How To Buy Back Your Music Catalog From Record Labels with Crypto

Mark de Clive-Lowe shares his journey on trying to buy back his music catalog from record labels and tips on how you can too.

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on reddit
Share on telegram
Share on whatsapp
Share on google
Listen on: Spotify | Apple Music | Google Podcast

Background

Mint Season 4 episode 14 welcomes Mark de Clive-Lowe, an American-based Japanese-New Zealand DJ, musician, composer, and producer who’s making headwinds in web3. I wanted to have Mark on because he’s attempting to do something very unique; he’s in the process of raising funds to buy back his music catalog from the labels he initially signed with early on in his career. Not only does he share his journey so far and how he’s raised nearly 10 ETH to date, but we provide tips on how you can follow in his footsteps as well. 

In this episode, we discuss: 

  • 01:12 – Intro
  • 09:15 – Is Web Three the Perfect Medium for Music?
  • 19:37 – Buy Back Crowdfund
  • 24:55 – Is Revenue Shared with DAO Contributors?
  • 30:53 – Who Owns Your Catalog?
  • 35:28 – Give Us Your Roadmap
  • 37:57 – How Do You Price The Material?
  • 40:28 – The Importance of ISRC Codes
  • 48:01 – DAOs That Buy Music Catalogs
  • 51:48 – What Happens if the Crowdfund isn’t Fulfilled?
  • 52:50 – Outro

…and so much more. 

I hope you enjoy our conversation. 


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!


Mark welcome to mint, my friend. How are you doing? Thank you for being on.

I’m good, man. What’s up. Thank you for having me here.

Ah, what an exciting time to be alive, huh?

Right? Every day. I haven’t been this happy every day in a long time.

Let’s go. What’s driving the majority of your happiness right now?

I’m obviously a web three junkie, but, it’s that whole thing where things are changing every day and evolving and, and getting improved upon and ideated on. And the emergence is, everywhere. So it’s, it’s like, you never know what’s gonna happen each day. And the last time I had that feeling was when I first went to the UK London and I was doing studio sessions with different people every day. And I’d wake up in the morning thinking by the time I go to bed, there’ll be some new music which never existed before today. And that’s what web three is doing.

Intro

So speaking of web three. I always like to start with intros before we, before we jump into what’s actually happening. So who are you, Mark? What does the world need to know about you? More specifically, how did you get your start in crypto in web three, the whole shebang?

Totally man. So I’m a musician, I’m a composer-producer. I DJ remix kind of do everything. I grew up in New Zealand and partly between Japan and New Zealand, but mostly in New Zealand, and learned piano from like age four. Like my dad forced me on the instrument, so there was no choice. I grew up playing classical music and then started messing around with Beatles songbooks and stuff like that. Fell in love with jazz through my dad’s record collection, primarily actually. I just loved the idea of improvisation, growing up, playing classical, it was like, yo, let’s free this up. Then my life became this kind of weird pendulum swing between wanting to be like a straight-ahead, acoustic jazz piano player in the mold of history and then falling in love with Boomba hip hop and like club music and jungle and drum bass, house music, and kind of going back and forth between these two things like I did in college, in Boston at Berkeley. I spent a lot of time in Japan with family there as I was kind of getting into the music scene in Tokyo and things led me to London. Like I got a fellowship in New Zealand which allowed me to travel the world for a year chasing music. I focused that around the UK because the girl I was seeing then had moved to the UK, but it was like, I was in Cuba, San Fran, New York, London, Paris, Tokyo Sydney, just for a year. It was nuts. But that was an epiphany time and pre-YouTube. So you had to go to places for real. That kind of led me into this world of this hybridity of jazz and club music, which is really where I evolved mostly in the UK, in London. I spent 10 years there, firstly, as a session keyboard player and then as a producer and remixer, and live performer. I was one of the first people to do things as you have ostensibly what’s a jazz group. And then you bring, MPC like you bring a drum machine into the band and like programming live and sampling live with the band that kind of hybridity, which isn’t that unusual now it was totally unthought of then. 98 was when it really peaked for me. Okay. As far as hearing music, that was the culmination of everything I’d grown up loving and it was re-digested and assimilated and re-expressed in a whole way. I’d never imagined it possible. Like that was wild for me. Like seeing guys, like this guy, IG culture producer in London, seeing him on a SP 1200 drum machine, just banging out beats. And it sounded, like a Harvey Mason drum solo. I didn’t understand, but I was like, yes, I understand. I found my people. So that kind of brought me to this point in music of like, okay, I can, bring the jazz, what I love about jazz improvisation organic-ness evolution. And I can intersect it with what I love about electronic music. You know the textures, the Sonics, the whole culture of loops dance floors. And that became my thing. I spent 20 years recording, releasing, touring. I was on the road literally half the year, every year for 20 years until COVID hit. I was with a major label to start with, with Universal. I went through all iterations of independent deals and then self-releases and everything, agents, managers, self agenting, self-managing, like I did it all. And so for 20 years have been able to travel the world, play literally everywhere and develop this kind of, I guess, a cult audience everywhere. It’s a niche, but it’s like a prevalent niche everywhere I’ve gone, which is beautiful. So then COVID hits obviously touring gone, calendar empty and every musician on earth had the same reaction. It’s like, well, what are we gonna do? Right. So I had dabbled in crypto, I would say 2017. Like that moment right before it crashed. When, if you were the last of hearing about it, it’s like, oh, let me go in now, this is like making money. Like I’m gonna make bank now. Right. And then obviously the whole thing crashed. And I didn’t have kind of like an information community around me or a mentorship community where I understood anything about what crypto really was like, I understood the premise kind of, but that was it. So it was funny recently, I was looking back at my coinbase transaction history and I was like, wait, I sold Bitcoin in 2017!

What was I thinking?

So pandemic hits and that was really the turning point. Like, you know, the way clubhouse took off and the conversations just happened. Then my real kind of coming into the space, which is my Genesis collection a project called Motherland. So Summer of 2019, I was on an artist residency in Japan and one of the other artists on that residency who I met and became friends with then was SESU. And I didn’t know anything about his kind of involvement with crypto, but I met him as a visual artist and on this artist residency. So I shot all the footage, which became the motherland film. I shot it during that residency. Oh, cool. And then, you know, COVID hits and I’m like, well, I never knew what I was gonna do with the footage, but it eventually became evident. I wanted to explore it through an ancestral homage, music, art piece. And I put this all together. Then I was like, well, this is, this is too much. I can’t put this on YouTube and Spotify. Doesn’t make sense. This is like a narrative kind of it’s an art piece. Yeah. And so I was speaking to Amir de SESU and he’s like, man, you gotta mint this, and the reason you have to mint this is because of its cultural narrative. And so what was interesting to me now, looking back over the last is being mentored into the space by someone who really instilled the idea in me of the importance of putting culture on-chain. So the achievement wasn’t like, I mean, the goal wasn’t like, okay, I need to bag 15 Eth from this project. And it’s like, obviously whatever money comes in fantastic. But the whole principle and the success was to put the project on-chain. So it’s a contribution to culture on-chain. And so that kind of became my founding kind of premise for how I look at web three. And I think the way you’ve brought in is really important. Right. That gave me my perspective and then over the last year it’s been everything you know, I’ve joined the FWB community and love that meeting a lot of people through there. Starting up a mentorship program, doing my NFTs, like joining a crew, and building a new web three music platform, which will hopefully happen this year. It’s gone full 180.

Is Web Three the Perfect Medium for Music?

Yeah. Yeah. Wow. So you’ve really lived very much a traditional life of an artist, of a musician. Now you’re coming into web three you’ve been in web three exploring the new fronts of where music intersects with crypto and exploring this level of independence essentially, that you’re after. But why is web three, the perfect medium for music? Beyond bringing culture on-chain, right. Because that’s also NFTs in general with art with fashion.

Sure. I mean, the perfect medium for music is live, to be literal. I think for the exploitation of music and for the financialization of it and the sense and community building, like for all those aspects, web three provides solutions, primarily through decentralization. Like my MySpace account, I would love to have that back. Are you kidding me? Like with all the content comments, friends, like just to see it, like all that data’s gone forever like it’s gone. So that perspective, I think, is really important of being able to have immutability and perpetual content. I think that’s really important. Then access to our people, if I post on Instagram, like what is it 2% or 5% of people who chose to follow my account will see what I wanna share with them. I mean, all that kind of thing. It’s nothing sustainable. And I think it’s more for me than the solution’s web three provides it’s about how problematic the music industry has been up to this point in time that the entire music industry, I believe is predicated on the idea of exploiting the creative in favor of the exploiter. That is the music industry. You know, music is a different conversation. Music is art and music, and as a human culture that’s different, but the industry, it’s not there for music to be great. Like that’s not what it’s made for. The idea that there’s a potential solution to that, that excites me to no end. And so now we have all these toolings to explore the idea of a potential solution without the middle man, it’s the first time in history when musicians have not been behind the ball with tech and industry. And I say that to say whether it’s any technological development in music history, but let’s go with the most recent ones, like MP3, like digital download culture, and then streaming. Like those things happened and then we had to comply. That was how it worked. And then the same way with the industry, the way all the industry framework is put together, it’s intentionally made in a convoluted way. So it’s difficult to find all your money that belongs to your asset called music. And it’s very convoluted and that’s by design. It’s like, it’s difficult for a musician to understand that all by design. So to take those two aspects and have the tooling, which can just get rid of both of them. I’m like, at the worst, this is great.

Yeah. Can you talk more about, so you just went on a little bit of an example, the tangent of comparing traditional music to crypto music? Can you talk more about, what are the biggest, insights that you’ve developed as a traditional artist coming into web three that maybe others won’t necessarily have the purview of seeing, right? So you talked about payments, right? You talked about all these dashboards. You talked about social media data and right in like everything living on one centralized server versus being repurposed on other platforms what other interesting insights that might not be as common to the more modern-day independent artists that you’re kind of seeing being a better format in web three for them?

Totally, man. I think one thing that comes to mind straight away is how labels work in the traditional system. There are two kinds of labels, fundamentally. There’s one, that’s a catalog label and there’s one, that’s a new music label. Some of them are big enough to be both, but, you know, as far as people who are new to new artists and emerging artists and aspiring artists, we’re talking about new music labels primarily. So their whole business model is based on, you have some new music, it has a buzz, they capitalize on the buzz and then they make some money. But the buzz is by definition, it always happens when the new release cycle’s happening. You know, if you are one of these huge artists who just kind of can plateau at a really high level consistently, I mean, that’s, that’s an anomaly. Cool. But for the average artist in any genre, you’re gonna peak when a new release comes, and then it’s gonna kind of plateau down. And so the label has never had any kind of financial incentive or tooling to keep your exploitation consistent. In other words, to keep your money growing and to keep you in the marketplace, if you’re not in the new release cycle. So the best thing they can do is come back to you as an artist and say, yo, give us a new album. And then we can push you and that’ll push your old album. Right. And then, and we’re in this cycle, right. It’s never-ending. So I think that’s one fundamental thing where, I mean, someone, we all talk about a lot Latasha, who’s just doing incredible things in the space, the way she’ll give you like a new joint, a recent joint, an old joint. It’s all art, it’s all music. And it’s all valid. And just because like, for me with my catalog, just because a track was recorded in 2005, doesn’t reduce the value of the track. Right. But in the traditional system, it does like until some show decides to sync it, then it comes to life again. Otherwise

Let’s talk about that again really quickly. Why isn’t the old track new in crypto? Why is that okay versus not okay. That’s a really interesting insight because I have realized that a lot of artists that jump into web three music, end up publishing and minting tracks that already are in existence that already have streams. Like Blao is the best example of that. All the songs that he basically sold in that iconic drop that made headlines, were all repurposed tracks. That was re-bought to life. Why is that acceptable here?

Well, why shouldn’t it be right?

It’s also true. Like why shouldn’t it be?

Yeah. Yeah. At the end of the day, it’s like, if we looked at visual art through the same lens, then you could look at an artist who, I mean, every artist I think of right now is not even alive, but you could say, well their whole work. I mean, it’s old. Like that’s not worth any money. Like I want the new joint, like, you know, Picasso, I want that new Picasso. I don’t want the old Picasso. To me, this is art. And I think there’s a distinction here to make as well between music in its genres and functionality is a huge spectrum. And I skew to art music, I skew to music as art before I skew to music as a product. And that’s not to disparage anything. Does that make sense what I’m saying?

So I just wanna clarify something like not all old music doesn’t do well, if it’s repurposed, right? Like you can still hear Michael Jackson songs being played. Right. And it’s old stuff like his, his catalog has value. Like your YouTube catalog has value. It still accumulates views depending on who you are. I see what you’re saying, like, with more everyday songs, those don’t get necessarily repurposed on mainstream radio or on Spotify playlists because they’re already in the past. Right. Whereas here on this medium, you’re actually reintroducing them in a new format and a new way to capture true value depending on what the market wants to value it as.

100% man. The way that backs catalog is part of an artist’s story and that we now have the tooling to be able to share our story and frame it in our own way. That’s totally unique. You know, beyond that, it’s like you click on discography on Spotify and it’s some JPEGs. Yeah. But for me to actually contextualize that for people is amazing. And at that point, it’s not about, and I alluded to this before. It’s not even about it being collected or bought it’s about it being on-chain. And when it gets to the point when it meets its collector, the person who, yeah, I resonate with this, then that becomes a transaction. Cool. But it’s much more important to me that the story is there. We have a thing happening in the space already where people feel like, oh, if my NFT didn’t sell on the day I dropped it’s a failure. I’m gonna burn it or whatever it might be. And that happens. But it’s like if you are putting this into the space forever, then maybe it’s gonna meet its collector in five years’ time. And that doesn’t pay the rent this month, but there’s so much value on that to me.

Buy Back Crowdfund

Yeah. No, I hear you. So speaking of catalogs, speaking about buybacks, speaking about all these things it’s a perfect segue into where we are currently with you specifically Mark, as a creator, you have two main things that you’re kind of working on right now in web three is buying back your catalog and owning your work and your art, and also building some form of creator club around you around your music, around your niche and the collectors that decide to support you and be a part of your journey. So the first thing I wanna talk about, okay, is this buyback crowdfund. First of all, congratulations, because you’re already more than halfway at your funding goal. And I’ll share my screen in a second for everybody that’s watching on YouTube. If you’re listening on audio, go check out YouTube because it’s really, really interesting what you’re doing. Okay. Can you give us all some context on what it is that you’re trying to buyback? Why are you using crypto as the medium to do it? Where are you gonna take it once you have it?

For sure, man. I mean, the fact that I was able to deploy this crowdfund alone to me is really huge. The conversation it’s is kind of given rise to with a lot of artists is entertaining at the very least and kind of paradigm-shifting at most. So what I’m trying to do is, you know, raise funds through the mirror crowdfund in order to buy back to reacquire seven of my back catalog albums from the labels who control them. And the idea is that there are about 15 or 16 albums I say about because I’m producing other artists. But if I look at my catalog, it’s around that number. So it’s around half the catalog. And the idea is in reacquiring that my whole back catalog becomes the foundational asset for a DAO for the Mashy Beats DAO. Mashy Beats was my record label at first and now it’s kind of become a disco community, a collector creator kind of convergence, and I realized, okay, well now the label can kind of be revived, but not as a label. Like there’s something to build on here. So the idea of buyback, you know, firstly getting my own catalog back as an artist personally, is so important to me because I do believe we should own our stuff. And it’s also important to me because these seven albums are kind of gathering dust with the labels who have them because as we talked about earlier, most labels don’t have the tooling or vision or they’re too risk-averse to support old catalogs. You know, they want the new album. So these albums, they tick over on their DSPs, on their Spotify’s, and on band camp and vinyl and whatever it, but there’s no care given to it. There’s no growth potential. And so I’m like, let me bring this back under one umbrella because I care about it, I want it to grow and I can see what this can grow into. Also at this point in my career, that’s 20 years of albums. And so it’s like, that’s a life’s work for a lot of artists. I have a lot more to come ahead of me, but it’s almost like a nice way to look at a chapter and be like, let me just kind of silo off this first 20 years and use it to build the next 20 years. So the idea with the Mirror Crowd-fund campaign is that everyone gets tokens for their contributions relative to their amounts. I think it’s like a thousand tokens to one Eth so the tokens are the buyback token and then the buyback token becomes the top-level governance token for Mashy Beats DAO. So essentially those crowd-fund contributors become the committee with which we’re gonna move forward with the DAO. And that’s gonna be, I mean, it’s kind of what we expect of a DAO at this point, as far as proposals and snapshot voting, you know, people having a say, I think there’s an interesting conversation there around creative DAOs where people feel like there’s a risk of I don’t wanna open up my creative process to voting and that’s not what I’m doing. That will never be the case. As a creator, I’m autonomous and I’ve spent over 20 years, not one time compromising stylistically, so I’m not about to start now, but then when it comes to, how do we build the treasury? You know, what’s the strategy for this? Maybe there are these five sick projects, but I can only do one right now, which one do we think is the most beneficial for the community and the DAO and then, okay, the Treasury’s got a surplus now, what are we gonna do with this? Let’s bring in some more artists and so basically having a community co-op label is an idea. If I took some of my favorite, favorite, favorite labels, like say Blue Note Records and Def Jam Records and Brain Feeder records and it was right at the beginning of their stories, but they were all one label and I could have a seat at that table in the evolution and development of it. To me, that’s a really interesting proposition, which I would’ve loved to do that. So that’s what I’m trying to create.

Is Revenue Shared with Dao Contributors?

Got it, got it. So there are a couple of things here. Let me actually share my screen for a minute. Okay. Gimme a second. I wanna pull up the value and actually what it is specifically that people are buying back. Okay. So we know it’s a catalog, but this is basically like an overview. So today you’ve raised 8.68 Eth. Your funding goal is 12 Eth. You have about, 39 backers to date so far each collectively getting their own perks and their own NFTs. Talk to me more about, what happens afterward now that you’ve collected your work. Okay. You’re probably earning royalties on this work as well. Right. You’re probably making money off this work that’s being conducted through some type of rev share with these labels. I apologize if I missed this, but are you gonna be sharing some of the royalties with DAO contributors as well? Or what does that look like?

No, I’m not. I think the royalty of fractionalization conversation, I know it’s very polarizing. I’m on the side of not doing it. It was interesting actually speaking with I dunno if, you know, Decent X, Y, Z. Speaking with them recently, I was like, oh, that’s an interesting take on it. So there’s room to move, but to get back to the buyback. So there’s no master or IP share implied in the buyback tokens. The idea is that future revenue helps fund the treasury. And then the token holding community, have the governance over the treasury. If at some point, you know, say there’s like 30 Eth in there, and the proposal is, do we want to prorate pay this out to the token holders? That can happen, anything can happen, but also the whole, SEC securities issue. This is the only way I could do that, basically, without going a whole other route.

And by the way, I only asked that question from a very like, dumb down point of view, because it is illegal to do that like, well,

Exactly. And cause people are offering like, as Royal went through, they have a whole legal framework to make that even a possibility. You can’t just as an independent artist, you can’t just offer up your royalties connected to a token.

Makes sense.

So thanks for the question

I say this again because part of these conversations is aimed to be educational. Now I’ve had people on the podcast before that have they’re like, fuck that. Like I’m just gonna do what I think I need to do, I wanna share revenue with my collectors. Everybody has their own point of view, their own direction everybody’s building in public while it is still very much a gray area, none of this is meant and intended to be like financial or legal advice, right. More so documenting the pulse and seeing what’s happening and how people are kind of responding and reacting and building in public. Just to make that clear, so I don’t get attacked later on okay. So you buy your catalog, you own it, you talked about future revenue coming back to the DAO, what type of revenue streams do you imagine coming back to the DAO? I’m gonna list a few like concerts, merchandise, what are we talking about? What kind of revenue?

I mean, I see it as being the further web three exploitation of the catalog. So primarily that means NFTs in whatever shape or form that could be, that goes back to the treasury and then a percentage of what we could call terrestrial revenue, so DSPs sync licenses, anything of that sort. So a portion of everything goes back as far as anything else, like when it comes to concerts tours, merch, I mean, I’d be happy and it would be quite fun with tours to break down the budget for all the buyback holders because there’s nothing in touring. Like there’s nothing in it. When I say nothing, I don’t mean there’s nothing but proportionately for the hours you put in, for the 15-hour flight each way for that 40 minutes on stage. I mean, touring’s not, it’s not the money maker that we’re told it is. And that kind of ties back to my whole perspective as a traditional industry artist coming into web three is that the traditional industry has literally traumatized artists into thinking what’s acceptable. Touring is your primary revenue, this is how much Spotify pays. And so just shake all that off and try and re-contextualize it is dope. So I’m diverging from what you’re saying though.

Yeah, I hear you. Okay. So NFT revenue, merch revenue, if any touring revenue. What happens next?

I personally have, I’m sure you do too, a laundry list of projects I wanna do in the space. Yeah. And so that’s one thing is putting those all to the proposal and just seeing what is really beneficial and doable and how to prioritize those. How to take the back catalog. And I wanna get web three artists remixing it too, like have remix drops, which are re-contextualizing the back catalog in collaboration with artists who are in the space. Also maybe the same kind of approach to bring like producers who I’m tight with, who are not in the space, help bring them in. Like, man, let’s remix some of my old work. Yeah. And we’ll end NFT this and like get you in the space. So using the back catalog in that way. And then beyond that, I’m really excited to bring on artists, like to basically get to a point where we can say, okay, now there’s some money in the treasury, wouldn’t it be crazy if this, if these two collaborated and that’s never happened, let’s make it happen. And having a chance to be really creative with it and knowing that, based on the foundation of what I represent through my artistry and Mashy Beats as a community, knowing that, okay, I can get one of my favorite jazz drummers, like an Eric Carland or Nate Smith or someone. And then I can team them up with this person from this whole other world and they’ll probably be down because we are tight, to have freedom, to create things, which wouldn’t be possible, that is wild to me. Yeah.

Who owns your Catalog?

So what’s the legality of actually buying back your catalog. Who are you buying it back from? Who owns it right now?

Right. So there are two labels. Okay. And one of them made me sign an NDA before we could even start talking about this. Like I alluded to, I told them what I wanted to do and they’re like, yeah, NDA, then we can talk, that’s wild in itself as an idea. So they’re both independent labels with pretty large artist catalogs.

Are they like relatively well known in the artist community?

In my world, absolutely. A hundred percent. They’re very active, you know, they have a lot of artists and a lot of releases. And so this whole issue of like a new release becoming obsolete in proactiveness. That’s kind of common with most of these labels. People talk a lot about owning your masters and the ill and the evils of a deal, which is in perpetuity. And they’re totally right. The reality is that more and more and more deals are not in perpetuity now they’re licensed deals. And so that might be a short time, like three years, five years, it might be 25, 30 years. For all intents and purposes, the label basically owns the masters for the period of the license. Right. What people kind of overlook with that is that if the label cannot earn back all the recoupable, so the costs that the project has incurred then even a short license, a three-year license, that’ll go on forever until it’s recouped. So it’s a bit of a trick there. So these albums are all on licenses and some of them are on horrifically long licenses with a label that has no intention of supporting the product. And then some are with a label who just don’t have the tooling to get them to earn more to recoup.

Got it. Yeah. Got it.

In short, I’m not naming names.

Sure. For sure. So really quick, what kind of support are you looking for that they’re not providing that you think communities could provide in crypto?

Right. So I think the point is here, it’s not even so much the community in crypto, it’s more myself. Like I can reimagine anything with this work. I can contextualize it. However I want to, and these labels are not interested in that conversation. Okay. You know, one of them was never interested in the conversation. Like even when it was new, I was like, well, what if we did this little thing and it would cost this much. It would recoup in this time. And like, no, we can’t do that. It’s like, well, why are we even in business? Because we signed a contract. Okay. So this like, yeah, got it. But it’s interesting because in the independent music sector, licensing is the norm, right. And the situation you find, like say a year after the new release, this is normal like unless you’re touring super hardcore, but then as soon as you stop touring hardcore, you better have a new record to drop. So it’s a hamster wheel, right? Like a Groundhog day hamster wheel and it ends up really, it does inflict on people’s relationships, mental health, and most independent artists are chasing their tails, like eating hand to mouth month to month. And then you might have a great month and then you might have a shit month. There’s a reality to that, which I think web three possibilities from, from one of one collectors through the addition supporters, through the crowd funds, like to be able to create infrastructure, which can then, take the foot off your neck a little bit and allow you to get back to creating. Yeah.

Give Us Your Roadmap

Yeah. Mark, can you paint for me a roadmap a plan for others that wanna follow in your footstep that want to take control of their catalogs that want to tap into web three, who wanna buy back their art so they can own it. And then co-own it alongside fans and community members. How do you do that? Because what we see on the surface, Mark is the polished pitch and the money getting raised. What the hell happened in the back end, behind the scene to get to the point where you wrote this blog post to basically issue the process of buying back your work. How can other people basically learn from you to apply that in their own context,

The way it looks, the way the idea is presented, and the way it works with the token and what the token represents, that was like, I think there were like six kinds of versions of this whole thing. So the idea got workshopped and kind of brainstormed a lot. And I think that’s important for any idea anyway like to have a little brain trust, you can depend on people you can go to who are happy to sit down with you go through something and offer their perspective. Like no matter how on point we think we are, blind spots are human nature. Right. So rewinding before that, you know, I had to approach these labels and that wasn’t the most, friendly, or comfortable conversation to have,

You wanna leave us, like what?

This is unprecedented. We’ve never it’s happened before. So I was very, very polite. I’ve tried through this whole campaign to not look like I’m label bashing. Some labels are good.

Exactly. Like everybody has their own needs. Their own wants their own requirements. Like there is no bashing. Everybody has their own level of expertise, their own level of skills that they need outsourcing and help with. There is no cookie-cutter, like puzzle piece here. None of that shit exists. Just like a side tangent, I think like throughout a lot of the content that I create, people may interpret it as me bashing on like the middleman. And rather it’s less about that. It’s more so even the middleman can partake in this and just adjust their models to this new era. It’s a new way of thinking. It’s like, yeah, it’s happening, whether they like it or not kind of thing.

Exactly. Exactly. And that whole thing is if it’s equitable, I’m cool. But for me, equitable means that the person who created the art or the product, the art product should always be the majority earner always. And it’s things are the other way around. So it’s like, that’s where the middle man needs to catch up for sure.

But anyway, I digress. The first step, step one approach the label, approach your partners. Hey guys. Yeah. I want out step one, step two.

This is why, this is what, how much is this? You gotta put a dollar figure on it. Right.

How Do You Price the Material?

How do you figure out the dollar figure actually?

It’s based on projected future earnings. Okay. So that’s difficult with a perpetual deal like to buy a record out of a perpetual deal, you need a ninja level lawyer, for sure, but with a licensing deal, you can project this. Right. so you can look at it, so there are 20 years left on the license. It earns this much per year. So that’s that time’s 20. Maybe they wanna sweeten it up a little bit or whatever. So a little back and forth, you land on a number. One of the labels pushed back on me actually soon after, because I Sub tweeted something. But you know, like I know how to, subtweet like unless if I subtweet about you, unless you are the person that did the thing, no, one’s gonna what I’m talking about. So it’s like the fact you picked up on this is hilarious, but they were kind of like, look if you continue to tweet kind of like this, I was like, well, look, look at my Twitter feed. Most of what I talk about is about the music industry. Most of it’s anecdotal and most of it is redacted. So it is what it is, but it was interesting that there was that kind of immediate. Like they came back to me saying, well, we don’t have to give you your records back. And so that could be interesting. It’s like, you make the raise, go back to the label, like, Hey, can you invoice me for that bread? And I’ll send it. And they’re like, well, actually, we’re not gonna do the deal. Yeah. So that’s an interesting proposition there. And then that’s when it goes legal and then it becomes a battle. The principle of all this, honestly, is more important to me than my catalog. I want the catalog back, but the idea of proof of concept, around some disruption and new model iteration, like that’s so much more important to me because other people are gonna do this better than me. Right. Like without a doubt. And I’m so excited to see that happen.

Okay. So step one, contact them. Step two, if you need to get legality and lawyers involved. Step three, come to some terms of dollar amounts of what the value’s worth. Step four?

Get your shit back.

The Importance of ISRC Codes

Get your shit back. So issue the crowdfund?

Issue the crowdfund. We don’t even have the kind of best practice strategies around crypto crowdfunds at this point. Get the crowdfund out and then it’s just a process of like you, it’s transactional, you pay the amount, they take it off DSPs, you put it back up on DSPs if that’s what you wanna do. The ISRC codes will retain all the data. So what I mean, not literally not as a smart contract, but for example, if something’s had 10 million plays, it gets taken down. I put it back up as long as it’s the same length file, same ISRC code that all gets [inaudible]

So you lose all the streaming data around that too.

You retain it as long as you keep the ISRC code. And the file link was the same. This is like, the first time I thought ISRC codes are actually useful. I was always like if I can’t get my money instantly, what are they for? You know?

Okay. Solid. Solid. So what comes after that?

So yeah, after that as far as the buyback the governance level of the DAO, like that’ll be a discussion too. What happens next? Like I’ve imagined, what if I put the whole catalog on something built off Nina or something just what would that look like having the whole catalog on the blockchain? That’s one perspective. One perspective is like I was mentioning remixing reimagining. Then really it’s just about moving forward. Let’s make new work. When I say the back catalog is the foundational asset of the DAO and the treasury. What that means to me, most of all is there’s something there that can create value when needed. And that can’t quite be measured in advance. But my biggest motivation in anything is to create new art, new music, new collaborations, contribute newness to the world. I’m not trying to get caught up on a loop of like my back catalog, my back catalog, but, but it’s there to build off. So, I’m like all of us experimenting in plain sight which really excites me. I don’t know where that’s gonna lead and any roadmap with any more detail I’d be lying. Cause all I could promise is that it probably won’t be that. I was just gonna say there are projects in mind that are too alpha to share, but I just know this is gonna facilitate some wild stuff.

So that sounds like, that’s the end of everything. Like you got it now, figure out what to do with it. Figure out what to do with it, alongside the people who helped you purchase it and build some type of tangible community and figure out retention, figure out engagement, figure out how you can keep people engaged figure out how they can support you even more. What other things can you issue that they might be interested in doing? Because like talk about up-selling, right. In a very traditional sense. Like if you’re a collector, if I collected something, chances are I’ll collect something from that person again. If they continue to like, wow, me, quote-unquote, which you shouldn’t be doing things to wow other people, like if you pursue your craft and you pursue your creativity, that should be enough to bring more people in. You shouldn’t be doing for the collectors kind of thing. Like we look like we I’m a very amateur collector, like very amateur. Right. But I look for things that like, wow, my kind of thing. And if an artist continues to wow, you know, like, wow, like this is cool, like let’s support anyways. I digress. Okay, cool. I think that’s super helpful hope a lot of people listen to this and if they do decide to kind of pursue the same model that you’re pursuing and the same plan of action that they can learn from you and use you as a guide using this audio. So super helpful. You pitch this concept already to some of the labels for example, why don’t we try this and experiment with this? And you’re like, yeah, no, we can’t do that. And you would think that everybody is Spotify’s bitch. And you would think that this type of medium would actually be a cool experimentative medium to explore new ways to monetize new ways to engage. New ways to be innovative, new ways to be first at something. But you see people hesitant with it. Why like the first thing that comes to mind as to why they’re hesitant with it is because it’s like, it’s just change. It’s something new, it’s different. They have their business model. They make money from it. Like, this is what they’re used to, why the hell would you put money into something that you’re very uncertain about it. But if you look at some of the best companies in the world, they allocate money to R and D they try to find, they try to innovate. They try to spark things internally that might be, you know, an avenue that might grow or put them out business kind of thing. Right. And that’s not to say that web three will put them out of business.

No, no, it’s all good. I mean, you’re on point. Labels don’t have the profit margin for R and D let alone artist development. You know artist development is very rare now it used to be standard with labels. But I think there’s just so much risk. It’s the same reason we don’t see Drake in this space. It’s like, if it doesn’t work, that’s not a good look. So I think there’s a bit of insecurity around that, but more to the point I think right now is that the mainstream media narrative around crypto and blockchain is horrific and it’s like plays a role. It totally. I definitely had pushback. On my mailing list, I did a mail-out when buyback launched and, you know, most people who replied were supportive. I had to get one reply. It was like, you know, I’m a long-time fan. I love what you do, but what do you say to people who followed your instructions and then lost 30% of their money yesterday? The timing of buyback with the market, is not ideal, but of course, we know that, well, this is the best time to come in. But that whole education is so complicated. So for a label to risk that I think is there’s a lot of risks there, so I can see the apprehension, but the mindset doesn’t help. You’re right. Like there’s a fundamental mindset of, this is how the industry works. So this is how we work. And by the way, the deal we offer you is a little better than their deal. Therefore, we are the good guys. It’s like, no you’re still not the good guys.

DAOs That Buy Music Catalogs

You know, we’re starting to see these like DAOs dedicated to buying music catalogs in a very smart, intelligent way. Universal music group is not gonna spin up a DAO. At least not yet. Atlantic is not gonna do it. Interscope is not gonna do it. They’re gonna end up being LPs, investors in other DAOS that have this subject knowledge expertise that wants to spend time innovating that want to spend time experimenting, which will be beyond their grasp and beyond their wheelhouse of like central focus. So I think at some point we’re gonna see more of these like record labels. It’s like a dumb move, not to do it. It’s a dumb move, not to further explore what’s happening. And I may be dumb thinking, like, they’re not even doing, they’re probably already doing it. For the most part.

I’m sure every major has their kind of whatever they call it NFT department. Right. But I highly doubt they’re staffed by the right people. You know that, but just speaking to what you’re saying about like, hopefully, they would adopt in some way. When MP3 happened, like, I was, I was in London, I was very much part of a vinyl community. For someone to press up a 12 inch of some underground club music and sell 10,000 copies was not unusual. And that was pretty good money too. And then at the bottom end of the scale, it’s like you do a new 12 inch and maybe Japan pre-orders a thousand copies. And like now people struck to sell 500 units of like a super independent kind of release. So it was all about vinyl, sometimes CD, mostly vinyl, then MP3 comes in and vinyl, like, you know, we talk about the vinyl re resurgence because it died, it got killed. So early two thousand vinyl got killed and I saw distributors in London, they were the distributor for whole ecosystems of labels. And I saw them go bankrupt, like left right, and center because they didn’t believe MP3 was real music or if it’s not on vinyl, it’s not real or this is not even gonna take off. From our perspective now, 20 years later, MP3 underpins the entire music ecosystem. So yeah, I mean, that whole thing of adapt or die, I think is very real. Time will tell if web three is another of that kind of Z [inaudible]

Yeah. Yeah. Man makes a lot of sense. I mean, I’m rooting for you. I have full transparency. I contributed, I think 0.1 Eth if I remember correctly.

Thank you, Man. I appreciate you

Of course, dude. I know it’s not a lot, but hopefully, it’s something and I’m excited. I’m excited for your journey. I’m excited for people to be watching you because you are the example of what’s going on right now. Everybody’s building in public and I commend you actually for what you’re doing. I think it’s super cool. So Mark, before, before I let you go really quick any last words, any final messages because your crowd-fund is still going.

It is still going. Any support with the crowd-fund is amazing and that’s everything from a retweet to a conversation about it. Like, I know there are labels and artists seeing the crowd-fund and having the conversation and that really excites me. So yeah, I appreciate all the support with that. We have a few days left and are super hype to over the, over the goal line and just be able to get that project rolling. Beyond that, I’m here for everyone in the space to win and I’m seeing it happen. I’m seeing us all experiment in different ways, different models, but I really feel like, as a creator, whether it’s, music, visual, art, whatever it might be, if, if that’s your path action and there’s integrity and diligence there, then I want you to win. And in this new world, we’re all gonna make it right. I believe it. So I’m just happy to be part of the community and looking forward to what comes next.

What Happens if the Crowdfund isn’t Fulfilled?

Let me ask you this Mark final question. Because the crowd-fund is still going. What happens if it doesn’t get fulfilled?

That’s a great question. So if it doesn’t reach the goal, then I mean there’s different options. My first option is gonna be to wait a little bit for the market to recover and then I can reach the goal because the labels will come Fiat. So the goals are in Fiat. Beyond that, if I’ve gotta top it up myself, whatever has to be done? Like this is happening no matter what, the governance level of Mashy Beats with the buyback token, that’s happening, no matter what the next projects are happening, no matter what.

Outro

Amazing dude, I’m rooting for you, Mark. Where can we find you? Where can we learn more about what you’re doing before I let you go show yourself? Give us the details

I mean Twitter is the easiest place. It’s my initials. MDCL otherwise what do you mean otherwise? That’s where to find me, find me on Twitter. The pin tweet will always be whatever I really wanna let you know about and you’ll know what you’ll know where it’s at.

I love it, Mark. Good, man. Let’s do this again soon. We should definitely do one once the crowd-fund fulfills and you actually buy back the catalog that’s fulfilled and we’ll do a recap and if it doesn’t get fulfilled we’ll also do a recap and kind of learn about the process afterward and what need to kind of make it happen. So rooting for you, man. Let’s go!

Thank you, man. I appreciate you, man.

Of course. And we’ll cut it there. Amazing, bro. Cool. That was great.

Subscribe To Newsletter

Submit your email below to stayed tuned on all things web3.

More To Explore

Podcast Transcript

Releasing an EP in Web3 with Queen George

The modern jazz-pop artist joins Mint again to catch us up on her journey in web3 and how she plans to release her EP in a web3-native way.