Redefining Music Metadata and Decentralizing Spotify

MintSongs co-founder founders Dwight Torculas and Garrett Hughes share their insights on the current crypto music landscape, their work on creating a music metadata standard, and what a decentralized Spotify may look like in the future.
Mint Songs co-founders Dwight Torculas and Garrett Hughes share their insights on the current crypto music landscape, their work on creating a music metadata standard, and what a decentralized Spotify may look like in the future.

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Listen on:
Spotify | Apple Music | Google Podcast

Background

Mint Season 4 episode 19 welcomes Dwight Torculas and Garrett Hughes, co-founders of the music NFT marketplace, MintSongs.

In this episode, we discuss: 

  • 01:53 – Intro
  • 05:38 – What is Mint Songs?
  • 13:59 – Data-first Communities
  • 18:17 – Can NFTs Help Define the Future of Music?
  • 36:05 – Collection and Ownership
  • 38:54 – How to Convert Fans into Collectors?
  • 43:23 – The On Chain Revenue Model
  • 47:43 – What is Metadata?
  • 57:42 – How Does a New Artist Get Started?
  • 1:06 – How do You Price an NFT?
  • 1:25 – 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!


Garrett and Dwight, welcome to mint. How are we doing? How are we feeling? Thank you for being on.

Dwight Torculas: Yeah. I’m feeling personally electrified and ready to be on the legendary mint podcast.

Garrett Hughes: Likewise. Yeah. Enjoying East Denver.

Yeah. We’re here, Jesus. It’s been crazy here so far. I feel like between dead mouse and all the other side events, there’s just, it’s too much chaos. I’m personally exhausted. How are you guys keeping up?

Dwight Torculas: Yeah, man. It’s pretty hectic, but it’s just great seeing everyone you know, putting faces to Twitter PFPs is one of my favorite pastimes now.

I love it.

Garrett Hughes: I think like meeting all the web three music, people in real life has been like my favorite thing by far that’s what’s keeping me energized.

This the first time actually everybody’s like meeting one another, at least on your end, all the other like music companies, all the other music projects, the creators and whatnot.

Dwight Torculas: Just this trip, I mean, we met the Arpeggi folks. We met the catalog folks and I just met up with a decent folks. This is the first time we’ve met them in person, so, yeah.

Garrett Hughes: Yeah. And then meeting up with some of like the older heads that had been around the space, Jack Spilone Dan Fowler all those guys. Those were all my first time. Lenny young Spielberg. Lots of new interactions.

Intro

Well, look, I’m excited to have you guys on part of season four, all about music. So why don’t we just dive in? Okay. Garrett, who are you? Dwight, who are you? Give us a quick brief about yourselves. What are you guys building? I think we can start there

Dwight Torculas: So amazing. Yeah, I’ll start, shout out to my mom and dad for giving me a guitar way back in the day and starting this insane snowball of a journey in music. Playing in bands in middle school and high school and then getting into shows and festivals and, just being around music for my entire life was one sort of parallel happening. And then in another sort of parallel, like I was getting into crypto, like in 2013, just frustrated with why can’t I buy any stocks, like, and why can’t I participate in financial markets? So I got into crypto around then, and that has been sort of my life. And you know, now we’re here at Mint songs sort of colliding those two worlds together sort of handed off to Garrett to sort of tell his story and then we can get into Mint songs, but before we started mint songs, I was a venture capitalist. Just seeing startup companies and screening thousands of them. And luckily for me, I saw six of our investments become unicorn companies. So I spent a lot of my time just watching and following and observing how our founders went from zero to one and then went to scale was a key focus of mine for the last four years. So valuable and shout out to, to Kyle, Evan, Omar, and sued there at AAF for, for giving me that experience. Cuz it was so, invaluable, but yeah, handing it off to Garrett, to tell his story. Yeah.

Go ahead Garrett.

Garrett Hughes: Yeah. I got into crypto around 2016 or so ironically by Dwight, Dwight was always early crypto. Then that rolled right into the ICO phase, which was like, one of the craziest times in crypto. Around that time too, you know, me and Dwight went to the same college James Madison university and I was trying to like figure it out. I was doing photography work working with like Ferrari Lamborghini, like all these crazy brands. And you know, I saw that there was a finite end to that and like scaling to a professional photographers is a hard feat. And so, you know, I took a break, I lived in a tent for three months traveling across the US with my partner, we ended up in San Diego and then I was like, I should start building a career. And so I went into the web two space SAS went to early stage startup called House Call pro out in San Diego and I was like the temp engineer. And then when I left three years later, I was like the hundredth engineer and really just gotta grow with the company. Really exciting times towards the end. I was one of the lead engineers for the MarTech and internal tooling team. So I was like deep in the web too. Like how do we track these users? What are they doing? And you know, I was excited about what opportunities web three could happen and expose. And so yeah, this is like the convergence of two of my favorite things in life, which is music. I’ve always loved music, live shows is like one of my favorite things in crypto, which is like, yeah, the cutting edge of technology.

So you guys met in college then from what I understand,

Dwight Torculas: Yeah. We met in college at an organization called the Society of Entrepreneurs around that. Yeah, it was a group at James Madison where it was just a group of people that wanted to build businesses and yeah, just so fortunate to have met Garrett there while was there.

What grade was that? Was it like sophomore year or freshman year? Do you remember?

Garrett Hughes: I think it was my junior year. I did a victory lapse.

Okay,

Dwight Torculas: Nice. Yeah. His junior year, my sophomore year.

Garrett Hughes: Yeah. And that, I mean, that group had like some pretty cool things come out of it too. Like one of them was Dan Hunt and them, which was the first publicly traded marijuana stock. There’s just a crazy good group of guys.

What is Mint Songs?

Yeah. That’s really cool. So you guys, butted heads met and started mint songs. How did that come to life? Who approached who with the idea?

Dwight Torculas: It was me. After trading ICOs in 2017, 2018, I saw NFTs my first encounter with NFTs was de-central land. And then I saw crypto kitties and you know, for me, I was like, okay, Crypto Kitties, Dapper labs, they got an Andreen check, whatever they do next, I’m probably gonna, you know, focus hard on it and get involved real early. So NBA top shots was that project that they made next, I got in the closed beta and I was like, wow, this is truly game changing. Around the same time I got into nifty gateway and, you know, got the debut NFT art pieces of BEBLE, Mad dog Jones, FXCKrender, and really just participating in this space. Like for me, I was a huge basketball fan. So top shot made sense. And I was also a huge digital art fan. I was following BEBLE on Instagram since I was in high school, I saw him create NFTs. If this space has any legs to it, it’s gonna be, because one of the largest digital artists I follow is gonna enter the space. So, around that time, I sort of saw the writing on the wall. I was like, okay, music artists or digital artists, like this is gonna work for them too. That’s just a matter of time. So, you know, I approached Garrett and, you know, at the time Garrett and I were actually working on another music project, ht was called Channel. And basically what Channel was, it was an app where you connected your Spotify and based on the artist that you followed on Spotify, you’d see, basically a custom what we call an MTV channel of all the videos that those artists would post. It’d show the newest videos from the artists that you posted on YouTube. So really sort of connected those social graphs together. We were already actively building in the music space and then NFTs happened to me and I was like, Garrett, you gotta check this out, man. Like Garrett has a text on his phone from September of me, tell him about top shots and all this stuff. And I was like, Hey, no, one’s doing this for music yet. This is like our moment. The intersection of what we’ve been just doing up until this point.

Yeah. So when he hit you with that, what were some of the initial thoughts?

Garrett Hughes: Yeah. You know, I still hung around crypto, it had kind of died down after the ICO phase. And so I’d stayed close. I didn’t fully understand the use case at first. I think generally in life, like taking a step back and like just challenging your own thoughts is probably a good, good thing. And so I was like, I don’t understand it, but like I trust Dwight basically anything with the way is done and done well for me. So yeah. Let me explore it. And I think it took like probably two months of me, like really diving in starting to understand the space to a point where I was like, all right. Yeah, dude, I will quit my job. Let’s do this full time. Which was like a scary leap. Cause I was at a high growth SAS startup. That’s probably gonna IPO. There’s opportunity cost

Was it worth it?

Garrett Hughes: Absolutely. Without a doubt.

So what is mint songs? What are you guys after? What are you guys chasing? What problem are you trying to solve?

Dwight Torculas: What we identified early on was that there was just a barrier for artists to enter the space which were many different factors, whether it was like, you know, creating a meta mask and storing a seed phrase like that initial on-boarding was so hard and then you have the gas fees. So it’s like, how do you actually create the NFTs and sell them. All encompassing is just the education around both the artists and the consumer. So what Mint songs is trying to do at the highest level is help music artists build web three communities, and we do so by, you know, building the picks and shovels to really help an artist go to their fans and, and onboard them into the space with as little barriers possible. So that’s sort of our, two second on that. But I think, you know, since we started Mint songs back in January of 2021, we’ve just seen the space evolve. You know, we have a lot of awesome like peers in the space now who I sort of mentioned earlier.

I really intentionally, built with Mint songs is just a strong engineering core. A lot of what Garrett and I have built today is like a culture of, Hey, let us build a really strong core and really throw a bunch of darts at the table because right now we’re all still trying to find product market fit. And for us, we know that there’s like this end point, right? All music artists are gonna have NFTs and all music consumers are going are going to have at least one NFT. So like, how do we get to that point as fast as possible? That really played into our core ethos of let’s build an open marketplace, let’s build it so it’s web three native. So if mint songs does, die in the future, knock on wood, that all artists will still have ownership of the NFTs that they’ve created at least, you know, they’ll have the Providence of it. And then the consumers will have the ownership of those NFTs. So really promising these folks like this is the web three future, we’re not a custodial platform. You fully own the NFTs that you create with us. So that’s really the ethos and we’re waiting for that moment, right? Like we’re building towards it where, you know,, hundreds of thousands of artists will under the space, hundreds of thousands of consumers will under the space. And, our thought was let’s build an open space for for that to be a possibility.

So when you say building communities for musicians, what does that mean? So you talked about on-boarding and I also say this like as a dumbed down question, because I want to further define what a musicians, community may look like on chain. Right. So walk me through more of that thesis, like, okay, you guys are building and helping musicians build their communities, right. Through their songs through their tracks. So what does that really mean?

Dwight Torculas: Yeah, that’s a great question, Adam. To start NFTs are really the atomic unit of web three community, right? So whenever you create an NFT, you sell it or give it away to someone. And now it’s in an Ethereum address and know the biggest thing about web three in general, across music, art, what De-fi is really the data transparency. And for us, we tell artists, you know, if you believe in this decentralized future, having a web three community is so important today, because you’ll be able to, once you have a community of say a thousand folks that own your NFTs, you’ll have a thousand Ethereum addresses, you’ll eventually be able to layer an analytics layer on top of that, which will help you be data driven about every single future decision that you make. This is a web three community, actually understanding what your community, what your collector looks like, and then building things, and being data driven about what your community, hikes. So it’ll help you be sort of more successful in the long run, is sort of how I would sort of describe a web three community. It it’s more than just, oh, they’re just my collector. It’s just such a radical thing that we still haven’t fully sort of, adapted to, data play the grail of this whole thing.

Data-First Communitites

So data is a core part of that foundation. Obviously everything is on chain. Everything is traceable. Every interaction says something about you and your online identity. Right. Which is a whole other discussion, but Garrett, how do you think about community personally?

Garrett Hughes: Yeah. You know, I think where I stand with community is like, eventually everything will move towards community driven. Like even in the web two world, you’re starting to see like this influx of community managers and less paid spend. And so through that paradigm, like the ability to have a community, the ability to make data driven insights and actions off of that, like a use case could be of your collectors, what’s the average ether balance. Right. And then, you know, how to price NFTs for the future, right? Or like, you know, there’s token gate campaigns. There’s, activate once you get them in your community. So you can build all these cool social graph tools. Like there’s just endless possibilities. And so, you know, at the end of the day, everybody like customers are community. If you do it right, fans are community, it’s like a core ethos to building a successful anything.

You know, I met someone here at Eth Denver. I think at the forgot which event it was, it was yesterday. Today is the February 18th, yesterday, the 17th. He’s actually doing something really cool. And we talked about community right now, and I don’t know which platform he’s minting on. I just know that he’s gotten really nitty gritty with the development side and like smart contract hacking and is using chain link Oracles to basically bring streaming data on chain. And then his NFT unlocks experiences as his fans engage with that song more. So he has milestones to his songs. So if it hits a thousand, listens that NFT unlocks a new experience. If it reaches 10,000 listens a new experience, a hundred thousand, a new experience, et cetera. So it’s like a dynamic NFT, something similar if we’re talking about creators, Lamelo ball, he did something very similar with his drop in the NBA which my friend did but aside from that, when you guys think about community, like it’s more than just collecting an asset, it’s more than just collecting NFT. You guys, from what I understand and what I believe is like, we’re all betting on everything, or at least almost everything is gonna be on chain. That’s digital, right? From tickets to album covers to songs, to beats, to loops the list goes on and on and on. So you guys are focused more on the data layer, right. And providing them with tools and the minting assets and, and whatever’s required to build that community from what I’m understanding.

Dwight Torculas: Yeah. You know, that’s definitely a core piece of it. Right. Also, a handful of our artists are taking their songs and turning them into NFTs and they’re making more money on turning their songs into NFTs than they are on streaming. Yeah. So I think we also need to be realistic here, right? Like artists are going to, wholly get it into NFTs because there’s gonna be a money making opportunity to it. Like, I mean, that’s why they got into streaming, right. We could talk very high level here and very idealistic about what the future of music and NFTs look like. But for an artist, NFTs are just gonna be another tool to their toolkit. Right. It they’re gonna do touring still. They’re gonna, you know, sell merch. NFTs are just, you know, a digital merch strategy or a gamification layer to their brand, that’ll just be additive and allow them to engage with their community in a totally new way. That’ll sort of will enable them to create brand equity for their fans. Like, I think that’s also an important part. So, you know, I do talk idealistically about like what the end state looks like for an artist and the data driven motives for building a web three community. But, you know, at the core of it, like if we can help artists make more money so that they can keep doing what they want to do, then we increase the middle class and the creator economy. I want the creator economy to be larger. And I think a lot of the folks in the web three space that are building sort of at the intersection of NFTs and creative also think the same way.

Can NFTs Help Define the Future of Music?

Yeah. Why do you guys believe NFTs could define the future of music?

Garrett Hughes: Ooh, that’s a good question. I think NFTs open up, like I’m putting on my nerd hat for a second. Like I think NFTs open up this really unique composable layer that you don’t get in these isolated systems that you see in web two. What that really translates out to be is like the composability of this core unit can be abstracted over multiple different startups companies doing multiple different things to where you get, like, you know, all tides rise, all the ships and you have this really unique experience. It’s the whole ethos around having a shared data set. Right. And so you no longer have to rely on APIs. You no longer have to rely on reliability of, you know, insert whoever’s API here. Like you can just call on chain. Any company can build on top of that and you could just unlock a whole different class of experiences.

What’s your take?

Dwight Torculas: Yeah. You know, I think that what we experience, this is a core philosophy of mine. Like, whatever we experience in the physical space will be reflected into the digital space for sure. And you know, what artists do in the physical space is they sell physical merch to folks. And that comes in the form of hoodies, hats, shirts, vinyl posters. So, you k when people ask like, are NFTs are really gonna be game changing for music, artists is like, hell yeah, they are, they already do this in the physical spaces. It’s just the digital version of it. And if we ascribe to the fact that we are just turning, the physical digital, through, you know, FaceTime and in, in real life interactions and Amazon and retail stores, like this is just an, this is just natural. Like this is organic for them. It’s just an matter of just educating folks that this isn’t like this is crypto, whatever, black box, whatever, but it’s just a reflection of what we currently do.

Yeah. You know, another use case I wanna talk about on the point of community and why I think NFTs could define the future of music, the future of fan and artist relationships. So mint through an event here at Eth Denver on the 15th, this like web three creator meetup, and this really dope, like independent artist, her name’s Queen George, she performed. But it wasn’t just like an ordinary performance. It was done very strategically. So the tickets to actually get access to the meetup were through NFTs and all of her NFTs had Queen George on them. Right. So people were able to mint an NFT as a ticket, and they already became collectors of her without even spending a dime. Now on top of that, not only did they become collectors, but then they came to the meetup and watched her perform. And she had QR codes everywhere, like plastered everywhere so that they can one join her discord, right. And connect their wallet. And two mint a song that she was about to perform live. Right. And talk about like a new experience, because they were able to collect something from her without even spending a dollar, which you think about like barrier to entry, you think about funnels, right? You think about on-boarding users. What a interesting touch point to give something of the artist to the fan without really working for it as much. And then on top of that, tying in that entire experience by watching a live performance. So you collected her asset, you watch her perform live, you joined her discord and you could also bid on an NFT all under one cycle, both URL and IRL. Now, when you guys think about like data and community, these are all assets that are on chain, right. As more of these wallet addresses kind of buy other things, join other communities, vote on Snapchat, on tally, whether it’s off chain on chain voting, she can start building a profile around those addresses. Right. That extends way beyond just collecting an NFT. I’m guessing that’s how you guys are thinking about it as well. Right? Like the intricacy, the data, it’s an onion that you’re peeling. Right?

Dwight Torculas: Yeah. Adam, I wanna commend you on that. Like, that’s an amazing way to onboard new folks into the space. Right. And you know, Garrett and I launched a product recently called Posters that allows artists to turn tour posters and show posters into NFTs that, artists can give away to their fans for free. Their fans just need an email address to claim it. So really thinking through like, how do we create, how do we just lower the barrier for a music consumer to participate in the web three space? We’ve spent the last couple months just talking with our artists and, you know, there is a top of funnel problem where the artists are going to their fans and they’re saying, Hey, go check out my NFTs here. But you know, artists haven’t done the, the educational process. Like a lot of their fans just don’t know what’s happening yet. So what better way to educate folks than free NFTs, right. Like I always like to tell folks this experience of mine, like in 2013, I got my first free Bitcoin because I got it from Coinbase. So I’m like, okay, now look at where I am. So the idea of just making it as low friction as possible, and with your ticket example, it’s a great example, right? Like you create a moment, that moment is valuable. And for Queen George, like she’s able to now sort of see what her collectors are doing. Right. And that’s so powerful. So, you know, over time, I think more tools are gonna enable artists to just embed NFTs into their everyday processes.

And for us, we identified that artists already put out tour posters and show posters. So the next step is like, Hey, we, you know, we just go to artists and say, Hey, let’s just turn this tour poster into an NFT that you can give away to your fans and you can gauge your fans and see who’s interested in NFTs. And at the same time, collect email addresses and Eth addresses. Like it’s all about being genuine with on-boarding. I think on the consumer side, a lot of people are burned out from NF the NFT space because they see the headlines like 69 million RPS from people. And like, what the hell is this? Or is it just like the rich playground? And it’s not really like that. Right. Like, we’re trying to build tools for inclusivity. And a lot of artists are interested in, you know, building in the web three space from sort of this inclusive lens. Like how do I get my entire fan base to play in the web three instead of, you know just selling NFTs to folks. It’s like, how do we just let everyone in and then create experiences around that inclusivity is super important.

What do you guys think is stifling a seamless onboard process today? Beyond the obvious of just downloading a wallet, which is your port of entry into web three, right?

Garrett Hughes: Yeah. Yeah. I think there’s a lot of UX issues. Okay. We originally came in with the lens of like, there is a UX problem in web three, I think that’s broadly known at this point. And so like for us, it was communicating with fans and artists and like understanding the friction points. Obviously the wallet was one. So we introduced a tool called magic link where you can sign up with an email and get a non-custodial wallet. So if you do bridge into that area where you’re now, like deeper, you can get your private key and we never touch it. You can get your private key and go import it into meta mask. And now you’re like, you’re able to convert into that, I’ll call it more advanced user for better terms. There’s also things just around, like, how do you pay and transaction fees, you know, recently we shipped something called meta transactions. Effectively we will cover all of the transaction costs for interactions on our, on Mint songs. And so, you know, now you can come on, like, as an artist, you could come on with zero knowledge of web three, sign up with an email, get a non-custodial wallet, go mint a song without having to have madic, as we’re built on polygon and launch an NFT in like, I don’t know, five minutes, 10 minutes, if that

Solid. Who takes over the gas fees?

Garrett Hughes: We do really? Yeah. So with meta transactions, we cover the gas fees and with polygon, the gas fees are small enough to where it’s doable.

Manageable. Yeah. Interesting. We’re obviously super early. I try to remind people to zoom out for a minute, because when you’re in the day to day of crypto Twitter, when you’re, when you’re in a day to day of buying music, NFT is you are using products. You forget like how early we are sometimes. Right. And it’s interesting to see how I personally believe we haven’t even scratched the surface of what music X crypto really, really looks like. My next question to you guys is like, where do you imagine us being a few years from now? And let’s take this from like a two year point of view, because changes within a matter of hours. It’s like overwhelming at times, like what’s missing in music, X, crypto that we don’t have today that you see as obvious opportunities, for example.

Dwight Torculas: I always like an NFTs digital game assets, like folks that play video games, like understand this, right we are very early and I always like, you know, like you zoom out and see that the folks that are younger than us, like the 20, any somethings and the teens, they’re playing video games, they’re playing on apps and there’s in-app purchases and they’re used to digital assets, right. So when they become of age, they’re gonna understand this. It’s gonna be second nature to them. They’re gonna think of blockchain as just underlying technology, that powers what they normally do, and it’ll come natural to them, unlike to us, like, it doesn’t feel as natural to us. So that’s sort of one macro barrier that we need to sort of overcome. I always like to think, you know, what does the end state of music and NFTs look like when, you know, millions of artists are in the space, making NFTs and millions of consumers are in the space making NFTs, like, what does that actually look like? And what are the interfaces that we use so that we can interact with all these NFTs? One thing that we’re thinking is sort of, I always like to think of this thought experiment, right? Like you have an artist and, you know, they go to create a one of one NFT. Say this artist has been making, music for the last year or so, like at minimum that one of one NFT should be valued at, you know, 25 to a hundred dollars. Like, I feel like that’s like such a safe bet. And I think at scale, this is what it’s going to look like. Right. It’s not going to, I think, you know, where we stand in creating affordable NFTs, we’re really playing into that future. Like how, what does it look like when we’re maxed out in scale, maxed saturation with all these artists in the space? Like, what does it look like to be a consumer in this space? I think most folks are not gonna be interested in paying like over a hundred dollars, but because it’s in the 10 to a hundred dollars price range, most music, consumers already buy merch in that price range, they buy shirts, hoodies, like that’s how much they pay. So it’s like, oh, I can get a one of one art piece for my favorite artist for 60 bucks. Do I get a hoodie that is mass printed? Or do I get a rare art art piece from this artist? Now, when you think of, okay, $60 for, you know, this one on one art piece, and then you sort of add that to what artists are make on streaming. And then it becomes something very tangible. And I think one thing that I’m very interested in is, the reality where artists are making more money per song, turning them into NFTs and they are making and streaming because what happens is you have a flipping and artists get the leverage, they get the leverage against the labels. They get the leverages that get streaming so they can get better, better deals. And I think, you know, over time, artists are gonna still stream. They’re gonna, they’re gonna do NFTs in parallel, they’re gonna have way more leverage because they can show like, Hey, collectors like value my art this way. That’s sort of how I imagine the end state, when millions of artists are in the space. Garrett always talks about this, like the stripes core messages to increase the GDP of the internet. And you know, what we really want to do here at Mint songs is increase the GDP of music NFTs. Like how do we just make sure that we have the infrastructure set up so that we can scale to that many folks is really what we’ve set up over here.

Yeah. Garrett, anything add to that?

Garrett Hughes: No, I think that’s really, really thought out well I think one of the other pieces that’s missing that we’ll likely see in the future, Dwight’s actually been harping on this a lot lately. The consumption layer is not totally there. And so like consuming PFPs or other things like you have it on your Twitter, like, what is the consumption layer for music look like? I think that’s something that’s missing that, I think we’ll see within the next two years,

The first thing that comes to mind off the bat, you guys know Joey, right. Really good friend of mine, really talented web two web three developer. We’ve been like throwing shit at the fan for a while. Few months ago, we were like, okay, what if there was just an app that allowed you to connect your wallet and a music player would pop up and you could listen to the songs you collect. And it was just way too early, right? It was like way too early, because now we’re in the music NFT scene right now we’re in the hype cycle. People are collecting and people are understanding, but like, that’s the first thing that comes to mind when we think of consumption layer. Exactly. Like being able to actually listen to your songs offline, right. Being able to listen to them on airplane mode when you’re flying, being able to run with like that entire layer, enjoyment layer is missing. Right. That adds more character, more, more emotion, more appreciation to what you actually collect, because now it’s just sits in your wallet. Maybe it has value. Maybe there’s some type of staking protocol that can come down the line where you can extract value, you know off like lending pools, whatever that may look like. But yeah, now I’m just like thinking out loud for whatever reason, but I hear you, that consumption layer is missing that enjoyment layer for sure.

Dwight Torculas: Like what does it look like when all these NFTs sit in one place? And we can, you know, have a music streamer that aggregates not only mint songs NFTs, but sound and catalog, and every other NFT that sort of fits our metadata standard, you know, audio file album artwork, plus, you know, all these other metadata points, like when it’s in that, that format. And it’s at scale, we can create, you know, a decentralized Spotify that allows anyone to participate in music NFTs. You don’t even need to own a music NFT. You can make a playlist of all the songs that you wanna listen to because they’re all on IPFS, right? So you, as a non NFT owner can experience web three music without ever owning an NFT. The key difference here in this streaming app is that there’s this new sort of data layer where, you have the artist name, you have the, the track name, but then you have the owned by, and you’ll see owned by whether it’s the ENS Adam Levy. ENS, or, you know, maybe brands will want to capitalize on this real estate. Coca-Cola.Eth.

So it starts as, I think over time, we’ve hip to this. Like we’re hip to the music consumption, right? Lime wire, iTunes, Napster, Spotify, apple music, like we know how we like to consume music. So it’s just a matter of time before someone builds the aggregator layer that doesn’t feel open sea or wearable, or these marketplaces that focus on visuals, but focuses on the actual consumption where we can create playlists, where I can listen to a collection by like of Adams of all of his NFTs across sound and catalog in songs. And I can make my own playlists of my own NFTs that combine your NFTs. Right. And everyone else’s. So it really creates this new way to engage with music NFTs that feels more native to us. That feels more familiar is super important for that.

Collection and Ownership

Let’s talk about collecting for a second. Okay. Let’s talk about ownership. I’m looking on my laptop right now. Okay. Actually, before I even get into that, like the history of a song from pirating to then the iTune store people buying for 99 cents to a $1.20, right. To now one time payment, get access to a library of million songs to now collecting songs, right? This like historic timeline, Everybody’s just used to paying 12 99, 9 99 and getting access to the music. People are used to that. One, how do we get people to care more about actually collecting and going back to that previous date of buying a song for 99 cents and two is collecting for everyone?

Dwight Torculas: Yeah. That is a great question. Right. And I think humans are inherently collectors. We like to collect a lot of different things. I bet like most of our parents have like DVD collections. Sure. Right. Like, or CD collections, or maybe a bunch of knickknacks or beanie babies or whatever it may be. Right. We like to collect in the physical space. So when I think of folks collecting music NFTs, it really, music just has to resonate with you on that level for you to sort of make that step. Like it has to be, you know, I really like the music and I wanna support the artist because this is a medium that they wanna participate in. Plus I understand what’s happening here and I want to participate in the entire ecosystem by owning music NFTs. So there’s definitely like Like it’s hard to teach this, right? Like you can’t make someone a collector.

Which by the way, comes with like financial education of what ownership is

Dwight Torculas: A hundred percent.

Right. And I think we can all agree that a lot of people worldwide don’t understand financial literacy. Right. And let alone understand the concept of ownership, why people stay renting versus owning a house. Right. Despite the monetary issues that come with that. But I feel like that same mindset applies to owning something digitally as well.

Garrett Hughes: Yeah. Yeah. I think you’re right. Like music had such a weird kind of trajectory, right? Like it started off as like the ownership layer and then it was like, there was also piracy. So then it was like, eh, maybe this isn’t the right model. Then we moved into this streaming layer, which I kind of correlate with like renting. Now we’re moving into like a true ownership layer where there is no such thing as piracy. Right. You have like this token. This is the owner. Like sure. You could copy it, whatever, but you don’t have Providence. And so I think that education around Providence is really, really important. I don’t know how we get there in the long term. I think this is like a web three issue, like in totality. And so like how we explain to the consumer, like, you’re not just getting a picture of an ape. Right. You’re getting access to a community. You’re getting, it’s so many more things. And so like getting that out in the wild, I think is really important for like the broader web, not even web three music, just like the broader spaces as a whole.

How to Convert Fans into Follectors?

Yeah. Yeah. I’m still curious, like how, how do we get more fans to collect versus to just listen?

Dwight Torculas: Yeah. I mean, it could be simply a Trojan horse, like what you did with Queen George. I think one thing that I really admire about what NBA top shot did was that they obscured the blockchain. Right. They obscured flow and, you know, for many of the folks, they didn’t really care about the underlying tech. Yeah. And you know, they just cared about, oh, I can participate in NBA’s new collectible because, I’ve seen physical version, physical collectibles, right. Like the cards being, resold and sold for so much money on eBay. So there is like financial literacy problem to NFTs. But I think also if you obscured away enough, then people will just start participating in NFTs. Right. Like, I mean, you talk to any, like, I always like to think like, you know, my mom plays mobile games and for all she knows those mobile games could have an NFT layer, and she would just not know about it. So it’s all about like, good UI and good UX. That’ll enable sort of that adoption. I love that we’re sort of in this moment and talking NFTs today, but in the next couple years it’s gonna be obscured and we’re not even gonna say the word NFT. It’s just gonna be, this is a digital asset that we can verifiably own. And that’s sort of gonna be it. It’ll be as strange as saying, yeah, like my website is a database website, right. Like it’s just backend technology. My video game has a database that has these digital assets, not it’s, it’s just blockchain and it’s gonna be obscured. So I think it’ll just take time. Right? Like, and as time goes on, the literacy will go up. Folks will just start getting hip and then companies will get smarter and obscuring it. And I think there’s gonna be way more creative ways. Like we have even thought of one being the project that you’ve launched recently with Queen George. So, yeah, that’s sort of the thought there. 

The On Chain Revenue Model

You know what’s like starting to like light fuses in my brain right now, this entire conversation you name dropped a decentralized Spotify. Okay. One buzzword, another buzzword, decentralized Spotify. What does that mean? And let’s brainstorm on this for a minute. Okay. Talked about how Coca-Cola may end up buying a song and there’ll be an ownership property to it. Right, right. That will show up visually in the UX UI. When you talk about like a global database a global ledger where everything, every asset, every element sits in and is identifiable on chain. Then all you really have is just like an application layer. That’s able to aggregate all those NFTs and makes them consumable enjoyable, right. To listen, to and tie in that element of connecting your wallet and then being able to display all your music NFTs that you own. And then let’s say someone else streams that what is the revenue source that is getting attributed to the person who owns that song as well, despite the money that the artist made from selling that NFT or portion of that NFT and it’s right. Like that comes into like the legality of securities. Right. And the legality of ownership on chain. I think even the current state right now is ownership is very gray area on chain. Like, what does that mean when you buy a music NFT? Like, what does owning that mean? Like, do you own flat out all the rights associated with that, but wind it back, decentralized Spotify, having a global database, like a global music library where all music sits on chain. Yeah. I think about this because in front of me, I have like the data in terms of how apple music, Spotify, and YouTube pay out their they’re listeners. Right? So apple music actually pays out its listeners the highest amount per stream. So it’s what 0.08 cents Spotify is between 0.0026 to o.0049 cents And YouTube is 0.00067 cents. So what is the royalty model, the revenue model look like for on chain music beyond just collecting in that single transaction and the resale transaction that comes with that. I know these are like loaded ideas, but like, I’m curious to hear what’s your take on that?

Dwight Torculas: I think that, I mean, just, just like how it is right now, right. An artist is turning songs that they have on Spotify, into NFT. So it’s like two revenue streams, right. And you, take those songs and you turn ’em into physical merch with albums and vinyl, and you turn ’em into digital merch with NFTs. Going to your idea of decentralized Spotify. You know, what, what we’re really doing on the metadata standardization is allowing a future of, you know, layer, one of music where, you know, similar to Ethereum being a layer, one where people can build decentralized apps on top of Ethereum, we’re gonna create a layer, one of music where people can build the decentralized Spotify, the decentralized Pandora, that decentralized, whatever you want to build on top of that. But here’s a music base that is a totally where the economics are totally different where ownership is the pillar and the reason why those exist. The loaded question that you gave me, it’s more like, they’re gonna coexist and because they coexist there’s gonna be a push and pull and artists can decide whether or not they want to do it. I also wanna back it up a little bit. Like not all artists are gonna do NFTs. Like, that’s just the reality of it in the same way that not all artists do hats or shirts or hoodies or vinyl. Like it’s just gonna be artists that do it. And some artists that don’t some artists post on Spotify, some artists don’t and they just post on SoundCloud. Right. So it’s really, it’s really a matter of, do we really believe in this, that that ownership is going to be, a key driver of revenue for artists, right. Like going back to the money problem. Right. Like are artists actually gonna make, enough money from NFTs to make this whole thing work. And right now with, you know, we sort of see that it is kind of working. Like, even on catalog, like I was talking to an artist yesterday. His name’s Covex and he sold a couple NFTs of his songs for thousands of dollars. Right. Like that just overshadows all the revenue that he’s made from that song. Right. So, if the economic incentives are there, something is changing. So that’s sort of, that’s sort of the baseline there.

Yeah. Garrett. Any, anything to add to that?

Garrett Hughes: No, I don’t think anything on that. The metadata stuff is really important to build sort of these things. I don’t know if we wanna dive into that one.

I do. I do. Yeah. Okay. But, but keep it, keep it, keep it more like higher level, because I do have a bunch of questions on metadata for you guys.

Garrett Hughes: I think part of that, like building that decentralized Spotify or whatever it is, decentralized, you know, app that does something that’s cool with music NFTs. Part of that is you have to some standardization around what things are like, how do you define genre? How do you define like all these things that you take for granted in Spotify’s UI, like, there’s been a lot of thought data processing AI and machine learning to get to that state. And so, or just user input. And so like a key piece to get to that reality is defining this, you know, new NFT, metadata standard. I’ve been working closely with Jeremy over at catalog and we actually have a proposal that we’re gonna put up here soon that we’ve actually been working on this week at Eth Denver too. And so like having that standardization of like, Hey, these are the keys in the metadata, and these are the values so that we could build cool apps around this same standard.

What is Metadata?

Yeah, it. Let’s just get into metadata right now. So that was like a brief intro on metadata. What is metadata for those who don’t understand for the creators that are listening, that all they care about is just minting a song and finding a collector to support them? Why should they care about metadata?

Garrett Hughes: Yeah. So metadata is the underlying connection of the asset on chain. And so, you know, when you mint something, you could mint everything on chain. That would be very expensive. Currently, I don’t know, the last time I looked, if you want to upload like a 20 or 40 megabyte song, it was like a million dollars plus. And so what people do is you have this standard called token URI, which points to either IPFS an AWS server or some, some storage asset that is just a J sign of key value pairs. Of those key values, there’s things like, what is the album artwork? Or what is the song like, what, what are you even listening to? And so those keys usually, or those values to those keys usually point out to IPFS. So you have like this J sound that tells you how an NFT should be rendered, what should come with it? Just like these little pieces, ironically open sea kind of unintentionally set the metadata standard because everybody wanted to show up on open sea. Yeah. And so like, for example, something that’s just a clear indicator that maybe this is a little broken is to get song metadata, to show up in open sea and other data apps. You put it under a key called animation URL, which just like shoving a square into a circle hole type deal. It’s like, this is definitely not an animation. And it’s like, oh yeah, this key also takes like MP4’s four S and like, I don’t know all these other different things. And you’re just like, I

Which makes organizing the data in a UI point of view. Very difficult.

Garrett Hughes: So difficult. Yeah. So like, how do you filter that out now? Now, like, as DAS are building on, how do you know that something is a song versus a video?

So how do you achieve like general consensus around the metadata standards that you guys are coming together to build? That’s gonna be the standards that everybody’s gonna abide by versus let’s say a competitor for whatever reason, whoever it may be comes in the picture, like open sea and actually sets up metadata in their own way. Right. Because it suits their platform, their needs, their revenue model, whatever the, reason may be. And I may be talking outta my ass too, because I don’t understand the intricacies of like the technicality behind this. Right. You guys are the experts here, but is that a plausible scenario?

Dwight Torculas: Yeah. You know, so just to give some context, okay. You know, for an artist in web two, you go to a distributor, right? Like United masters or distro kit, or tune core, and you upload your songs to those distributors and they distribute your music to Spotify music, et cetera. When you upload it to a distributor, they literally have a form where you enter all the metadata. You don’t know it’s like that it’s the metadata, but that’s the process so that they can upload your song onto all these streaming platforms. So for web three, it’s a little bit different because we’re in some senses, building in silos, open sea has our own standard we have a metadata standard that we’re working with sound and catalogs. So it’s over time, once a standard is in place, it’s just gonna be obscured away again. Yeah. For sure. It’s not gonna be something that we’re like, oh, like, what is the metadata standard? And a lot of the inspiration that we draw for the metadata standard for web three music is from distribution platforms, they’ve done this, spent the last decades, like figuring out, you know, what metadata works for Spotify, apple music, et cetera. A lot of that is the same for web web three. Like, except there’s a couple more nuanced things. And shout out to the Arpeggi folks that are adding sort of like the credits to samples, right? Like, because we can track like samples on chain through our Arpeggi like, you can see, okay, this song consists of these samples from these artists. We need to add that into the metadata. This is unique to just web three, because we could track it all on chain. It now, because we’re building in silos, it’s disjointed, but this metadata standard that we’re working on allows us to sort of say, Hey, you know, we know that the reality of music in web three is going to allow us to create a layer, one of music where everyone can build on top of it, just like Ethereum is layer one. So this is what we’re gonna roll with.

Garrett Hughes: Yeah. Yeah. And I think like, to your question, like leading by example is really important. And so, you know, hopefully by some of the larger platforms, us, catalog sound like building this in, hopefully, you know, gains traction on others. You know, it’s inevitable that more and more music and NFTs startups are gonna come out. One of the big things that we aim for is backwards compatibility. So if you don’t support, it’s okay. As long as you fall back to like the open sea support, which basically everybody does right now. It’ll always quote unquote work, but there’s a way to iterate on it, get it to a better spot. And that’s really what we’re like this like V 0.01 that we’re gonna release here soon. Like that’s the goal.

Yeah. That makes sense. Let’s zoom out again, even further. Okay. This vision, this grandiose vision of a decentralized music landscape from publishing creation, collecting ticketing, merch, everything, what would actually prevent that reality from happening? You think?

Dwight Torculas: Yeah, that’s a great question.

What’s the Achilles heel?

Dwight Torculas: I mean, we’re founders of a web three music company. We can’t be thinking about these things. I’m kidding. Like, I mean, I think there’s a couple things.

If anything, I feel like you should be thinking about these things, which might actually be an advantage that others may fall down and may fall trap to.

Dwight Torculas: I think one thing that is very apparent now, is technology addiction, right? Like, I think that, you know, some people do suffer from technology addiction and NFTs pull you back onto your phone because you need to, you need to keep up with them and you need to see what your artist is doing. And I think, as we keep going down this path of software eating the world and technology just being engrained in every piece of our life. I think one thing that could be a possible Achilles heel for NFTs is folks just wanna unplug. I think there could be a reality where, you know, I mean, I’m already, like some of my friends are just like, yeah, I deleted Instagram. I deleted Snapchat. I’m sure we all have friends that have done that. So same thing with NFTs. Like sometimes you might just wanna unplug and just sell all your NFTs and just like live in real life. Right. So I think, the burnout from it is like a real thing. And it’s not just with NFTs it’s technology in general, and making sure that we teach folks, that you just gotta take breaks. You know, it’s, everything’s good in moderation. Don’t go to the extreme and NFTs are just the same way. But it could be a reason why you get addicted to your computer. You’re checking your trades, you’re checking the discords on what your NFTs utility could be. I mean, think of like, at scale, how many artists do you follow on Spotify? Maybe like, I probably have hundreds, right? And like, we follow hundreds of people on Twitter. What if everybody had their own smart contract deploying their own NFTs? Now you had a wallet that just had so many NFTs and you’re glued to it. It’s just, it makes it a very, dangerous situation that can lead to technology addiction. So that’s definitely one that I’m very, you know,

So moderation.

Dwight Torculas: So moderation, man. Yeah.

With everything balance

Dwight Torculas: Balance, man.

What about you, Garrett?

Garrett Hughes: Yeah, I think for me, one of the things that really stands out my partner she really believes in like living in the physical world, like as much as possible. And so something I see is kind of on the same line as like, it’s a potential scary thought to think that at some point your digital world may be more valuable than your physical world. And I think that may cause some friction at scale you’ll have people that will be anti technology as a whole, but definitely anti NFTs metaverse et cetera. And so like that will be a friction point that we will have to overcome and like find a good middle ground. I think as we scale to the next billion users that come into the space.

How Does a New Artist Get Started?

Yeah. So we had a lot of macro type of like discussions. Let’s get nitty gritty for a minute. Okay. How the hell do you get started As a new artist, as a musician, that’s being inspired by this new movement. As someone who’s seeing the live shows the NFT Tickets. They’re seeing their favorite musicians that are on the same up and coming path, as they are tap into this new world, make money, build a niche, web three level audience. What’s your advice to them on how to get started? Okay. Join, come to mint songs. Okay. We know that come to mint songs,

Dwight Torculas: You know, the best thing that you can do as an artist is really experiment. I always tell artists, remember when you joined Twitter for the first time or joined Instagram for the first time you experimented with the content that you put out on these platforms, web threes, very similar experiment, go to mint songs, go to catalog, talk to the sound guys, do something there. Do a custom smart contract. Go on open, sea, like read as much as you can, maybe participate in DAOs participate in NFTs yourself. Literally just try it all. I think that’s not just for music artists, but generally for folks that are interested in the NFT space, just try it. Right. Like just try and for us on Mint songs, we lower the barrier as much as possible. Like we said earlier, like you just need to sign up with an email address and we cover the gas fees. So you can create an NFT without ever touching crypto, we’ve obscured all of that so that you, as an artist can can easily onboard. I think that’s really the key here. Outside of joining Mint songs just get involved in the community, like, you know, talk to other artists that are doing this. You know, for us, we’ve really spent a lot of time cultivating a culture that is welcoming and allows artists to talk to other artists in our Discords talk to other artists in our Twitter spaces so that you can learn and better understand what this whole thing is all about. It’s all about education right now. And you know, the best thing that we can do as a company is be as welcoming as possible because it is very scary for a lot of folks. It’s like, what the hell is this? Why are we all talking about this? Why are we doing it? But if there’s a hand reaching out to you and, and they’re here to say, hello, welcome to this space. Like, it just feels more comforting. Instead of it being sort of most artists seeing the headlines and seeing, you know, crypto, you know, Mount GOs hack, you know what I’m saying? Like this is already ingrained. And when you approach NFTs, it’s like, okay, how’s this different than, you know, the things that I’ve heard on the news, like drug dealers using crypto, whatever. Like there’s so many of these factors playing against an artist. And the best that we can do is, be as welcoming as possible and say, Hey, you know, like we understand this might not be for everyone, but if it’s for you, we’re here to help you as much as we can.

Yeah. You know, there’s one like piece of advice that Daniel Allen who’s been a part of season three, season four. When I first met him in person and we, like, we caught up, I think, had like lunch together in Sherman Oaks. He’s like before I even, I minted anything before, before I touched my wallet that went to proceeds to fulfill gas fees, just to like, bring something on chain. I took a step back. I put a pin in it and I got involved in the community as much as I can. Now I hate the word community as much as I love it. It’s such like an abstract word. And when you think community, like, what does that mean? Exactly. So I told this to Queen George, cuz she’s now getting involved in, in the music NFT side. She’s been in it since like April 2021, but I told her, get into FWB join forefront, join seed club, buy some NFTs, right? Join those discords build a name for yourself, make friends. It’s all about meeting people, right? Because the tighter relationships you build for yourself, right? The better prepared you’ll be when you’re ready to launch your own thing. Right. And the number one growth hack that I tell people. And I’d love to hear your point of view because you guys talk about community and you guys wanna help build community. I mean, songs is the number one way to growth hack your face in a new community is come to conferences, come to Eth Denver, come to Bitcoin, Miami, come to NFT NYC meet all these people, get to know the founders, get to know the other creators and just get involved. Right. What have you guys seen be other like, really like really legit strategies that creators have approached new musicians have approached trying to kind of break into web three.

Garrett Hughes: Yeah. Yeah. That’s a good question. Another discord that I see, that’s really starting to gain popularity is water and music. I’m sure. You’re sure you’re hip to it. Jerry Hughes been putting out everything from research to like pricing strategies. Like there’s a lot of really good information there. Just a really good community of everybody from like developers to creators, to artists. I think all the things you named, like make sense, right? Like join the community, go like do things. I think another strategy that I’ve seen, that’s like really worked well, spotty wifi, like his thesis was join into these communities, buy into them, whether it’s punks or apes or, you know, cool cats, whatever it is. And just like start engaging with the community and build around that. Like he did some songs that were specific to these projects and sold it as NFTs. And like, that’s a good strategy. Like you can’t fight that. Like you’re embedding yourself in the community, you’re utilizing that community and then you create for that community and then the community gives back. Yeah,

Dwight Torculas: Yeah, yeah. And you know, I also want to bring it down to earth a little bit. Like I totally understand that a lot of artists offload all this energy to their management co’s right. Or their labels or, you know, they because artists just wanna focus on creating art. So, you know, when we have these expectations for artists to go to, you know, conferences or go show up in Twitter spaces or comment on Twitter, go to discord it is like, that is something that they’re just not hip to doing at least like most of them. Right. So it’s like, okay, we’re throwing NFTs at you. And then we’re throwing, Hey, join these Twitter spaces, join these Discords. It’s like, this is overwhelming. Yeah. So, you know, I think it’s not like a one size fits all sort of scenario, right? Like you as an artist, just need to navigate it yourself. Some artists will just purely want to create art NFTs. Right. Without any utility, they don’t wanna, you know, bring the Patreon model into their NFTs. As in, you know, they don’t want to like fulfill the utility of NFTs because they, you know, purely wanna create art. Yeah. So we gotta understand and empathize with that, that not all artists want to add utility to their NFTs. Some, just simply want to create art pieces and allow folks to buy it in the same way that you go to an art gallery and see an art piece and you just buy it. It’s not like, when you buy a Picasso, you’re calling him up. Like, Hey, where’s your discord man. It’s not a one size fits all. And I mean, if you are an artist and you do put in the time to grind and do these things, you’re gonna be rewarded. So I also like to sort of say that because yeah, if you are a music artist listening to this right now, just know that you are in the top 0.000001% of artists that actually are thinking about this and entering the space. Yeah. Like if you enter the space right now, you are so dang early and what happens in,I think over time, folks that enter the space during this call, this like the golden, the golden era, right of music NFTs. This is just the first, like we’re still in the first year of music NFTs. You’ll be remembered as an OG if you create a music NFT today. So just keeping that in mind, if you believe in this decentralized future that, you know, you will be remembered and commended for being a pioneer in this space.

How do You Price an NFT?

I think that’s really beautifully said, I want to ask you also, how do you price a music NFT? So there’s one of ones there’s additions but also scanning through mint songs. There’s ones that are selling four, $7, a dollar $20, $3,000. Like what’s the price psychology behind that. Maybe we don’t have to get so psychological, but just like, what are the, like the mental models behind publishing and pricing a song?

Dwight Torculas: Yeah. Garrett, and I like to say, we’ve just created a canvas for folks to, decide on their own, right? Like if you wanna sell one of one for, $25 or a thousand dollars, you can do that. Or if you wanna sell additions at you know, a dollar piece, you can do that. It’s all about allowing an artist to decide what they wanna do, right? Like over time, it’s going to figure itself out, like there’s gonna be trends. Right now, there are a couple trends, like artists are, you know, selling out collections if they do additions at a dollar a piece and they are able to start building web three communities that are on-boarded through cheap NFTs. So they’re able to sort of benefit and play and start cultivating that early on. Pricing is just sort of this it’s arbitrary, right? Like, if you buy a hoodie from, you know, Gris, you know, today, and a couple years when Gris is even larger, you know, that hoodie can resell for like a couple hundred dollars on eBay. Right. And it’s like, wait, why didn’t gris just sell that hoodie for $500 today and capture all that. Right. It’s very arbitrary and we’re just gonna let the artist decide, what their art is worth. We had a Twitter space the other day and an artist asked the same question, like, what should I price our NFTs? And, you know, I told him, you have to value your art in however way you want to. We have guidance. We always tell folks like the grail of this is the data play because that’ll help you make more money over the long run. So is it worth it to sell cheap NFTs today? So you build a web three community of Ethereum addresses. So you can, you know, run the data layer on top of it later, or, you know, do you wanna play and just sell your NFTs at one of ones sell ’em, for a hundred something dollars, right. It’s going back to it. We’re just creating a canvas, you decide as the artist and we’ll just rock from there.

Any thoughts, Garrett?

Garrett Hughes: Yeah. Yeah. I think Dwight touched on something too, like increasing the barrier of entry and inclusivity is like really important at the core. One of ironically, one of the artists that recently minted on our platform, his name’s Martini. I grew up with him, he’s moved out to LA and started doing well for himself and know he came to us and he’s like, Hey, look like I actually don’t care. Like the, money’s not a big deal to me. Like if it’s a dollar $5, $20, a hundred dollars, I more care about selling it out and making sure that all of my fans can collect that. Right. I thought that was really powerful. Like less us care about the money that directly comes and more care about the community that you’re you’re building in ensuring that you’re not setting up barriers to where they can’t enter, especially as this like Genesis NFT, I thought was really, really unique,

Dwight Torculas: Right. There’s a trade off. I always like to bring up early days of Nifty gate way when they did the dollar drops, right. Because anyone that claimed or bought one of those dollar drops just won. They became winners. And, you know, for people he sold a hundred NFTs for a dollar, a piece. And anyone that has held since then now have an NFT, that’s the floor price is worth like $200,000. So you’ve created winners. And now that that person has that NFT they’re going to be forever, tied to your brand. And they’re incentivized to keep talking about your brand. So, you continue to be successful because it pulls value back to their own NFTs. So you create this environment of winners.

And it’s not like monetarily quantifiable, right? Like when you make a winner, you don’t know how much ROI you’re gonna get from that person. But I think what’s good with martini’s example is like, he wants to create winners, right? Like, and if you create winners, you’re gonna win over the long run because you create fans that are just that more closer to you, and isn’t that the whole thing with NFTs, like when you sell an NFT you’re strengthening the artist fan relationship. So this is P that example with Martin is purely strengthening the artist fan relationship, giving his brand equity way, letting his fans win with him when he wins his fans win. It just creates a really really good environment.

Yeah. You set a foundation for your collectors to do really well

Dwight Torculas: Exactly.

Royalties and Percentage Splits

When you think about royalties and percentage splits, what is the appropriate percentage to put I’ve seen anywhere between 10 to 20%, I’ve also seen 50% and what’s the mental model behind that, do you think?

Dwight Torculas: Yeah, so we’ve standardized it on Mint songs, it’s 10%. Okay. We sort of standardize it at 10% because one we’ve sort of before, you know, standardizing it, we talked to a lot of digital artists in the space, selling NFTs on nifty gateway and super rare. And we’re like, what do you think is a fair standard? Like, what do you think is a fair royalty here for secondary sales and perpetuity? And generally came back with 10%. So one of the reasons why we standardized it goes back to our core ethos of how do we just lower the barrier, right? If you were an artist setting your royalties, what is the best one to pick? It’s just another step, another mental hurdle in your head to figure out like, okay, what is this? We just wanted to take that, take that variable out. Eventually we have a plan to open that up, right now our artists are totally fine with it. When there is that demand, we’ll do it. Right now our artists are totally fine with that.

Yeah. That makes, that makes a lot of sense. I think that’s a good place to to also end off. But before I let you go, what can we expect from Mint songs in the next year? What’s up and coming beyond giving more flexibility on royalties. Like you just dropped walk me through that.

Dwight Torculas: Yeah. So in the next year, this is gonna be a big year, man. I’m sure. So we raised our seed round in December from Castle island ventures, north island ventures, Coinbase ventures, Dapper labs, Polygon, Grammatic, iOS, G Freestyle, a lot of great folks 

Congrats, awesome,

Dwight Torculas: Appreciated, appreciate, and some amazing angels too. Like Christina Belchermini and Jeff Renaud. Like one thing is for certain is that this is gonna be a very it’s gonna be a pivotal year. Like, you know, we are a startup, we’re still trying to find product market fit. And, you know, luckily we have a great edge team to throw darts at the board and, you know, whatever sort of sticks we’re gonna lean into. So expect more experiments out of us expect, you know, we’re gonna keep driving, you know, driving more products that make sense for artists and driving more experiences that in real life experiences that make sense so that we can really bridge the gap app here. Like it’s all about bridging it’s all about education and tools that we put out will sort of resonate with those two ideas.

Garrett Hughes: Yeah. I think the short term you can expect in the coming weeks, better discovery tools more marketplace things such as filters, search global search you know, filtering by price, primary, secondary, a lot of these tools to help artists kind of show up for fans. And so we’ll address those. We’ll also just continue experimenting, like Dwight said, you know, things around interaction are really, front of mind and things along, just a lot of different experiments around a lot of things. Some of the things we talked about today and just, how we can try things that nobody else is doing and seeing if that makes sense or not. In March we’ll have some more things around a campaign we’re running, so stay tuned in what, two weeks.

Outro

Awesome guys, exciting times. Where can we find you now? Like each of you individually?

Dwight Torculas: Yeah. You can find me on Twitter @torculas. I thought it was a good idea to just smash both my first name and last name into my Twitter handle. Now that’s my handle for Snapchat, Instagram, everything else and then for mint songs, at mintsongs.

Garrett Hughes: Yeah. I’m Garrett.mintsongs.Eth on Twitter or at underscore Garrett Hughes. Nowadays I think all of web three is on Twitter.

Yeah. Guys, thank you so much.

Yeah, I appreciate it. We have to do this again in a few months and do a recap, a check in and until then. Yeah,

Dwight Torculas: Until then,

Garrett Hughes: Appreciate it.

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