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He’s also deep in the world of where music meets web3. I wanted to have him on because, (1) I backed his project because I thought it was pretty cool, and (2) his crowdfund mechanics are quite different from what we’re used to seeing.
- 00:44 – Intro
- 07:02 – Concerns Getting Into Crypto
- 13:59 – Just Say It Crowdfund
- 24:06 – Long Term Vision
- 28:38 – Does the Creator Retain Profits?
- 30:50 – How is A Song Valued On Chain?
- 33:48 – Future Relationship between Music and Crypto
- 36:11 – Words of Advice
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Of course, man. I appreciate you making the time I caught a glimpse of your crowdfund. Okay. Which I did support. The Just Say It Crowdfund, which we’ll get into a minute. But I tweeted on what you yesterday. I wanna do a spontaneous episode on Thursday and I recall you tweeting at me in the past. For whatever reason, I couldn’t find that anymore. And then I saw you again and I was like, oh, I should bring you on because I actually really with your music. And you’re doing some pretty epic stuff, so let’s dive right into it. Okay. Who are you, what does a world need to know about you, but more specifically, what were you doing before crypto?
All right. Happy to be here. My name is Charlie crown. That’s my artist name. My name is Carlos I’m from Columbia. I work in music. I am a producer, an artist, and well before crypto was making music, you know doing the regular artist stuff, making music, releasing it, going through all the, kind of like the web two stuff including promotion, including, you know, playlist pitching all that stuff. And then I recall finding about crypto on December 2020. Yeah. And then for me it was just a huge rabbit hole fell into it deep and well, now I’m here and here we are here we are. Yeah. Taking advantage of as many opportunities as I can.
So what have you gotten involved with so far since this December 2020? So you’ve bought some crypto, obviously you have this crowdfund. What else have you done?
I’ve been everywhere, man. I’ve been trying to turn every stone every time I find a new application or a new protocol, I just try to find out how it works how can I use it for my project? I’ve been doubling on, on layer two stuff like, mint songs on polygon. I remember at the very, very beginning I was just getting fam familiar with meta mask, getting familiar with protocols like Uni Swap, exchanging tokens, buying my first NFTs on Open Sea and all that stuff. And then, I started finding about Song Camp, Catalog, communities like music communities on Discord and getting involved with, Cooper, Daniel Allen, Henry, like talking to them, tweeting at them and trying to get my name out there and learn as much as possible.
Those three names are like reoccurring names on Mint. Which I think is actually super awesome because obviously Cooper, Daniel Allen, Henry, and the list Valencia the list goes on and on and on of people that are just like continuously pushing the space forward. So yeah, for sure. It’s good to see that’s also rubbing off on you. Okay. I wanna talk more about like you as a musician. I’ve been checking on your music. I was like bumping it as I was preparing questions for this conversation. Actually, I really do enjoy your stuff. I think it’s great. But my opinion is completely irrelevant. I wanted to ask you are you assigned to a label like what’s your structure? What’s your setup? How does that kind of translate to your experimentation in crypto?
At the moment I’m independent I’ve been trying to stay independent for a while now. I like Record Labels. I respect a bunch of them. I’ve worked with them in the past. I’ve done remixes in the past with labels like Ultra Sony music in the UK D Mac but for my singles and for my project, generally speaking, I’ve always tried my best to stay as independent, as much as possible and trying to, you know keep control of my masters. Yeah, of course. Like giving percentages to artists featured artists and artists that I work with, but generally speaking. I always try to say independence as much as I can.
So how is the independent life? It’s a very general and very basic question, I know, but I ask it intentionally. And the reason I ask is because there’s a ton of independent artists entering crypto experimenting with web three, primitive, selling NFTs music, NFTs, social tokens, et cetera, as an independent, how has been your journey like in crypto? What does that look like?
It’s like the wild west. For the first time I’m really experiencing what creative freedom might look like in a world where creative freedom also provide a mean to make a living with music without, forcing myself to fit a certain narrative or a certain genre. I think also being independent gives you the freedom to go at the pace that you really want to go to because, you know, like, I think in music industry, given the current climate, you are currently forced to like go at a certain speed. And I think many artists are falling into this burnout situation where you’re basically forced to release music like every three weeks or every four weeks and that’s become like really unsustainable. And for me, at least it hinders my creativity where I’m kind of like falling into a trap of just making music, because I need to put something out instead of like with web three, I really can take the time to experiment and really put what I wanna put out and, and also like share with my community get their thoughts on what they think about the song and kind of like really have this participative scenario where fans are not just fans, but they’re also becoming more important parts of the project and kind of like get them involved in some bigger decisions, like what song is next, whether they like it or not all that stuff.So it’s definitely a freedom thing for me. Nice.
Concerns Getting Into Crypto
Yeah. Makes, makes a lot of sense. I wanna talk about like, as you got into crypto, okay. As you were exploring as an independent artist, getting to the trenches of crowdfunding on mirror, going through catalog sound, et cetera, seeing all these platforms, what were some of your biggest concerns getting started? If any?
My biggest concern, well, my first concern was kind of like not having the means to, you know, pay gas phase and get involved in these platforms that I really wanted to get involved in and not pay able to like being priced out basically. And there’s a lesson that I learned while getting involved with all these platforms. And this is a hard lesson that I learned while doing and was the fact that I didn’t take much time into building a community first and then, deploying all this stuff on web three. So I did it all the way around. So I started, messing with these platforms first without having a community to share with in web three, because, and this is the hard truth that I learned while the Mirror crowdfund was already launched. It’s very, very difficult at this point in time to bring people from web two over to web three, it’s just like a huge investment in energy and time to like basically hold hands and bring people over. So immediately after I launched the mirror crowdfund and, similar with other platforms that I’ve tried before, it seemed like nothing was happening, you know, because I, I wasn’t, I was doing it all the other way around, you know?
Yeah. Makes a lot a sense. Where does a lot of your energy go towards actually beyond making music, like after the creative spark, the creative part comes in, you have your song, you have everything kind of laid out. Where does the rest of your energy get applied to?
Just recently, I’ve been trying to invest a lot of energy in community building. Okay. And what does that mean exactly. It’s a very like general word that a lot of people like to use.I think it gets thrown out a lot in web three, but for me it means making friends connecting with people that resonate my music and the other way around, people that inspire me. So for example, I’ve been since probably April or May, I’ve been really, really focused in this part of the journey and I’ve been making really good friends with Excelencia, who’s been in the podcast before. Yeah. Henry and Daniel Allen have been talking to him a lot as well. And Cooper he was actually the one who brought me into web three and actually, sent me over to catalog and sent me over to song can nice and got me involved really early. So I took those lessons and I started to not only ask questions on Discord, but also if I was able to and knew the answer or also provide help to other people and contribute whenever I can.So I’ve been able to contribute to other artists crowd-fund as well because I think it’s really important for us to build out this community in terms of like, I’m not only asking for help, but I’m also being put in a position where I can help others. So I think that’s really important in building these relationships. Also attending IRL events here in Miami just in December was Art Basel. So I took the advantage and I attended a bunch of NFT events and network and if I recognize anyone, then I would say, hello, although it’s difficult, people usually on Twitter have their, their NFTs is perfect picture. So sometimes hard to who recognize people in real life
Really quick, Charlie, this hustle mentality of attending IRL events, like conferences, meet-ups joining discord communities is that same energy and that hustle mentality parallel to anything in music. Like, do you do the same thing in the music industry with like people you want to collab with? Like how does that element of community building and getting your name out there in crypto translate to doing that in music?
It’s actually pretty similar.
Well, for years before crypto, every, every March in Miami, the Miami Music week. So I remember with my former manager we don’t work together anymore, but we would go out to all these events and like maybe two or three months before Miami music week, we would be mailing other managers, artists record labels to get these guest passes or get onto the guest list or, get backstage because we were really focused on attending these events during Miami music week and meet, maybe managers and artists and record labels that we’ve worked before, but it was a really good opportunity to meet in real life. So being able to attend Art Basel for NFTs and for crypto kind of like reminded me of the same vibe, just people coming together, with similar interests and kind of like just happy to see each other, because we spent so much time online, especially, you know, with COVID and stuff like that. So it’s really nice to, put a face to the people that you interact with every day, like on a daily basis. So it it’s very, very similar. Yeah.
Just Say It Crowdfund
I think what you’re doing is very spot on, so this is very much like the Daniel Allen strategy too. Like you wanna mint something, put a pin in that and revisit it in three months and make sure you get yourself involved in community Discords get your name out there because if you just put something out there, nobody knows you how’s the world gonna try to buy something from you right. And support you and connect with you and whatnot. Yeah. I say this a lot also, it’s like the best way to solidify relationships and make friends in crypto is okay, get on Twitter, get in these communities. But the number one thing that solidifies all that is like what you just said, attending conferences, the Ethereum conferences, the Salon conferences, the local meet-ups, all these things. They want a hundred percent translate into who you’re building and like what you’re trying to do and kind of getting your name out there and whatnot. So I think that also like explains the success for this crowdfund that you have going on, the Just Say it crowdfund. Can you tell me a little bit more about that? First of all, congratulations on that. I’ll let you say the numbers and whatnot, but what is it? Okay. And why is crypto like the right way to kind of bring to life whatever it is that you’re trying to do with the, Just Say It Crowd-fund.
Yeah. So just the word on what you said before, like mint something, put a pin on that and that stuff. Yeah. I actually did it the other way around, so I minted at first and then I was like, wow, nobody’s contributing to this stuff what’s happening. And then like throughout the process, I discovered like, oh, wow, I needed to spend more time, getting my name out there building a little bit of like a group of people that know me that like resonated with my stuff before, going through that stuff. So now they just say crowdfund started of course inspired by what Daniel Allen did and because the couple, or maybe three conversations that I’ve had with Cooper about, you know, all this stuff. So what I wanted to do was kind of like get my feet wet. So I didn’t want to do something as big as what Daniel Allen did. And also I resonated with something that he said before, and it’s like using web three to fund web two activities as much as I’d like to, to go like crypto native and go full on web three the reality is I have so many like goals and dreams that is still heavily rely on web two metrics, like streams and monthly listeners and followers and all that stuff. What I did with the Just Say It crowdfund was I created a crowdfund to fund the release of my upcoming single, which is called Just Say It and is featuring my friend, Helen Tess, she’s from Miami too. And I asked for 2.5 Eth after like making a budget for what I usually spend on a song kind of like with a web tool strategy.So like stuff like photo shoots, stuff like PR promotion, playlist pitching ads, YouTube, all that stuff. But then I wanna to make it in a web three way, in the sense, like, okay, maybe let’s make it a, a crowdfund on mirror issue, tokens to, to the people that backed the project. And then I didn’t want the token to be like a community token because I really wanted to have like a social token, a community token, maybe further down the line, maybe this year. So I didn’t want this one specifically to be the community token. So I was like trying to figure out, okay, so what are people going to do with the token? So I came up with the system where the token is meant to be burnt, so what’s gonna happen in the crowdfund and now I get into like the mechanics of the crowdfund. There’s gonna be at first of course, part of the budget is gonna be used to fund the release, pay for mastering, promotion, all the stuff that I talked before. And then there’s gonna be three auctions total. So the first auction is gonna be the way file on catalog. The second auction is gonna happen in foundation is gonna be like an alteration of the artwork, but in different dimensions and animated. And the third one, it’s gonna be an auction on the glass protocol which is gonna be the video. Which at first is gonna be only available for token holders. So we’re gonna token gate, and it’s gonna be like an experiment. We’re gonna run with the guys over at Glass. And then after that period we are going to auction the video as an NFT as well. The way that some of the features on Mirror are designed it made me, it made possible for me to create it in a way that when those auctions finished, I can have a percentage of those sales go directly back to the contract of the crowdfund and without ever going through me. So I thought that was like a cool experiment to do and a cool thing to like, maybe get people excited about it. So from those auctions, 90% of those auctions is going back to the crowdfund. And then once that Eth is in the crowdfund, people are going to be able to claim a percentage of the Eth that’s in the contract by burning their tokens. And that’s also one of the features that native to Mirror
Got it, got it. Actually, this is like a much more complex campaign than some of the more standard crowdfund music campaigns that we’ve seen out there. Why did you decide to go down this route?
I was always trying to figure out while I was writing the crowdfund, how can I deliver more than what I’m asking for? Because like, throughout the, the building process, I was always asking myself this question about community and like, who’s gonna back this project. I have like some fans and some people know me over in web two, but who is really gonna put some Eth into this crowd. And so, like, I was always, like in my head was like, and also like asking myself, like, why am I doing this crowdfund? Is this just something that I’m doing to take advantage and make some money, or am I going to really build something that I’m proud of? And that’s like a representation of my passions or my creativity and like my goals here. I think web three is kind of like, as I’ve said before is kind of like the wild west. So it’s like, there’s so many task grabs here and there there’s so many rock poles here and there and stuff like that. So I wanted to, to like really figure out a way in which I can deliver more than what I’m asking for. Yeah. So I was kind of like, how can I add more stuff to it and make it more complex and making it more like entertaining and challenging to like build all this stuff.
Yeah. I’m curious to see how that kind of plays out down the line, because there’s a lot, there’s a lot of moving parts and which makes this whole entire thing super unique and super exciting, which also part of the reason why it caught my attention too. I’m just going through this crowdfund right now. So I guess like when you’re building the mechanics of this drop, because you have an entire list of bullet points and I wanna share my screen just so everybody that’s watching on YouTube can kind of see what I’m referring to really quick. Let’s do this really quick. Okay. Let’s share my screen. So there’s a lot of like bullet points here regarding the mechanics. Okay. Out of everything that you listed, what do you think is the most important point part of the mechanic that actually makes this drop unique makes it different? It makes it eye-catching for collectors, for example.
Well, I think, I think there’s maybe a couple. So the first one is of course the three auctions that are gonna happen and how they will be going automatically my on chain back to the contract without ever going through me and then people being able to burn their tokens to claim their percentage of the Eth that’s accrued in the contract and the other cool part. And this was something that I added later after I launched the crowdfund. It’s the milestones. So I launched the crowdfund first, and then, you know, I started asking for feedback to friends and people over at catalog people over at mean songs. And Excelencia, a bunch of friends from Audios as well. And kind of like one of them I remember recommended me kind of like to ask myself, like, how can I tie the crowdfund or the tokens to the success of the song. So that’s where, like, you know, the idea of the milestones came to be so like, okay, now we are attaching this crowdfund to the actual success of the song in web two. So like Spotify more specifically. So I create these milestones, we have one NFT air dropped to every backer when we hit a hundred K on Spotify, then a second air drop when it hits half a million and then the million. So like, if we hit the million, then you know, every bucket is gonna be air dropped a total of three NFTs. We make it.
Long Term Vision
No, we will make it. We’re all gonna make it. You know this reminds me of like the common example that people like to use when they try to explain to a normie, like why NFTs are important in the context of music and fandom, for example, and like the reoccurring example that I also like to regurgitate is like, imagine you could prove that you were a listener to Juice World as he was kind of coming up on SoundCloud whether you were in the first, like a thousand listeners, 50,000 listeners, a hundred thousand listeners, right. And this kind of like solidifies that in a sense, in a way, right. It’s not like a direct correlation. It’s more so a, a reward of like trophies, like congrats guys. Like we did it, we did this together kind of thing, which is super cool. It’s really, really cool.
Yeah. Yeah. That’s actually like my, my long term vision is to create this kind of like memorable moment. And I know, like it’s not like a huge project or an album, which generally has more longevity or like it has like more long term kind of thing. So, but my vision long term is like with the NFTs and the PO ops that like the backers are also gonna get for backing the project, like this sort of medal for being early supporters, is exactly that what you just said, like creating this moment in time, where people are gonna have this badge in the wallets that are gonna remember them. I’m also gonna be reminded that they supported this project early on. So it’s like a badge of honour.
For sure. Yeah. Makes, makes a lot of sense. Talk to me through kinda like breaking down expenses as a creative, this is very like very strategic and very well done. And to other people, it might seem like, okay, you just broke down the expenses, but for other people that are trying to maybe replicate something similar that you did or Excelencia did, or Daniel Allen did. These things like we can’t take for granted. Right. So from cover art to photo shoot to lyric video animation, like how did you know these were all like the components that you needed to raise appropriately, right and structure the crowdfund the way you did, kind of walk me through your thought process of breaking that stuff down.
So, so my thought process was kind of like also combined with the knowledge that I already have from releasing music previously and kind of like the teamwork we usually do which is like getting the art ready figuring out if it’s gonna be like a full on video, like with actors and actresses or if it’s gonna be like a lyric video, animated, 3d stuff like that. And then marketing I usually spend way less from like what’s in the crowd from right now, but the core idea of the crowdfund is also to like, be able to release a song and take it to the next level and not like do it as I usually do it because yeah. Usually being independent is cool, but the gave it to that is there’s no funds, you know, there’s no investment. So you’re basically just investing in your music from your own pocket. So that’s why usually, you know, usually labels come in and invest in the project and stuff like that. So my thought process kind of like breaking down the funds was combining what I’ve done before and kind of like seeing how I kind of take that to the next level. So maybe hiring a better PR person, instead of going like the stereo mastering route, maybe I can master the song by stems. Artist fees are what the songwriter and the singer, which are two different different people are gonna be paid as well. Even though they were like, oh, no, don’t worry. I don’t need to get paid. I was like, no, I’m running this crowdfund, which is gonna, probably raised, 10 K you’re getting a cut of it, for sure. Yeah. And then, reaching out to people and getting quotes, getting quotes for, video production, getting quotes for cover artwork, getting quotes for photo shoots and all that stuff. And kind of like when I did the, the, the funds and kind of like the breakdown, I did it with Eth at like 4,200, and now it’s like way less, so interesting. Yeah. I may have to make some adjustments there.
Did that screw up your process at all?
Not really. But now that I see the results, I think it might have been smart to do the use of funds section may be denominated in Eth instead of dollars. Key percentages, like kind of like the same. Yeah. Because very volatile. So
Yeah. Makes a lot of sense, but look regardless it’s almost at what almost at 9K 2.77 Eth to date. Your goal was to 0.5 E so you have a lot to be proud about and to celebrate and
Yeah, of course, of course be happy about it.
Does the Creator Retain Profits?
It’s really exciting. And one thing I wanted to ask you, why’d you put it so that the creator doesn’t retain anything?
So a lot of people have asked me this question and usually my answer is, I wanted to make it clear that I want that I was trying to build something for the people and not for me. So I was really focused on like, probably like under promising and overdelivering. Also like creating some, something where, where you put in X amount of Eth, I’m trying to basically make sure that I’m giving more than what I’m asking for. So the goal of the token is not for me to retain something and then get some Eth out of there and kind of like make money in that sense. But the goal of the crowdfund is to build like the foundation of the community. And I’m more focused in people becoming fans, becoming collectors, becoming like holding onto these PO apps and holding these milestones and enjoy the music, like on a different level than making money from the crowdfund. I would’ve probably kept some percentage if the goal was higher, but since the goal was really small, I’m gonna take the maximum advantage of this 2.5 E to build as much as I can until I run out of funds basically.
How is A Song Valued on Chain?
Yeah. Makes a lot of sense, dude. Amazing. I love to see it. I’m excited to kind of follow it and to follow your progress and see more of it come to life. All of us who supported him back to embrace the value of the mechanics that you kind of laid out for all of us to enjoy. I want to shift the conversation a little bit. To how do you properly value a song on chain? How do you know whether a song needs to be worth 0.1 Eth, 1 Eth, 10 Eth how do you think about that?
Well, that’s a tough question, Adam. I think comes down to if I were looking at songs let’s say in Catalog and kind of like browsing to see maybe what I buy, I say the artist has like a lot of influence in how I value a song. So I would like to see an artist putting in the work not just in the song, but, you know, putting work, like you see them working, you see them creating content, you see them getting involved, you see them kind of like valuing web three for what it is, and kind of like giving respect to that and kind of like taking it serious. I wouldn’t want to invest in an artist that’s just taking advantage of web three and kind of like, just putting out music just because it’s the perfect time to make one eat for a song on catalog. But because they really believe in this stuff, you can really see the passion and their love, not only for music, but for technology in their eyes. So I think that’s when a song for me shifts from being worth 0.1 to being worth one, when I see that I’m not just investing in one off projects, but investing in the artist’s career and, and future, because I see longevity in them. Hmm.
Interesting. So, so that tells me that the price of a song should be determined by the collector, not by the artist, because everything that you just mentioned is kind of like how you value an artist in their craft and what they’re doing with the community. So you think it should be more from the collector’s point of view rather than the artist point of view?
I think me as an artist, I can only control what I can control. So for me as an artist is like, the maximum I can do is like put a price tag randomly, basically just depending on how I feel about the song, how much work did I put in? How, how important or how emotionally attached I am to it. I can add like perks and stuff, you know, I can add maybe, rights or maybe I can add like licenses for stems and remixes and maybe the art work and maybe shows and stuff like that. And kinda like make the NFT more valuable that way. Yeah. And then I can randomly put a price tag on that, but at the end of the day, it’s the collector, that’s gonna say either, wow, this is just too expensive. I’m not gonna buy it or, wow, I’m getting this right now. Yeah.
The Future Relationship between Music and Crypto
Makes a lot of sense. Let me ask you, what do you think the relationship between music and crypto will look like in the next few years?
I think in the next few years is gonna become more of a hybrid in the sense, like we’re still gonna be dabbling in web two stuff. So we’re still gonna be in Instagram and Spotify and apple music and people are gonna be able to listen to music publicly for free, but musicians are gonna have like this very closed group of super fans that become collectors. And hopefully more than that, become investors and start earning from master royalties and streaming platforms, as well as artists. And I think also artists are gonna become more and more independent. And maybe also like a hybrid there in terms of like artists are gonna be able to decide what services they need or they don’t from record labels and be able to negotiate from that because, you know, with web three maybe you don’t need the advance anymore. Maybe you just need like infrastructure, or you need certain services that labels provide, but maybe you don’t need to give 80% anymore of your masters. Maybe you can retain control of them and then maybe have different deals. But I think for musicians and for music industry, the landscape looks pretty independent and looks at a scenario where us artists are taking back control.
So do you think the market will favor more independent artists than those who have record labels and already set off and well and well off and whatnot?
I think it’s gonna be a hard battle because, you know, labels have deep pockets but fan base and super fans and collectors are gonna be able to provide that for their artists. I’m not sure if one or the other is gonna win, but I’m, I think, web three is definitely gonna level out the little battlefield for us.
Words of Advice
I love it. My last question for you. For those who want to kind of replicate and follow your footsteps on what you’ve done since 2020, any tips for them, any words of encouragement anything that you you’d like to share that you kind of learned along the way that would make them skip some steps?
Of course, of course. I’d say the most important thing is just do, just jump in and do. I spent a lot of, weeks or even months reading a lot of stuff from, the crypt and [inaudible] and all this stuff, listening to Backless and good podcast out there like yours, but thank you. I learned the most when I was making mistakes when I was getting, failed transactions on Ether scan, when I was signing up to protocols when I was connecting my wallet to certain things, buying NFTs, selling stuff. So I would say like, just do, sign up to all these platforms, sign up to Catalog, sign up to sound XYZ, sign up to Mint songs, maybe create your first editions on min songs and kind of like get a hold of like, the hold mechanics and the mistake that I did at first, was not getting involved first before creating all this stuff. So, of course my advice here is like, get involved, get on Twitter, get on conversations, answer questions, ask questions follow, people of influence, depending on your niche, follow people that talk about those topics that you like and, get on discords, get involved in communities and create relationships, send DMs to people, connect on a personal level, give feedback and kind of like build relationships because at the end of the day, people like to help people they know. So I think it’s very, it’s very, very good that, you get out there and build these relationships and kind of like meet people, even if you don’t do anything, it’s just really cool to build, hind of like a very close friendship circle of people. Like like-minded people that inspire each other and motivate each other and kind of like creates this positive, like never-ending circle where you’re just basically feeding each other and kind of like making each other better. So that’s pretty cool too.
I love it, dude. Charlie Crown. Thank you, man. I appreciate you being on good luck with the crowdfunding. Closing that off. I hope more money comes in. Good luck with everything that you’re trying to do. We should do this again in the next few months and do like a catch-up or recap.
For sure. For sure. I would love to. I’m always happy to come in your podcast. I love it. Thanks for inviting me. And it was a really, really fun time. Thank you so much.
Got it. Of course. And we’ll cut it there. Good.