NFT Afterlife: The Future of Music Fandom With Deathbats Club

M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold shares the story behind Deathbats Club and how NFTs will revolutionize the music industry as we know it.

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Listen on: Spotify | Apple Music | Google Podcast

Background

Mint Season 4 episode 3 welcomes M. Shadows, founder and lead singer of the iconic rock band Avenged Sevenfold. I grew up playing their music on the drums and have admired them ever since I can remember. 

I wanted to have him on because he started the Deathbats Club, a 10,000 PFP project whose perks and utilities are inner-twined within each NFT. We recorded the episode pre-launch so keep that in mind while listening, but regardless he drops so many golden nuggets on the music industry, being early to Ethereum, community building and so much. 

  • 0:00 – Intro
  • 11:50 – The Deathbats Club
  • 17:58 – NFT Adoption
  • 21:50 – Thinking About Community Management
  • 27:10- Thinking Post-Mortem
  • 29:02 – On-Chain Royalties
  • 38:52- Creating Utility
  • 47:03 – Deathbat DAO
  • 36:33 – Outro

…and so much more.


Support Season 4’s NFT sponsors!

1. Coinvise – https://coinvise.co

2. Polygon Studios – https://polygonstudios.com

Interested in becoming an NFT sponsor? Get in touch here!


Intro

Welcome to Mint, my friend. How are you doing?

I’m doing great. How are you doing?

I’m feeling good, man. Thank you so much for being on really, really exciting times. Big day is coming up pretty soon. How are you feeling? What’s going on through your head?

You know I’m stressed. I am nervous. I’m excited. Getting through a mint is really, if you get out on the other side, I think that’s when the fun can begin. But it’s the minting process with all the attacks and things that can happen. Things that can go wrong and contracts and this and that. You really want to make sure they get in everybody’s hands, so I’m just a little, I’m like a father figure, just worried about everybody. Like, I hope everyone gets what they want for Christmas. So I’m excited, but definitely just like keeping our eye on the ball.

Yeah. Nah, I hear you. Look I was telling you this in the green room, but what you guys are doing, a lot of people don’t realize it, but it’s like at the forefront of what the future of music and artists fan relationship will look and feel like. So to have this type of like level of nervousness to have all these feelings doing a drop, it’s a big deal and you have to play that father figure. Like you have to coach people before we even get into all that stuff. How did you get into crypto? Like what’s your journey into the space? Rumour has it, you’ve been buying you through them since like $15? Can you walk me through that?

Yeah. I think in 2015 I started hearing about internet money, you know, I heard about Bitcoin. I don’t remember how long it was after that I decided, but I remember the moment that I did, I was on a golf course with my buddy Scotty. I started, you know, like shilling him on this stuff, but I didn’t even own any at the time, and I was like, we just got to buy Bitcoin. We got to buy as much as we can. And I, and I kind of understood, I had read the white paper. I understood in a way, but to be honest, I just, I understood the idea of internet money and I believed everything was kind of going more and more online. Shortly after I had signed up for Coinbase, which was completely a nightmare at the time. The early days of signing for Coinbase was actually insane and dealing with your bank and like, why are they pulling money out for this thing came on my radar. I started learning about smart contracts and smart contracts really intrigued me. And I think there were a couple of really simple analogies, like say a guy’s on your roof doing the roofing, and then you owe him this much money. Well, in the digital world, those will both be put in a contract, it will be authenticated by this contract, and then both things will switch places without human interaction, right? No disagreements. And I was like, oh, that makes sense, that’ll be cool for digital. So I bought a bunch of Ethereum and I think at the time it was $13 and Bitcoin at the time was $280 and we just bought a lot of it, and as much as we could before the bank, you know, gave us problems. And then we just held it and he never even thought of selling it. I kind of evangelized it to everybody as it got bigger and I learned more about it. People much smarter than me were able to make videos, and I was really able to understand what it was and how revolutionary it was. And then I lived through it all until, I guess, January of this year, and I started really paying attention to crypto punks. And I think you know, I mean, I guess we can go through all the ups and downs of Bitcoin. That is what it is. I never sold. I held onto it. People said I was an idiot. I had made so much money and then that crash happened and I never sold any, and everyone’s like, why aren’t you selling? My mom would call me. You shouldn’t sell. And I’m like, I’m never selling it. I just didn’t put enough in to worry about it. I just, you know, like it was just exponentially growing and I believe in it and I was like, nothing has changed, mom. You know? It’s all good. One ETH is one ETH mom. So anyways, and now they actually, I got my dad to buy a bunch too. So anyways…

Is he just buying Ethereum or is he buying a bunch of like other shit coins?

No, he’s got Bitcoin Ethereum. At one point we had it was Litecoin, XRP, you know, during that era that everyone had the same stuff, it was VeChain, Ethereum, Bitcoin, it was all the same stuff. And it was so it’s all good. And I’ve kind of moved off that path now. I have a new path that I believe in. But at the time we all had the same stuff. We were buying everything. And so in January I think I’d heard about crypto punks enough times to where, and then it just hit me. I was like, man, like the first thing, and obviously all the stuff’s debatable, right? But the first thing that became popular, I guess CryptoKitties became popular even though they were after crypto punks, but crypto punks are the first thing on not even, not chain at the time. So I’ve got all these caveats. Crypto punks were the first thing on the Ethereum blockchain that made sense of this collectible, I guess we could say. And crypto punks, I, one day went to my who’s now our coder for this new project. He, I said, I think we got to buy some of these things, man. They’re like early collectibles of web three of this future. And so I bought one, it was super scary. I think I bought, I know what I bought. I bought a four Addie pipe smoking, half shaved girl with blue eyeshadow for 29 ETH. At the time it was like, oh my God, I have this thing. But you know, after leaving his house, I noticed I was always pulling up my Metamask and I was staring at it. It made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. I felt really good. And so I was like, man, if I feel this way about this, I think other people are going to feel this way about these really cool things. I lived through a little bit of a dip on that I think earlier and then the drop to like 13 ETH was the floor and they started buying more and more and more. So I started loading up on crypto punks. Anyways, I have a crazy story, but it’s-

What communities were you hanging around to get all this alpha? Because your life is about music, right? You have this insane band, this mainstream band, like hundreds of millions of viewers online, like it’s 24, 7 music. But then you have this small side to you. You’re just the degenerate. Like you’re literally like a degen.

Yeah. Well, I’m also a gaming DJ, right? So I grew up playing games when everyone said that internet users and nerds played games, right? And I always tell this story, but to me, my generation created the multi-million dollar Twitch player. They created the Fortnite champion. They’ve created that you could actually make a lot of money in this space because our culture demanded it. And it’s one thing that I’ve always, you know, as a culture rises, it’s like, that’s, what’s cool. The same way that my grandparents didn’t understand the Beatles and my dad understood the Beatles is the same way that I understand that the culture coming up is going to basically dictate, you know, the world that we live in, whether we like it or not. So I put gaming in the same category as crypto when I started learning about it. And, you know, I love to read about space and philosophy and consciousness and all these weird things. But I think if I didn’t, then the music would become really repetitive and boring. If I was only existing in this ecosystem of rock and riffs, you know, I think you would have songs about going out to the bar and that’s fine, but it’s not our M.O. We try to expand ourselves, which you know, is kind of reflected in our art. And so I think crypto easily plays into that because it’s where I see the human evolution going. Especially as we take this step into the digital frontier. I see that as a common theme amongst many crypto super-users, they have a gaming background. Like I played a shit ton of games growing up. My biggest game was Runescape.

And you see a lot of people that have crazy bags in crypto have these Runescape backdrops. Like I know you were there. I know you were there. I know you had that experience. Why do you think gaming has kind of gravitated towards crypto? Like why do you think that’s inherently very similar in terms of audiences?

It’s gotta be the people we hang out with there. And they’re very tech savvy. I mean, to play like a pub G or to play any of these games, you have to have some sort of knowledge of not only like steam or whatever in the marketplace, isn’t just, you have to be able to work your way around the internet. You’re going to know what Reddit is. You’re going to know what discord is. You’re going to know where these little nooks and crannies are of where you’re going to get information, right? And these things, they come from fringe groups. That’s what they are. These games start off as fringe games, you know, and they grow into these behemoths. But a lot of us are finding these games before there’s millions of players. And you’re finding these communities before there’s tens of thousands of people. And you’re finding these bands, you know, before, out of the garage. They’re not playing stadiums the next day. They’re taking years and years to develop. So it’s kind of that curiosity that you never lose, and you’re kind of always like sniffing around, like there’s bigger questions, right? Like, why are we here? What are we doing? And then there’s like these macro or these micro questions where it’s like, okay, well we’re here, so like, what’s next? Like what are we doing? And I think that’s just curiosity.

Yeah. I hear you. At what point did you kind of realize that this infrastructure actually could revolutionize, I guess, like a new movement between artists and fans? What was that aha moment for you? And walk me through that narrative, that story that you kind of encountered?

Yeah, well, you know, I was collecting. So I was hanging out in the discord of the punk chat and I was hanging out in, you know, art blocks and I was hanging out in all these places that were in telegrams, these new secret telegrams of people that are in mass group chats. Random, but very successful people that are very much talking about DeFi and API’s on this, and I’m going to invest in this and this coin’s doing that and this. So you’re kind of catching on to all these things that are happening in the underbelly of finance. And, you know, you kind of can say all day, like Ethereum is going to change this and this and this, but when you actually see really successful people doing it and believing it builds on it that was really eye opening to me. And I think, you know, to be honest, I had never put two and two together of utility and sort of that, that carrot hanging over the, what we would call it, the normies, right? Like how do you get them into this world? How do you get them to believe that digital ownership is a real thing? I think the best example is gaming because I believe that’s a no brainer. It’s like, okay, you own the stuff instead of renting it, like, but, but music’s a harder sell because now in December, I can explain to you how music’s going to work. But back in June it was kind of just like, I know what 3LAU is doing, and yeah. I guess music is putting an album cover on there and like, are we turning art or music listeners into art creators? Like, what does that album cover do? Why would anyone care? And those were the questions I was asking myself. Cause if I don’t care, then I know other people don’t care. It’s always like the bullshit test. But when Bored Apes came out. So Bored Apes came out and they gave up the IP to their apes and they had utility. Like at first it was, you could draw dicks on a wall, right? But it was like, oh, but everyone can’t get in here. I have to sign into my Metamask. This is cool.

It’s like a private Dick on the wall.

It’s a private thing on the wall. Like all my friends drew a Dick on the wall. But then it was almost like things just started flowing out of them and out of my mindset. And then I saw what Gary V was doing right with Vee Friends. And I was like wow. And of course, like at the beginning we were modeling ourselves exactly after board apes, and then you come to like this realization that no, like it’s just a construct. It’s just a, I guess, a platform or a format that you can use, but then you step into who you are, what are your feelings, right? And then you start thinking differently, like, oh, they don’t want a piece of artwork from somebody they don’t know who it is. They want concert tickets or, oh, they want to meet us or they want this or that. So I started putting this thing together, I guess in may, and so then we kind of took steps to kind of get people involved, which we can go into later, but that the board apes and Gary V friends were the ones that really sparked like, oh, there’s a lot more to this than than meets the eye. And then also I would say that I dug strictly into the community aspect, I wasn’t trying to tackle what 3LAU is trying to tackle, which I think is very different right now, but I think it all plays together. What I see happening in two, maybe 18 months, two years is the token holders are going to be the ones getting the fractionalized publishing from these streaming services where the artists have all the control. And so you do kind of need both, but I didn’t see that at first, I just saw build the community, build the community.

The Deathbats Club

Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. You know, you referenced 3LAU a couple of times. He’s been on my last show, blockchain and booze, and we talked about things like, what is the future of music and NFTs. And I mean, you can kind of peep the drum set behind me. I’ve been a drummer myself since I was five years old, also grew up playing to avenged sevenfold, like seeing all these things kind of happen in real time. And now seeing a lot of musicians and artists get into the space. Forget about like the Instagram creative artists that left like corporate jobs and were posting shit on their stories and whatnot, like actual independent artists jumping into crypto and making a living kind of re-imagining what a modern day fan fan club looks and feels like. Tokenizing their songs is questionable that may be, or may not be. You’re seeing this revolution happening in real time. You’re seeing people understand the concept of what ownership means, let alone digital ownership and kind of reimagining, okay, if I’m going to bootstrap my career right now, I’m going to launch the song. How do I not only do it where I retain a lot of ownership, but do it in a way where I can get creative with this new technology, and use NFTs and all these digital assets. So I think it’s super cool. We’re obviously going through a really crazy revolution right now, I guess my next question to youis about the deathbats club. How did that come into place? Okay. Like how did that come about? I know you talked about like the birth of seeing Gary V’s clubs, seeing the birth of the Bored Ape yacht club, but how did you kind of build it in a way where it was super relatable to avenged sevenfold? Like how do you think about utility, all these concepts when it comes to building a modern day fan club? Walk me through that.

Yeah, so since we’re kind of first in building what we’re building, we wanted to test the waters and we actually released an NFT of 101 called “into the ether”. We put a little snippet of music that we weren’t gonna use on a record, and we basically wanted to kind of test the waters of our fans. And it was even this free NFT we were giving out, we got 5,000 addresses sent to us, and we actually wrote a piece of code that was allowing us to look into all their wallets, to see who had any prior NFT experience and only 17 people had prior NFTs. And so the other 4,900 and whatever had just signed up on open sea to get this free digital collectible. And so we knew that there was a lot of education that had to be done. We knew that, and we also knew, even though we were giving them out for free, we were getting a lot of flack for it. People thought it was a scam. You know, they thought all these things. So I’m glad we did that to kind of understand the audience, right? Because if we would’ve just gone straight into Deathbats club and said, Hey, this thing’s launching in a month, we would have been dead in the water. And I have numbers to prove that and I’ll tell you about those. So, once we launched that, we realized that we didn’t know what we were doing, and we’re glad we launched the 101. We started actually adding utility to them after, but this whole time in the process of seeing these people take them and talk about them and form these little clubs and this and that, then we said, okay, well we need to start a discord. We need to start building a community from the ground up, and then we’re going to start really digging deep into our soul and saying, what do people want from us? And a lot of times it was just our time. So we started creating, you know, tiered levels of very cool things you could have, but I said, I don’t want this thing to be like a slot machine where you get something great, then you’re totally bummed on your bad one. The base level has to be where all the value is, and then you might get a cherry on top. And so then we started thinking deeply about, well, we can put someone out and open our own line at shows and make it for token holders only. Okay, cool. No line for shows. And then we’re like, okay, well we can call live nation and tell him we need a hundred tickets extra for per show in our guarantee. Then, okay, boom. Now we have free tickets for life. And meet and greet. Cool. We can do that. And so we started building the back end and going, like, people will love this stuff. And then we started thinking, well, weekly giveaways. We own our own merch company, that’s easy. And then it was like, okay, well we’ve been building sandbox for a year, that’s easy. Let’s give them avatars. Let’s give them clothing, let’s have private parties. And it just kept rolling and rolling and rolling. And we’re like, we actually have something here. Like we have so much to offer. And if we do have like a mint of like 0.08 at the time, it was probably 150 bucks, 130 bucks is like, the value is going to. So super exceed what like that token is going to cost. And then our job will be to like, just keep adding value to it. Keep making it bigger and bigger and making these kids feel like they’re evangelizing something that’s kind of the first of its kind.

So why approach it from the 10 K point of view when you guys have so many fans? I get there’s a level of exclusivity, but why not like 12K? Why not 15k? How do you think about that?

So 10 K was actually was the standard that’s going on. In so many communities I’ve been in there was 10. And I also saw my friends in the hundreds do like 25,000. And I think it was a little, much, you know, I want to keep a really competitive I want to keep the tokens competitive in terms of like their value. I want to make sure that they’re scarce. And I think that we’ve told everybody, like, we’re going to be nimble with this. We’re never going to hurt the value of your deathbat. That’s going to be the number one thing. But I think the cats, the gutter cats and the board apes have done brilliantly by letting more people in with serums and mutant apes or this or that. I think there’s very cool savvy ways to let more people in. But you are not the Deathbat, right? The Deathbat is the Deathbat, and that’s always going to be the king. And I think there’s very cool ways to do it. And so I’m not really worried about it. And also you look at the band, like, I think we’ve sold 20 million records and we only had 700 people sign up for this thing in the beginning until we started making videos and like tutorials. And now we’re rolling into, you know, I’ve had a bunch of friends that have launched and they get about 1600 pre-sale white list and then they sell out instantly. We have over 8,000 on our white list. So we’ve done a good job of bringing people in and educating them and getting them here, but if we would have done this early on, it would have been the biggest failure of all time. These things just have to be thought out and you have to have people that are willing to like drive it, which I would say I’m driving it. But then I have a great team behind me. I’m hiring people that are in the space and hiring devs that understand what we’re trying to build and hiring mods that know how to deal with crypto, right? And know how to deal with the scams and the bots and the phishing attacks. And so you just have to have a great team, you have to be dedicated to it.

NFT Adoption

You know, look at the way you’re talking about it, the way your face glows. No legit, like you have to see the way your face glows when you talk about it. You’re obviously not the first musical artist trying to do this. You’re the first one trying to implement this type of club. And I actually noticed that you’re doing it the most efficient way too. Having FAQ’s the way you’ve structured the Discord. I’ve seen a lot of other musical artists that are more mainstream just issue like NFTs as a form to just like take and go. But there’s layers to this onion. And the way you’re explaining it, and the way I see your face, just like lighting up behind this entire model behind this entire structure, it gets me excited. I’m like an avenged sevenfold fan okay, full out. And I’m thinking to myself like shit, like this is my opportunity to be a part of something that I can verifiably choose and see on chain and get all these additional perks and be a member of this club, and just like, be a part of this family. Something that you don’t really get from necessarily just going to shows something that you don’t necessarily get from just going and buying merchandise. Something that you don’t necessarily get from, like either like doing, I don’t know, like a guitar, like there’s layers to this, right? And buying this badge, buying this emblem, whatever this ticket, whatever you want to call it. The way I feel about it, it’s like it’s my way in. And you know, and once I’m in, I’m in and I’m in with a lot of other like-minded people and we’re all in it together and that’s why I kind of see what you’re building. And I feel that way because I see your face kind of glowing and lighting up on the Discord, development and all that stuff, which a lot of people don’t really talk about. And that’s how you know there’s value behind it, from my point of view. You know, when you were building this thing out, how much of your audience was already crypto native? I know you mentioned there was only like 17 wallets that had NFTs and open sea activity, but even now for this new drop, there’s 34,000 members in the discord, have you kind of experimented with like, who’s more crypto native? How many people do we actually need to educate and kind of go over this hurdle? How many already knew what they were doing? Walk me through that.

So in the very beginning I found that the people that were truly following avenged sevenfold, like everything we do, is a very low number of crypto native people, I would say, in the low single digits. As I was like you know, for months and months, no one knew who I was in the punk chat or the apes chat or, you know, all these things. And then as people started to find out who I was, it turns out they’re fans, but they don’t follow us every day. They know all the songs and they’ll go to a show every once in a while, but they’re not on Instagram or in Reddit talking about avenged sevenfold, they’re talking about crypto. And so we actually found a lot of fans in the space that weren’t aware of what we were doing. Now that we’re doing, you know, we’re constantly in contact with like a DS or like a Jimmy McNeil list. And the people that are in this space that had been there for a long time, that we’ve been communicating with a lot of people have come into our community with a lot of knowledge, a lot of crypto knowledge that had been there for a long time. We traded a guy a crypto punk for our rarest first NFT and the guy minted 88 crypto punks. And he still has 38 of them, but he wasn’t following everything we were doing. He ended up getting in, you know, in the last couple of months, because until it hit their radar in the crypto world, it was like they weren’t following avenged sevenfold for what we’re doing, they’re just interested in other things. So I’ve found there’s a much bigger group of people, but it took a while to get them all to understand that, oh, a band, I really liked doing this, but it’s not a rug pull or a joke. Like this is cool, I can get behind it. And then a lot of it was just bringing our people in and now the discords become much more informative because some of these people are in there, they probably know more than I do, right? Like they’re into different things. Like you have players that are playing Axie and you have people that are really into this certain coin or that things that I can’t keep track of all of it. So it’s interesting to see these people in the discord, all discussing things with each other and when someone’s new and they go like, oh, what about, oh, look at Ubisoft doing this thing with, and then they’re like, oh, well these are the games that have been doing it forever. And this is why it works, and this is why those people don’t get in. I’m skeptical. And so it’s cool to see these conversations where the worlds are colliding now.

Thinking About Community Management

You know I’m in discord as we speak. So 34,368 members, and it’s popping, it’s so active. It’s so alive. How do you guys think about community management? You’re obviously running the band full-time, you’re working on the album that you’re releasing too. And you guys are, I’m assuming, going to go on tours. Like, how do you think about community management? Obviously, I think that’s something that you’re going to be outsourcing that you have been outsourcing. Walk me through that because I feel like it’s, it’s a big thing that musicians get scared of. They’re like, shit, I’m going to have to devote my entire time to managing this discord, but I guess you found a way to kind of grow hack that somehow.

Yeah. So a lot of the people that have been working with us for a long time, we threw them into the fire months ago and we said, learn what we’re doing here. Like we have this amazing girl named Courtney who’s going to be our product manager, right? Like she’s just on all the calls, whether it’s PR or whether it’s, you know, any sort of collaboration. I say hit up Courtney, cause she’s been dealing with that for us since the early days. She actually started a Fanzine, like a website. So she knows the culture and she’s been there since day one and the day she decided to shut it down is the day we hired her. And we were like, okay, we need you. And then we said, do what you did for that, but do it for us. And so she’s been with us for years and years, and then we have this guy, Alex, who works for us half time and half for Interscope. So he’s tapped into everything the major labels are doing, which, we’re like the anti that right now. And so he knows what they’re doing. He knows what we’re doing, but he’s got a lot of connections. And so we’ve got this great team of people. And then our dev actually was in web two for I’ve known him since we were in sixth grade, he was working cybersecurity for Barracuda, out of San Francisco. And then when we started getting heavy into crypto. We’ve been doing it forever now. And then, you know, three months ago he said, or six months ago now God time flies, he’s like, I’m going to quit my job and let’s build this out. I want to do it for you. I’ve learned all the coding I learned in my whole life. And so he’s building his own company based off of these launches. And so he quit his job in web two, and now he’s in web three and you know, he sold a Fidenza, which is helping payroll himself for a while. And so, yeah, he’s got some crypto punks now. And so he’s like, it’s such a better life for him because he’s, he’s in this space and he’s building, and he’s a punk rocker at heart. So he wants to help small bands. He wants to help everybody. So we’ve got a good group of people and then I’m going to, but I’m a psycho. So I’m going to tell them that everything from the giveaways to everything has to run through us. And then the bigger things like sandbox, I’m going to be in direct contact. It’s just how I roll, and I feel better doing it.

Yeah, you feel more aware. You know, my fear is like a lot of creators, a lot of artists are going to enter this space and just going to outsource that stuff completely. And that whole narrative and connection and energy is going to be missing, you know, and it’ll feel less authentic. One thing I’ve been telling them exactly, like you just said, look at all the Facebook groups, look at all the fan pages, look at all these things that fans are creating for free, right? Because they just love and adore the brand. They love music. They love how it makes them feel. These are your proponents to help build your community and make it like the next stage and the next level for that. It’s cool to see that in real time.

You’re totally right. And then this is like, instead of giving them all a pat on the back, now we can actually reward them because they’re token holders. I’m staying nimble with everything because I know that if you talked to me three weeks ago, I wouldn’t even know about some of the things that are coming out. And now the idea of a coin, and is it tethered to some sort of real world value, can you exchange it for Ethereum or do we keep it in our own shop or do we give a governance token out like ENS did? There’s so many things we’re looking at right now that I think will be a reward to the token holders, but I also know our fan base. And if I say something, then they’re gonna be like, when coin, when coin.

You guys should create a governance token pegged to the value of a pool of guitars and the value as the guitar fluctuates in value, that’s how the tokens fluctuate.

The other thing about like tokens and stuff is, I mean, well, there’s a lot of, look at what the Bored Apes are doing, a lot of regulatory issues. And we’re kind of one of those things where like people could be like, Hey, create a DAO, but it’s like, yeah, but we still have to be the driving force creatively. No, one’s signed up to the avenged sevenfold Deathbats club, because they want to create songs. They want us to create the songs and also choose a set list. And we also have to think about, which is a good point I wanted to bring up, is that we have a contingency of hundreds of thousands or millions of other people that are not in the club that we have to make sure that they don’t get affected by the club. Meaning the governance you give the club can’t start impending on like, Hey, like all the normies, they can’t even come to the show anymore. You know what I’m saying? So like, there’s like all these things that a DAO would simply take care of, but you can’t have the, you know, the inmates running the asylum completely. I actually talked to the guys at Poly chain about this and they’ve been so cool with bouncing ideas about what’s around the corner, right? Like what’s coming guys, like where are these things that you’re investing in that are going to be cool? And one thing that came up with it was like, why don’t you do like a message board type of thing, but it’s blocked and you have to have the token to get in. And then the amount of time you spent there, so it’s almost like a DAO. And then we can come in and see the ideas and then go, okay, we’re going to pay for that. Because a traditional DAO would be like, let’s buy sandbox. Well, we’re going to take care of that. And then there’ll be like, well, let’s do this, and it’s like, well, we’ve already taken care of a lot of those things that we’re happy to do it. So we have a little bit of a different path we have to take than most.

Thinking Post-Mortem

You know, the way I kind of envisioned DAOs for music is like, let’s look at queen for a minute. And Queen has a global fan base. They have the movie, they have the fans with, or without the band, they still listen to the music. They still congregate. They wear the merch, they get together, they sing the songs, they do all these things together as a group. Without queen, without, without the lead singer, without really the band per se, in the picture and down the line, these modern named fan clubs will essentially evolve into that, you think, but done in a way where you can capture the values? Like, let’s say like when you guys aren’t in the picture and the music lives on forever, how do you kind of coordinate? How do you do that? Right now it’s happening super organically, but how do you attach some type of asset that allows people to kind of reap the values? Because down the line, when you guys are gone, royalty still accumulates, value still gets captured. Who gets that? How do you, how are you thinking about that?

Oh God, you just made me think about it. I don’t know. Like I said, like, what I love about this space is there’s incredibly smart people asking incredibly cool questions and what we have to do now is make sure we set ourselves up for the future, whether it’s the contracts that we’re writing on the blockchain or whether it’s, you know, just some sort of vision of what’s going to happen in the future and set yourself up so that you don’t completely screw yourself. And so a lot of what we’ve been doing is kind of like damage control in a way, like making sure that we’re nimble enough to do some of these things, but it’s a great question. Like yeah, where do those royalties go? And like, how do we get into some sort of contract that our estate has to abide by, right? Because the estate might come and go, Nope, it’s all ours.

It should be a DAO. It should be the fans that kinda like govern that. If they, down the line, want to create a movie, but nobody’s here, you know, like,who will they talk to. How do they organize that?

It’s better for the fans to do that than, you know, some sort of label or whatever it is. I mean, yeah, it’s a good point, man. Can’t wait to be dead and see how it goes.

Royalties On Chain

I’ll keep you posted when you’re dead. You know, and another cool thing behind all these modern day fan clubs which we kind of touched upon right now is like this concept of royalties. And I listened to other things that you talked about, other interviews, other written blogs, and I know it’s something that you’re very vocal about. You’ve obviously gone the more traditional route as a band, adding labels, having big teams behind you, tons of money behind you, but there’s a lot of independent up-and-coming artists that are getting into the space that are tapping around in crypto, realizing the potential of selling NFT as a co-ownership of their song of their album. I guess like, how do you think about this concept of royalties evolving on chain? How do you think about this concept of automation and smart contracts and the blockchain as an infrastructure to create more transparency? More I guess, remove the middleman, all these keywords and these concepts that are like evolving. What do you think about that?

I mean, total no brainer, right? The same way that CDs wiped out tapes and then Napster wiped out CDs, then we had to piece it all together with, okay, well, we’ll give you a little bit and you give us the catalog and then you still have the same royalty structure. I firmly believe that the future of music will evolve out of the fringes of web three. And I don’t know if Spotify and those companies survive because they’re too big. So a bunch of different things I think about this. We talked about the video games and the culture coming . The culture of new artists is obviously going to go, why would I give that to them for the same amount of money I can get for a token sale from these fans and give them in reverse the royalties, and they’ll be completely happy with sharing 20% while I keep 80%. They’ll be completely happy with that because there’s no other option. It’s either that or listen to the music for free. Like, and so web two works really well in the sense that $9.99 to listen to everything is cool. You think it can’t get any better until the sweetening on top is, oh, well actually the more you listen, the more you evangelize us, the actually the more you get paid because you’re a token holder. So then it’s gonna be like, oh my God, like, of course. Now the problem is that it’s kind of like making a hundred million dollar movie and then saying, yeah, but I’m not going to put it on Netflix. I’m going to do it on my own streaming service on my website. Like music has to be communal. It has to be listened to by everybody. So what 3LAU is building and what people are building, it needs to be so global and so mainstream that that’s where people go to listen because no, one’s going to be driving in their car and listening to, you know I became everything of a song right now, listening to like easy by the Commodores. Then they’re going to put on stairway to heaven, and then they’re going to go, oh, I want to listen to avenged sevenfold song, but I’m going to get off this platform, go to this website, download it, click it, and then listen to it and then go back to my, so the platform has to exist. Maybe it’s Tidal, maybe it’s someone that comes back and does it all blockchain. But what you’re saying is going to happen, it’s just, who’s that company that’s going to come in and in the culture is going to demand that they listen on there because just like SoundCloud that revolutionized everything, everyone heard their mumble rappers and whatever they’re doing on SoundCloud, and it’s going to be on the blockchain. And then everything from there on forward will be on it. I don’t know if avenged sevenfold is too late for that. I know that right now, our fans are listening on apple music and it was even hard to get them on there. We did a surprise release on the last record and people were so mad about not having a physical. And to me, I was like, I haven’t even seen a CD player in six years. And so you have part of this thing is like the older cultures still decide what they’re willing to deal with, right? In terms of where they’re going to listen. I think if you make a platform that’s on the blockchain, but you make it super easy for people, the kids can own the tokens, they kind of understand that part, but it’s easy for my mom and dad to throw that on the street, but you can’t be abandoned and completely wall yourself off because then you’re really shooting yourself in the foot. And you’re going to start seeing the concerts go down. They’re going to start seeing like your, you know, everything goes down if you’re not being able to be listened to easily. So we’re in a weird position right now. We’re happy to take it on the chin and walk through it. We know most of our businesses live performance, and so to go into the blockchain and radio, they won’t play you anymore. Well, radio hasn’t been played as in years, like there was no radio for rock. MTV, like they’re gone, we don’t care. Spotify is not putting metal on the front of their curated playlist. What do we care? Like, we’re a perfect band to do this cause we just don’t give a shit at this point. It’s just like, let’s just go.

I never thought about that, you know? Cause you see a lot of the EDM crowd get into crypto and them having good success, but I never thought like the rock metal kind of sector would actually, you’re right, have such a good advantage over everything that’s happening. So true. I didn’t think about that.

And we’ve built great communities. If you think about it like iron maiden, right? It’s like grandpa, dad and son are at the show and they’re not going anywhere. So you already have those communities and the pop fan is a little more whatever’s happening in the moment. The Iron Maiden fan is there for life and the Metallica fan. So there’s no reason why we shouldn’t have the strongest online communities, but there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to present this to them and then go, this is actually better for you. We’re not trying to scam you. This is actually better for you, not just us, for you. So that’s been one of our things that we’ve been trying to tell people.

Yeah. You know, you talked a little bit about this, but I want to recap for a minute, like the evolution of digital music. We saw Limewire coming into the picture years ago, kind of like torrenting music, stealing music, downloading it for free. Apple came out with this thesis that people actually want to buy the music that they want to consume, so they introduced this 99 cent model. And then we saw the rise of Spotify and Apple music with streaming services and people paying flat fees to get access to unlimited music. Now we’re seeing the transition of people actually re entering the world of wanting to own music. Because when you used to buy it on iTunes, you’d rent it, you wouldn’t really own anything. Now NFTs allow the medium of owning. So for example, there’s this independent artist, his name is Daniel Allen. He has about a million listeners per month on Spotify, a few thousand followers on Instagram, a couple of hundred on Twitter. He came out with something super unique and original. He was like, okay, I have this EP that I’m coming out with. I need capital. I’m gonna mess around with these token primitives called NFTs, and I’m actually going to crowdfund part of my EP and I’m going to give up ownership 50% of it at least. And doing the way where every single check that I get from apple music, iTunes, basically these DSPs and these publishers all then convert that to USDC and airdrop that to people who basically helped bring this to life proportionate to their investment. It was actually a super interesting pitch because you raised like $180k in less than 48 hours, you know, from this year in community and keep in mind, you really didn’t have too much backing on Twitter. You had a few strong supporters that helped them consolidate them to get into this space, but it just shows you that, wait a minute. Now I find myself buying music NFTs for the pure sake of being able to co own this track because I just love and adore it. It could still be streamed on Spotify and apple music and everywhere, but now just like ownership is remodeled underneath the surface, which I find super interesting kind of like pivot, like evolving. Now you’re seeing platforms like for example catalog.works sound.xyz mint songs and a bunch of these players coming into place and kind of selling the narrative, own and then sell portions of that to your audience, you know, and introduce levels of new fandom. And I dunno, I think it’s just interesting how everything is kind of evolving in how these token primitives are kind of introducing new creative ways to kind of build communities, issue, assets, think about monetization, all these things.

I think what you just said is exactly where we’re thinking on this subject, right? So if you go to somebody and you say, “own a song”, to my dad who keeps up on this stuff. But you know, when you say own a song to my dad, he’s going to think, oh, okay. Like the first thing you think of, if you’re not creating crypto native, you think, okay, there’s a blocked off wall and no one else can listen. Like the WuTang thing, which is not the case. And then you think, oh, well I have this thing that’s on there, but I just own it because I can say I’m one of 500 owners. No, what we’re saying is that it’s a fractionalization of the publishing, right? It’s you own it, but you partake in the royalty of the people that don’t necessarily care as much, but are paying the $9.99 to listen to everything and they’re taking a portion of your royalties and you’re trickling it down to them. That is what ownership means. It’s kind of hard to explain to somebody. It’s very easy to explain the gaming one, right? Because everyone knows kids, everyone funnels money into Fortnite or whatever it is, and they all understand they can see it in their credit card at the end of the month they go, oh yeah, they don’t own that. But the music one takes a little more of an imagination because they need to understand what publishing is, they need to understand what the masters are, they need to understand how those systems work. And so to me, what you’re talking about is exactly how it would work. And then the artist would dictate how much, you know, these token holders would get. But again, maybe the song is the token. What I see is that in this community we’re building a Deathbats club, that could be the token as well. It’s just as easily transferred right into that, right. Where it’s like, we’re not going to sell you the song. If you’re a part of this community, this is how these things are going to roll in. It could be live streaming revenue, it could be, you know, royalties from Spotify or whatever the new web three system is.

It could be merch that you sell online that gets accepted through crypto and all that stuff is automated and distributed.

The metaverse yeah. Like sandbox sales. So, and then if you think about it, like why I was so anti this in the beginning, not anti, but I just said, people don’t understand, like I heart and Cumulus and Spotify, they’re not on chain. Where are you going to get those royalties? So what he did is he went and took an analog thing and said, okay, I’m getting a check. I’m going to go and I’m going to convert it to some sort of cryptocurrency or what or USD I’m going to airdrop it to you. Where if it’s truly working the way it should work, it should just all be on chain. And we just would just never even have these questions right?

Creating Utility

Like stim would issue a check to your Coinbase account, and then from there or even to your Metamask or there’s a product within that that just issues a check and that check just like distributes it to everybody. Yep. 100%. Let’s backtrack for a minute. I want to talk about more of the utility. What are people getting through these NFTs? Talk to me about the layers of utility. I know there’s opportunities to go golfing with you. I know there’s opportunities to get exclusive merch, skip the line, all of these amazing perks. Walk me through that.

Yeah, so I believe that in the end, the digital aspect of the Deathbats club will be the most important part. But I think in the beginning we really needed to show people that these are just really club memberships, right? These club memberships have this sort of real world utility as well. And because right now, what do you do in a club? Like, I can’t go tell a million people that, Hey, we’re going to make the sandbox things to be really cool you buy a token, I swear we’re gonna hang out in there. It’ll be like, what? And then someday, you know, we’re going to share royalties with everyone and there’s gonna be this coin. People will be like, what doge? Like there there’s just no way. So we were trying to keep it really simple. And we said, okay, I’d already expressed that we really want to make the normal coin, which is most of them. Very important. So poker nights, movie nights, Discord colors, discord rooms, Access to the metaverse through sandbox, private rooms, these will be your private keys. Where we can air or not airdrop, we will be doing that, but where we will be maybe putting music on the web three part of the site where only token holders can listen to it. It’s like teasing the record or like little snippets of backstage stuff. So it’s like this all encompassing membership into this thing. And then, you know, then you do the weekly giveaways, which we’ll be giving away guitars every month, zoom calls with the band. And then we were like, okay, well, what else can we do? And they were like, well, let’s make, you know, we ripped it from the crypto punks. We’re like, let’s make nine aliens and 24 ghosts, and you know, like the aliens, apes and the zombies. And we said, well, what would be the ultimate thing? We’re like, well, tickets and meet and greets for life. Okay. Done. That’s nine of them, right and they’re not minted yet, so we don’t know if it’s gonna be nine or 13 or with a little caveat, but then we put in the algorithm 24 ghosts, which are free for life, And then we put in there that there would be undead, which are kind of zombies. There’s hopefully 88 of them and that’ll be three meet and greets for life. So any show you go to, you just there’ll be an RSVP system that we’re building out, but then you kind of show up. Hypothetically just come rolling up like, got my zombie, let me in. And then, so you’re going to create this really cool atmosphere of like, oh, I didn’t have to wait in line. I’ve got this cool merch. I can only get in the club, I’m meeting the band. And maybe I’m done with it in three years and I can sell it for more than I bought it for, hopefully. I can’t do that in the Metallica fan club. Like I’m kind of just done when I’m done. And then we said, we are like two months out, like could we do anything else? We have a thing called shook. So we’re going to drop air packages to your house. Some things that you can’t get anywhere else. I stole that. I stole that from pub G I’m like, oh, the airbag care package. No, but it will be like things that are like one of the ones that you can’t get, like, whether they’re leather jackets or gold coins. Things that you can’t get, and they will be like 120 and that’s it. Like, you’re part of the club, you get them. And then we said, well, what else can we do?

Which, by the way, that’s like the equivalent of Tesla issuing the blow torch or like the Tesla tequila, or like all these different perks, now I get it. Keep going, keep going.

Then we said, well, what else can we do personally? Like, and we all have things. People would love to get drum lessons from Brooks or guitar lessons. So like, what we did is we went through and we just said, everyone came up with six things. I mean, you can double them up or whatever-

How much do I need to pay to get that? Let’s be real for a minute.

0.08 ETH and get lucky.

I don’t believe you. Jesus.

So, I mean, it’s all luck of the draw, right. It’s like randomly. And then Brooks said, you know, I’m going to do drum lessons. I’ll have a day where we’ll have coffee together. I have one where I’ll go out to dinner with you, hang out all night. Have one where it’s like, go golfing with me, and one where you game with me on that game with your friends. And so these are redeemable for once a year and then it’ll last for three years and then we can either extend it or we can change them. So like, when I’m 90, I don’t necessarily want to get called up and be like, you got to play golf, you got to jump on call of duty.

Like I’m about to die.

And then the kids like rug. But so on those, one of the ones we put the Gary V like three-year thing in there. So, yeah, those we drew ourselves or we made our own arts. They don’t even fit in the collection. And we took that from Kremplin when he did trip totes. We’re just very, like, so much in the space. And like, you know, one of my tokens looks like loot for ventures. It’s just a flat piece of paper where it says like dry forest, blah, blah, blah, blah. And so we have all these little nods to the NFT space for the last six months.

Did you get the AGLD airdrop?

I didn’t, no.

Did you get loot? Did you mint loot?

No, I’ve minted loot, yeah. But they were giving out so many airdrops that I stopped getting them. Or not airdrops, but they’re doing like free mints for everybody. I was like, I just stopped paying attention because it’s just so much. And remember I said, I was going to kind of tell you what. When I was earlier in the conversation, I said, I have a different strategy. So my strategy now is like, I’m in NFTs and I deal with it. Obviously all my stuff is dealing with Deathbats right now, but in crypto, I just hold Bitcoin and Ethereum and I have polychain do everything else. I’m like, they have a coin fund and they have a crypto fund in terms of like new companies. So it’s just too much now. Like, I’m like, I can’t. I can’t be like, go do this coin or get that airdrop. I have over 1400 NFTs. There’s things I should be doing all day and getting free mints and airdrops, but I just don’t have the time. I don’t have the time. But I do have a couple bags of loot.

I was just going to say, like when Loot came out, I remember Dom like just issue this free thing on Twitter. I didn’t get the free mint. What was it? Will? I forgot his last name from syndicate DAO. He basically created AGLD, the governance token for loot that airdropped that. That shit pumped to like a 100K in like a matter of 24 hours. I remember it was like 2:00 in the morning, 2:30 in the morning, and my buddy, Joey, he got the airdrop and we’re just like online, just fucking around. And I was like, yo, I just got this airdrop, like send it to me right now. I copy the contract. I just put it on Uniswap, buy that shit. Put like 5k into it, dude, like 40 hours later, it was like 50 K cashed out, done. I try to get the point across so many people when it comes to creators or artists, whatever, meet everyday users, it pays to be an early user. It pays to be fucking around tinkering with this stuff, putting money, throwing shit in the trip. Like it just pays not only for like the knowledge and the network that comes with it, but the amount of rewards, and like loot, essentially that you get from it. The pleasure of being, and knowing that you are an early adopter, you’re contributing to this revolution, I don’t know. I could be losing my mind.

No, you’re not. You’re not. Think of how many bags the board apes have dropped for people. My good friend, like I got these guys into it now they’re total degens, right? Like, and everyone that you kind of get in, like once they get in there, they’re done. Like work stops, they’ve got their computers lined up. So like one of my buddies got the number one rarity gold dog, the gold hot dog its mouth when they dropped kennel club. Day one, he gets a 50 ETH offer on it. I’m like, bro, they just dropped you $150,000 or $200,000, and he’s like thinking about it. I’m like, you gotta take that dude. And I look at the guy and he’s got multiple offers in a week, you know, that are, that are out. And I’m like, dude, someone else is going to take it. As soon as I say it, another gold dog 2 rarity takes it and his offer goes away. It’s like, oh no. And I’m like, come on, bro. He ended up selling it, like I think for like 35 ETH a couple months later, which was huge. But it was the lesson of like, dude, if you’re there, you don’t need that dog. Would you write a $200,000 check for that dog right now?

I love it. Alright, I have a few more questions before I let you go. Do you have an anon account on Twitter?

No. I just started one though cause I started doing spaces. So it’s shadows_eth. And so I just started it.

Deathbat DAO?

Wait, I got to write it down. I’ll find it later. I’ll follow you. I guess another thing we talked about this earlier, like the future of DAOs, it’s a big thing right now happening in crypto. You’re obviously putting it on the back burner, you guys are just in the process of issuing the mints. Do you imagine a DAO coming to the picture sometime down the line to kind of govern this thing as the future success kind of grows?

I do. Yeah. I mean, at least a portion. Like I said, when I was talking to Bennett at poly chain, it was like a semi DAO at first and see where it goes. Again, because we have the problem that it can’t affect people’s lives that aren’t in the club. And we’re the first example that I’ve seen where that could happen. You know, with the Bored apes, we’re able to create the board apes out of thin air and everyone that has a Bored Ape has a Bored Ape, it doesn’t matter. It’s not like, you know, it was an Adidas side project. I mean, now they’re collabing. But it’s not like it’s an Adidas side project and you got a Bored Ape, and then the DAO of the board apes would be like affecting Adidas somehow. And so we have to really think about, you know, We have so many things we’re doing like we’re giving up the IP of the Deathbats, things that are just unheard of for a band. So we’re trying to break the rules in a smart way that doesn’t completely screw us for the future where the DAO kicks us out of the DAO.

Legit. Like, fuck these guys, we’re gonna start our own band.

These are our songs now, you ARE going to play on holy confessions for the 4,000th time. I think there’s a lot of room for all sorts of models in this space, you know? I don’t believe in giving the keys up and then handing them back right? I said that term yesterday and I liked how it sounded. Web three gives us the keys back, don’t hand them back to the middleman. I don’t think we’re a middleman, we’re a creator and we need to create art, and we’re a creator that existed in web one and web two. So, you know, we can’t throw everybody out because we have a club now. And so if there is a DAO, it will be structured in a way that it affects only the Deathbats club.

Yeah. It makes a lot of sense.

 I don’t know how useful that is. We’ll see.

Yeah, I think all this stuff is experimentation. You’re trying things day by day. This space moves at a thousand miles a second. If you leave for a day, you feel like you’ve missed three months. It’s legit over. So look, I sincerely applaud you guys. I think you guys are the epitome of what every other band and group creators are going to be doing down the line. It’s just that willingness to take a risk and be very forefront about it. I’m rooting for you guys. I’m gonna be buying NFTs. I’m going to try to find a way to get on the white list. I don’t know what that process is like.

It’s done now, but send me your address. I’ll put you on

And yeah, last words before I kind of let you go, anything you want to tell the world?

I guess I would just say like, I am completely cognizant as I’m sure you are, that we are talking, you know, in December of 2021 and things are gonna change and this interview is probably going to get so outdated so quickly, and this is just us trying to find our way and we’re basically, you know, making the best decisions with the information that we’re given. And in weeks from now, we might look back and go, like, I can’t believe we were thinking about that. I can’t believe this wasn’t on our radar. And so I’m really interested to see where this thing goes, but people that get in the club, you know, it’s going to be a long journey and it’s going to be fun, but we’re going to be making some big right turns and curves off that path and it’s going to be fun, but we’re just going to continue to experiment and see what happens.

Dude, you’re telling me the Bored Ape yacht club toads and punks was like a lot of your inspiration, Gary V was a lot of inspiration for doing what you’re doing. I’m so excited for all the crazy airdrops that are about to happen. I’m stoked. Dude, M.Shadows, thank you so much, man. Best of luck. I hope to have you on again soon.

Thanks a lot, man. And, and email me your wallet, I’ll get you.

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