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Mint Season 3 episode 16 welcomes the founder and Brett Shear aka BlockchainBrett. He’s an avid NFT collector and web3 music proponent who’s leading blockchain investments at Palm Tree Crew.
In this episode we discuss:
- 0:00 – Intro
- 3:51- Working at ConsenSys
- 12:56 – Music NFTs at Scale
- 19:04 – Working with Artists
- 26:23 – The Future of Record Labels
- 39:41 – The Value of Being Early
- 45:30- Market Dynamics
- 49:03 – 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!
Brett, welcome to Mint, bro. How are you doing man?
Thanks for having me, Adam. I’m feeling great.
It’s good to have you on bro. You’re one of the OGs when it comes to music NFTs. You make a lot of noise on crypto Twitter. So super stoked to have you as part of the season. Let’s just dive right into it. Who the hell are you? What should people know about you? What were you doing before crypto, and where are you now?
Yeah, I go by BlockchainBrett. My name’s Brett Shear. I originally graduated from Fordham in New York and right out of school started working at ConsenSys building Ethereum products. And that’s actually when I started collecting NFTs around 2017. I also, after ConsenSys leaving in 2018 co-founded fleek, which is a developer tool, a lot of like IPFS hosting and storage. And I was just getting even more and more active in NFTs. So as the collector of art of collectibles now music of course and an investor now. I’ve teamed up with a crew crew and set up a fund, an early stage creator economy focused fund. And yeah, that’s pretty much been it. So founder, collector, investor. That’s who I am.
You’re being super humble about your background. You’re being very low key to the point, which I love when guests do. But you’re OG from ConsenSys. Early on at ConsenSys, you don’t hear a lot of students leaving college, like graduating college and jumping straight to crypto, especially around 2017. What kind of made you do that switch? Like what was about it at the time that you’re like, shit like I got to get into crypto specifically, Ethereum work for like the Google of crypto per se? Walk me through that.
You know, I was studying accounting which I didn’t see as a super exciting after school path there. I had learned aboutEthereum pretty luckily from a random dorm mate while I was interning at an accounting firm in New York in early 2016. And was like, wow, this sounds like something that sounds incredible and something that I can really dive into yeah, get behind. And it can be really exciting. I was already building an app actually, while I was in school too to try to get into the software side of things. So I had like an app going on the app store and trying to be innovative. So as soon as I learned aboutEthereum I was like, wow, this is the coolest thing I ever heard. And they’re actually at ConsenSys. So I was like their intern at ConsenSys that summer and I was like, wow, this is pretty cool. So I knew what ConsenSys was right away actually pretty lucky. And so I pretty much put everything on hold and just started reading like the Ethereum white paper. Of course Bitcoin and stuff too. And just like diving really deep in it and immediately like putting money into it, just to feel the skin in the game. I completely abandoned the app I was building and started trying to build something on Ethereum right away. So yeah, it was pretty much like immediate, and then I went to some meetups. Actually went to meet up at ConsenSys and met Joe Lubin for the first time. And a couple of the other founders that were building at ConsenSys and I knew that it was the coolest thing you could possibly do and was like just working towards getting in there right away.
Such early conviction. I think what a lot of people fail to do when they get into crypto is actually buying an asset. They do a lot of research and they study and while that’s super good, I’m a big advocate about the best way to learn is to buy and apply. Which is very much what you did. Like you bought, you went to these meetups, you tried to find work and here you are now kind of thing.
Yeah. Definitely bought and then told everyone I knew to also buy. So I seem like I’m pretty smart now.
Working at ConsenSys
I love it. All right. So you graduated college, entered ConsenSys. You’re also trying to build your own apps. You were doing a product at ConsenSys? What kind of products were you focused on?
I was building more financial focused products when I was at ConsenSys. It was definitely pretty defi, but there were a couple of financial focused apps there. Yeah, and doing product management.
Got it. The only reason I ask is because doing defi stuff, it’s like such the un-sexy side of crypto. And now where you’re at right now, like working with Palm tree crew, doing this blockchain fund, buying music NFTs, like investing in culture, investing in creators, in everything that like, I’m trying to understand, where did that job come into place? Like, how did you get into that?
I just had a really good pulse on the space. I’m going to like every single conference meeting all of the other people in the space. And just keeping a good track of all the products out there. I didn’t have just like product curiosity, you know, just like what’s going on out there. What are all the apps like it’s such a new space, everyone’s pushing in a hundred directions of different industries. Like what kind of exists today and keeping a pulse on that. And I came across some early NFT apps, like Crypto Kitties and Super Rare. And, you know, I really dove in on super rare, like early on early days and started collecting art. And it was for fun. Like I understood NFTs already. It was actually a project in consensus that was really on the forefront actually in the music space, really in the forefront of like ERC 721, but before it was even called that, like what an NFT is, right? And like storing the file on IPFS. And so I understood the architecture and when I saw it, I thought it made a ton of sense for art and for other categories. So, you know, I was pretty lucky to have that understanding and then started buying JPEGs for a few hundred bucks. And it was like, it was crazy. It was pretty crazy. I had to convince myself to like spending money, but you know, Yeah. That was kind of the beginning. I mean, those were some pretty marquee pieces now and especially the crypto art space.
So actually behind you have a Trevor Jones piece, so I’m like realizing that.
Yeah, I got that one. That was lucky that there’s a physical, of Trevor Jones. I got some other physicals, you know, I got some cold DS. I gotta Johnson or whatever here. I got a Josie on that wall and you can just kind of see the $1 bills on the side of. It’s a one-on-one original Josie. Yeah, I got a bunch of crypto art. Some physical ones that come along the way too.
I want to pivot and talk to you like why I brought you here today and why I wanted to have you on the season to talk about the intersection of music. I’ve done a few pieces already over the last like year. I think the first one I did was with Cooper Turley and Justin Blau. We were talking about music and NFTs and it spiraled from there. Crazy, right? We’ve seen a lot of like the art side of NFTs kind of explode. Now we’re seeing a lot of independent artists and music NFTs hitting the market. One specifically that comes to mind that was also on the show was Daniel Allen, his iconic mirror campaign for crowdfunding overstimulated with the Overstim token, which you were a super advocate and vocal about, and also having Latasha on from our Zora, the community lead there. And I want to talk to you more about what the hell is happening in music NFTs from your point of view? Like the revolution is here, it’s now why are you so excited about it?
Yeah, I mean, it happened really naturally. You know, my partner in my phone Is Kygo and it’s his manager miles. And you know, Miles is also my brother, but I’ve watched the whole career play out over a decade. And before that I used to make music and you know, I just have a love for it, a DJ and stuff in high school. I didn’t ever really see it coming, but as the NFT space really blew up, one of the things that I helped out with was on Kygo’s NFT drop and it was on Nifty gateway, and it was, I mean, it’s really beautiful stuff. But I think like what I realized is that all these amazing musicians at our town for their purpose of their content, which is making music, were kind of confined into art marketplaces. And they had to find a visual artist in order to make an NFT to collaborate. It felt like, you know, where’s the music appreciation category? So that was really early this year, and that kinda just sat with me weird. And as we were setting up the fund, I mean, I had ample time to really like, look around and see like, all right. Where’s kind of everything going. And as an NFT collector I came across some music apps like catalog that was focused on music for the purpose of it being music. And it’s just like, it’s not about the art, like visual art. Yes, sure a cover photo, a single cover album cover type thing, but it was like you listened to the song file. And I knew it was pretty big because it took me a moment. I asked myself some of the same questions that I asked myself when I first started collecting crypto art in 2018. And so, you know, it took me a couple of questions. I mean, it was pretty quick to get around it, but I mean, I realized that, you know, this is a new way to value music and like the file itself is like the art and the content. And now you get to be able to own that or collect it and, yeah. So I saw this as like a whole new area and I think like generally speaking, it’s not even just music. I think there’s all types of content that makes sense. Like we want to change NFTs and new types of apps to come think about what’s existing in the music industry today with Spotify and social ways around Tik Tok and all the different consumption models and live music festivals and events. Same thing goes for video, right? For articles, for streaming, for all these different types of content. So it started kind of getting the thinking going. It’s like, all right, what is the creator economy? And a lot of it has to do with like all the different forms of content and how that’s consumed and how communities are built around these creators. So I think music historically, like it was already starting to happen from music versus some of these other categories. And I think it makes sense because music is such a leading innovating category for technology forever. And in this case, it was already getting going. And the other big aspect to thinking forward is like, alright, this is pretty crazy because as far as the file types you’ve had, music is going to be the real beginning of the kind of creator economy sector, because it’s so consumed. As I was saying, it’s like, there’s so much consumption and engagement, and there’s so many more upstream layers of distribution and creation and engagement and social integrations and all that. What’s this going to look like? Is this going to change and create all new types to that apps? And yeah, so those are two major things. Realizing music’s value in how this is gonna help build a future of the creator economy was like really exciting thoughts.
You know, I think one of the biggest misconceptions that people get when they see the element of buying music, because we already had a wave of that when Apple introduced the iTunes store and people were buying songs for 99 cents. But now it’s like a whole different era of purchasing songs using NFTs as the medium, as a tech to do so to enable that. Why, for someone who doesn’t understand, what’s the value of spending $400 on a song on an NFT. For songs specifically. Not talking about the artwork or like what we saw in the last few months, like specifically a song. Because people are used to models where they pay $12 per month and they get to stream everything that they want. Why buy music again?
I think the main thing is that we’re changing the way we value it and we’re valuing it directly to artists. The song itself when it’s treated as an NFT, the artist is putting out the song and releasing it as the song directly and putting the piece of content on chain. So that’s basically saying, Hey, here’s the song, here’s the file of the song, and this is the original source file, and the proof of ownership of that is this NFT. And you know, you couldn’t do that before. The same way with art, digital artists that before NFTs, couldn’t really sell their digital art. They couldn’t essentially transfer ownership of it, or put it on chain. And I think with music, it’s a similar concept. It’s very digital. So now being able to take that file, associate it with the token ownership that NFT and be able to, you know, create relationships with collectors and essentially sell that content, so the music on chain is a huge breakthrough. So, you know, I think it depends on your perception, how you look at it. And there’s a lot of people that think differently about what you’re sort of buying there, but you know, I look at it very similar to how you buy art and you’re essentially collecting music. I mean, it’s definitely in the current state with the one-on-ones, it’s on a pretty major like deep relationship connection, like high value connection. But I think that’ll continue to evolve and include much larger communities.
Music NFTs at Scale
I want to pull up a piece from your mirror post. From this blog post that you wrote specifically around point number one under the section, and I’ll link this in the show notes. But music NFTs are changing the way we value music. So zooming in for a minute, I just want to read this really quick. The music slash song file is the NFT is now capturing the value of the song. The NFTs where all the value of the song accrues. With web three, all music is free to listen to. Forget about the Spotify model of the song being worth what the royalties say they are, this is the artist creating music on their own terms and listeners valuing the song file. Which conceptually, is a very new way of thinking about things, right? You’re looking at it, I feel, from the point of view of a fine collector, right? You appreciate the artist. You appreciate the work, you love the music. You love being able to go to a concert and being able to say, I own this, or I co-own this, or I own a fraction, right? There’s something that’s really beautiful behind it. And I’ve experienced that. Like, when I participated in theDaniel Allen crowdfund on mirror, okay. I then went to a launch house party that he was performing at. And I was like, shit, like I bought your NFT, like, how cool is that? Like, what an artist-collector relationship artist-fan relationship. My question to you is at what point, will we start seeing like the mass audiences start realizing the value of this? Is it meant for the mass audiences, even? You know what I mean? Like, because it’s such a new way to understand things and to look at things specifically for a song that we’re used to being free.
Yeah, I think it really is. I mean, I already see it with musicians. They are pretty quick to understand this. They’re like, oh amazing. Like I can create my content on my own terms and like put it out on my own terms and own it, and decide how to distribute it. It also gives them such creative freedom around what music they can put out and like when they put it out and how they put it out. Yeah, I think musicians understand it. And then I think, yeah, for sure people buying music NFTs, that one has taken a bit more sort of explanation and education around it. And maybe that part’s a bit slower, but I think that once you feel it it’s such a game changer. Like I remember buying my first music NFT and then like listening to it in the car and being like, I can’t believe I own this song. It was the coolest thing ever. Those are my favorite songs now. And I continue to cultivate my own listening via which music NFTs I buy and appreciate those the most. It’s obviously a pretty large scale cause I’m, you know, all the one-on-ones I bought and it’s been, it’s definitely cost some money, but I think It’ll be more mainstream as it gets to a bigger scale. And I think the step there is creating community around the music. So, you know, I’ve even talked about it in that article as well. The future of music and NFTs is musician DAOs and you’ve had Daniel Allen on. So I’m sure you talked about them in his episode, his DAO that Daniel Allen Overstim DAO, where it’s a really, you know, innovative leap in this space. And I think a lot of artists will continue to take that leap and it will become a major backbone of the future of music and music NFTs. This is essentially a musicians, the concert business, taking your music NFTs that you create, essentially putting it into the treasury. In reality it could be even more types of content. It could be music videos and kind of other things as well, things attached to that. Like when you have the ownership of the song, like the NFT in the DAO, the sales from that NFT, right? Like you have sales now. The potential engagement layers of these NFTs might accrue directly into the treasury. So it’s kinda like your content for the core reason why you’re a creator, which is your music content, and the kind of things around the music. And even kind of the value that accrues around those NFTs all coming to sort of one place. And as a DAO, of course, you have the ability to either create NFTs or social tokens around that which essentially represent ownership and governance over that treasury, which is that content. So you create this like this relationship, this connection on a larger scale where you know, someone can like, feel like an owner and feel like a part of all your content and all of your sort of future by being a token holder. And I think that as more tools and apps come out, things like that will be more visual. It’ll be more realizable. And people that come in now are already feeling the power of that. Like you’re saying, you have some Overstim tokens, right? With Daniel Allen you watched him play, you felt something. Like why’d you feel something? Because you have a percentage of his content. You know, you have a percentage of Daniel Allen’s music, essentially above all his NFTs. And I know a lot of people, when they say, 80% of it’s like, oh, we get to get the royalties and other types of rights, but it is a new world, right? Things are being built very differently. Sure you can try to draw analogies, but you know, get to think about where this is going and how the value is being created going forward, and a lot of new apps and interfaces are being built directly on top of the music NFTs. Those will be the future of how we listen to music, how we consume music, how that music continues to accrue value. I think people will see it and feel it once they see the opportunities. They take very small steps, like buying a token. As I mentioned in the article as well, it’s actually even better for their mass audience because when you put out music in this way, music can be completely free. So like music players can be built from music NFTs, and all these NFTs can be surfaced and played for free. Like, you don’t need a Spotify model there anymore. Where you’re charging users. So now pretty much anyone can listen to your music NFTs completely free. And it becomes like this kind of funnel where like, do you want to join the community? Do you want to enter a deeper level and feel a closer connection, and, you know, actually have sort of this ownership in the project? Okay, great. Like, you can buy these tokens and enter, or you can earn them. You don’t necessarily have to buy them, you can earn them, right? There’s gonna be a lot of earning opportunities. So you can just be like someone that loves it so much and wants to do things for that artist anyways and earn your way in.
Working with Artists
For example, let’s just talk about earning for a minute. Like blondish is launching their own token ish representative of her brand of music or EDM culture, their lifestyle, et cetera. And I went through the process of claiming some of these tokens today. It’s December 1st And I took quizzes on her. I liked some things, you know, I shared something, I did this, I did that. And I got like a few hundred tokens, whatever that may be. There’s a couple points. Because one thing that comes to mind is like, when you sell your music as an NFT versus releasing it on Spotify, only, do artists, when they approach this model and they come and ask you for advice, is there that misconception where if they publish it on the blockchain, then they can’t publish it on Spotify? Is there that misconception?
Yeah, that definitely happens. The first thing is like the royalty that the artists understand. Like, oh, is it connected to my song’s royalties? Like no, you’re not. And then he’s like can I publish it? And then they’ll say like, can I publish it on Spotify? Like, yeah, put it anywhere, you know? It’s pretty much like the save as me, you know? Download, save as meme, where it’s like oh, like I can just right click your crypto art piece, and now I own it. It’s like, no, you don’t. Only the actual token holder is, whether it’s, you know, the one-on-one NFT or if it’s like via the NFT living in a treasury and token holders on a more larger scale being a part of that. That’s where the value is. That’s where the knowledge is. So yeah, it’s like putting it anywhere. But I do think that it’ll make more and more sense that new types of apps that are going to be very native to music and NFTs will make the most sense for like the principal to focus on. Artists that are putting out their songs as NFTs to focus on, and that there’ll be more ways to accrue value around engagement consumption and that direct relationship type experiences to the token holder or to, you know, listeners within those apps that like to embrace this to the next level. And then that will probably become more of a focal point.
You know, one thing that you told me behind the scenes prior to this interview, I think it was like a few weeks back is, when you were basically explaining to me your thesis behind music NFTs and why you were so hyped about them beyond the direct fan to investor relationship, there was also like the business model for you that actually made a lot of sense where I’ve brought up money. I bring part of this like a creator’s or artist’s career to life. At some point, there will be some type of decentralized Spotify that’s going to come into the place, right? Where I’ll be able to base the license, or upload that music and get direct type of a royalty distribution straight to my wallet and all of these splits and all these interactions, instead of it like being, I guess, like brought up by a traditional music label that acts as a bank, you’re like one of those many investors that helps bring that crew to life with the intention of getting royalties with the intention, or maybe not that the direct intention, but you know, you know what I mean?
It’s really interesting topic cause it’s like, you know, I think we’re in like an interesting spot I would say, where it’s like, maybe this has already started, but like the distribution layers and new types of apps for engagements that are having to build out, they have not. So music NFTs right now are looked at as like kind of collectibles, and like similar like how you might look at crypto art. So the perception isn’t necessarily that there’s like kind of future value or engagement models, et cetera that are going, gonna accrue to it. I’m thinking forward there, like it’s not currently existent right? So even from the artist sense, like they also might not be thinking about that. But it’s funny to see because music NFTs usually have a higher retained ownership percentage of the artists, what we call the loyalty. It’s like on average, 20% from one-on-ones right? Versus in crypto art it’s 10% just standard. So we’re already seeing like a higher retained sort of ownership percentage or loyalty if you call it In music NFTs. It’s almost like we’re subconsciously realizing, like the musician should pertain more ownership over their music NFTs. And I’ve seen it up to 50% and I’m fine with that because I do see that future where the content itself and the song itself as the NFT that like, this is this sort of traceable ownership back to the file and that as that music NFTs surface for more layers through distribution, through different types of curation, whether like you can imagine distribution is similar to Spotify, you can imagine creation similar to like Spotify playlist, right or like other types of industry music, blogs, et cetera. And You know, higher levels of like social, where it’s like somebody like Tik Tok where like the songs are integrated directly into the social media app, like the core component behind how to make videos. So the future of the music NFT is going to be how new apps are going to be built by integrating those and creating experiences around that content for listeners to engage and start to monetize listeners directly to the music directly to the artists. I think those music NFTs, will accrue a value like potentially on chain revenue, right? Call it the equivalent of yield farming in DeFi like sort of engagement type farming, or like, you know, something of that nature. And these music NFTs can accrue a lot of value, and I think it makes sense for it to accrue value. And I think what that will do is, as those things are built out, the artists will move to retain significantly more ownership of those music NFTs. I think in the future it will be very difficult to buy one of one music NFTs, like down the line. In this current state, because of where the space is at, they might be more like historical collectibles or pieces of art. Versus where it’s gonna be in the future as music.NFTs are more integrated to the listening experience that accrue value on chain revenue essentially like directly. So I think as that plays out, it’d be really interesting. I mean, you know, It’s kind of like paying less and getting more ownership of the music NFT now because those things aren’t there. And like, it makes sense because like the music NFT might not get that same level of engagement if all this stuff is there and songs are being released in the future like it’s going to have those opportunities to accrue value versus like the music NFTs now don’t really have that. So it makes sense for them to be more viewed as sort of like collectible. So it makes sense to get more present ownership and retain it. It works in both ways and we’re kind of in this like middle ground spot, I believe, and I’m happy to be there because if that’s the case and, it’s just the future, which I believe it is, where like all of new apps and consumption, et cetera, is direct to music NFTs, and it’s built around the musicians community and accruing value directly on chain, maybe some of the earlier songs aren’t going to be as integrated or performing super well there. Maybe they will, you know, but maybe they’re not because they were before those things were built, sort of, they still can get integrated. This’ll be a part of those apps that are a bit like, you know, it’s kind of predated before they exist. So those are historical, like it’s a Renaissance. Like those musicians saw it before everyone. They didn’t understand exactly where it was going, but like they participated, they put themselves into it, they poured their time into it, you know? That’s the beginning of Renaissance and those deserve to be very, very valuable, you know, NFTs and pieces of content.
The Future of Record Labels
Makes a lot of sense, super exciting times. And kind of like where we’re heading. I’m personally excited to see like a new wave of creators and independent musicians entering the space, messing around and tinkering with all these white three primitives, trying to create more ownership and redistribute value to their listeners and their lovers prior or before, like actually signing a record deal that could lock them in and strangle them as a person. One thing, and by the way, this is not to say that all record deals do that, right? It’s just like a common narrative that you hear from artists who actually approached the record label path and then break free into independence, you know, like, wow, I can breathe. Just from what I’ve heard. No shame. But one thing I want to bring up really quick, when I had Latasha on from Zora also like a dope, dope, dope black female rapper. I have a lot of respect for her, and one thing that we talked about on our episode is, I had this like hot take and I’d love to hear your point of view where it’s like, all these music labels, they’re going to transition into creative hedge funds where more and more artists, assuming this is a narrative, more and more artists tokenize themselves through social tokens, through their albums, through their individual songs. And in order to kind of stick with it, these labels will actually have to start buying these assets right? And have a treasury of all these assets. And there’ll be supporting the artists, not through personal ownership, more through ownership of their work per se. And at some point down the line, like they’ll have so many assets, their biggest value add might even be like community management. So one of the biggest things that artists need is like community discord managers to kind of manage the community. Onboard people to create ongoing content, keep people engaged. So between basically providing that money, buying assets on chain to having a team of community managers, like this is what I kind of see happening down the line. Would you agree? Would you disagree? Do you have a different take?
I mean, it’s crazy. Like entering the music NFTs sort of space right now as a musician and as an independent artist, which by the way, on the topic of like, you know, this being such a powerful move, for independent artists absolutely. I feel like this is like an app. It’s like a tool. The tool that independent artists have been waiting for to be able to own their own content and kind of have the technology to choose what to create, when to create it, how to put it out. I think, you know, it’ll be a wakening moment when the person that has a bit more streams than Daniel Allen but Daniel Allen has monetized better, and has created a community and has a more engaged or like stronger sort of community foundation. I think it will slowly eat upward to, you know, to eventually where it will be seen as a really, really promising alternative path for instance. So yeah, I think a lot of people are paying attention. And then to your point, it’s like, all right, like the main thing is like, right now, the very valuable skills and sort of music NFTs use a lot of like the NFT skills. It’s like understanding crypto, like how do you build community? You know, what is a DAO? Like, how do I move forward? How do I continue to innovate in the crypto space and the music NFT space? What are the upcoming apps? What are the relationships I need? What do I need, what I need for my music NFTs to be listed, where should they be seen? You know, community tools, voting, it’s almost like being a web three kind of crypto expert. Some of the more valuable skills for musicians are now coming to music NFT space. So yeah, I mean, we’ve seen it where some of the existing management don’t really understand it or can’t add that much value to it, and it takes a serious focus. Like it’s kind of a big decision to say like, oh, I’m gonna start putting out my music as NFTs and it takes a bit of a leap. It takes some research and learning and getting involved with the community. So you’re absolutely right. One of the most major skills is community management, like right away. Hundred percent. Like you see Daniel Allen and his Discord community. You know, and that’s, that’s definitely a really obvious way for musicians to start building communities. Do stuff like that. It’s tough to say. I mean like definitely a really cool paradigm shift where like there’s opportunity for like a more decentralized ownership of the content. And it’s kind of more transparent and open to everyone like listeners, the fans, the artists, anyone that wants to market it, promote it, or be a part of that. So, I think the future of labels interacting with music NFTs, joins through in the way that the music NFTs are sort of structured and that the community is structured. Like they’re gonna have to like, kind of fit into that. You know, we’ve seen it for some years now. I mean, it feels like a lot longer than that, but like pretty much everyone was like, oh, cause it was going to adapt and eventually it’s gonna become this. And like, we’re going to use it in this industry. And it’s like, it’s ground up. And a lot of times people need to figure out how to get in and go with where it’s going, because it’s changing things. So yeah, I agree. There’s going to be some moments where the future of curators are going to be like maybe genre focused groups or major fans that come together across certain types of artists that are, you know, buying into these artists communities and building teams around, like Web 3.0 teams about crypto strategy. Beyond that, of course, I can’t forget about distribution stuff. I mean, what is distribution going to look like for music NFTs? Like there’s still a lot of stuff to learn like to kind of unfold. It’ll happen probably pretty natively to crypto, and then just become more and more friendly and understandable over time.
You know, the thing that I just say is like, just get involved, dive in. What’s the worst that can happen? Just fucking, just get in, you know? Just like messing around, throwing shit at the fan. If you need money, there’s people who have grants, you know, where they’ll send you your first ETH for minting fees, you know? There’s communities that you can join, questions that you can ask. Like you just have to be super active. One thing I loved about Daniel Allen is like, so I first met him online, I then met him in person at that launch house event. And then we met up for like Açaí , whatever we hung out. Then he came over and we did our things like helped him with his community, blah, blah, blah. I loved his proactiveness and his willingness to just try and just to get out there. And he’s like, I’m not worried about what’s the worst thing that can happen. Like I’m an optimist. Like I see a world where this could turn into something really, really great. I’m just going to get right in. I don’t care. I don’t care if it costs me money. I don’t care if they cost me time. I don’t care if I look like the stupidest person in the room, I don’t care. I think that should go without saying to all these new artists, all these new creators, all these musicians, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera that want to enter web 3.0. And I guess like when people come to you, Brett and they see you collecting, and they see you spending money supporting artists. As an investor, what do you look for? Like what do you look for in the NFTs that you buy? And the artists you support? Tell me a little bit about that.
Well, first on the point of just jumping in, I agree completely. I mean, I think, you know, it’s almost advantageous for the next wave of artists. Like you’re coming up and you’re just starting, you know, you’re not really making big money yet. You don’t really necessarily have the record label yet. Maybe not on tour yet. There’s all these things that like, you’re in a spot where like the community just starting, where you have like a very opportune thing where you can just like take advantage of like going crypto native to start and like having music NFTs as your source of putting out music and kind of embrace it from an earlier stage. So it’s like, you know, for some kind of younger, earlier stage independent musicians, you’re almost in an advantageous spot compared to the rest of them. You can just dive right in. You can embrace it and totally build the future of this space from the beginning. You’ll see a ton of comparables to the crypto art days where like, those artists are the most successful crypto artists today. Like by far like X Copy, look them up. Look at Hackettstown coldy. Those were like some of the first three artists ever on Super Rare and didn’t have an Instagram following by any means. Or maybe he’s like, obviously he had a background in art and making art for a long time, but like that’s where they embraced the medium early as sort of like these upcoming earlier, less known artists. And now the next copy sells for a minimum $2 million second day. So it’s like, it’s insane. It’s been 2 and a half years. It’s the craziest thing. It’s unbelievable. I don’t think anyone saw it coming this fast. Yeah, it’s unbelievable. So, you know, I think I like to look at it as an advantage and opportunity for early stage artists, I would say there’s also options for like some of the later stage artists that have labels, et cetera. You know, it becomes a little more difficult because what happens is record labels control distribution of the songs. So like they say, they have agreements with Spotify or whatever streaming platform that you can put the song there. They don’t have that with music NFT platforms yet, obviously. So what ends up happening is like your options become like basically your catalog is not under the label. It’s not ideal versus like so much that’s upcoming, because you can put all of your next songs and everything you create, like you have the opportunity to put that on chain. And that’s very promising for like the community collectors embracing this area, the space. But it’s like, all right, like you can start dipping your toes in and working and figuring out and seeing if this is a real opportunity. So you can do catalogs that aren’t under the label. Also, another crazy thing is like creating project names. Like creating a new project. You know, I think we’ve all seen what universal music group just did with Jim. Jim McNeil’s from NFT42, where he created this bored ape group, and it’s like gonna make music, right? Like, think about that. Using NFTs, avatars, et cetera, as like branding for like music groups, for those music groups, et cetera. Like those are pretty cool crypto native ways to embrace this thing and release music. And so that’s like a pretty cool option that you can kind of get moving, even if you’re already kind of big and on a label and feel it out. So, you know, there’s always ways to triage the opportunity, and I think artists are figuring it out on that front. As far as what I look for when I’m collecting music NFTs. I think there’s a few things. Of course number one is a subjective love for the game. So, you know, when you’re buying this art or music, the best thing you can do is love it because you know, then you don’t expect anything from it and you’re just happy with owning it. And which is, which is definitely the best way to purchase, because it’s just the happiest sort of relationship. You’re like, all right, like I paid for this and I’m just happy to own this, and it’s great. I don’t expect anything in return if it goes up a ton and people really, really want it, and wow, it’s just like pretty life-changing money or something, then you’re like, okay, this could be worth selling and letting go into someone else’s hands. But you know, that’s the best perception to take into collecting any NFTs generally and of course, music NFTs in this space. Then the next major thing I look for is the dedication of the artist to this space as a viable career opportunity. So like really embracing it and building in it for the future. Seeing like, I could use this feature, I want to figure out which way it goes. I’m going to continue to put all my stuff, ideally everything I do, here, not just music. It could be like music videos. When I sell them in a couple of creative ways, I want to create a DAO, you know, like thinking towards the future and having this like how do we embrace the future? I like to try to get a little bit, like to see if I can see signs or get into the head or talk to the artists and get a feel for like, you know, maybe they were just posting on Twitter talking about this stuff. Like that could be enough. Like, I don’t necessarily need to like, you know, have a one-on-one conversation, but that’s where it’s like, those things can feel really real. If they feel really real, and it’s like, the artist is really genuine about it, I think that is actually a standard. That’s something that’s like, alright, that, plus of course they have to continue to put things out. Like the success of the artist, like keeping a consistent brand in the space. Like you don’t see at X copy, just didn’t stop putting out work. In the crypto space he’s been consistently releasing over the years. Even though he started small, it became big, he was one of the earliest in over time and eventually it’s catching on and now he’s still putting out work and like the brand has kept going in this space. I think that that is just vital. Yeah, and the other thing on top of that, those are just foundational things, and then, you know, of course the taste comes into it. But there’s also a bit of a respect factor for at the time you’ve entered and how big of a size you are. I would say, for instance, like vérité songs, who has a couple of hundred million streams or so on Spotify, already is releasing music NFTs, like there’s some respect there. It’s similar to like, kind of you know, when, I don’t know if everyone knows the pockets, but he’s a big crypto artist. Like he had a million followers on Twitter. He came into the art space in like 2019, pretty early, like that matters. It’s like using your reputation, your stance and your current following, like taking a risk with it and embracing something that’s very new. Like there is like a respect factor there that should just be taken into account and taking into sort of the value of the work. And yeah, so that’s something I definitely pay attention to as well. I would say those are pretty much all the main factors.
The Value of Being Early
You know, back to the point of just like diving in and throwing shit at the fan. I have a friend. She’s a very talented artist, singer, songwriter; super creative. Her name is Queen George. Back in April, she basically launched like an NFT concert online during COVID. Cause she was like, fuck, like I miss performing. I genuinely miss performing and I can’t perform. I’m going to do like this live concert where the only way to access the show is by purchasing the NFT as your ticket. And then when you purchase the ticket, you’ll get a piece of my art symbolizing, like the launch of my EP or the launch of my single, and then with that, you get to access a live stream of a performance that she produced, which was like super, super cool, but nobody really bought. Nobody bought the NFTs. But to me, it’s just like, doesn’t matter. Just like keep going at it. She ended up using Eventbrite because her audience didn’t understand NFTs. They didn’t understand the entire process. She sold tickets through Eventbrite, whatever. But the fact that she put herself out there, you know, she’s trying stuff. This was back in April. So a long time ago, and now she’s like in these communities, she’s trying to figure it out. She’s jumping in from discord, she’s like experimenting you know? And I think with that mentality, at some point she’s going to get her sale. She’s going to find her collector base. She’s gonna find her audience. She’s gonna find her voice and who resonates with it most. This will of trying is I think what kinda breaks through the gloss kind of thing.
Yeah. It pays off to be genuinely early. Like if you actually care about it and you think this is cool, and you want to embrace this space, just start. I agree. Like, just get into it. If you’re worried it’s not going to sell and you really want it to sell, probably price it lower. I mean, look at the Bored Ape Yacht Club. Free to mint crypto punks, right? Like obviously, as an artist, you value your own work and you want it to hold value, and that means a lot. So like, don’t put it any lower than you don’t think that it’s worth, but also just take into consideration, you’re building community here. The kind of the transition or the connection between like web 2.0 fans and web 3.0 fans at this moment, are not one-to-one. It’s not even close to one-on-one. So, you kind of have to like, sort of build in this space a bit and like kind of build community. You can kind of start somewhere. Maybe you like give it like an easier opportunity for it to kind of get sold or just start selling and to you know, so it’s always tough because I never liked to impede on the creative process or like how the creator or the artist values their work, but I do like see success and love to see when like artists has come out and like, don’t try to like, put a crazy price tag on their stuff to start and just say like, you know, and create small steps of success that are building and creating relationships. Cause like it’s a huge ripple effect. You get one true collector, and then someone else sees that you have a collector. Now they want to also be one. Oh, there’s already someone there. That’s already the basis. Who’s the collector? They might look into that, right? Like now that’s the thing. Like if it’s someone trustworthy, someone that’s collected other art like other pieces, maybe they’re already an NFT collector that just came in. So there’s this kind of ripple effect of having small steps of success that are worth embracing and getting started. I can see how it’s tough to transition from maybe you’re already like a bigger artist and like you value music really highly, but like, you’re building in kind of a new world, you know? You kinda have to, not leave everything behind, but kinda like, you’re almost starting a little fresh. I think we’re building ground up right now. Like people buying one-of-one. Like I was saying, one-of-one music NFTs might not even be a thing for that long. It’ll always be a thing. People will always put out music as an NFT, but I’m saying as far as someone going and purchasing 8% of the one-of-one music NFT might not always be a thing. Because it’s going to build up, it’s going to go from like these early on one-of-one collector type thing, to editions, to it’s going to move to DAO social token holders on an even larger scale. And then, this funnel that we’re seeing of building upward is actually going to create the pipeline of new people that are going to come the other way. I’m coming in from one-of-one and then maybe I’ll and then I get editions and then I’ll end up holding social tokens. The next wave of people are gonna come in and listen to the song, get a social token, maybe get an edition, and then even if they’re crazy enough, then they’ll pay to get a one-on-one. So like, you know, we’re building out a lot of the foundations for like the funnels of the next wave of I guess fans for music NFTs and engagement.
You know, one thing that I like to advise people is the best way to kind of go try something new is by attaching it to something you already do. For example, you already perform. People show up at your performance. The best way to grow a database of addresses is by issuing a POAP, a proof of attendance. So the second they basically have this free NFT of yours, then you can redirect them, like at the live performance, you hand out those like little QR codes, you know, everybody scans them, they collect the POAP, and then on the stage, you funnel them in and you’re like, everybody who collected, all these POAPs, join my discord. Like this is the URL. You have like a QR code that they can scan on stage to kind of get into the store. Like there’s different ways you can do it without necessarily like literally putting yourself out there and issuing a mint of your one-of-one song or issuing a token of yourself. There’s different ways you can kind of position it to initially grow like an on chain community. I think co-ops are a really good way to do that. That’s something that I do with the newsletter too. Like I was able to grow, hack, quote-unquote, a few thousand subscribers to Mint just by the newsletter using POAPs as listener badges for the podcast. I don’t have a token. I don’t like NFTs, but I have this way to kind of prove listenership, but super fun. You on the other hand, or these creators artists listening to musicians, can basically bootstrap the initial community by issuing these types of free entities that are super fun.
Yeah, it’s definitely cool. Like anything is cool, like low costs, you know, higher volume entrance and appeases is awesome. Like co-ops are awesome. I would say that the core value of like your NFTs that are gonna kind of be back in your community is going to be based on the content that is true to you as a creator, right? Like if you’re a musician, like your most valuable NFT should be your music NFTs. And it’s gonna be the same thing for a bunch of stuff. You have a newsletter, you write articles, like there’ll be a day where one-of-one articles are worth something. Articles will move on chain. You as a writer will be able to own your content as NFTs to your articles. Video creators, what we call YouTubers and Tik Tokers, and, you know, all of their video content like that is the feature of that. And basically, as you build community, most foundational thing you can do is build your community around your core content as NFTs. So that’s the best foundation possible because like that’s where the value of you really is. And the strongest foundation for your community is of course the purpose of why you’re a creator. So, that’s why it’s so beautiful and because it’s a lane for musicians that’s opening up to, you know, the city. It’s gonna be the same for all different types of content, for sure. I mean, like if you were to buy a social token of a DAO, that’s like a lot. This is another thing, right? A lot of artists, when they’re entering in, they say, oh, I’m worried about the price. I don’t want to like disappoint my fan base by the price dropping. Well, think about it like this. If all of your content is like the NFTs backing your community, everything you create, like how can you disappoint them? When they buy a token, they’re getting a part of you and of your content. The reason why I follow you, like, at least they have that, right? Like you’re doing them like a service, or like, at least doing kind of right by them. You’re doing right by them, by them saying, Hey, like when I’m buying this token, it’s like the same reason why when I buy a music NFT that I like I don’t need to sell them. I expect them to sell it. Like, I’m not doing it for any returns, I’m doing it because I’m happy with it cause I’m at least at a minimum enjoying the song, appreciate the content, appreciate the price I paid for it. And I think it’s still worth that to me. And like sure, in the future, like I was saying, like if it goes up a bunch and there’s an opportunity to sell it, like great. If I want the money, money like that’s an option. But, like when the community is backed by the content, then when people are buying it and buying a social token, at least they’re getting a representative ownership percentage of all of your NFTs, which is like your content, right? They should be happy. Like someone who’s like, listening to your music for free now because music NFTs , I’m listening to that music. I love it. I want to be a part of it. When I buy that token, I’m getting a percentage of your NFTs under contract for your core purpose of why I listened to you and why I like you. I should be happy already. I don’t need to sell it. I don’t even make a profit off it. Like, you should be happy. That’s the difference. A lot of people look at it and they’re like, oh, imagine you can start buying a favorite artist or you buy artists, and you can sell that piece, right? Like, it’s the wrong way around. Like imagine you get to love the artists, you get to connect with artists and you get to like, have a part of that feel part of that, own a piece of that. Sure, and then like, if that works out, it can pay off big time, like a hundred percent could. But yeah, it comes the other way around.
Dude, I think that’s a perfect place to end off. This was a great conversation, bro. Thank you so much for being on. If artists, collectors in general, want to find you, want to find your work, everything that you’re working on at Palm tree Crew, investing and personally collecting work where can they find you? Shill yourself..
Hit me up on Twitter, BlockchainBrett. My handle is actually @web3brett. If you search BlockchainBrett, you’ll find me. My DMs are open. I try to respond to everything or read everything at least. And so yeah, hit me there. We’re actively seeking and looking out at this space, and you know, we are doing things from our phone. We’re investing in this space as well and being very strategic and I get very hands-on and help out with these different projects and get really involved. So yeah, definitely let me know.
I can definitely echo that last point, dude. Thank you so much. We’ll have you on again soon.
Thanks so much, Adam.