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Mint Season 4 episode 22 welcomes music NFT collector and crypto OG Cooper Turley (aka Coopahtroopa) who rationalizes his conviction for spending 100 ETH on music NFTs to date. He came by my hotel during Eth Denver for our first in-person conversation, making this session the longest episode in Season 4. There’s just too much alpha in one sitting, I hope you can handle it.
In this episode, we discuss:
- 00:36 – Intro
- 03:56 – Music Projects Dominating The Space
- 07:08 – How to Price a Music NFT
- 11:17 – Why Treat Music NFTs as Collectibles
- 14:18 – How to Get Started as a Music Creator
- 15:34 – Understanding the Music NFT Movement
- 21:26 – Web3 Protocols in the Music Industry
- 24:58 – Getting Started at Audius
- 28:18 – Building Funnels to Grow Your Collector Base
- 35:04 – What is LA’s Crypto Culture Like?
- 37:46 – Web3 Music Platforms and Opportunities
- 48:26 – How to Create Digital Emotional Experiences Around Collectors
- 50:29 – End Goal with Collecting 100 Eth Worth of Music NFTs
- 58:30 – Open Sourcing The Entire Music Industry
- 01:03:22 – Music Streaming in Web3
- 01:04:46 – The Consumption Layer of Music NFTs
- 01:08:31 – Tokenomics: Risks Associated with Overwhelming Artists and Fans
- 01:21:19 – Daniel Allan and Designing Overstim’s Tokenomics
- 01:24:13 – Building Bridges Between Web2 and Web3
- 01:28:18 – 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!
Cooper, welcome to mint. How are you doing my friend?
Cooper Turley: I’m doing wonderful. Thank you very much for having me.
What a pleasure. Eth Denver.
Cooper Turley: Yes, sir.
What is this your fourth Eth Denver?
Cooper Turley: Yeah, fourth one?
How has it been different?
Cooper Turley: It’s a lot bigger now. 2017 was like peak of the last bull market. That was my very first crypto conference ever. And so now we kind of saw this law 2018, 2019. 2019 was epic, but it just wasn’t really talked about much because it was kind of during the bear market. 2020 It was virtual hackathon. 2021 was virtual now we’re back. So it’s been a long time coming.
We’re back. The virtual was pretty sick, though. I prefer to be in person. But TBT to the virtual one. Alright, man, welcome to the podcast. This is your second time being on mint, I think is our fourth conversation having, is our first in person conversation, right? You are a part of season one, iconic season, the Genesis season, for season four on all things music, what a better person to have. Alright, dude, dive right in. For those who don’t know you. What does the world need to know about you? How’d you get into crypto? We can start there.
Cooper Turley: Cool. Hey, guys, my name is Cooper. I’ve been in crypto for about five years now music for closer to 10. I’d like to say I’m a curator. You know, I’ve been spending my whole career trying to find trends early on help people contextualize that. So what that takes the form of is an operator and investor, I help creators learn how to use technology, specifically web three, I invest in the platforms that allow them to do so. And so the last couple years of my life, been working with crypto projects, launching tokens, you know, helping to start companies helping to start Daos and really just making sense of what’s happening. And these days, I’m really excited about music and NFTs. It’s a passion of mine I had long before crypto graduated with a music business degree. And so now taking all that same culture and community ethos that we had in web three, and applying that specifically to music as a canvas.
Nice. So you’re really big on music, like really, really big. If there’s one thing that you should know about Cooper, if you’ve seen him publicly online is he shows music a lot, we are in a group chat with a bunch of other DJs. All we do is share playlists and songs with each other. That’s more internally but externally also collect a lot of music NFTs. At one point you were the biggest collector on sound.XYZ. And prior to sound, you’ve just been super supportive to new creators and new artists coming into the space. So I want to take this conversation from different angles, but primarily focus on music X crypto, okay. And I think a good place to start is really understanding what’s the current state of music X crypto, you got started on audience. Yeah, right. And you also move to LA from what I remember, with this vision of getting really involved in the Creator economy getting infused in the music scene over here, you had a big, big, big vision and audience was a big part of that. Yeah. So talk to me more through your early days at audience and how that kind of played into you understanding the current state of music NFTs.
Cooper Turley: I started to see that music offered a very new lens into web three, you know, most people that are interacting with it do not have experience with crypto, you know, most of them don’t have a wallet, most of them have never used open scene, most people don’t know a uniswap is. And so it forces you to think about crypto in a very different way. I think that opportunity for me to come to LA and have conversations with creators who had large followings, but have not been active in web three, really challenged me to think differently about my own experience, I started to realize that Meta mask is a really difficult while to get set up with, joining a Discord server is very difficult to most people. And so when you start having these conversations around onboarding, you focus a lot more on the fundamental layer of buying your first NFT joining your first community, I think through that a project like audience was really exciting to me, because they really were focused on mainstream adoption. You know, today audience has 6 million monthly active users, I was fascinated by the idea of being able to use a crypto app with an email and password and never knowing that there’s crypto under the hood. And so, I guess just to round that out, I would say that was the very first, you know, music crypto project that had a fundamental impact on my career. And since then, we’ve seen sort of a blossoming explosion of 50 plus projects, all focused on music times, crypto, you know, a big influx of this sort of NFT wave. And I think that’s kind of the current state of music. NFT landscape is a lot more tokenization of audio files.
Yeah, makes a lot of sense. I’m gonna quickly pause to step a little bit back just so I’m seeing the wave files are there like hitting yellow. So speak again, really quick.
Cooper Turley: Check, check, check.
Music Projects Dominating The Space
Solid. Cool. So on that topic, okay, understanding the macro landscape. What are the current projects kind of dominating the space right now that are empowering musicians, empowering, empowering artists? What are you seeing?
Cooper Turley: I’m really excited about catalog and sound as kind of the to premiere on chain collecting projects. So this is a ability for you to basically collect a tokenized audio file. I think that in and of itself is very innovative. For those who don’t know, catalog is a one of one NFT marketplace. You take a song, you upload it and you tokenize as one of one, sound is more of a release platform for new music. So instead of one of ones you have one of 25 typically but just music additions, you know it’s a little bit more social in nature, you can leave a comment, and then more broadly, Royal has started to ramp up they’ve had two drops so far, but I’m really excited about their platform because it allows you to collect music at scale, you know, their entry price on a music NFT is somewhere closer to 50 or $100. And it comes with ownership rights to. So, then NFT not only is a collectible version of audio, it also has some of the master rights from that song tied to it too.
Do you prefer ownership or pure collecting?
Cooper Turley: I don’t think it’s and or question. Okay, I think that ownership is a premium, but I don’t think it’s required for something to have value
When do you prioritize ownership? When do you prioritize collecting?
Cooper Turley: I prioritize ownership, if it’s someone that’s not very tapped into web three, you know, if they’ve had a legacy brand that’s performed? Well, you know, there’s going to be consistent cash flows. I think that’s a strong signal. But I actually prefer collecting new artists who are going to make a career on the back of web three, because I think that is fundamentally more important than ownership rights to legacy streaming applications.
Yeah, you know, one thing that’s like, very, very vague, and we talked about this yesterday, when good karma put together showcasing Eth, Denver, this topic of ownership, right, and you’re obviously very vocal on the whole thesis of the ownership, economy, in everything that kind of funnels underneath that. And a lot of what we were talking about, a lot of what Jeremy CC Grady, Daniel, yourself, a lot of you guys were talking about the sake of collecting music NFTs, for the sake of appreciating that art as art the same way you collect a piece of art, a Picasso, whatever it may be, right? And do you think society has like a weird understanding around? Okay, why do I need to collect an audio file? Like I understand the concept of collecting physical piece of art, I may be more in tune with understanding of what it means to collect a digital piece of art, but an audio file? How do you make sense of that?
Cooper Turley: It’s really no, you know, I think we’ve all had experience collecting trading cards, we’ve all had experience playing video games and collecting digital assets, we’ve never really had the opportunity to collect audio, I’d say the closest analog to that is vinyl. And even that’s a very small segment of the consumer population. Most people when they listen to music, they just go on Spotify and stream it, they actually don’t even know what artists they’re listening to. But for someone that has a very strong affinity with music, they’re going out there buying records, they’re buying vinyl, they’re having people over to have listening parties. And I think that demographic is what’s best suited for music and NFT. And as we start to make that price point more accessible and show more of the social experience that can come from collecting audio together, I think that’s when that demographic will make a lot more sense to a lot more people.
How to Price a Music NFT
What’s an acceptable price point? Like, how do you determine how to price a song from a creator, an artist point of view?
Cooper Turley: I don’t think there’s a broad stroke way to do it. I tell creators, you should always list something at the lowest price that you feel comfortable selling something at.
Because there’s platforms like mint songs, for example, where you see, like prices for beats, loops, single editions, one of one, whatever, going anywhere, anywhere between like 99 cents to $7 to $100 to $2,000. And you’re kind of just trying to understand, like, What the hell is going on. Me as a collector, and I feel like many other collectors that maybe want to start accumulating more on chain wav files, right? They find themselves maybe in a position where I don’t know, what’s an appropriate price for what I want to kind of collect. Right? So you see like sound kind of standardized, either you do a point one drop with 25, editions 30, editions, 100 editions, catalog does very much the super rare model where you have one on ones and like the canonical format of a song starts as a one of one. But I don’t know I’m trying to make sense more from like an artist point of view. Like if someone wants to jump into the space right now, how do they think about price psychology? How do they think about what they should price their work at? Should they do additions? Should they do one of one’s? should you know what I mean? Like it’s like, it’s a very gray area and part of it like surely people are experimenting as we go. But give me more context on that on that train of thought.
Cooper Turley: Yeah, it’s a great point. To start off, I would say there is no standard around releasing music and web three right now, you know, there’s no tried and true model. And there’s no sort of expectation on how to price your work, I think we’re starting to see a little bit more standards emerge around one of ones and additions. So on catalog, you’re seeing one Eth is a pretty standard list price is just like a starting point. And on sound, as you mentioned, point one is sort of a base spark, entry price is important. I think something that’s really interesting to highlight there is we both called that out in terms of Eth and not dollars. And so pricing these assets in the native chains that you’re releasing on, I think is going to be more of a standard. So if you’re releasing on catalog, you’re thinking what Eth price, am I releasing this at, if you’re starting to release music on slot, I think we’ll see people doing music NFTs in terms of one soul. And so when you start to not think about dollars, and instead think of Eth, I think it becomes a little bit different. But I would say for any artists that’s getting started today, you know, don’t be afraid to start lower and build up your floor over time. You know, I think it’s actually much better for you to start with a lower price point get a couple collectors under your belt and slowly start raising that over time rather than come out of the gate swing in with a five Eth sale and probably not have any bids for a long time, which is more difficult for you to kind of conceptualize why this is valuable and you know build a relationship with collectors that I think is so important.
you know it’s really cool. Verta was on a Verta was on Season Four as well. Okay, we talked about basically how do you price a song and she put out this like macro point of view blog post of her journey in crypto and how she kind of got around the challenge of okay, what is my art, what is my wav file? What is my song worth? The best answer that I’ve heard today is let the market decide. Let the people who enjoy music who enjoy collecting let them decide on what to buy and collect your art for. The way you kind of start with that is just leaving an open bid and putting a timeframe on that right and seeing what the market will kind of like take it for, right? Is that like a model that you’ve seen kind of prevail? I know Verta is like she introduced that model to my head. Who else? Have you seen kind of experiment with that? What is the success been around that? Taught me more through that.
Copper Turley: Yeah. So I think reserve auctions are important, because you have a minimum price that something starts at, I think that’s just fundamentally important from an Artist to fan relationship. Because if you have an open order book, you know, when I just go in and put a one Eth bid on something, there’s a world in which that artist is really offended by that bid. You know, if I say I think this is worth one eth, like, oh, wow, Yeah, like, Fuck you like this should be at least like a five Eth record, you know, and I’ve had experiences like that collecting crypto art, you know, where I put out a bid for something like, Oh, hey, my floor is actually five. But that’s not stated, because it’s not in an auction mechanic. And so using that auction mechanic, I think allows them to be a lot more realistic price discovery. And to take that a step further, the best way to have that happen. In the case scenario, we’re talking about, you know, Malik, Mader. This was his last two records, he started them at point one, and just let the market do its thing. You know, and he’s had some sales at some pretty high price points. But starting from a point of saying, go figure it out yourselves. Like, I’m not trying to ascertain what this is worth. I think it introduces some interesting game theory where, you know, the market will self affiliate. And to your point, I think that’s actually a really beautiful thing.
Why Treat Music NFTs as Collectibles
Yeah, you know, I try to still like wrap my head around the value between collecting to collect and collecting to own and really make money off an asset, which one has a lot of regulatory uncertainty, and the other one is just like, really fun. Like you’re collecting a baseball card? Yes. I’m personally in favor on the side of like, being able to co own something right? In Sure. Maybe I need to upfront a lot of money to actually see some valuable return from it that you cannot for the economics to make sense. But I’m curious to hear your point of view. Like, did you participate in the both blow drops?
Cooper Turley: Yeah, I did.
Okay. And you participated in sound.XYZ, catalog, mid songs, etc. What was more like impactful experience?
Cooper Turley: Definitely the one of ones I purchase on catalog.
That are purely collectibles?
Cooper Turley: Yeah, those are the ones where I’ve had the most direct relationship with the artists, you know, they’ve gone out of their way and reached out to me and expressed how much that meant to them. I think a large part of that was because of the price points at which I was collecting. But I think that that felt the most real to me, you know, and I think what we’re starting to see now is music. And NFTshave not had a secondary market, really, because we haven’t really seen the form factor for that to happen. But now with the emergence of sound of royal and sort of these platforms that allow you to collect additions at scale, we’re starting to see more of that come to fruition. And so just as a blanket canvas, I don’t collect any music NFT right now to make money. You know, I think most of them are illiquid, and I couldn’t sell them if I tried. But I have such a sentimental relationship with them that I think it was worth every penny that I’ve spent.
You know, it’s really cool buying a music NFT. And then being able to see that person perform the song that you own or CO own.
Cooper Turley: It hits so much different.
Complete different, there’s an entirely new emotional connection to that, specifically at like, the catalog event, okay. And seeing like, my friends, collecting different pieces of art on there and seeing how they are kind of just vibing and experiencing that live performance, for example, from like, dot. Yeah, and the list goes on and on and on. And I know you and Brad are also like very vocal about that stuff as well, like you collect to support an artist and then watching them perform live. , and it’s, it’s a completely different experience. How would you explain that experience?
Cooper Turley: So it’s funny, my first experience with that was actually way sooner than people would think. So I remember Mike Shinoda dropped a song with EMDR. And he put out 10 NFTs on Zuora, just like open auctions. And I won one of them, and you got a signed poster. And it was two days before the song came out. So I won this auction, and then the song came out, and it was number one on my release radar. And when that song played, I had such like an emotional relationship with it, I was like, this is going to be such a thing. You know, just like collecting a song early in advance, and then hearing your premiere, you have so much incentive to promote it and be a part of it. And I think live shows are just the next level of that, you know, like when I hear songs in my release radar, I’m sure all of us can attest when we have a friend drop some new music and you hear it for the first time and you’re like sharing it on your story or something like that. It’s that experience times 100, you know, to where you feel like you have a real financial investment in this, you have a social affiliation with it. And I think that opportunity for more fans to feel directly attached to the music that they’re consuming. Is the exact market that I’m really excited about tokenizing and unlocking.
How to Get Started as a Music Creator
Yeah, when a creator comes to you or a musician comes to you and they ask you, how do I get started? What do you tell them?
Cooper Turley: I tell them spend some time in the community, like get to know the people around them. You know, don’t worry about tokenizing, your first record today, go into the chats go into these community calls, figure out who the people are that are involved in the space because right now there’s probably less than 500 artists in the world doing music NFT seriously. And if you take 10 hours out of your week to go and invest in this, you’re going to become much more active part of that conversation than you think. That’s your leverage. You know, once you have a couple of people in your corner who are going to bat for you, they recognize that you’re in these conversations, when you tokenize you have the support of those people. And that’s what these platforms are looking for. You know, I think the sad reality is right now the platforms we talked about, catalog, sound, royal, they’re extremely curated. You know, there’s 10,000 Plus artists on the backlog, but only a select few that are getting in through the door. And if you look at the commonality amongst them, it’s the people who are going out of their way to build relationships in web three, you know, we’re not looking for what their stream count is on Spotify, how many followers they have on Instagram, it’s how closely connected are you to this source of like this music NFT movement. And so if you’re looking to get started today, don’t worry about trying to make a splash or trying to get any sales or anything like that. Just put in the time and meet the people that you see really building this movement from the ground up. And I think very quickly, you’re going to become a part of that conversation.
Understanding the Music NFT Movement
Yeah. Cooper, where are we right now in the in the music NFT movement?
Cooper Turley: I’d say like second inning. You know.
What does that mean? Exactly? Second inning.
Cooper Turley: We have the ability to collect tokenize audio, you know, that is a primitive where you can go out and collect a piece of music from an artist you’ve heard of, you know, no one too crazy. But an artist you’ve probably heard of if you’re tapped into music, that’s kind of the fundamental piece of it that I think is important. I feel like if you start to make an analogy to like early SoundCloud era, you know, we haven’t had that viral moment. Yeah, we’re everyone’s on SoundCloud. You know, sharing everything reposting everything. We’re in like the very early formation of that. And so I think if we take a step back, we still need another year or two to enable collecting at scale, where I can go and buy music NFT for $5. And feel like that’s a sentimental thing. But right now we’re seeing the early adopters, really taking advantage of that. And it’s something truly beautiful. You know, if you’re in web three, you definitely need to pay attention to.
How do you think about price psychology as a collector between buying something for $5 versus buying something for $4,000? Is there a different connection like sentimental connection you have to it? Like, how do you think about that?
Cooper Turley: I am fortunate enough to be in a position where I can buy music NFT for $4,000. And I have to think a lot about that. That’s extremely rare. And I think that’s not something that’s the same across the board. But right now, I feel confident that if I buy your record for one ether catalog or more, there’s a more than 90% chance that I can have a personal relationship with that artist. And so having just a ticket to a direct relationship is like unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in music, my job been in this music for 10 years, you know, I’ve done curation, I’ve done touring, journalism, artists management, and every other way you could think about it, getting the artists to see you as a fan is so difficult, that you can see them 10 times at a show, you can write about them 50 times, but you’re just sort of someone that’s kind of like in their orbit, it’s not until you have like a way of seeing them eye to eye in a very direct way that they actually realize who you are as a person. And so when I’m collecting something for eth Plus, I’m going in and saying, like, Hey, I see you using this technology. But my hope is that you’re going to see me back to, like, when I collect your work, you’re gonna want to build a relationship. Talk to me about this. And that’s what I’m doing. And to your point about the difference between that and a $5 collectible, I think the $5 collector was more for the social experience, it’s less about you thinking you’re going to have a direct relationship with the artist, it’s you think that you’re gonna have a direct relationship with the other fans of that artist. And I think that piece is really important because we’ve never had great social channels for music. We had Facebook groups back in the day, which was really active, we’re starting to see discord servers, but music discord servers aren’t that active across the board. And so we need a new pocket to allow fans who are deeply affiliated and connected with these artists to be able to meet one another and see that they’re going out of their way to use new technology to show how much they love this act.
You know, we haven’t seen yet. Bits, loops, samples, stems kind of like hit the mainstream for the most part. I know Apergy labs is doing a variation of this. But you can imagine that maybe a bits, a loop would actually go for more around the dollar, the $5, the $10, maybe the $20, $100 price range, it would actually have different utility. Yeah, most part then a fully complete song, right? When you think about like music composition, okay, and you think about like, creating a song and actually extracting audio files that are on chain, whether it be a drum track, since etc, and forming a song and then minting that song. How do you think about the price psychology around that around beats, loops, samples stems, because again, those have a completely different utility around them versus just collecting something on catalogue sound, for example.
Cooper Turley: it’s interesting, I used to price catalog quite a lot back in the day when I was messing around with producing. And so their model is basically just buy credits. And then every song is just like, or every STEM is yours to consume, essentially, we’ve seen a lot of beat packs, where you basically have a fixed price for a pack of beats or something like that. And so I don’t think there’s one try and shoot model, I think the important thing to recognize is in the future, all stems, and all aspects of every song will be tokenized down to their finest unit, you know, like a kick drum, a snare, you know, a Mini Vocal, all of that will be tokenized in some way, shape, or form. And so it’s impossible to say what one kick is worth versus a vocal stem. But the important thing to take away there is that all of that is going to live on chain. And there’s going to be pricing mechanisms where it’s not about paying a subscription fee and getting unlimited access to all of it. It’s about all of those source files being connected to one another. So as there are usage and cash flows of them, they all flow back to the original owner.
Yeah, I’m kind of curious to see how that that part of the music landscape kind of plays out and what that really looks like from a price standpoint, from a composition standpoint, from an IP standpoint, and the list goes on and on and on the topic of IP Okay, how do you think about the legality around like, music NFTs, bringing song wav files on chain, and the purchasing the collecting of that, and how that pertains to people who helped create the song help pertains to people who helped publish the song. And that entire lifecycle? How do you kind of think about that?
Cooper Turley: So the reality is music as an industry is one of the most convoluted from an IP standpoint, there’s so many different people involved with it. But what you’re seeing right now is independent artists are largely thriving the most, because they have the least red tape around them. You know, they typically have a very few collaborators with them, maybe it’s just themselves producing all audio themselves singing on it, whatnot. And this is going to be the biggest roadblock, you know, and the biggest hurdle to try and get around for music, is if you are a major songwriter who has 10 writers on it, three producers a label associated with it, making sure all those people are properly accounted for is a really scary ordeal. But what I get excited about is the fact that this technology we’re using has never been better suited to, you know, affiliate and help with those scenarios. If I have 10 songwriters on something, being able to ascribe them to a smart contract with automated splits is the exact reason why this technology exists. And so right now, the process is basically trust the artist to distribute the earnings to the people who deserve it, that’s just the v1, you know, we’re going to get to a state where all this is automated, everyone’s gonna have a wallet, everyone’s gonna know where to plug themselves in. When we get to that point in mind, it’s going to be less about trusting the artist to make distributions, and more about it all just going exactly to who owns the rights at any given time.
Web3 Protocols in the Music Industry
Does the music industry need its own protocol?
Cooper Turley: I mean, I think that everything needs a sound protocol. I don’t think music is any different, I think that we need a different way to be able to see who own what different parts of a music asset, you know, and I think we use the word NFT to describe tokenized audio, but like, you know, music will just become an evolution of NFTs like when you think about a song, all that data is going to be ascribed naturally into a token, who owns what percentages, who has what affiliations with it, and we’re going to read directly from that asset. You know, right now, if I’m on different PRO’s, or I’m trying to get collection, I need to put that information into many different sites. But in the future, it makes perfect sense to me that you have one source file that has all that information ascribed into it, and everyone’s just reading directly from it. And so protocol, yeah, I think metadata standards are the first practical usage of that, you know, shout out to catalog and mint sounds are thinking a lot more about this. But beyond the protocol standard, to try and address all music, which is a fucking huge vision. Let’s just talk about how to actually read data on chain. Let’s talk about how to have better standards around playing back a music NFT and having a good experience with it. You know, I think those basic questions get us along the line. And I think we’re going to wake up in five years and see that there’s an entirely new way that music being consumed under the hood, and being routed to all these different parties. And that’s when we’ve actually won as an industry.
So is the end goal to build like a trustless music industry? Is that even possible?
Cooper Turley: I don’t think any industry can be entirely trustless. Always, I think that the end goal is to always have market opportunities for someone to be able to release music trust Lessly and for there to be better standards around the way that it’s consumed at scale. And so if you’re going through a label system, you being able to have more transparency around the way payments are working, you know, when someone streams your track, you being able to get paid directly. You know, the one of the caveat, and I think the funny parts about web three is people are really big on decentralization. But the reason why centralization wins, because it makes things easier and cheaper. And so we kind of have this balancing act between like maintaining the core tenants of trustless permission less technology and making a successful someone for $5, who has no clue what’s happening under the hood. And so I think, you know, maybe just to kind of round that out, we’re going to see really big companies that are not fully decentralized. You know, some of the biggest players in music, NFTs will be a little bit more centralized than we would like and web three, but I think that’s okay. And actually important, because it’s going to allow this technology in the hands of 1000s and millions of people.
So when you say it’s, it’s cheaper, right? Take that with a grain of salt, right. For those who don’t understand they think of making a transaction minting something on chain, there’s an associated gas fee that is depending on what they’re minting very unaffordable, right, so elaborate more on what you mean by cheaper as you kind of approach decentralization.
Cooper Turley: I mean, the cheapest way of doing it is there is no gas fee, you know, the protocol or the platform is covering it for you. You’re using a custodial wallet where you don’t have to worry about cussing your assets or losing your private key. It’s a fixed price point. It says $5 you press one button you buy for $5 Yeah, that’s a centralized solution. You know, decentralized, you’re paying the network fee, all this kind of stuff. But you know, that’s why I’m excited about other ecosystems outside of Ethereum for music NFTs because while I think all of the most valuable music NFT will live natively on Ethereum, I think there’s going to be a vibrant economy of assets live outside of Ethereum. And those are going to be the solutions that allow you to collect $5, $10, $20 music NFT at scale.
For example, Solano polygon, what else comes to mind?
I think those are two great ones to start with. You know, I don’t think that, if our demon say those are like the final ones. Yeah. Like I challenged myself all the time to think like Ethereum and like, the end all be all. Like, I don’t think that people thought Apple would be what it is before we started. You know, I believe that we’re still very much in like the Myspace era of crypto as a whole and I still think there’s an opportunity for those new ones to emerge.
Getting Started at Audius
Talk to me more about your time and audience Okay, I think Cooper you have like unique insight into music x crypto Getting Started at audience and audience being one of the leading platforms for music in the space. Quite frankly, a lot of people, a lot of artists, they get started in music and crypto start an audience. Yeah. So your target audience, what were some of like the aha moments you kind of realized prior to joining that kind of allowed you to see the space from a different.
Cooper Turley: Yeah, it was that build and that architecture that I talked about. So really abstracting away the need for a noncustodial wallet to get started was really, really important to me. Audience built a standard called hedgehog, which was an email and password login solution. You have an ERC 20 capable wall under the hood, but you never need to use it to be able to do anything. You don’t pay gas to play a song to do anything like that. And that approach of saying, like, Hey, we’re built on crypto, all this content is stored in a centralized system. But it’s not necessary for us to use the product, I thought was really beneficial. A lot of my work was around sort of the token side of things. So launching the audio token, doing a lot of stuff around staking and delegation and governance, I saw that there is a very big distinction between artists who are using the platform every day, and node providers that are making it work under the hood. And that relationship between sort of the creative side and the technical side is a really difficult bridge to walk. And so I think for all of these platforms that we mentioned today, there’s going to be a really big challenge around maintenance, you know, and around decentralization and recognizing that not all artists are going to know how to participate in governance, or want to do anything around decentralized file storage. And it’s really important for us as leaders to be able to build systems such that people conceptually understand what’s happening, but they don’t need to be core participants to make it work. And so I guess really, just to finish out that thought, audience to me was the first opportunity for me to see what artists were interested in web three. And what I think is really beautiful about that is many of the top selling music NFT artists today are the ones who are really early on Audience. They got that Airdrop, they’ve been in the trenches for a long time they’re charting on the playlist, and that growth of going from uploading a song having streams to then tokenizing that song and having a sale of it as a music NFT, is a really beautiful journey to watch.
You know, one project that comes to mind specifically is Wilkie and Wahlberg, yep. Right. And he started on audience. He’s also doing really, really well on tick tock. He also has the wobble bug project where he like created like this Metaverse DJ and sold NFTs associated to that to that character. And I think there was some like IP Association as well, terms of the music streaming, royalties and whatnot. Who else comes to mind?
Cooper Turley: Well, also just cosine wiki real quick. He has a social token on rally called walks that was really early on, that’s doing a lot of stuff with pixel ban, you know, super active under the collecting lot. And I think the caliber of what you’re seeing was successful web three artists is, it’s not just about their artists project, you know, like they’re doing stuff in different communities. They’re helping to write music, they’re helping in community management and talking about them at shows. You know, Steve Aoki, I think, is doing a great job with this. He’s building out the Aoki verse now and has this really wide ecosystem to get involved with. Camouflage is one that comes to mind from the early audience days. So it was doing extremely well on audience, now as a bunch of sales on catalog and sound. Oshie is another great example of this. You know, Daniel Allen is kind of more of like the music NFT native caliber acts, but you know, I could list dozens and dozens of acts that I’ve been impressed by. And the commonality amongst all of them is they didn’t have a huge following prior to web three, you know, they’re making some noise and local communities, but they’ve been able to use web three to really leverage themselves into a new position. And I think that’s the model that you want to follow. If you’re listening to us today.
Building Funnels to Grow Your Collector Base
Yeah. Let’s talk about funnels. Okay. And building a community of collectors for a second. Okay. I think a lot of newcomers that enter the music NFT space, always have the question, like shit, how the fuck do I find my first collector? How do I find someone to take that first bet on me, and something that we talked about yesterday at the good karma showcase during the panel was actually don’t really focus on finding in like, trying to get someone to buy something. Rather try to give? Right. Talk to me more about that funnel of giving, and how can you really build a community collectors around giving?
Cooper Turley: Yeah, you need to find opportunities to be value added within different communities. So being able to go and, you know, show up to a call consistently, week after week, just answering questions and being active in the conversation. Asking questions is actually productive, you know, showing that you’re here to learn, you don’t have all the answers. I think for me, I don’t love it when people just like cold DMing and be like, place a bid on this. Like it actually is kind of a turn off.
You don’t like that?
Cooper Turley: I don’t like it. I respect that they’re out there. And they’re tokenizing. And they’re telling me about it. But I think it’s better to just sort of like show someone that you’re on cataloger sound, but then show that you’re like active in the community. And so before we started recording, we were talking about how she played this catalog show. And after I saw her set, I went home and I collected my NFTs, you know, and so I think putting yourself out there where you’re just immersed in the web three culture, you’re playing like an F3P part of your plane, you’re playing a catalog party, you’re doing something eth Denver, and just getting yourself out there with no expectation of making a sale. People see that you know, and like people are looking for like who’s really tapped in and gets this out the source. And so if you see crypto comments as around, go hang out there, if you see local meetups about web three, go hang out there. Don’t say to people come and buy my NFT and just be like, Hey, how can I help you? You know build a mutual relationship I think for people like myself, I can really see when someone’s putting in the time and effort. And if I see that you’re consistent over a month, two month time horizon, there’s a very high likelihood you’re gonna see a bids sooner versus later.
You know, it’s really cool. The artists Queen George, I think you met her, right? Yeah, we did something really cool. Were April 2021, we tried to do an NFT concert, online during COVID When you couldn’t do performances in person. And we actually created like an entire drop page, we had like, different tickets that we had a one of one, an additional 25,5100. Each at different price points, each with different utilities. And we’re like, Okay, let’s try to throw like a live performance for this new artist who does have some credibility and is up and coming is solely independent, and try to use like web three primitives as a foundation to kind of bring that thing to life. And it flopped. It completely flopped. And we ended up reverting to Eventbrite because a lot of our audience wasn’t like crypto native, they didn’t have Meta mask. They didn’t have Ethereum. They actually couldn’t even like, understand and comprehend why the fuck do I need to pay $40 on top of the $200, I need to pay to just come see you perform. Yeah. And the takeaway was like, Okay, we need to like restrategize. So eth Denver came around, we’re like, okay, how can we actually build an interesting funnel where we give, right, and we use this platform called impish to basically set up like a concert in person. But the cool thing was, is we basically we did in the way, we’re one all the tickets for free to mint, it’s on Polygon, the platform impish kind of ate all the transaction fees associated with minting and two off the bat, she was able to garner anywhere between 150 to 200 collectors in the Ethereum community, right, that not only already collected something from her that had the Queen George logo on it that was sitting in their wallet, but then they were able to come to the show and watch her perform in person. Right. And at the show, we had QR codes everywhere. Like you couldn’t miss it both for joining her discord, and for bidding on her one of one. Yeah, so the cool thing was, she makes like the URL with like the IRL. Right. And she did in a way where she wasn’t really asking for anything. But providing a good time. Yeah. And based off that we got like, I think like 50 people to convert back into our Discord out of the initial people that came and collected her NFT off the bat. Right. And then on top of that, during the performance, you like, play two songs, introduce herself. And then she’s like, Okay, this next song, I actually just meant it prior to launching, if you feel compelled, I invite you, if not join the discord. Right. And off of that anonymous addresses that she would have otherwise not have had with emails, she started to build her database. And I’m curious, like, one thing that artists don’t have in web two is all the data that Spotify collects Apple Music, etc. But now she has 150 addresses where she can see what are the tokens are they holding? What other communities? Are they a part of? What other governance forums are they voting on? What other PFP projects are they collecting? And they she’s able to actually build a data profile? You can be like, okay, 75% of my collectors that attend the show are also an FWB. Yeah, maybe I should do a collab with FWB because a lot of FWB people collected by stuff. Yep. Right. How do you think about that funnel? Like, sure there’s the ability of like starting a minting something on chain, but like, how can you create more experiences beyond just like trying to sell something to collectors?
Cooper Turley: Yeah, I think the important takeaway there. And I really want to underscore this as most people hate NFTs right now. If you’re a musician who’s doing music, NFTs you need to recognize that 99% of your audience does not care. Yeah, I don’t want to be told about it. You know, and so you’re almost speaking to a very small segment of your population. And the thing I really love about that example, is when you started to give away things for free, people become curious about it. You know, when there’s not a financial price point or financial barrier to join, people start asking questions. And so I thinking find more opportunities to give away po ops just for coming to a show. You know, giving people some little trick get a reward for joining your discord. I’ll give a quick shout out to a platform called medallion that’s launching soon to tokenize fan club platform where you can come and sign up with an email address, get a free NFT and then be able to buy tickets early on have discounts on merch, I think what a lot of fans need is just a way to see that NFTs are not only about like collecting high profile assets, you know, we spent the first half of this podcast talking about one of ones and additions, but most fans would never spend more than $100 on any anything from the artists that they love, you know and so we need to have better opportunities for them to join. And I think, you know, the two things I really loved about what you said is one giving away those NFTs for free, spamming the QR codes everywhere that were free. There was nothing that was like you had to buy something to get involved and then doing that locally here at eth. Denver, which is going a level beyond, you know, a normal concert you would do to being in a spot where people are receptive to this technology. You can put stuff out there, but like the one thing I don’t like is when artists come into web three, they’re like, here’s what an NFT is, you know, I’m gonna educate like, you know, here’s how to make a wall and all this stuff. It’s like most people are just turned off by that, you know, I think what’s actually better is just to do your thing and assume that people who know about web three will pick up on it. And don’t worry about like overly converting the rest of your fans. We’re gonna have better standards for that and as you start to find different ways where people don’t need to be super knowledgeable on web three to be able to join. I think there’ll be more receptive to it.
What is LA’s Crypto Culture Like?
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I want to talk to you more about like you moving to LA embedding yourself in the LA culture and what that kind of means for where your head’s at in crypto. Yeah. LA is obviously a very vibrant scene from Arts Culture, the list goes on and on and on. What is the current state of LA when it comes to crypto, because you’re in every pocket, like, I was born and raised in LA, and I still feel like I’m stuck in my inner circle with my friends and my family. But you came over here, and you’ve managed to kind of like plug yourself into all these different communities, become friends with everyone provide value to a lot of people. I feel like you have your finger on the pulse. Okay. So what is the current state of LA culture? When it comes to crypto when it comes to music NF T’s and related topics?
Cooper Turley: I absolutely love LA right now, you know, I think if anyone is listening to us, and is remotely in the crater sphere, I highly encourage you to spend time out there. This doesn’t mean go out there for one weekend and expect to gain the world. But the conversations happening are really, really productive. And they’re really inspiring. You know, I think most people are misguided. They don’t really know what to do or they don’t really know what’s going on. But it’s in their you know, field of interest. They’re asking their friends about it. They’re buying a couple NFTs on open sea, they’re going out to crater houses and just asking questions. And so I think it’s a very much like a sign of the times right now, where this, you know, mainstream mania around NFTs is sort of the topic of conversation. But while it is that topic of conversation, being able to be a guide and educator for crypto is extremely, extremely important. You know, the role I’ve been playing is, if you want to get into web three, let’s go get an AAS a wall, let’s run through everything you’re working on, let’s find one fundamental way for you to join the space in a meaningful way. Now, it’s everything from fashion, to art, to music, to photography, whatever it might be, you know, the creative lens of web three is becoming so clear now, but that’s exactly why I think LA is becoming such an epicenter for these conversations.
Dude, you love our site?
Cooper Turley: I fucking love it.
Like, what’s up with that?
Cooper Turley: It’s a great food, man. I mean, all it is all saying sushi. I’ll be honest with it’s only two things I eat. But um, if I didn’t, if I didn’t have to eat, I would not eat but I like the social experience around it. I don’t drink coffee. It’s I’d say Aussie bulls are my closest equivalent to grabbing coffee. And the benefit of that is I can leave that conversation recharged. It’s a fun little brand thing. And yeah, I actually I highly cosign for anyone else that’s listening.
If you don’t get a say with Cooper, have you ever even met Cooper? Like is that even a thing? Like, I don’t know. I see like on your store, like three to four to five sessions aside.
Cooper Turley: Eat dude, it’s so hard. It’s gotten bad to the point where I just have like.
Like sugar rushes I’m like, how the hell does this happen.
Cooper Turley: Bad rating if you get too much sugar rush. But I have like 100 Plus, like request glass ables, just like, we need to grab a bowl. We need to grab a bowl. And I’m like shit, like, what have I done?
Web3 Music Platforms and Opportunities
I love it. All right. Back to music NFTs, okay. What’s on your radar right now in terms of platforms, in terms of opportunities in terms of mistakes? Walk me through, like, where’s your head at right now?
Cooper Turley: I’m kind of in this middle ground of advancing the platforms that exist today. So being a leading collector on catalog and sound, you know, working closely with teams like Royal and helping them to figure out how they’re growing and scaling their operations. And something that I’m really excited about is bespoke projects for high profile creators. So people that have done NFT jobs in the past, but when actually make those more meaningful now, you know, they’re asking questions about how to tap their fan base into tokenized communities with free to earn NFTs. And then the fundamental question I keep asking, What does it look like to release music and web three? There’s this project I’m working on called Roki that I’m really excited about, you know, we’re toying around with this season pass model. And we were released this EP, we’re going to release every single as music NFT So we’re gonna have editions probably somewhere around 500, you know, experiment with rarity games to encourage secondary market activity, a lot of people that have that season pass to get the right to mint early on, I think challenging the notion of like, dropping on catalog and sound or royal can not be the only way to release music NFTs, you know, and we need sort of more experimentation around secondary markets. And so outside of just utility, you know, allowing bigger artists to allow their fans to use their NFT to come to a show and building a product around that. It’s like, what does it mean to be a web do native artist project where you have, you know, the sale of all your singles going into a community treasury, you know, have a system where all of your tracks are being prioritized in web three. And even if they exist on Spotify, people know you because of the fact that you have a high floor price or a lot of secondary market activity on open say.
So this project that you’re working on, you launch that on mirror, right from what I remember, okay, so, talk to me more about that. Like what is the music who’s behind it? What’s the end goal? Are you just experimenting and throwing shit at the fan? Is there some type of an excuse me objective behind it, like, walk me more through that?
Cooper Turley: So I had some Grammy Award winning producers come to me and say we’re really sick and tired of the way that music works today, we’re being encouraged to make hits for tick tock, pop bangers to throw up the chain. We don’t feel like Ross anymore. We’ve been collecting NFTs we’re really active in a lot of these deeper communities. So what does it look like for us through a web three native artist project, as we started to ask common question we started going to like, Okay, let’s do a project release on cataloger sound, let’s do something we’re on glass protocol. But we quickly realized that like, taking that ownership into your own hands becomes really, really exciting. You know, building a team around making season passes, you know, having this incredible creative design around like your key into the community, you know, building a website that allows you to have a custom smart contract where you’re doing different rarity games around minting, you know, there’s a lot of exciting things there. And what I’d say just to help people contextualize this, no, Roki is a web three Native artists project in every sense of the word, the music is not going to be on Spotify. 100% of all sales are going to community treasury. I think the reason why I’m so fascinated by that is a lot of artists are really scared about giving full ownership to their community. You know, they’re tokenizing, their back catalogue, they’re keeping 50%. They’re putting 50% into the treasury. But I believe the most valuable web, the projects are the ones that fully embrace that. And every sense of the word, be able to have a canvas to explore that with producers that as are as talented as the guys behind Roki is an absolutely phenomenal thought experiment.
So one thing that I wrote down that I wanted to ask you is like, how do we get to a place as an industry where artists can one fractionalize, their back catalog and future catalog? And to do it in a legally compliant way? Because the way we’re doing right now is not scalable. Not everyone’s a daredevil, not everyone wants to say, Fuck you, suc, not everyone wants to do that, right? Because they have kids, they have this, they have all these different reasons. Me for one, like, I’m also interested in doing that for mint, right. But I want to do in a way where I can find a model where other creators can kind of replicate, right, and use mint as the foundation in the example to kind of do that. But I keep getting a crossroads. Right. And there isn’t one lawyer that I haven’t talked to and trying to figure this out. Okay. How do you get to a point where you can actually do this in a scalable fashion? And do it? So, you don’t have necessarily that fuck you Daredevil mentality that a lot of people in crypto have?
Cooper Turley: So the short answer is, I don’t know, I’m trying to figure this out every day, what I’d underscore there is it’s not about saying fuck you, the systems that existed before, we need to be highly collaborative with those systems that this is going to work. And so when you think about fractionalized assets, I think challenge yourself to think more about additions instead of fractions, you know, like an addition is basically a fraction, it’s just kind of pivoted in a different way, when it comes to actually giving ownership rights to those assets. My belief is putting all of your income into a treasury and giving NFT owners the ability to govern that Treasury is fundamentally different from giving those NFT owners dividends directly. It’s a very small nuance, but it’s something that cannot be understated. And so if you are thinking about tokenizing back catalogue, and giving people ownership, put it into a shared community pot, you know, get people to really start thinking about governance and making that system be effective, because you’re going to create so much more value out of onboarding people into your community and getting them in paid roles, than you are just going to be giving passive income to collect your NFTs once and never come back or do anything in the community again.
Well, what you’re explaining right now is like such an arbitrary model, it’s such a new model for starting a community, right? In the sense, the buzzword that we like to use is a creator doubt, right. But again, like that’s still super scary, let alone trying to open up a Meta mask, let alone buying your first cryptocurrency, let alone trying to find your first collector and put a lot of your content on chain, whatever that content may be. Now you’re talking about a whole new community format to actually build, participate, monetize, eventually scale in own what’s yours? How do we get to a state from overcoming opening up a meta mask to actually establishing a creator doubt?
Cooper Turley: We build better products that allow that process to be much easier. And so I’ve been investing in a lot of doubt tooling. To that I’ll call out here, coupe Kayop and Castle, as Castle would be spelled there making it easier to start collaborative doubts, you know, like, you don’t need to be able to know how to use a Gnosis safe, or how to be able to, you know, make a contract call or anything to get off the ground. I think products will make it a lot easier for us to do things with our friends on chain. And that’s the way that we get there. I really, really, you know, resonate with your feeling that this is incredibly difficult to understand. I think that’s why when people ask me. How do I get like a Post Malone or Justin Bieber and a web three? I say we’re not ready for that.
It’s not there yet.
Cooper Turley: We’re years away from it. And the things that are gonna work are the extremely niche communities that are willing to go through those hoops. And so that’s why when I have conversations with larger artists, I’m like, yo, just tap into something smaller, like your time will come but like, you’re not gonna onboard your whole fan base to web three. And in fact, if you chatty you’re gonna get crucified so like, figure out how to build legitimacy in the space so people trust you when that time does come and just be active and make a footprints that you can be a meaningful voice when that time does come for you to actually start tapping in.
So but let’s say Justin Bieber or Post Malone, or one of these big names actually wants to jump in, they’re ready now like, fuck what the industry thinks, like I’m ready to go. Is the best way to approach it by creating like, an alter ego, like synonymous type of character and releasing music through there, or do you do like, what was that one artist that sold like a million copies and went platinum? Toy lands, right or do you do like the Toyland’s approach? Right? What do you like? How do you how do you strategize that?
Cooper Turley: I think you approach it with everything but the financial incentive in mind you ask yourself. How can I do something in this space that I make $0 off of? And when you start from that principle, I think you start to strategize differently. You know, tactically what that looks like, I think doing a drop with royal feels really awesome to me. Yeah, as if you are an artist with a really successful back catalogue, your tokenizing your masters. And if you’re in a label deal, there’s a high likelihood that they could be receptive that conversation, but I would say more broadly, don’t worry about trying to make a million dollars off of selling like 10,000 PFPs of your fan base. Instead, just go ahead and be like, How can I release one PO OP for one of my headline shows, because that in and of itself, getting people to claim a free NFT is such a bitch that you’re going to learn so much from it. And starting from that principle sets you up for so much more success than it does dropping something in raising millions of dollars and having no clue what to do with it after.
See within that that’s like forced to kind of like change the mindset of like, oh, wait, if I’m Justin Bieber, and I’m releasing something, I can’t publicly only sell like $9,000 of it, or else I’ll be like, Justin Bieber failed at it. Yeah. Right. And then the media will shit on them. And the list goes on and on.
Cooper Turley: So the question becomes, Why sell anything at all right? And I think that’s a good question to ask. And I think one easy answer to that is give it away for free. And the important thing here is I believe that the primary market is extremely oversaturated right now, you know, people are getting upside in terms of selling $20 million worth of NFTs right out of the gate. I think it’s a terrible model. I think you should price your assets as low as possible and see all of your upside off of the secondary market, because that’s gonna determine whether or not people actually fuck with what you’re doing.
Yeah. Makes a lot of sense. I’m trying to think like, you know, a lot of a lot of what’s happening in music NFTS right now is, again, people are just trying to figure it out. People are trying to understand, again, how do I find my collector? How do I actually get on catalog? How do I get on sound? Do I just go on mint songs and just like, like, throw shit at the wall and mint on Zora because there’s also a niche collector base over there. Part of me feels like we’re just like scratching the surface. Right? And like you said, we’re in our Myspace moment. A lot of people may think, Okay, I’m obviously like, we’re so early. But I want to paint a picture of like, what’s next? Like now that there’s 1000s of NFTs being collected sitting in wallets that each respectively have their own value? Is there going to be a decentralized Spotify that comes into the picture that allows us to basically license the collectibles that we bought to start earning royalties off of it through a governance token of some sort? Again, I’m thinking out loud here. Yeah, but okay, you collected a bunch of vinyl, like digital vinyl, what’s next? What happens after that?
Cooper Turley: Yeah. Tactically, I think it’s better social communities around collectible assets. So if you are someone who’s collected an NFT, from an artist, we have better social spaces to make friends. I think focusing on the social layer first is most important because that’s the integral glue that holds us all together. But if we step back a little bit, I think there will be creator markets where if you find any artists at any song of theirs, you have a direct opportunity to invest in them financially with economic upside. And the world that I want to see is where NFTs are sort of the primary engine for larger crater dolls. Or if I’m selling an NFT on chain, it’s going into a Dao and that Dao is backing a crater token that lets me invest in that artists brand. So if I find Jack Harlow, three years ago, I would invest in his upside, I don’t have to go and buy one of one of his own catalogue. He has a jack Harlow token. And I can just buy $10 of that. And so I think the first order of magnitude is, let’s figure out how to tokenize music and sell that because that’s the underlying glue that allows us to have on chain cash flow. Let’s put that all into a Dao and then let’s tokenize all those assets and open up this huge market for collecting and curation at scale.
How to Create Digital Emotional Experiences Around Collectors
You know, you mentioned Jack Harlow, there’s one video that comes to mind. I think he performed recently at the first venue he ever performed at and there was this guy in the in the audience who collected that initial t shirt that he sold at that first event.
Cooper Turley: Incredible.
And he came back, that listener, that fan came back and was like holding it up in the air and Jack notice he’s like, wow, you know, like he got super emotional. And it makes me think like, how can you actually create more of those emotional experiences, but digitally? Yeah, because there’s something physical behind a t-shirt has sentimental value to it. Ensure values abstract one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and everything has meaning to everyone else, right? It’s like it’s arbitrary. But to see that, like emotional connection of the guy holding the shirt in the stands and Jack Harlow is like wow, like that was the t-shirt. Yeah, that’s like an emotional connection that’s like unmatched. Yep. And you try to think, Okay, that should be the foundation, the goal of every community on chain, in my opinion, right, developing an interconnected emotional relationship between the talent and the fan supporting the talent, right? How can you get more of that emotional experience on chain digitally? What does that look like to you?
Cooper Turley: I think it’s tokenizing every aspect of the creative stack. So we talked a lot about collecting audio right now. I think digital merchandise is really important. I think digital tickets are really important. You know, I collected wristbands and show and stubs of tickets for many years, you know, emotional experience around music varies. And I remember having such a profound realization at this new year’s festival like a year or two ago where I was like, there are 10,000 people here all like the same music and I have no clue who any of these people are. I was like how cool it be to be able to flash my phone at someone and see like their XP score or see that the fact they’ve seen Skrillex 10 times that they have like a ticket from the show like a long time ago. And I think in the same way that Ready Player One kind of depicts this, you know, world where you can see everyone’s public inventory and assets and what they’re wearing, like the same things gonna happen from music, you’re gonna rock up to a venue, you’re gonna see that person who’s at the front row level 99 Plus artists, with all their most badass merch. And when you think about all the economic opportunity underneath that, it’s so impossible for me to think about working on anything else for the rest of my life.
End Goal with Collecting 100 Eth Worth of Music NFTs
Yeah, Cooper you obviously collect a lot of NFTs but you don’t just throw your money like that shit. Like, I know you, I’ve known you for a long time, we’re very strategic with your investments, you’re very strategic with who you spend your time with. And you’re very analytical person. And with that makes you sharp, right? And not to like hype you up, but more. So take it from the point of view of like, you’re not just buying to buy, you’re not just buying to collect right. Now funds, labels, etc, have been listening to the season, thankfully, right? They’ve been hitting me up. They’re like, I want to open a music NFT fund that sweeps entire floor, and I want to be the beast collector behind that. And they’re like, they continuously come back to the same question. It’s like, okay, now that I collected everything, despite the ownership being very fuzzy and gray, what do I do with this next, right? You as someone who like you buy multiple ones every single day, from point one eth, to 0.5;to 1 eth to 2.5? Like, you’re all over the place, like it doesn’t matter to you. But there must be some end goal, some end state for you, you’re not just throwing your money out for the sake of collecting, right? Sure. There’s value in collecting. But how do you justify spending so much money on these collectibles? Okay, you can impact the artists life you give him his independent him her their independent creative freedom. Okay, there’s a lot of purpose behind that. But you think about incentives, you think about you as an investor, right? You as a contributor, you as an active web three member of voice in the space? What is like your end goal behind collecting all these things?
Cooper Turley: It’s a great question. I’ll start by saying I’m fighting for my life out here every day.
I know, I know.
Cooper Turley: I’m putting a lot of my eth into this stuff, because I’m so passionate about it. And I think what I’m buying is social capital, you know, I think I’m buying the ability to have highly influential conversations with highly influential people, you know, and that in and of itself is worth all of the money I’m spending, you know, to really underscore again, I don’t think any of my music NFTs are liquid today. But I believe if we see the same growth and music NFTS that we saw with crypto art, there is going to be exponential returns for these early assets. Now, I have a lot of my friends, you know, Brad being a great example of this huge collector on Super in 2018, now very vividly describes collecting these works, and no one having any idea what he was doing, you know, buying works from the likes of X copy and coding, people being like, Who is this random crypto artists, and now the same works are selling for millions of dollars? You know, I think there’s going to be a chapter of generation of artists who are made entirely on the back of web three. And my goal with my collecting is the plant enough seeds to have that come to orbit and have ownership stakes in those creative projects when they start to blow up.
So ownership stakes in those creative projects when they start to blow up. Okay. That’s a lot of incentive for I feel like a lot of like, outsiders looking at this from an investment point of view. Okay. But again, ownership is very gray. Right? The fine lines, the onion, the layers of the onion, it’s not defined as it, as it is, in more traditional music industry, for example, right? Again, it comes back to that question of like, understanding how do we get past the securities laws? How do we get past through the boundaries that web two in traditional world imposes on the internet? Right? How do we get to that state where the ownership stake actually ends up prevailing itself and you see outsized returns in the things you actually make an investment in? Because for a lot of people, they like to be frank, like, dude, a lot of people don’t care about helping the artists, they see things as a financial investment, right? They don’t care about okay, sure, the outcome is helping and liberating the creative artists, right, and giving them independent freedom. But a lot of people they’re gonna put their dollar and trying to get 10 back, because that’s the stigma in crypto, right? So in any new attractive asset, that’s going to be the mentality for a lot of people. And you talk about music and NFT is having its viral moment, a lot of white defi tokens have their viral moment is because they’re outsized returns, right, without a doubt, infuse a lot of institutional capital, a lot of private money, how do we have that same moment for music NFTs with all the legality issues and all the gray area ownership issues around that?
Cooper Turley: We create more rarity games? You know, I think as a core standard, I think right now we’re having struggle finding out what makes music rare. You know, music doesn’t sound rare to me, like when you hear a different kick drum, I don’t think you’re like, oh, that’s extremely rare. You know, the visual wave that we saw with NF T’s now, I think is going to play a big tie in to this music NFT movement as well. At its core, you’re always going to be tokenizing an audio file and collecting an audio file. But I think the rarity in the secondary market will come from the visual association with those assets, which is gonna be really exciting. I think one thing I’d like to highlight on the ownership question, as we’ve been really zooming in on the individual assets and artists that I’m collecting, but we’re not talking a lot about the ownership stakes and the platforms that are enabling this, imagine if you could own a stake in Spotify. If you could own a stake in SoundCloud early on, you know, these things have gone on to be multi billion dollar companies and there was never an opportunity to invest. No large reason why I’m investing so heavily in something like how long in sound right now is they will be tokenized in the future. That’s the fundamental reason why I’m investing in them and why I’m so active. And when that becomes a reality, I hope to be a major player in the governance conversation around that.
Yeah. No, I hear you, it makes a lot of sense. A lot of the models that kind of prevailed in defi or have kind of like proven a grain of salt of credibility, definitely makes sense for I feel like any any platform that’s consumer based, right, any any infrastructure, any protocol, for the most part, and make sense to be co owners of everything that you participate in, will your time with your money. In all the above.
Cooper Turley: I want to add a quick point in there. Yeah, no, for anyone that’s listening to this and is in web three, ask yourself all the questions that you’ve been, or all the platforms you’ve invested in prior to having a token. And what that netted out is when they initially dropped their token and had an airdrop, you know, if you’ve been active as a collector, as a user of the protocol or whatnot, you are seeing outsized returns from ownership stakes through an airdrop. And I feel like that model is no different for music, NFTs there’s going to be a day when all these platforms tokenize. And so if you’re looking for somewhere to allocate your eth into a new ecosystem, there is literally no place better to do it than music NFTs right now, because none of them have tokens, and all of them well, and I think that’s a huge reason why you should spend your time and energy on that.
Yeah. You know, another thing I want to talk about is kind of like the timeline of music and streaming music. Okay. Yeah. And we talked about this yesterday during the good karma panel, but it wasn’t recorded. Unfortunately, I should have brought my mics but I digress. So, you use LimeWire?
Cooper Turley: Yeah.
You use Napster, right, you also used the next kind of evolution of that, which is the iTunes store and buying songs for 99 cents $1.20 $1.30. You also use Spotify, right? Each have their own value model. And now we’re getting into the wave of tokenizing, wav files, right, and being able to provably own, or fractionalize that process right? It feels very reminiscent to the period of buying songs on iTunes except different price points, of course, right? And you’re not letting iTunes diffs decipher what the value what the artistry is actually worth. Right. How do you explain that we went from like pirating songs to like sharing songs for free through Napster, to then moving to like an iTunes model where you’re gonna have to buy a song to earn it to now a streaming model where, you pay a flat fee and get abundance of songs. And now you’re collecting music? Yeah. How do you explain that evolution?
Cooper Turley: all music will be free. At some point in time, you know, at its core, if I want to listen to a song, I should never have to pay money to do that. I think we’ve been constantly challenging what that model looks like. Now we started out with, we want to listen a song, you buy a CD for $20, that if you wanted to listen to a song, you bought it for 99 cents, then if you want to listen to a song, you paid 999 a month, eventually, if you want to listen to a song, you don’t pay anything, you’re just going to stream it for free. But I think what’s going to happen is we’re going to create better economic incentives on top of collecting that music. So if you really resonate with it, and after you play it, you want to have an economic upside in it. That’s where NFTs come into play, the artist is able to say hey, here are the economic ways that you can get involved, go and can see what all you want, share with your friends, you know, posted on these different sites, here’s a Creative Commons license. But if you want to actually get involved in this ecosystem, come and put your money behind it. And let’s go ahead and you know, grow this thing collectively. I think that’s the next chapter that NFTs are really unlocking.
Open Sourcing The Entire Music Industry
Do you believe in transparency in crypto?
Cooper Turley: Yeah, to a degree.
Okay. Do you believe in like, open sourcing everything?
Cooper Turley: No.
No? Okay. How come?
Cooper Turley: I think it’s just impossible. Okay.
But when you think about like platforms that are actually providing Pivotal, I guess potential for artistry, let’s talk about, let’s say something like royal, okay, who seems to unlock the securities issue around actually tokenizing ownership, and providing a more direct fan relationship experience that was has never been able to be done before, I guess in a legally compliant way. How can artists kind of tap into that avenue and that that financial freedom that Justin Blau is doing for other gated artists, right, and curated artists? How can they tap into that without actually being on Royal?
Cooper Turley: Yeah, I think eventually those token standards will be generalized. Yeah, like Royals model will become an open source contract that you can use into yourself. So if I want to tokenize my master rights, I don’t need to go through royal to do that. Royal would just be a distribution platform to get more eyes on it, you know, in the same way anyone can release on Spotify. But if you get added to a Spotify playlist, it’s gonna perform better. We’ll see those systems exist. The reason why I answered that question and said no to everything being open source, I fundamentally believe that everything should be open source and all open source all my work, but I just know for a fact it’s not everyone thinks and I think it’s never gonna happen. And so I think we need to take what we can get, you know, we need to look to leaders like Blau and like the founders of catalog and sound and push them to be as you know, generous with their IP and with their You know, kind of findings as possible, because the reality is we’re gonna get to a saying crypto or not everything’s gonna be open source, you know, early internet was open source. And then we saw competition among social media platforms. And so we’re living in this golden age where I think, you know, trustless technology and open source primitives are kind of the standard. I think as the space gets bigger and more competitive, people are going to bunker down, and you’re going to need to be selective about who you’re spending your time with, because that’s going to tell you who’s gonna win.
So that gets me thinking, are we just going back to web two, but we’d like co-ownership?
Cooper Turley: Yes. I mean, I don’t think we’re going back to web two. I think that we’re just democratizing.
I guess, like my gated platforms, right. Yeah. But with CO ownership. I guess that’s I got to rephrase that a bit.
Cooper Turley: Yeah, I think that the curation layer is what’s going to be the most difficult part to decentralize. I think that there will always be opportunities for curators to make money through their services, which is what I’m really excited about. But I think the most premier platforms for curation will always be a little bit gay kept. I think that there’s value in exclusivity for that exact reason. But I think the difference there is we can’t only have gay cat platforms, that’s where we exist today’s everything is only gate caped, if you want to be successful on Spotify, you need to know the dude at the playlisting site, you know, want to be successful on YouTube need to have editorial support or something like that, you know, right now, with web day, we’re noticing that there are new channels where you don’t need to be, you know, gate caped to be successful. And we need to unlock better systems like Zara, where you can go and tokenize something and people actually see it. So, we’re not only looking to sort of like the whitelist, that artists for the ones who are actually going to be successful.
Yeah. Yeah, you know, I just see like, where we are right now with music NF T’s and I’m trying to think like 10 steps ahead of like, what are some, like obvious plays? What are some obvious roads that we can kind of go down, that bring more value back to the musician beyond just a collector? Yeah, right. Any other value models that come to mind? So, let’s say you collected an NF T, like what happens next? Okay, so you started cratered Dao? Now you issue a governance token around that, right? And you can tokenize that on paper on paper will be worth much more. Okay. But actual money coming back to the artist that stems from their initial one of one, their addition, whatever may be trying to think of like work, can it go from here?
Cooper Turley: I think streaming being on chain is really, really important. You know, right now, instead of paying 999 a month to listen to Spotify, being able to allow artists to say, hey, please pay me 50 cents every time you play the song and it going directly into my account is a huge step forward. Even the notion of having.
But could that happen? Do you think that’s actually plausible?
Cooper Turley: Yeah, I think that will be live on audience within the next year. That exactly situation.
Like from a consumer’s point of view. Okay, from everyone listening to Spotify, they’re so used to paying a flat fee and getting access to everything. Honestly, like, will people psychology around consuming music actually change?
Cooper Turley: Like, yes, I think if there is exclusive music that can only be listened to, if you pay an extremely small price, people go out of their way to listen to it.
So, it comes from the exclusivity element back to what you said earlier.
And it’s not everything, I don’t think every song will have that standard with it. I think they’ll probably be a bass streaming, right, that’s applied under the hood where you don’t need to think about it, you know, like, you’ll have a balance in your audience account of $100 that’s just sitting there. And every time you play a track, you’re paying like, literally a penny. A penny is three times more than you get paid to listen to a track on Spotify. But think about how much music I listened to every month. And how much value I’d get if I was spending a penny on every song, I’d probably save money. Spending 99 a month, you know, we just need to rethink that.
Music Streaming in Web3
Yeah, yeah. You know, when you and Justin Blau were on Blockchain & Booze. Yeah, a year and a half ago.
Cooper Turley: Fire episode.
Fire episode, shout out to Blockchain & Booze. But that was like, way before Justin Blau had his iconic drop the $11, $12 million drop in clubhouse with origin protocol, that kind of set the precedent for a lot of other conversations around NFTs music etc. You know, one thing we talked about in that conversation is what we just brought up is like, what if the artist can dictate the price per stream? Right? How would that look like? Is that an appropriate model? And from what you’re saying it’s slowly gravitating towards that. But what you’re saying is like, audience, a platform might control the price per stream. Is that counterintuitive to what web three is about? We’re giving creative freedom, financial freedom to the musician, should the should the musician and the artist dictate the price per stream? Is that even plausible? What do you think about that?
Cooper Turley: I don’t think they’re mutually exclusive. Okay, I think there’ll be a suggested model where it’s like, hey, every track should be one cent here. I think there’s a protocol wide, you know, global streaming rate that can be decided by token holders. I think that every artist should have the ability to say I want this tract cost $1 to stream I want this tract cost $20 a stream. I want this tract to be free. But I don’t think it’s applied across the board. I think it’s kind of a freemium model, where it’s like, you can allow anyone to listen for free, but if you want people to upgrade and listen to more exclusive content, then you have more, you know, economic rails around that.
The Consumption Layer of Music NFTs
Yeah. You know, another interesting conversation around music NFTs is actually the consumption layer, the enjoyment Yeah, like it’s not just buying to collect and to flip or to hold. It’s also to listen and enjoy right, as more things exclusively Come only on chain and don’t get distributed through web to audio platforms. There isn’t really a consumption layer now. Yet, like the first thing that comes to mind is an application on the iOS store, we can connect your wallet and all your music NFT kind of populate, you can listen to them. And not only that, listen to other people’s music, NFTs as well. Yep. And it makes me think like, what’s the current state of consumption? Everyone’s just buying, buying, buying, buying? Everyone this like there may be like 2000? Collectors, Like it’s so small. Yeah, but what like, how do you actually start enjoying beyond buying?
Cooper Turley: So, I usually listen to my music, NFTs on catalogue or sound directly, you know, I go to the sites that I’m playing music on and just go back and listen to them. I’ve been building out an on cyber-Gallery, which is like a 3d NFT gallery. That’s only for music NFTs. So, you walk around this, like big 3d space, and you see the giant cover image, you walk up to it, and you have like a cylinder around you that you can hear the audio in. Gallery is also a fantastic platform. They’re currently thinking through how do you have a playlist view for your music, NFTs instead of just a fixed static cover art. And, you know, even here at Denver, I ran into someone that’s building music NFT Player. Oh, just underscore. We don’t know what that looks like yet. I think it’s extremely important. And I think that music, NFTs are vastly different from NFTs you have on your open sea. And so, we need different ways to enjoy them.
Yeah, I try to think like, if I’m about to take a flight, how do I actually enjoy? Yeah, the songs that I collected? You know, sometimes I’m on a flight and a song doesn’t download fast enough. Yeah. And I get so fucking angry. Yeah, all I want to do is listen to that song. And I’m thinking, wow, it probably gets even worse now that you collect music, and you can’t really enjoy music on the go. Again, with time.
Cooper Turley: Two things there. One, I also want to give a shout out to club BPM, I think they’re doing a fantastic job around, you know, playing music and NFTs. And back to my point about all music being free. I think if something’s released exclusively in web three, that doesn’t mean that it can’t be heard elsewhere. You know, if I’m releasing a song that’s being tokenized, as a music NFT, and it’s released with creative comments, people will put that on Spotify, they’ll put that on YouTube, they’ll put that on these other platforms, there’ll be ways to hear it if you don’t own that music NFT. But I think the difference there is that it starts from the source of the first way Listen to this, is you have to buy the NFT or you have to be coming to the place to buy the NFT to listen to it. And from there. I think as it gets more successful, the more proliferates elsewhere into the, you know, consumption experiences that we’re used to.
Yeah. So, there’s the collectible layer. There’s a consumption layer, there’s infrastructure layer. What other components Haven’t we really, like tapped into yet? Again, consumption was one, we are talking about infrastructure, we see platform plays, we see what’s happening underneath the hood, we haven’t really seen too much consumption again, what else are we kind of lacking? You think.
Cooper Turley: Just community, you know, like some of the governance standards, we’ve seen around bigger defi protocols around like social Daos, I think cratered as a really early on. And so, I think for artists that are brand new to the space, finding out ways to pay your fans to work on your project full time is extremely important. You know, I challenge artists that started thinking from the view of a CEO and not just as an artist, where there are many different roles that you need to fill. I think the reason why those cater stock markets will come to exist and why Jack Harlow token will have value. Like it’s not only just like an asymmetric fan bat where it’s like, oh, cool, here’s this jack token that he cares nothing about. It’s like no, that token is Jack Harlow equity, you know, and like, he’s gonna have to start operating from a standpoint of being a CEO, just as we see with like all major companies, the artist is not always going to play that CEO position, they might just sit on the board, they might have like a very creative position where someone else is operating it. But I think challenging the way that artists products are structured, and thinking outside of the box in terms of ways to be able to capture that ownership is gonna be a huge unlock for the way that we start to invest in these assets.
Tokenomics: Risks Associated with Overwhelming Artists and Fans
So, you know, that tells me, it shows me like currently Jack Harlow, again, on the subject of him, he I don’t know what his like current like situation is in terms of like, record label, whatever. But I’m guessing he has a team a record label behind him, right, that has helped him get to where he’s at today. Right now, he’s under the precedence of basically pleasing them, right? And kind of like making sure that they get a financial return on their investment, right? Probably indirectly, it’s probably not as direct as them saying it. But now it makes you think, when you tokenize, your work, and you tokenize yourself, and you play more of the CEO role on chain through different assets that you kind of sell and distribute to your fans. Doesn’t that bring in a lot more pressure on the artist, because now not only does he have to like fulfill the needs and wants, and the expectations of a single entity, but now he has to do it with 1000s of people that have a financial stake in him. And if his ticker goes down, then everybody’s angry. If his ticker goes up, everybody’s happy. Yeah, and you’re introducing an entirely new psychological element to kind of like an artist fan relation. Now. I’ll get I want to hear your point of view on this, but like we also see craters like Dave, Dave Young with Dave Coin. And he was a part of season one like you were and we talked about when the market took a dip. All of his fan’s kind of like felt more aligned. Like they all lost money together, you know, and they were all in the shithole together. And when it went back up, like everybody was happy and like they went through that emotional financial cycle together. But again, that’s a very like small like minimum viable community type of like approach, right? What does that look like? On a macro point of view? We don’t know yet. It hasn’t gotten to that point. But I’m thinking like, Will that get too overwhelming for the artists where now they’ll be focused more on community management and policing their audience financially and less on creating? Will it actually have the opposite effect? How are you thinking about it?
Cooper Turley: I mean, I think as teams get bigger, so does the delegation of responsibility. You know, as these artists start to scale, it’s not just going to be them at the helm, they’re going to have people around them that have equal exposure and responsibility in that system. So, in the same way we invest in Ethereum versus Elana, it’s the same way invest in Drake versus Jack Harlow. You know, I think it’s gonna take a while to get there. The one thing that I’d underscore too, is like for these artists that are in breakout positions, you know, being on a label is very different for very different artists, you know, if you’re a priority artist on a label, they’re gonna do whatever the hell you want, like you’re in the driver’s seat, you’re controlling all those conversations, it’s a great relationship. If you’re on a label, and you’re not a priority artist, you’re fighting to even get a voice in that conversation. So, what I think we’re seeing now is that independent artists are thriving in the web three space, because they have that creative freedom that party artists do on labels with the financial backing that a label typically provides. But what this is going to evolve as is the label is going to be another corner in this conversation in the same way all of your fans are, we need something done, you’re not only going to go to your rep at a major label, you’re going to go and you’re discording, gonna put out a bounty. I think that democratization of artists opportunity is exactly what makes these exciting opportunities possible. And how you get to a point where we can start to ask the question of what is the market cap of Jack Harlow? And the people who can ask an answer that question are not only labels and catalog buyers, it’s the people who listen to that music every single day.
You know, it’s an interesting factor of like, pre tokenization, pre financial incentives and just seeing like what fan clubs look like today, look at Facebook groups, look at Instagram pages, look at these everyday artists that just love keeping up with the with the character with a fan, whatever may be in posting and creating content on their behalf and some pages have millions of followers. Yeah. And you think like, okay, now it’s time to issue a token, align incentives, bring wav files on chain, sell my artwork as one of ones or additions and sell tickets on chain like you start building all this like financial capital, right and social financial capital around you. And you think okay, who can I empower off the bat to kind of manage and delegate? First thing that comes to mind? Is those people Yeah, the people who manage the Facebook groups for free, the people who manage the Instagram pages for free, the fan pages, etc. Give them some social capital now give them the incentive, empower them, and bring them even tight knit even closer into the community. But I haven’t seen that kind of like prevail yet.
Cooper Turley: No.
And what are we missing? Like? Why? Why? Why isn’t it happening?
Cooper Turley: It’s not one concrete thing. You know, I think it’s a mix of things like people understanding that ownership exists, understanding that they can have higher social capital, you know, my earliest entry into music was through those exact same Facebook groups. The reason why I became so bullish on Daos because I spent time in grid family, pretty lights family, or does a family like all these like electronic communities, STS nine lotus, like, I would go to these shows, and I would see people that were so passionate about these artists projects with zero financial incentive, we’re giving the artists money, but spending all our free time talking about them. So, when you build that into a two-way street, I think people are gonna be so empowered, where you can just work for your favorite artists. Now, if I want to work for my favorite artists right now, I need to be like, their agent, their manager, their label rap, or just like nothing, you know, like there’s not ever been a way for me to be like a low-level contributor to an artist brand that I love. And I think that ability for us to offer those opportunities is what’s going to make not only music NFTs valuable, but also the creation of these larger crater dolls at scale.
But look what you just said right now, you did it because you love doing it. You love giving them money and getting access to these experiences. Yeah, without the expectation of getting anything in return. That’s how people have been doing it now or years. When you introduce money into the picture, it starts getting a little bit weird, right? And if you start building a big enough community where everybody has money, everybody’s financially incentivized. It gets even weirder, right? And again, we haven’t seen these models like prevail in theory just yet in practice, but you know what I mean, you know, what I’m getting at?
Cooper Turley: Web threes opt in; I think that’s the important part. Like there are people who will choose not to opt into these systems and just enjoy it possibly, I think that’s fine. That’s not to say you need to be like joining the discord to be able to like be a part of an artist community. But when you reach a certain level you like see that as like the next step up, I think we just need to make that door a lot more accessible. Because right now, if I go on, like, find an artist that I love, or something like that, you know, I said earlier an episode, most people when they listen to music, they don’t even know what artist they’re listening to. Yeah, but I when I’m listening to an artist, I love I could tell you where they’re from, what label they’re signed to, you know what their rollout process looks like, how many catalog records they have, that’s a drastically different artist profile. And so, we need to recognize that these systems are not being built for every single person that ever listens to your song. It’s being built for the people that really want to tap in and actually have an impact in the future of it.
You know, what’s interesting about you, Cooper, it’s like you’re one of the 1000 true fans. You’re like one of the 100 true fans like you classify underneath that funnel. Me personally, like I’m a drummer, I’ve been playing music my entire life. I can’t tell you where Steve Gadd is from, I can’t tell you how many like, records he’s played on. I can’t tell you his most iconic drum solo like I can’t, you know, because I consume it, I enjoy it in a different way. But does that make me different? Like, could I still qualify within that funnel? Will I still be, you know, while I still participate? I don’t know. I’m like, I’m like processing like you as an individual. You as a user, me as a user. We both listen to music. We both like get the emotional extraction, the most emotional uplift from it. But we do it differently. Right. And I try to think like, does crypto change that? Is crypto just the medium to lock all that in together? And I don’t know I I’m asking very much from like a generalized point of view. Is it the medium? Like, is it is it the medium to bring in the 1000 true fans? Is it the medium to bring in the 100 true fans? The 39-true fans? whatever the hell the key word is? Okay. I don’t know. We’re too early. What do you think?
Cooper Turley: I think there’s two underlying principles. One, people just want to belong, they don’t really care about making money, they just want to have friends, you know, and I think this is a great way to make better friends online, which is exciting. And two artists just want to be heard, you know, at scale. They want their creative work to be heard. When I talk to managers of big X, they always asked me like, like, listen, people always say the artists want to make money, but they don’t want to make money they want to be heard, I think most artists would prefer to have more people listening to their music than they would to actually make money. And so, what I think the process is here is the role that someone like us plays in this process is allowing more of this music to be heard, you’re not going to be like a top Contributor that’s in the discord every single day. But if you hear about this artist, and you own their music NFTs, there’s an extremely high likelihood that you’re going to tell one of your friends about that, and that network effect for you to be able to just be a collector of it, and then tell your friends about that over another artist to listen to because of the fact you want one of their assets. I think that’s the role you play in the process.
Another interesting question that I like to think about, and I tend to ask other people in the music season is every collector is a listener, but not every listener is a Collector. And earlier, you talked about like, you don’t need all your fans to be collectors. But how do you actually get part of them to, like, how do you become an in transition to people who listen to you, right? And if only you could actually capitalize on that, that Spotify data when they give you your Spotify on raft, you can find your 1000 true fans actually based off how many hours like the top 1% listener? You know what I mean? Data points. So how do you turn more listeners into collectors?
Cooper Turley: I have a weird opinion. Like, I actually think that if we gave artists, all the data on their fans, most of them wouldn’t use it, like are so genuinely like, lazy when it comes to data analytics, you know? And so like, I think a big premise of web three is like transparency on chain, but most people just don’t care, you know, or like when they see people posting on their stories, like, oh, like you’re my top artists, like, most artists, don’t think to, like, do anything about that, like a lot of these people will share it on their story and tag the artist, but they don’t really quantify that. And to your question about how to get more fans to become collectors. I think it’s like having a specific desire to actually convert those fans in a very meaningful way. At a concrete level. You know, starting a Discord server is where we’re at today. I don’t think Discord is the end all be all for fan communities actually don’t think we found the product for that yet. You know, finding more opportunities for fans to be able to build relationships amongst one another, you know, offering them a free pop and giving yourselves a private collector community to have a deeper relationship, doing things like hosting town halls, where it’s not about you. It’s just a social happy hour in the same way that we went and had a music NFT happy hour knows, as artists I think you need to start thinking about it’s not me trying to like sell myself to my fans, it just giving my fans different opportunities to connect with one another. The more that people resonate around their social experience because of you, the higher likelihood they’re going to transcend and move up the ranks. And I think that’s how you find more collectors.
You know, just you’re absolutely right, like when overstimulated came out. And I want to talk about that too. And talk about the tokenomics and how you kind of helped bring that to life. But I was a new Daniel Allen fan, I had never heard of him prior to actually collecting the overseeing token and seeing the blog post and funding that myself and yeah, being a part of that experience. And I remember Daniel Allen had every right to be like above right and to feel above and to feel that ego that a lot of artists that have made it quote unquote into the space now there’s different ways to define what made it means and it’s each, it’s very, again, it’s a different definition of what value means. I remember going to a show and him coming up to me and be like, hey, I’m Daniel, nice to meet you. Yeah, and it plays like a level, it provides a level playing field right and allows you actually to feel more genuine curiosity so not only that I collect his sound one on one not only do I have like a cool amount of like over some tokens, not only my in the discord and like voting on stuff, but he recognizes me. Yeah, right. And he doesn’t need to write and you think about like at scale, when you have Jack Harlow doing that. I see videos of him interacting with his fans hugging them, talking to them remembering their first names like I’ve seen that. But when you think about like, how can you take this model and apply it to many others? I don’t think it’s gonna work. Yeah, I don’t think it’s going to work and I don’t think it’s gonna work simply because the levelheadedness Yeah, I don’t like feeling like he’s better than me or she’s better than me. But a lot of artists think they have that clout, right, that social clout and with their own respect, they deserve it, whatever.
Cooper Turley: Well, that’s the X Factor that I always have you know, when I go back to like, what makes an artist web three native, it’s giving, it’s caring about your fans, it’s caring about building those social relationships and giving back to it. You know, there are artists that do that outside of web three. And I think that’s why they’ve been successful. You know, Grizz, I think is a great example of this, Helenium is a great example of this, where they are so tapped in with their community, and really giving back on a meaningful level. I think the funniest thing that I’ve learned in the past year, is that no artist tries to be bigger than their fans. It’s just impossible. You know, we’re at a stage now where like, there are millions of people who’ve never met in your life who know your life story. You’ve never talked to them ever. They come up to you, and they’re shaking, they can’t even hold a conversation. It’s like, bro, I’m just like a normal guy. Like, we laugh like me and my friend, we laugh or like, imagine being Post Malone, and somebody who’s 13 has three children comes up to you, and you can’t have a regular conversation. That’s freaking out, you know. And so like, I think, when every artist starts out, they have this opportunity to cultivate a community. I think as you scale, it’s impossible to maintain those personal relationships at scale, what we can do is find better technological ways for fans to stay better connected amongst one another. Because that’s how you maintain that social relationship in the absence of you being able to do it yourself.
Daniel Allan and Designing Overstim’s Tokenomics
Yeah, let’s talk about overstim for a second. Okay, you were a big part of that. You held Daniel’s hand a lot through that process in that served as a model and inspiration vehicle for many, many other musicians’ kind of coming into the space. I want to talk more about the tokenomics, I had Daniel on a couple weeks after he had the campaign, I had him after he released the EP, we did an entire, like, timeline breakdown and everything that kind of in between, but we never really got too technical with it. Okay, you jumped on board, you helped with a bunch of different things. But your special specialization through Fire Eyes for example, is helping with tokenomics of different projects, Ens, rare, bank lists, etc, etc, etc. And now for this micro creator. Yeah, walk me through your mental model behind designing a token system and incentive system around artist shares in selling a percentage of one’s artist share. How did your kind of like decide okay, this is the right model. This these are the tokenomics This is how many tokens should be in circulation, we should do the drop mechanics like this, like walk me through like from A to Z, how you kind of think about the tokenomics specifically around that drop?
Cooper Turley: Well, I’ll start by saying if I could do it again. Today, I would just sell NFTs instead of doing a you know ERC 20 token with it. I would sell one NFT membership pass for overstim as an EP. Yeah, and yet one vote and all of the holdings would flow back into the Dao. That’s today. But when I was building at the time I came from a standpoint of, okay, I have a vague understanding of how token distributions work for generalized protocols, I think that this is a much smaller scale. So, we need to retain more ownership. The most standard model for record deal is a 50/50, split 50% of artists 50% of the label, the label is being replaced by the community. So, 50% of this is getting sold to the community, the theory was that 100% of those royalties would flow back into the community treasury, because we split it 50/50, the community would be entitled to 50% of it, and Daniel would be entitled to 50% of it. Now, it’s important to recognize that does not mean that if you hold overstim tokens, you’re getting USD directly to your address, we’re just putting those royalties into a treasury that’s governed by those token holders. And so, you have a claim over 50% of the artists rights that’s going into the treasury, it’s not going to you as a holder, I think that’s a really important distinction to make that allowed me to be comfortable with this from a legal standpoint, and one that I think kind of, you know, sets better precedent for the entire model here. Because honestly, what I’ve learned through the process is, who cares about the Spotify streams, like he’s outperformed so dramatically with music NFT sales relative to Spotify streams, that the value of those is similar to tokens is a claim on music NFT sales, and the secondary sales of those on chain assets. And so, I think the thought process now is, how do we continue to drive revenue back to treasury through selling on chain assets, less about worrying about how do we bridge in, you know, Spotify, royalties, or licensing or stuff like that. And we’re just focused on like, all the web three things on the table.
Building Bridges Between Web2 and Web3
Yeah, it’s something that you’re big on, like, forget web two. And let’s just take this one entirely, like straightforward web three point of view. And let’s just do everything from a web three ethos, from a web three mindset, from a decentralized point of view, from a co ownership point of view. And that actually goes back to the project that you’re just starting right now with those Grammy Award winning producers that are Metaverse DJs, Metaverse characters, whatever you want to call them. But then again, there’s also value in the web two system so much. There’s also value being generated from a royalty point of view from monetization point of view now, it doesn’t favor everyone. Yeah, and I think web three favors a lot of the independent innovators, right? That kind of pushed the boundaries forward, hence Daniel Allen success but to say that forget the web two royalties, don’t even bring those on chain. Like, let’s just focus on a new, a new structure of creating value, in my opinion is like, wait, but there may be an entirely different opportunity that we’re missing. Maybe there’s actually a way to coexist with one another. And why actually like blouses approach so well, because he’s mixing the old with the new to create a brand-new primitive, right. But I get your point of view, I get like experiment with the boundaries test what’s possible within a web three. But in my opinion, I think I think that’s completely ignoring what web two is generating? Sure. Yeah, it has its fucked-up systems, it takes advantage of the artists, royalties are not distributed fairly. There’s all these underlying issues. It’s, it’s meant to empower the record label and not the individual artists itself, like, but I feel like there’s a way to mix the worlds and leaning one end on the extreme side doesn’t work. And leaning on another one of the extreme sides doesn’t work. Were web three to be on one side, web three, being on the other side, nothing extreme has ever worked out. Yeah, right. How do you think about that?
Cooper Turley: They’re not mutually exclusive. You know, I think that the underlying principle here is, if you think about time, per dollar, you know, like, the amount of time you put into something, web three is going to outperform web two every single time. And that’s just gonna be a standard moving forward for the next 100 years, you know, and so if you’re gonna be putting your time into schmoozing a Spotify curator, or trying to find someone to collect your music NFT, you’re gonna make exponentially more off of that. And I don’t think the financial piece is like the only important thing here. But for many artists, it’s necessary for them to be creatively free. And so, I think what we need to do is find better ways to allow artists to spend their time in web two productively, where they don’t feel like they’re just running in circles, but they feel like they’re making direct imprints with their collectors. I think all those systems in web two will try and come into web three, it was a great book called The Innovators Dilemma, I highly recommend, it talks about tech companies that had a huge lead in any respective technology and just blew it completely, because they weren’t built on the same fundamental fabric, or they tried to adopt too late. I think the same thing is gonna happen with web three. You know, even this weekend at the conference, I met a lot of kids who are 25, and younger, who are all building web three companies, who will spend their entire career building a web three, they will never know anything else. And so, when I think when you frame it, from that point of view, it’s kind of like, why would I try and like be the best at an existing system that has millions of players in it, but I can go tap into this new world that has 1000 people in the world spending time on it, and become a leader with exponentially more economic opportunity.
Yeah, I think I think it’s well said, what am I missing? What questions am I not asking you think are important to tackle?
Cooper Turley: I think just like, generally, don’t overcomplicate it, you know, I think that’s my general rule of thumb for all of crypto right now is we get so big brain and meta, and like, we’re gonna change the world, and everything’s gonna be different, but it’s like, Yo, like, we have not figured out the simplest shit like in the slightest, you know. And so, I’m always a big believer of like, hone down your scope, and something like very, very small. And if you are thinking about tapping into web two as an artist, like, don’t worry about how you’re going to make your entire product decentralized. Don’t worry about how you’re gonna tokenize your whole catalog, just find one really small way to start poking around with it. Make a po-op for your next show, find a way to tokenize one of your assets, make a Discord server, very simple questions, you know, you’re going to learn a lot from that. And so, I just really underscore, you don’t need to be a wizard to dive into this world. You know, if you have time and energy and a capacity to learn, I think you’re going to be just fine. And we are so early on that if you spend your time on this right now. You’re going to wake up in three years and be the people that are coming on this podcast to talk about your learnings.
I think that’s a good place to end off one because I don’t have any more water. I’m honestly impressed that you haven’t taken a sip of your water and you’re in the driver’s seat. Cooper, awesome to have you on again. Any final words? Where can we find you? Any last thoughts?
Cooper Turley: Wrap it up? I would say this was a master episode. We covered so much incredible stuff about music and FTS and if you go listen to the Blockchain & Booze episode we had and did like a now to then you’re gonna see how much has happened in the last year. And anyone who knows me and sees how much I’m talking about this? This is exactly why and what I would say is we are going to come back on this episode in a year and be like holy shit, like think of all the stuff that has happened since then. So high level best places to have with me is on Twitter @Koopatroopa. I’d say keep up with my Instagram too. You know I’m putting a lot more time into that trying to percolate a little bit more into mainstream culture. On Discord you can find me but honestly, I don’t spend too much time on there anymore. So yeah, we’ll get in touch if we’re meant to get in touch, now keep doing the good fight. And if you really want to come and find me spend some time in LA, start hanging out at music web two events and there’s an extremely high likelihood, we’re gonna bump into one another.r
Just scope all the aside places.
Cooper Turley: What are they gonna start?
Like literally start the aside down just with Cooper. Hello, dude. You’re amazing, till next time.
Cooper Turley: Thank you for having me on man.