crypto native, non crypto native. And it’s a fine line to walk where I now am starting to believe that we should just go crypto native. Like, we don’t want to confuse people, but at the end of the day, like nicknames systems are great, and like everyone just keeps making them better as we continue designing cooler products together and copy each other who cares and like, let’s make great stuff, you know? But I do think that the general public is super interested and there’s money involved and art involved and it’s cool. So I think that people are going to catch up quickly, and we’re not going to have to be non crypto native for that long.
You know, the second you say that the person that comes to mind is that teaser that the CEO of discord put out on Twitter of that meta mask integration directly natively into discord, the amount of backlash they got from their major subscribers, because they have a SaaS model. They don’t have a crypto native and Web 3.0 model. So all the backlash that they got from their web 2.0 users and being how crypto is a scam, and this is weird and that’s weird and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. They were like, ah, we’re not doing it, or we’re gonna put it on hold. We have no plans to do anything with it for now. And it’s just like, okay, you realize that the web 2.0 audience is a completely different audience than web 3.0. It’s a different user base, different needs, different preferences, and you have to build accordingly and you have to structure that funnel accordingly. And with doing that is like understanding, how do you bring more people from social media or web 2.0, a lot of these normal people into web 3.0? It’s a whole different product suite. It’s a whole different class of software integrations, et cetera. So the takeaway is that there’s so much opportunity. That’s what I’m getting here, right?
I mean, I have deep-seated issues because I see it with everything I look at. Like, oh, why are picture frames not on the chain? Why do they even exist, actually? That’s a bad example, but you know what I mean? Why haven’t I gotten an NFT for my grocery delivery? Why am I still getting this long-ass CVS receipt? Why is it not airdropped to my wallet? Josh,
I think that’s a perfect place to end off. Before I let you go, where can we find you, yellow heart, all the cool stuff you’re working on?
Absolutely. I’m @JoshkatzYh on Twitter, I’m at @YellowHeartNFT on Instagram. You know, just so the community knows, we’re just looking for great partnerships and people to be involved with us and, you know, to be doing cool stuff with, with this community. We really want to be deep-seated in helping everyone out there in any way we can. So please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Amazing. Thank you so much for being on. I hope to have you again, soon when this is more advanced, more mainstream, and we’ll chat soon, man. Thank you.
Thank you, Adam.