Mint Season 5 episode 3 welcomes David Greenstein, Co-founder of Sound.xyz, one of the most popular music NFT marketplaces in the space.
I’ve been watching the growth of sound all the way from day zero when we first met and he shared his excitement on how he’s about to change the game for independent music artists. It’s incredible to see how far he’s come.
In this episode, we discuss:
- 00:24 – Intro
- 18:56 – Sound.xyz and the Drop Experience: Editions, Golden Egg and More.
- 29:39 – Creating an Assembly Line: Pumping Out Drop After Drop
- 33:22 – Paying Out Over $2.6 Million Dollars: Recognizing David’s Power, Responsibility, and How He Plans to Scale Without Diluting the Value of Curation.
- 42:09 – Should Artists Optimize to Grow Like Their Collector Base or Reach Virality on Streaming and Social Platforms?
- 44:58 – David’s Advice for Strategizing Around Editions, One-of-one Drops, and Selling Ownership in a Song.
- 50:29 – What Makes One Artist More Valuable than the Other in Web Three?
- 52:43 – The Difference Between Collecting to Collect and Collecting to Own?
- 58:48 – What Other Unique Experiences Does Sound.xyz Plan to Create for Collectors?
- 01:03:21 – Plan for Onboarding the Next Hundred Thousand, One Million, Hundred Million Music NFT Collectors.
- 01:05:12: – What is Your Vision for the Music NFT Space?
- 01:12:16 – Understanding Sound.xyz’s Smart Contracts
- 01:21:17 – Outro
…and so much more.
I hope you enjoy our conversation.
David Greenstein, welcome to mint my friend longtime coming How you doing?
David Greenstein: I’m doing well, thank you so much for having me in. And this has been a long time in the making.
A long time in the making, Season Four was all in the music industry. We didn’t manage to catch you on that one. But we’re continuing to the subject to season five, hence why you’re here today. Okay, so I always start with an introduction. Okay, for those who don’t know you, what does the world need to know about you? How’d you get your start into crypto and kind of what are you doing now?
David Greenstein: Yeah, before crypto, we obviously got to, you know, get it get started with the music side. And music is for as long as I can remember. And it really and I’ve talked about this before, but it’s really just being in the right place at the right time. And growing up in New York City. One of the alumni of my high school ended up being the CEO of Atlantic Records. And it’s still there to this day, Craig Kalman and I got really lucky and started being able to intern there when I was in high school, because Craig was willing to sell it to let me work on their A&R department and just got started studying the music industry. And it never, never dawned on me that like, like the music industry was not going to, the record label industry was not going to be the source of innovation in the music industry. And I was always obsessed with where that was going to come from. And I’d say the intersection of music contests have always kept me up at night. And the main thing is just there’s so much talent sitting on the internet waiting to get discovered. And the tools and the methods for discovering new music have largely remained unchanged. And so, you’ve ended up in this world where there’s just so many incredible musicians that want and need to be heard. But there’s not the systems and the methods of engagement to actually surface that music. So, I’ve always worked at startups and music related, worked at Pandora for a couple years and started a music company. And I was like thinking about what I wanted to work on next. And I just started going down the web three rabbit hole from a like product perspective, I’d been in crypto for four or five years, just as you know, a person working in tech, and a few different communities, specifically, one Friends with Benefits and where I met my co-founder and so many friends now that have helped me along the way. And then another party bit or two organizations that really helped shape. A lot of the people that I’ve met along the way to make sound possible. So, I’m always eternally grateful to those two places, because without them, I would definitely not have sound right now.
Do you play any instruments? Like, what’s your connection to music like early on?
David Greenstein: Yeah. So, I mean, I went through every, every failed attempt to try and be an artist. And that’s kind of how I ended up this side of the table. So, growing up, I used to play guitar. And then I also went through a nice little stint as a DJ, I think I’d better DJ skills, and I did a good guitar skill. But and I enjoyed it like music has always been at the forefront, whether it’s listening to music, playing music, I’ve always been just obsessed with just kind of writing songs and watching artists take things from nothing or inspired by something that like I walk past 100 times a day and never even think about. And so, I’ve always been just an admirer of those like behind the scenes documentaries of how that made because just peoples like creatives brains work in a whole different dimension. And I think that’s obviously part of why I’ve always just like hung around music and been lucky to obviously meet a lot of people along the way. And all those things. It’s always inspired me from the beginning.
Have you seen Calvin Harris’s slide creation on YouTube? How he kind of like, documents his step-by-step process on how he created the hit song, what you’re saying, and I really remind me of that.
David Greenstein: Yeah, I mean, even I mean, those are great examples. And obviously, there’s like some famous cognate video and create beats behind the scenes, but, and I would love to see more of that type of stuff. Even Kenny beats on a modern-day example on Twitch, like has built a huge audience of just, you know, showing people obviously like him in the studio. And that’s obviously been really, really, really, really insightful. And yeah, I think one of my other favorite podcasts is something called, and the writer is, which is a podcast by Ross Golan, who’s a very large songwriter. And he interviews some of the biggest songwriters in the world, like Benny Blanco, and a few others to like, talk about the stories behind the songs and kind of how they came to be. And I think that’s, like, those are the types of things that I was studying.
So, we met prior to sound launching, we met through a mutual friend Connor, who was like, top, top manager in the space. And I remember one thing that was really unique about your story that always stuck with me, is like your entry into the music scene. I think it was like your early teens, you said something about Pandora, right? Joining Pandora early and starting at a music A&R firm, right, but like you got it like the above like above have normal age to actually, like start working at one of these places from what I remember.
David Greenstein: Yeah. So, it was it was working at Atlantic when I was like, which is obviously part of Warner Music Group. And I think it’s really that’s, that’s something that I like never to take for granted is that I’ve just been talking to artists and managers and people in the music industry for so long, which is where I’ve been able to kind of like learn some of these insights about what works, what doesn’t work. And I’ve just always been a student of the music industry. It’s not just like, like, it’s the entire, like economy of music, right. And we always talk about artists and listeners, and those are two very, very important pieces. But there’s an entire business that surrounds music, and to understand why things are the way they are because like put out as the output is the music industry is broken, or artists aren’t getting paid. But it’s equally important understanding why artists aren’t getting paid or why things are the way they are. And that’s kind of been a lot of the journey. Definitely. People like Connor, Connor runs one of the most successful indie labels called listen to the kids, it was signed, like Alexander 23, and manages over Fetty and a few others, like being able to learn from people directly like him is part of what’s helped shape a lot of the insights that drive even sound today.
So, what was your past startup, your startup prior to this that you were working on?
David Greenstein: Yeah, it was a basically like a tick tock analytics tool that we were just using scrape data across the, across the Internet and track a lot of it like I’ve always been obsessed with, as I told you, like, like all this talent that just sitting there, and a lot of talent was blowing up on Tik Tok. And it was like an A&R tool for discovering emerging talent. And that’s actually how I met Connor because a lot of the labels were using it, as you can imagine, I wasn’t as passionate about like, a small SAS business selling to labels. And I wanted to go after the big problem, which is how do we help as many artists as possible, make a full time living off their music? And also, how do we help artists reach the most amount of people with their music as well? I think one thing that that often gets talked about as the money because the money is very visible, it’s obvious. Things is, artists aren’t always getting paid what they’re worth or what their value is, or what their music means to somebody. But on the other side, making music is not just about making money. It’s also about getting your song heard by as many people as possible. And I think today, like just there’s not enough places to shine eyeballs on songs. And I mean, other than Tik Tok. And I have these conversations with like music industry, people that don’t know anything about web three. And I talked a lot about this with web three people who maybe are less exposed to the music industry. But other than things like tick tock or YouTube, there aren’t really many places right now in the music industry, where songs are just blowing up or getting eyeballs and so, chicken in the egg problem of like, yes, I want to sell them. I want to engage my community. I want to build my initial like, I want to build things with my listeners, but also, how do I get listeners? How do I build that strong connection with my community? And that kind of feels like a black box right now. And I think is hopefully obviously part of what like the web three music scene is about given just the transparency and participation aspect of just web three.
So, there’s, there’s a few things here building an analytics tool for tick tock to discover up and coming talent, and also the element of building your community and web three, I think one of the more interesting things the more artists I talk to, the more overwhelmed they feel to create music for a platform to reach virality versus creating music for the sake of music and showcasing their art. Right. And I think web three has a home for that right and being able to value your music for what it’s worth versus trying to build hit songs that go viral via dances or trends on Tik Tok. I mean, how do you feel about that?
David Greenstein: Yeah, so I think it’s all about what game do you set up? Right? So, I think the game of Tick tock was the dance. And I don’t even think tick tock was meant to be a music thing. I think they stumbled into that, by nature of the fact that, you know, music is attached to every single video. And I think the point of like, kind of the web three music scene is since is to build sustainable models for music, right? Today on Spotify, the game is set up so that you have to get 10s of millions of streams in order to make any real money on your song. And that means that you basically obviously need to achieve some level of popularity in order to be a full-time musician through your music. I think in web three, we have a fundamental way to change the way that music is structured today and build systems that allow you to make a full time living off getting 25, 50, 100, 1000 people who support your music. And that to me feels a lot more achievable for a mass amount of artists. Of course, some people will go on to get millions of listeners or millions of collectors and that’s amazing and nothing wrong with that. But that shouldn’t come at the expense of somebody wanting to get 25, 50, 100, 1000 People who want to support their music and that’s why I think for us like it was never about building on top of something like Spotify because something like Spotify isn’t fundamentally designed at its core to support millions and millions as any, as most artists will tell you. And that’s why we felt we had to start from a bit of scratch here to kind of reshape and show that you can do this with 25, 50. I don’t pretend to know yet what the exact magic number is. There’re obviously the famous 1000 true fans. But I do think that that was directionally along the right line of building these small intimate communities and really making them about the strength of them versus like today, it feels like just get a million fans, but how many of them are actually true, true, true fans.
So, the other portion is you creating these analytics play for Tik Tok, which I feel like really works like peanut butter and jelly with what you’re doing. It sounds XYZ. But I’m curious to hear your point of view when you create a tool that helps scout up and coming artists. And then you build a platform like sound to basically put people on the map and you have this power to create this like level of like, creative freedom for these individuals. I feel like your experience and curation and buildings analytics tool really played a part in you kind of designing sound like it was like the next evolution.
David Greenstein: Well, it’s basically like I said, it’s the like, there’s so much good music, I think one thing, like the best basketball players are in the NBA right now. Like, I don’t believe that there are people that could be in the NBA that aren’t. But some of the most talented artists are not yet discovered. And I think for me, it’s like drives me insane that the next whoever your favorite artist is, is just sitting on the internet waiting to be discovered, and how do we build systems and tools that obviously, you know, surface that that information? And I think obviously with NFTs you kind of get that out the box, right? Because people have all of a sudden, for the first time, like the ability to say like, hey, I was here to discover Billy Eilish first. And there’s an actual on chain proof that that’s actually true, which I think has never been before possible. Like if you go on SoundCloud, or you go on Spotify, even on SoundCloud, right, there are people that have commented on the song, but there’s millions of comments, you can’t really tell who was there first. And I think that’s kind of like the interesting part of here is that artists have never had the relationship directly with our listeners, which is a misperception in terms of you would think that artists are getting all this data about who their listeners are. But it’s always at the aggregate level, they never know who their actual heart like, day one fans are. And on the listener side, I’ve been running around the internet my whole life saying I discovered this person and that person before you and arguing with my friends. But there’s never been an actual way to prove it. Right.
And I think those two forces coming together is actually quite interesting, because then you can actually, the whole point of this is to incentivize people to go check out the music. I think that’s what makes I always talk about the concert, and how influential the concert has been to me because I think the concert is a powerful experience in music, just in terms of like the artist is performing as a community of people around you. It’s social, it’s engaging. And I think that’s what makes a festival so interesting is that you go to a festival to see some of your favorite artists but then you might wander around and discover a new artist you’ve never heard of that you fall in love with and go support and then go to their concert right. And the cycle kind of repeats itself and I think that’s part of an addition to like music discovery kind of having a bit of a crisis today. I think that’s part of it is like the pandemic obviously took out touring and people stopped discovering new music and kind of fun ways and the digital experience of discovering new music is a little bit broken today right outside of the core Tick Tock, YouTube, why not which are like great, like we use those for what you got to use those tools for but they promote a certain type of content kind of emerging right like tick tock is definitely like viral dancing short clips and I think YouTube has its own scene right but there should be other methods and ways to discover and surface like incredibly talented like the ultimate dream for the Internet is, if you are a talented artists like you will rise to the top or you will get some type of following or you get some type of notice because that’s obviously the way it should work. And today I like we believe like the tools to surface new music and content are somewhat missing from the internet.
You’re so like calculating in particular with everything you do. I’ve really noticed this since like, since we actually first met and seeing the birth of sound from seeing you first time and meeting you in person at NFT NYC at the FWB event and seeing all the hype that you were generating around the upcoming launch to then seeing you at Brett’s What was it like the first music NFT night later on? And like yeah, kind of thing you like bounce around from circle-to-circle kind of like what, here’s what we’re gonna do it sound, this is what’s up and coming. Stay tuned. Let me get your number blah, blah, blah. And there’s one thing that really stood out to me about you in particular you have this Instagram account that is obviously private. So, you have one, you have your personal Instagram account, you have this other Instagram account where you follow all the biggest people and you kind of source someone’s legitimacy or like you kind of curate interest in like sparks and people based off who Following those Instagram accounts from the people that you follow, if I’m not mistaken, if I understand that correctly.
David Greenstein: The inverse of that is like, nothing I’ve learned is like the world is so small. And I mean, even all the artists on sound, there’s been so many people that I had no idea follow each other. And I’ve learned just the ability, like if you have a mutual friend, like the introduction, or the ability to kind of meet that person is somewhat, is 100 times stronger. Yeah. And then I also obviously have my you know, personal Instagram, and I want to leave that. So, one, one small thing that I did was just, like, follow everybody in the music world that I could ever want to talk to or meet. And whenever I am, including people that I actually know. And then it gives me an easy way to look up, like if one of my friends that I know, know somebody, I can easily reach out. So, it’s just like a little thing. But I think to answer your broader point, I’ve just always talking to people from a curiosity perspective, I think that’s where the best insights get generated is just talking to people about their problems, whether it’s artists, whether it’s listeners, whether it’s collectors, whether it’s songwriters, and producers, and I think in order to really like, at the end of the day, like I’m not an artist, right, and in order to get like to solve problems for artists, or solve problems for listeners, the best way to do it is to really put yourself in front of them and talk about what’s going on. And I think that’s kind of been like at the core, even before I started sound, I mean, 1000s of conversations, and I don’t juggle that number in terms of just getting the insights on like, hey, would you, would this work for you, showing you early marks, etc. And I think that’s part of, like, part of like, just what went on behind the scenes, was building those relationships and learning and kind of studying just what works and what doesn’t work. And I’m very, very, very grateful to all the artists, and there’s too many of the shout out or too many to count. That been generous with their time to, like educate and, and teach and obviously, in return, like try to build things that are helpful to them.
Yeah, I really respect the hustle and kind of seeing the birth of sound from meeting you prior to its launch than seeing it like launch and all the excitement around it, and then seeing it where it’s at today. It’s really fascinating. And I really applaud you for it. And you like to see the value that sound is creating for artists that otherwise wouldn’t have a stage and a platform to really showcase their art connects with listeners and build a collector base in web three, it’s really cool to see that dynamic kind of unfold and this new genre, this new era of what music is worth online, and it being valued differently than let’s say what the big corporations kind of pin it to be, as, for example.
David Greenstein: yeah, I even take like the other, like opposite approach of like sound only exists because of the artists that have like been willing to participate in the ecosystem like sound is literally nothing without the artists. And I think that is like probably the most like that was the most obvious thing to me is if we get strong artists that believe in the community, that believe in web three music, then obviously like maybe we have a chance of getting this off the ground. And I think what people don’t necessarily realize there now is like, we didn’t lay down the first lines of code for sound to like mid-August of 2021. So, like three months after we started working on it, and with Oshi as our first artist on December 6. And it’s been a whirlwind ever, ever, ever since then. And that’s part of the reason why this is happening a little bit later. But it’s really been just something that could have never even imagined against my wildest dreams. And it’s probably the, it is the greatest like, it’s like the greatest privilege and pleasure to work on sound because it’s doing everything that I’ve ever wanted to do since I was a kid, of just helping artists and shaping kind of how the music industry can look. If we kind of are able to experiment with music and new ways.
Sound.xyz and the Drop Experience: Editions, Golden Egg and More.
Yeah, I want to talk more about sound now like jump into the platform itself. I’ve been collecting on your platform quite a bit. I was a part of season one, picked up first, the first few golden eggs I think the most, the first one was Matthew Chime, which was an epic drop. I remember that being in the Twitter space and then being able to get the golden egg. I want to talk to, I want to get like more of your point of view on how you kind of came about to design the drop, and what the drop means to you and what kind of process went into formulating from the golden egg to the point one Eth as initial drop to the 25 editions as like the base premiere of a drop. Can you walk me through more like the design principles that kind of came to mind as you were building that out?
David Greenstein: Yeah, so I think the two principles that have never steered me wrong are simplicity and obviously focus and so they wanted to keep things simple. Like this is a new product. This is a new platform like we didn’t want. We didn’t want to overwhelm people because we know people are taking time out of their day to kind of kind of come check us out. And so, from the beginning, it was really, as always shaped with the artists themselves. So, every decision that went into the first kind of iteration, I mean, I can’t even imagine how many artists we shared that with. But the gist of it was, we wanted it to feel, as I said earlier, as close to a concert as possible. And so, part of that was just gathering multiple people around the songs, which is why we obviously chose to kind of go with this multi, like edition approach. The question then became how many editions and I looked at Oshi, and we’re like, how many things we could do. And we didn’t really have any, like context before, obviously, the drop because we had no data. And so, we picked a pretty random number 25 and 25 felt like, hey, that’s, that’s not nothing. And that’s not but it’s not too many. And we obviously wanted to drop to be successful. And so that’s where the 25 came from. It was just a group conversation with me and Oshi for his first drop. And after it started to work, we were like, Let’s keep it and let’s see when it stops working, and it never stopped really working. And so that’s kind of how we got here. I think the golden egg was an example of just like being like, making it fun, right? I think sometimes people in the beginning like it takes to take themselves too seriously. And I think the golden egg was a way to inject real value. Without like, you know, I think against our principles is we tried to, we tried to keep the price like, like low at point one, relatively to like, you know, other mints, or obviously in the music industry that’s still very, very expensive, but we just wanted to make it fun to participate and like learn something new about that artist.
So, I think that’s part of the reason why everything was so kind of like straightforward. Point one, support the artists, there’s no waitlist, there’s no way to game the game the system, you basically just show up and purchase it. And that aspect combined with the Twitter spaces, which I think have become like a hallmark thing of sound was kind of the magic ingredient again, and getting this off the ground and Twitter spaces was really important to me because I always talk about this, the music is super, super, super obviously the most important but the other thing is the story behind the music is as important and for us it was really important to highlight these stories because it built such an emotional connection with not only that song, but that artists themselves so Oshi, she is an example like, you ever talked to him you get to know him. You can’t help but want to support him like that’s like, like the journey that he’s been on. Obviously, over the last seven years or so being obviously like a premier artist on SoundCloud. Getting Started in the music industry, I don’t even know what age like 16. And knowing what he’s gone through now. It’s an incredible journey. And we felt that there wasn’t a clearer way to tell those stories. They’re like, let’s do it Twitter spaces, so that everybody knows what I kind of know about Oshi and maybe that will make the job a little bit more contextual. Obviously, we got really, really good reviews on that. So, we just kept doing it. And we’ve now done like 140, 150 Twitter spaces where we’ve highlighted every single artist that’s been on sound in their journey for their first drop, because we think it’s really important that people get to know why we’re doing these drops, and why this artist isn’t getting involved with web three, for all different shapes and reasons. And I think that’s really, the beauty of it is like everybody’s coming from their own journey or their own walk of life. And I think everybody’s story is unique. So, I think it’s very important that we highlight people’s stories and not put them in a box.
But one of the most unique things about sound, which I noticed off the bat is the virality of saying my drops sold out in a few seconds. And being able to pin the amount of money that you’re able to create from that, the wow factor behind that is instantaneously viral. Like the ability to go as an artist, to go out there and say my song on Spotify, or Apple Music has X amount of listens. But this just generated X amount of value in a matter of seconds. And now I have these passionate collectors who not only like bet on me but are going to be holding my thing give or take for the long run is unique. There has never been an experience like that before to enjoy or to consume or to listen to music. And that that moment of virality of saying, oh my god, I can’t believe this sold out in less than 30 seconds, two and a half k or 2.5 Eth etc. There’s something to that like I feel like also that psychology lead to a lot of the virality about sound, would you agree? Would you disagree? What do you think about that?
David Greenstein: Yeah, so I think in the beginning, like obviously like the sellout, like causes people to obviously like talk about what’s going on, why this etcetera. I think it was really about starting a conversation like obviously, like not every song is going to sell out in every in every you know, in anything. And I think that’s not the point of it. But I do think that the sellout kind of shows that there’s demand. And I think the demand was really important because before obviously sound existed, and even like the just broader music and empty space more broadly like the criticism is, who would ever want to support this? And are there people out there that want to reshape and reimagine, like how we value music. And I think the shock factor of saying, like, hey, I just generated 3 million streams worth of music in the span of seconds, I think gets you thinking, because I think anybody who’s tried to, like, go generate 3 million streams on Spotify, that’s not easy to do across anything. And it can take a long, long, long time to get there. And I think not only to get those streams, but then to get paid out is like another three to six months later. So, I think from an artist’s perspective, that’s like the most shocking thing that you could ever imagine, because of what the alternative is, right? If you’re talking about a music NFT, where you can potentially get paid out instantly, and build an intimate connection with your listeners, versus a system where you have no interaction with your listeners, you get paid out three to six months later, it’s you have to get millions of people to support your music, that is a 100x difference to how it works today. And that, to me is what causes a lot of the kind of virality with sound, and I think, is part of what, yeah, part of what like helped launch kind of the music NFT movement. But I will say we’re, we’re so early into the movement that I don’t, I always joke, I don’t think we’ve really gotten started yet. And so, I think, I think anything that’s been done so far as, I don’t even think we’ve left the batter’s box. So, I think we have a long way to go. And I think this is the start of obviously, a cultural, like revolution on like, unlike just what music is worth and reshaping that music itself is valuable.
Yeah, I want to share my screen for a moment and highlight the website for a sec. Okay, because one of the biggest metrics that you guys consistently advertised as being the most important metric is the amount of value kind of like money generated to these artists. So, 2.6 mil. Okay. I’m curious to me, like, what does that mean to you? Like, what is when you see 2.6 mil on this board, like front and center? Why showcase that one? And two, what does it mean to you? And I guess, like the success of sound?
David Greenstein: Yeah, so I think this was something that we did fairly early on. I think the main point here is to show that real value is being created for independent artists, right. And I think that’s really been like the Hallmark point of sound, I think the, the main point of like, showing the value is just showing that like this, that this space is growing, and that this thing can thrive and that people want to participate in this because I think the stereotype and the reaction is, like, why would somebody kind of collected music NFT, which we can get, which we can get into. And I think that’s really the main point about why we put that front and center as to like, I mean, the whole web three space is, is transparent, it’s on chain, everything is, all the metrics are easily kind of calculated, calculated, calculable. And I think the main, the main prospective, was just to put that front and center and like, you know, kind of, I always say this, but just bet on yourself and double down. So, if it doesn’t work, the number of days that, you know, still does work, it goes up. And I think that kind of puts the pressure on us to kind of deliver and create value. Not just like for the artists, but also for the listener themselves, too.
Do you remember like your feeling after selling out the first drop, of selling O’Shea’s drop? What was that like?
David Greenstein: Yeah, it was pure chaos. I remember being on FaceTime with O’Shea. I might even have some FaceTime screenshots. But it was just like, it was just like, we don’t know what is happening because the whole site, which wasn’t the first one happened due to like too much traffic, and when the whole site went down. But then, like, somehow people bought them, and I was like, how are they buying them, the whole site went down. And we were just like, we don’t know what’s happening. Like, like it literally just like, like, and I was my phone was blowing up. And I’ve never experienced anything like that. Like, I’ve never like, it was the most wild experience of one of my whole lives. And I think me, O’Shea was just like, such a good sport, as he always is about, like, what was going on. So, we were he was just like, we were just, I mean, we were just like what is happening, because we never in our wildest dreams ever thought that like people would kind of come and support at this time. And so, it was like the most humbling and exciting experience. And the next day, I was like, holy shit, we have another drop. So, we gotta get back to fix the site. And then we went with Grady as a second artist, and third, and then just kind of like build out from there. And I think I was like, I’m gonna keep doing this until I can’t do it anymore.
Creating an Assembly Line: Pumping Out Drop After Drop
And at this, at this point, you’ve kind of built such like a well-oiled machine, you have like two to three drops a day. How, like, how have you managed to create that assembly line effect where you’re just pumping things out? Like McDonald’s like pushes out hamburgers, like, What’s the secret to doing that?
David Greenstein: I mean, one is I have an incredible team that I work with that I think makes it even all possible and the team has obviously grown since then. So, it’s definitely no one man army anymore. And I think too, like, I think it’s just a lot of hard work like I’m up till very late right now, these drops, working on the tweet storms, working with our team to make the marketing assets and really just, we promote every drop of saying, like, we always want to make every art experience. And obviously, it goes without saying, I don’t think we can do Twitter spaces for every song on Earth. But what I will say is, it was really important to shape kind of the world we want to live in. And we think a world where artists are able to tell their stories, highlight incredible music, and build a community around that music is a better world. And so that’s why we kind of wanted to just do the things that don’t scale. While we can. And I think that’s kind of played a core role. And when I saw it was working, and people really enjoyed the Twitter spaces, I was like, well, I’m gonna, I’m just gonna double down in order just to make sure that they keep happening. And I think you know, doing today, it definitely, obviously, it’s hard. But it’s 100% worth it. Because I think giving the artists anything that we can do a small part on to help artists tell their story is, is worth doing. Because that’s ultimately who we’re here to help.
What were some of the initial bottlenecks in the beginning that prevented you from kind of like reaching the output that you have right now.
David Greenstein: I think just the product and others that we went straight from the product being finished to launching with OG and so we never had any. Like, we never had any like, like wiggle room for like just fixing things. And so, it was like, all hands-on deck there. And then I think one thing that people like maybe don’t realize is like there’s two sides to this. There’s artist side. And there’s also the listener collector side. And I think it’s really important to keep kind of collector demand in line with kind of artists. And I think because this space is so nascent, those two things kind of go together. And so, for us, we were always like keeping track, obviously, we have a ton of data and just the drops and traffic and everything. So, we want to make sure that we kind of grow this space sustainably because we think music NFTs and just the work that music movement has the chance to literally upend the music industry. And for us, it’s not I mean, even and even in the way that sound works today, like we don’t take a percentage of the drop at all right now. 100% of the revenue generated by artists on primary and secondary sales, go to the artists themselves and whoever they’re splitting it with. And that’s not because like we won’t figure out a business model in the future. But that’s just because we wanted to make the best experience for collecting music NFTs right now. And that was really what we’re, what our focus was on. And when we get to the business model, we’ll figure that out. Just like we figured everything else out in partnership and in conjunction with our artists, because that ultimately, is the best way to build a sustainable, thriving ecosystem. So, I think in this world, like and this is obviously a lot different, like the artists, like our partners, and artists are like what helped shape this, and I think that refers to on Spotify and kind of streaming services today, artists didn’t give any input into the price per stream, told and determined for them. That kind of is like the beauty of web three is just the collaboration and interoperability of kinda the entire ecosystem.
Paying Out Over $2.6 Million Dollars: Recognizing David’s Power, Responsibility, and How He Plans to Scale Without Diluting the Value of Curation.
So, let’s talk more about those two parties, the artist and the collector, okay, sound at the moment has a very highly, like highly curated process, which I think has also led to its success with kind of mitigating who gets to drop on and the quality that gets a drop on has attracted certain collectors as well. And, you know, you have that power, like you have the power David to like, put someone on the map, give them your platform, give them your stage, actually, like you have the power to basically like give someone a stage, give someone a platform, and to nearly change their lives in a matter of seconds, or at least help change their life in a matter of seconds. Right? Like what does that responsibility mean to you? What does that power mean to you? And second how do you bring that to more people without diluting the value of curation?
David Greenstein: Yeah, so I think why sound curation as an important and important question, important answer. I think one said the product was just so early that we wanted to make sure that we deliver experience for every single person to, we wanted to just see what works. And before we didn’t want to scale, a bad experience to many people. And so, it made sense to focus on a small, a small group of artists. And I think the third thing is just the legality, which is if we opened it up too quickly, and people started to put you know, unlicensed music or unlicensed samples, then we could end up solving problems that are really boring instead of focusing on the problems of like, how do we help artists, you know, builds community amongst their music, and that was kind of the initial reason why we started curated was just to sustainably like the community and wrote that community, I think in the future, right, like, I think something that I’ve been very consistent about and no problem saying is I have very little interest in building a music platform for 100 artists, because ultimately there are millions out there that kind of need help. And I think the only way you can do that; you can’t do that in a curated approach. I think for us, it’s about the right path to kind of getting there. And I think that’s why he obviously tried to open it up every single season a little bit more. But there will be a time where, you know, you let the floodgates open, and you figure out how to do so. But also maintain curation, I mean, so there are ways that you can build tools that help artists, reach the most amount of people as possible, but you still have some type of like way to highlight music. So, I think, in that regard, like, we’re kind of, as I said, the very, very, very early stage, and we have a lot of really exciting improvements and product features coming out over the next couple months that I think will catch people by surprise. So, I think that’s kind of the little teaser of what’s to come. But I do think that the curation question comes up a lot, and just base more broadly, and I think some parts of it are great, but I think other parts of it have fundamental flaws. And I completely agree that like, as many people, the more artists that are experimenting with music NFTs, the better for the space. And I think that’s ultimately like one of the goals for us is how do we get music NFTs into the hands of as many artists as possible so that they can start, you know, building and experimenting, because I think one Pinnacle aspect of web three is just, you don’t need to have all the answers yourself, you can, the more people experiment, the more people might come up with it their own solution, which another artists can be inspired by. And that’s kind of like the remix culture, I think is so awesome to see. And I think a lot of artists have learned from each other just by watching what other artists have done and kind of influencing them to do and to include in their drops. And I think that’s kind of like some of the most beautiful aspects. So, we can only get there. But the more minds and eyes on the problems, the better.
So, you guys recently announced like you crossed the 100 artists mark? I’d love to hear more of your thought process into finding those first few 100 artists. Did you have any like specific like data points? Or like checkmarks that had to be reached? Or was there a certain like criteria you were looking for to bring these people on the platform? Like what was the story of bringing those first few 100 authors on the platform?
David Greenstein: Yeah, every chapter has a bit of a different story. So, I think the chapter which really like called the Genesis artists, it was really about taking 20 artists that have inspired us to build sounds in the first place, right. And it was really important to highlight emerging independent artists in the web three kind of community that had been basically pushing the boundaries way before sound even existed. And we felt it was important to give them a stage to basically like highlight, like their contributions to the space. And that’s kind of the way that we chose the first 20 artists was just the ones that kind of, I don’t think sound would exist without their kind of efforts and contributions. That doesn’t mean there were actually a lot of people that we like wanted to get as gems as artists, that scheduling just didn’t work out or whatnot. But that was kind of the inspiration behind that. And then each season, we’ve kind of run different approaches where season one we had like kind of some of the artists curate who gets on next we wanted to experiment with like, what does it look like from an artist curated perspective. But I think that the main, the main thing is just building like music is diverse. And just like how music is.
So, we wanted to build a diverse community, across every type of music, across every type of gender, across every type of sexuality across all different sides of the spectrum. And I think that’s, that’s kind of always been at the core of sound is making sure that the music that’s out there in the world is reflective of like the artists that we’re obviously onboarding. And I think, to say the obvious when you do 100 artists, it doesn’t matter what the number is, you’re never going to curate the perfect 100 artists like there’s obviously to get on town. And that’s why I think like the ultimate solution is to figure out a way to open it up in some way, shape, or form. And I think, yeah, I think 100 is I mean, it’s slightly over, over now. But it’s been considering the time frame that we started, it’s given us a lot of conversation shots on goal. We’ve talked to a lot of artists because every single artist has gone through onboarding with us. In personally onboarding all those artists, it’s been able to give us a lot of insights on like, what works and what doesn’t work. And I think one thing that I think we pride ourselves at sound is like we’re constantly changing. And so, if we see something not working, or we see something working, we’re going to double down on the thing that’s working and we’re going to get rid of the thing that’s not working and so I think sound is also a living breathing organism that is like changing day by day based on kind of the feedback from artists and listeners in the community. And I think that’s kind of the beauty of it is where we want to be as nimble as possible and kind of just work with our community.
So, what are the next 100 artists look like? Like you said there was like some form of theme in season one or for the first 100. What do you imagine the next 100? Looking like?
David Greenstein: Yeah, so I think the goal was obviously like, and I think there’s a lot more to do here, which is like sure to keep highlighting independent emerging artists in the community, I think there’s so many talented web three artists that need to be highlighted. And I even think the term of the artist is going to be pretty much gone in the next year, where it’s really just people making great music, like whether they’re going to like upload to Spotify, they’re going to upload to a web three site, or they’re going to make their own NFTs, it doesn’t really matter, if the music’s fire, like, that’s ultimately the only thing that matters at the end of the day. And I think artists should always have creative freedom to put their music wherever they want. And so, we feel like, it’s really important to kind of highlight people that have been driving the space forward, we also want to act as a bridge for people kind of getting into web three and making it like fun to experiments. Because I think, in order for the space to really take off and grow, you need to have more than 100 artists kind of experimenting with the music. And I think that’s kind of like the, to like Hallmark things are, can we onboard more artists into the web three music space, and then two, can we help those with three music artists achieved success, not just in the web three scene, but just in the music scene more broadly, like, I think the first time that you go into a coffee shop, and you hear some of the artists that have obviously been on sound or any of the other web doing music sites, like it’s gonna, it’s just gonna like, cause a complete, like mental shift that this isn’t some like internet, kind of click, it’s actually affecting the entire music landscape more broadly. And I think that’s one thing that I think people don’t realize yet is like, there are already superstars in web three, and too many to count. And I think it’s just a matter of time before the visibility in the spotlight gets shined on them. Because they, they absolutely deserve it. And I think that’s kind of the point of like, what got us here in the first place is, we’re like, hopefully proving and showing how many talented artists that literally existed way before kind of all the started are out there. And it’s everybody’s job and our job, especially to tell those stories.
Should Artists Optimize to Grow Like Their Collector Base or Reach Virality on Streaming and Social Platforms?
So, do you think artists should be optimizing to grow like their collector base or reach virality on web two streaming and social platforms? Like, what’s more important now, do you think?
David Greenstein: Yeah, so I don’t ever believe in like a one size fits all solution for artists depends on like, what their goals are, like, if somebody wants to build a tight knit 100- or 1000-person community, that’s incredible, like, and they should be fully empowered to do so. And you can have wild success with 1000 people that really fuck with you. I think on the other hand, if somebody wants to be a superstar, and like tour, and do all these crazy things, and be on the radio, then that’s another path, right? And I think the problem today is that you don’t really have an option, in the Spotify world, you really do need to be that superstar, because that’s basically how the system is set up. And I think here, it’s about making space for both right. And I think championing whatever cause are artists, I think a lot of the just conversations I’ve had with artists is that they feel like they have to do something, or they feel like they can’t be themselves or what they want to be. And I think that’s always like the most dangerous side where like the ability to express who you are, and freely and freely be yourself is like probably the most important thing to creative expression. And I think that’s kind of the beauty of the web three space is that it should cater to all shapes and sizes. I don’t think that there’s something about web three music that is like, against the bigger artists kind of getting involved. And I also think that there’s nothing about an artist that like has no following that can’t get involved as well. I think both are just tools to shape and build kind of how you engage with your community.
I think that’s kind of like the hope and the belief that we can kind of shape there. So, I think it’s really, to answer your question directly. Like, it’s really about what does those artists want? Can the tools help them achieve their vision, and I think that should work for as many artists as possible and if it only works for really big artists, then that’s not solving the root problem, which is how do we help artists, you know, reach the most amount of people and identify their communities and build them. And so, I think ultimately, like, the independent artists, definitely, when I say independent, I mean, a lot of the like, like, they don’t have as many resources is kind of maybe like a Drake out there. And so, it’s really important that like we’ve kind of leveled the playing field just in terms of like being able to sustain making a living off your music because I always hear you can’t make money on music. You got to do touring or merch, and I think that’s amazing and awesome. And I think as I said, concerts are the greatest thing ever. But I think music itself is so valuable, that you obviously should be able to make a more of a living off your music.
David’s Advice for Strategizing Around Editions, One-of-one Drops, and Selling Ownership in a Song.
So, quick story, I’m a drummer, I’ve been playing the drums for since I was five years old, I never ended up pursuing it professionally because I never thought there was a real way to make money in it. I always felt like I’d be competing against like a lot of the gospel drummers that grew up playing in church, and they got all the gigs and they got everything and like, there’s no room for like this Jewish kid that loves playing the drums to go and pursue his passion. And kind of seeing the evolution of what’s happening in music NFTs has really opened my mind up to there’s literally an infinite amount of ways if you really set your mind to it. And you really get creative, and you learn different ways to make money, and put yourself out there and create value for your art. It’s possible. And I think like going back to your point of understanding what an artists want, what should they strive for virality? Should they strive for building a collector base? Also, kind of ties into my next question is, how should artists be thinking about doing addition drops or one of ones or selling ownership into their songs, the NFTs? Like what are the mental models that you think people should be looking for or looking from to kind of answer these types of questions?
David Greenstein: Yeah, so I think just like everything I always say it’s up to the artist on what they want to do. And they should, they should have the freedom to create an experiment in whatever way shape or form right, so I think we’re so early in the space that there isn’t one right answer. path is best for you. I think it’s what are you looking to accomplish? And what are you trying to experiment with? And one way to find out what’s for you is to try them. All right. And I mean, it’s like a very common approach. And I think that’s something that we even encourage, go try them on, see what works and what doesn’t work. And I think part of the beauty of web three is the interoperability and trying new things, right. So, I think it would be kind of against the ideals of the space if like, you can only use one kind of tool. Alright, so for us, it’s like, yeah, go try, go try it all and figure out what works. And then obviously, like, there are even more tools that like, let you stitch those altogether. And I think that’s kind of the beauty of the whole space. So, it’s definitely not a one size fits all solution, which I think is really hard for sometimes people to wrap their heads around. Because that’s exactly what happens today. Like it ends up being a one size fits all solution. And so, it ultimately, like it takes a bit to like to unbundle that. I think it is that like it depends on like, are you trying to get multiple people around your music? Are you trying to build one intimate experience or relationship with a with a collector? Like what is the ultimate kind of goal that artists and I think it, it feels like there’s enough there starting to become enough tools out there that artist can kind of experiment with what works best for them. So, at the end of the day, as long as the artist is in control, and the artists can, can like, pick and choose what fits best for them. That’s kind of a step forward in the right direction. And I think there are some more tools to build for sure. But I just like the idea that there’s already kind of optionality in the space.
So that’s, that’s a really good way to look at it. Because earlier in the conversation, you’re like, I wanted to find a way to make sound as if it was some type of concert experience, right, a listening party of some sort. And going through the edition model, right. And doing multiple for, multiple NFTs for one drop is very much like a very, like rational way or logical way to kind of think about this is why I should be doing additions to kind of get this party type of experience around my music. And I guess like when should artists be thinking about doing one on one, for example? Like, what is your mindset around that personally versus from the artists point of view?
David Greenstein: Yeah, I think I think like one of ones are like, I mean, a lot of the I don’t even think the NFT space necessarily would exist without the one of one space. So, I think there’s always been a place for kind of that like, one of one, like scarcity. I think it’s really, really helpful in educating artists and listeners on just like, it’s simple. It’s like, there’s only one of them, right? So, by nature of their only being one of them, the scarcity is just the highest they could possibly get. And I think there are things that you can do for one person that you maybe don’t want to do for 25 or 50 people. And I think that’s like an incredible way to kind of view and shape the space. And so, I think you’ve seen a lot of artists do one of ones on other sites and also drop on sound as well. And I think it’s just about figuring out like, and I think we’re so early in the space, like which use case works best for which scenario and giving artists the tools to basically pick and choose with both. So, I don’t think it’s any like, I don’t think it’s as good as any one versus the other. I think they have different fits and different use cases. But I think with sound because we were going for this like community oriented, kind of approach with building like multiple people around the song and kind of building that type of experience. That’s obviously why we chose to do them the multiple kind of editions because it allowed us to play a little bit more social games, which I think we’re just really exciting to I think that was kind of like more just how like, I’ve always experienced music and going into so many concerts and so for us it was is really just about giving artists a way to kind of engage their community in a little bit of a cheaper manner, which I think obviously has helped, hopefully helped bring in a little bit more collectors to the space, which I think overall benefits everyone. Because we have, the goal is to turn every listener, obviously into a collector because the line should get blurred. And if that happens, then we’re going to be, we’re all going to be in good shape. So, I think that’s kind of the name of the game for right now.
What Makes One Artist More Valuable than the Other in Web Three?
So that’s on the artists point of view. Okay. So earlier in the discussion was like, I want to split this up between the artist point of view and the collector’s point of view. So, I think like, you brought up an interesting point of view right now, which is one of my questions, which we’ll get into for in a minute, excuse me. But I guess from a collector’s point of view, after talking with so many of your collectors, or I guess, learning more about your collectors, what makes one artist more valuable than the other in web three? Do they have a point of view on that? Do you have a point of view on that? What are the thoughts around that?
David Greenstein: Yeah, so I mean, I think like, I think it’s always weird to like to put a value on a person because I think people are just valuable in general and like, there’s not nobody’s getting more than the next person at the end of the day. But I do you think that like people obviously like, like music, right and have their own tastes and music means different things to different people. And I think it’s really just which music is resonating with people. And I think that’s ultimately, the point of this is if you liked music, you have the option to support it and obviously get something in return. And I think certain artists that have like, obviously been able to build followings in the space, I think one consistent thing is that they’re typically very involved. And that doesn’t feel like it’s like a onetime thing and that they end up leaving. And so, I think there is some type of like involvement. And I don’t have like a tangible thing around it. But it’s the artists that are just like really, really like thriving like Aman, who obviously is an artist and also works with sound, or Latasha or O’Shea, or Daniel Allen or Grady, and so many others and Rio Cragin. And Jeremy for Marion Hill, like. They’re like daily participants, they really live, breathe and believe in this stuff. And I think that really resonates, in addition to their music, being world class, and incredible and just undeniably amazing. And I think that’s what makes them like special, special, not just artists, but people is their belief and kind of championing of the space. So, I think that’s kind of like one of the things I’ve noticed is like, when you mix good music with like, authenticity, and like their story and why you’re experimenting, that kind of has resonated, obviously, from the collector side of view, in terms of getting, like collecting. So, I think that’s kind of my answer there.
The Difference Between Collecting to Collect and Collecting to Own?
Yeah, I would agree with you. A lot of the people that I collect, I try to see like, what else are they doing in the space that not necessarily like directly brings value to collectors, but I guess increases their presence in web three. So, the best example is like looking at Matthew Chime, for example, and all the amazing work he’s doing at song camp and chaos, but also doing his own individual drops, right. And kind of seeing his full comprehensive understanding of what’s happening in web three at a very expert level kind of makes me more bullish on him as an artist and in web three specifically. And just like speaking more on the collector side, really like interesting, I guess, like point that goes across crypto Twitter all the time is how do you think about the difference between collecting to collect and collecting to own, so what do I mean by that? Okay, because I also get backlash on this. So just to iterate before everybody jumps on me. Collecting to collect for the sake of collecting, like what we do on sound, okay, you do it from the form of patronage, you end up owning the NFT, it sits in your wallet. But there aren’t necessarily like web two IP rights or royalties attached to it versus other NFTs that you can buy that generate royalties and income. How should collectors be thinking about the different models? I guess, on that and because one of one’s very much fall in the same category as like editions, I would argue for the sake of collecting the way they’re being done right now at least. Right? And then there’s the other model of collecting in with that you get certain IP rights, royalty streams, etc. How do you think about the difference? is one method more superior than the other? And maybe you may be a little bit biased because you do more of like the edition drops, but I don’t know I’d love to get your take on this. Because back in season four, there are so many hot takes on like, which one, which model is better than the other? So, it’s always I don’t know, I’m curious to get your point of view.
David Greenstein: Yeah, I think we’re too early to play the like, which one is better than the other but what I will say is every NFT in the entire web three and space and even the more NFT space more broadly, it’s never been about the IP rights. It’s about being part of a community right having access to certain like artists, or events or weightless or whatever, whatever the access kind of is, it’s about obviously making money. I mean, crypto as a whole is a speculation game, and then three, it’s about the visibility that comes with owning it. Right? Those are the three things that obviously shape and drive value, I think is an example like if you take any, you know, PSP project, there’s never been you get equity in, like the board a yacht club, you do by nature of owning it and obviously being a part and then you know, all this kind of like you get Airdrop a token. But it was never about owning equity, people purchase and FTS because they wanted to be a part of the community, and they value what was going on. And from an art perspective, you wanted to directly support that artist, and you thought their art was valuable, right. And if other people think that artists valuable, the NFT went up in value. And I think what I think maybe people don’t think about is like, there’s so many on chain ways to generate revenue for those kinds of collectors, that that’s ultimately like, like, I think a, a more like more lucrative opportunity than kind of building on top of the existing music worlds. And I think the way we, the reason we feel that way, is because like most artists that we spoke to aren’t making any money in kind of the current streaming world. And so, we felt it was more important to like to generate new revenue streams for artists, because that’s ultimately, where we can be most helpful and impactful to multiple different artists. And we didn’t want to, like we want to help artists reach new sources of revenue in the music industry, because one problem with music today is that there’s very, very few ways to monetize music, but they typically don’t change. And there’s usually one at a time, whether it’s like, you know, cassettes, CDs, iTunes, and now streaming. And we would love to see a world where there’s so many more sources and ways to monetize music. And I think that’s ultimately, what I think excites us about kind of, like web three music spaces, that it opens up the possibilities for monetization for music, in ways never before possible versus kind of confining us to building on top of the existing system. And obviously, like, we inherit all the problems that we ultimately started with in the first place, so I think the freedom to value and the freedom to express and not putting a value on music is kind of the beauty of it. And I think something that a lot of people have said is like I collect because I think the art is valuable, and I think is going to be you know, obviously increase their prominence in both the space and in the music world. And honestly, like, I think it’s too early to put, like put a finality on what these things. And I think that’s part of what’s going to happen is you’re going to start to see use cases and monetization opportunities and access to certain things that you’ve never been able to see before. Because that’s the beauty of building in the web two space. And so, I think with certain other kind of like NFTs that have been valuable and right, right now, obviously, we’re in this whole PFP craze. And so, like nobody really knew at the beginning that like this type of NFT would lead to and allow a spot for this NFT, which would then lead to an airdrop from this token, right? When you initially bought that thing. That’s kind of the main thing is all we’ve done is mint, the initial NFT associated with the song, that type of landmark moment in music history and with that artist and with that song is going to be the like the access key to like a much larger world around that music. And I think there’s so many opportunities, and I think we’ve only seen a few of them with like, Daniel Allen has done this with his treasury where they NFT kind of play a role in how the Treasury managed and governed. And there’s so many different things that can kind of be kind of be explored and done with NFTs. And just even just the whole crypto space more broadly, that I think it’s, I think just the opportunities are going to end up being just a lot larger, which is going to attract a lot of artists to kind of experiment on this side of the table.
What Other Unique Experiences Does Sound.xyz Plan to Create for Collectors?
Yeah, I’m curious to see how that kind of unfolds in the various creative, like, I guess, creative ways that artists find, find methods to kind of tie value back to collectors. So of course, the art is the utility within itself. I don’t believe the art should maybe have more than that if artists want to attach more value to it beyond just the music piece. That’s fantastic. I think we have yet to see where defi comes into the picture. And when you can stake the value that that’s kind of like locked in your NFT, I’m really interested around that. I think like you said rev share in like diversifying, like what you get, like the various revenue streams that you get from selling collectibles and putting that to Treasury and issuing a governance token that then gets more value accrue to that. I have yet to kind of see more models beyond that, to be honest, that have worked and that have gotten like a lot of attention. And I’m really also curious to kind of like, I guess like learn more about in season two, you guys had really interesting unique opportunities for collectors to engage more with previous drops that they’ve collected by basically allowing like a pre-sale, for example prior to the drop going public. I’m curious like what other value do you guys’ plan to create or like other unique experiences, you imagine creating for collectors on sound? And I guess what, what do collectors want? At the end of the day? Like, what does a collector need? At the end of the day?
David Greenstein: Yeah, so I think there’s those two things. And I’ll get a little bit of a preview on
All right let’s go. Let’s go.
David Greenstein: One side is obviously like giving collectors a way to kind of show off and engage their music collection and building exciting products around that, I think are really at the forefront of what we want to do. We want to make it really, really fun to collect, we want to make it exciting to show off your music collection and show how early you are. And I think that’s, that’s kind of like at the core of some of the product work that we’re doing right now. I think on the other side, right, it’s about access to the artists and access to the community more broadly. And I think there’s been a lot of really interesting building in this space around like token gated merch stores, chat rooms, countless other tokens, I mean, even when we do with like, basically token gated, like, allow us for like, presales. But what I think you’re gonna start to see is like, artists are going to be able to use these NFT’s because that is, again, the whole point of the whole space, is that to build whatever experience they want. And I think the surprise is actually like, delivers that like incredibly like cool experience. And I think you’ve seen this a few times where like pussy right gave her sound NFT holders access to it, and not even a music and if you just separate like our drop that and it delivered a lot of value to obviously like the collectors and holders, the initial sound drops, nobody bought the NFT or the sound drop, because of that they didn’t even know it was happening. But I think that’s part of obviously the interesting and exciting part of what’s been going on is just seeing artists do things that, you know, haven’t been before possible. I’ve seen, I’m starting to see artists, like fly out winners and golden eggs and all this cool stuff. So, I think it’s really about the just what’s up to the imagination. And one thing I don’t try to do be more creative than an artist. And I think artists are gonna, you know, that’s one of the beauty of like working with artists, they’re so creative, that they come up with so many different things. And then obviously, where a lot of artists want to do the same thing where like, maybe we can help you build something to support that. But that’s kind of answers, I think, you’re gonna start to see a lot more ways to engage and have access to that artist. And I think the other side is, there’s going to be a lot more ways to have your kind of visibility of your music collection and show things off and kind of flex on like your music tastes versus your friends. But I think all at the same time, it’s really important that the person who doesn’t able to, isn’t able to collect still has an incredibly fun experience. And I think there’s a lot of features that you can build for people who don’t collect and still have them that contribute a lot of value to the system. So, I think that’s kind of the name of the game is like how you make it fun to collect, keep it open, keep it affordable, but also make it for like a open ecosystem for anybody who wants to participate, that could be an artist that hasn’t yet uploaded their first music NFT that can be a listener that hasn’t first collected their music and update. I think the main aspect is to make this inclusive for as many people as possible. And I think that’s ultimately the journey of sound is to do so.
Plan for Onboarding the Next Hundred Thousand, One Million, Hundred Million Music NFT Collectors.
Yeah. You said something earlier. And I want to bring it back. So, every, I guess, nearly all collectors or listeners, but not every listener is a collector, how do you envision kind of onboarding the next hundred thousand, one million, hundred million NFT collectors into the ecosystem? Like what does that look like?
David Greenstein: Yeah, I think you have to blur the lines between obviously like, a listener and a collector, like, possible. And I think the main thing is that that is the opportunity, like as many people that listen to music can obviously be collectors. And I think the real, the real thing that I’m saying is what I just talked about, which is like you have to build better ways for listeners and collectors to basically show off and their profile and obviously like their music collection and build ways for them to discover new music. Because I think that is ultimately like one of the things that’s missing. There was a there was a tweet the other night about what would you like to see and with music NFT and I think a lot of people are really, really liked the idea of playing and hearing them and I think right now like we’re kind of using systems like open sea, which isn’t necessarily the best place for like listening to music and just focus, it wasn’t intended or built for that. And I think there’s been some really cool experiments that are being run with like my friend Anthony, who created hate machine has started something called Future tape, and a few others that are awesome. There’s this feel like there’s a new one every single day. I’m just building cool ways to just like listen to the music out there because it really opens people like minds up to like how much incredibly talented music is. And I think at the end of the day, like one of the things that’s never steered us wrong and it’s just as long as you’re putting good music in front of people, it really like the rest takes care of itself. And I think the good music plus the good stories is kind of the secret sauce to everything. And that’s kind of wow, what keep what makes us excited?
What is Your Vision for the Music NFT Space?
What is your vision for the music NFT space look like? What is your like your picture-perfect type of scenario that you’re kind of building towards? And has that changed since you started sound initially?
David Greenstein: No, we want to help a million artists make a full time living off their music. I think we want to build that music economy that is accepting of all participants. And I think in order to define the music economy, right, there’s multiple participants, there’s artists, there’s listeners or songwriters, there’s labels, there’s producers, there’s music curators, and all of those a huge role in why music is able to reach the masses today. And I think it’s really important that everybody can kind of thrive in because if any one party is upset, then ultimately like it’s going to get disrupted at some point. And I think, I think obviously, like in the current business model of music, like songwriters and producers are clearly treated as second class citizens. And that’s a larger answer on why but the main answer is just like the deals were done with the recording companies and those artists, those companies protect recording artists, not producers and songwriters. And so, we want to build something that is open and accessible to as many, many, many different types of people as possible. And that’s ultimately, like the end goal of sound is to build an open kind of music ecosystem where anybody is free to experiment and monetize their music in cool and novel ways. And build a listener community that ultimately values and supports artists and helps us reshape how music is valued. And if we can do so, then we can actually help many, many, many more artists make a full-time career so that you as a drummer, or somebody that you or your friend can like actually to think of music as like a full-time kind of career profession, and not do so in a way that doesn’t require them to dance on Tik Tok, necessarily, or build a million listeners or whatnot. And can build this kind of, you know, small communities around.
What do you imagine the role of like Spotify and Apple Music playing in this entire movement? And is there any fear or I guess any worry about them coming out with some form of like NFT compatibility for collecting songs? Like what do you what do you kind of see around that?
David Greenstein: Yeah, I think that helps artists monetize and experiment with their music, like, never going to have a problem with right, so if they want to do that, that power to them, because honestly, at the end of the day, like the mission is how do you help artists reach the most amount of people? Anybody who plays a role in that it deserves a lot of credit. I think Spotify, what they’ve done is they’ve built an incredible audience of hundreds of millions of listeners. And I think that plays a role in the visibility side, because you have hundreds of millions of eyeballs that like come to their app every single day to listen to music, how concentrated, the listening is another conversation. But I think ultimately, like the best product and the best solution will ultimately win out and there may be multiple, great products and solutions. And so, I don’t think like, like, we’re never focused on like what a big player might do like Spotify, we’re more focused on just building cool products for artists and serving our community and letting that kind of speak volumes to itself. And we think at the end of the day, if we do that something of value will be created. And if Spotify or Apple Music enters, then that’s awesome. And help obviously legitimizes the space and as long as they’re obviously sharing revenue with the artists in a fair and transparent manner that we think that that’s great.
Yeah, I another thing that I want to see kind of unfold is more collectors building communities around the artist versus the artists building a community around the collectors. Number one, have you seen any examples of that? Number two, what is kind of like, what goes into doing something like that? Like how can you motivate a band of collectors to build something like on Facebook, you see all these crazy Facebook groups of like people creating fan pages across Lady Gaga, right? Like those are fans creating groups around the artist. How do we get to that same mindset for music NFTs and collectors?
David Greenstein: Yeah, and then that’s like a really, really interesting point. And there’s a great blog post that bass grass Meyer, who works at colors, and is one of the most like incredible music tech writers. I’ve told him about this like six different times, but he has a blog post and I’m gonna get the name wrong, but it’s something along the lines of like, why like networks are better than channels for as models. But today, if you think about Instagram and Twitter, right, it’s very much the artists like blasting messages to their listeners. And sure, there’s some comment back and forth, but it’s not like a coherent place now. Versus if you talk about like Facebook groups or Instagram groups to what you’re talking about all these fan pages where without the artist permission, the kind of listeners and collectors are able to kind of engage in in new ways. I think that’s a like a lot like strong fan bases, whether it’s like a Billy Eilish or Taylor Swift or Lady Gaga or even on, like some of the more legacy acts like a Grateful Dead, these are like fish like these are like cult followings where I think the artist is 100% involved and like they’re following in their community like I think, of course, the Grateful Dead acknowledges the deadheads, and everything along those lines, but there’s like a lot of value that’s been created by just deadheads talking to each other. And building that sense of community. I think there is a place 100% for artists and listeners to build, like those own worlds, even without the artists, maybe the artists see that, like these listeners are like hanging out and like doing all this stuff and kind of coming in and kind of contributing from there. So, I think that’s 100% something that I haven’t actually seen happen. It’s been a lot of obviously, like artists, driving right now is inevitable, obviously, like, the more something grows, right, like you can’t just manage everything. So, I imagine with like some other larger kind of collections of the web three space, like, there probably is sub fractions of groups that kind of emerge. And I think that’s an inevitable outcome, obviously, as the presence and the notoriety of an artist kind of emerges. So yeah, I think that’s like a great point in terms of kind of like, just like loosening kind of the burden on artists because I think people don’t realize is there’s this conversation of like doing, you know, utility and work and all this other stuff, but a lot of the artists time and work goes into making the music, right? So that’s really the main craft there. And I think obviously, like some artists are extremely talented at community building and management and involving but not every artist is really wants to participate in that and I think a large part of this is like letting the listeners and kind of collectors drive that and I think yeah, I think the easiest examples you’ve seen a lot of like in discord like a lot of listeners have become the community moderator and just stepped up and like done. Like, that’s all I got a role on artists teams, and I know some famous stories of, of the community kind of members that have basically like joined the artists official team at some point, right. But in today’s world, like building an intimate connection with your community, and your listener base is like critical to an artist success. So, I think it’s 100% possible.
Understanding Sound.xyz’s Smart Contracts
So just off that point, for those who are listening to reference, you can check out the episode with Henry Chatfield and Daniel Allen basically like a duo. Henry came out of Daniels kind of like success and rise and see what he was doing web three, joined him and then they became this epic duo online where Daniel was kind of, excuse me, Henry was managing the day to day the community, the discord, a lot of the ops related around drops and different events that were going to happen while Daniel had the basically the creative energy to focus more on his craft. And I think like seeing more of those Duo’s, more of those, like artists management, kind of like collabs in web three is something we have yet to see more of on like a successful basis, I want to talk to you about a couple more things before we wrap up. Something that’s really unique to sound is the smart contracts that you guys’ kind of use to operate in Fulfiller drop. And I think it’s something that may go unnoticed behind the scenes, but it is the foundation of everything that happens. Can you talk to me more about the smart contracts? Because from what I understand you guys use custom smart contracts to kind of curate and organize every single drop, right?
David Greenstein: Yeah, so for us that was I mean, one of the core principles was like, on every music, you know, service today, artists don’t really own the relationship with their fans. And the best way to really showcase that point is to basically give every artist their own kind of custom smart contract that basically is their relationship with their listeners, right. So, like not even us can like withdraw the money from the contract, only the artists can, right. And that creates a different kind of sense of ownership that doesn’t exist today. So, when an artist like joint sound, they deploy their own kind of smart contract, which obviously gives them provenance over their work. And I think that’s something that like, the way that’s manifested in like everybody sees every day, he’s like on open see, every artist has their own collection, they’re not grouped under some central sound page, I think that’s been really, really helpful for just helping artists like this is your music NFT collection, not ours. So, at the end of day, it sounds like is just as I said in the beginning, like it’s just like an aggregation of all the artists and all their works. It’s not like the other way around, which is very like platform in terms of how it is today. And so, we felt it’s really important, because what if like, you know, sound doesn’t exist, it’s really important that artists maintain that relationship with their collectors. And I think that’s something that we spent a lot of time and effort on is just building the system to like let artists create their own smart contract with obviously with an no code environment, so that they can have provenance over their work and definitely is something we feel is like very integral to just not even just the music web three space, but there’s the NFT space more broadly and there’s been a few companies like manifold to kind of lead the charge on this, which has been really, really exciting and cool to see and definitely, definitely champion that as well.
Yeah, what does the next six to 12 months look like at sound?
David Greenstein: So, I think the big question that we’re gonna want to do is obviously, like scale the collector experience. So, we definitely want to make collecting music NFTs so addictive, so fun. So, like, just enjoyable that people will come out of the woodworks to learn about obviously like how to create a wallet or how to how to buy Eth. And we think that that is like the next step for obviously, music NFTs. I think on the artists side, it’s more, it’s most important to figure out how do we build systems that scale and kind of open this up, but also maintain some type of curation, even if it’s in a more public open way. And I think that’s kind of the riddle I’ll leave everyone here with is, I think there are ways to open it up, but still maintain curation, and do so without kind of intersecting with each other. And I think over the next couple months, people will see kind of what we have in store, which I think will catch people by surprise, otherwise, we won’t have enough time for episode number two, but the feeling sore. And I think the one thing is like we do a lot of like just talking to listeners in ours and we talk to artists on a daily probably hourly basis. And then with collectors we have like a biweekly kind of town hall with our collectors in our Discord, people that are like their town collectors in terms of holding an NFT in their wallet. And then we also do it sound Twitter spaces with the more broad community, anybody can come and pull up that I’m on leads and it’s incredible. So, we’re constantly just learning and evolving. And that’s kind of where the insights come from.
Amazing. So, two I guess three more questions. Okay. These are more fun questions that when I tweeted them interviewing you and coming on mint, what do you guys want to ask him? So, the first one is, what’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
David Greenstein: I’m gonna go with cookies and cream,
Cookies and cream. All right. And then what’s the ideal size for a tungsten cube?
David Greenstein: 4 inches 100%
And last question. Do you have any questions for me?
David Greenstein: I guess I mean, to see you kind of build this from like, I mean, even this is entirely entrepreneurial journey as well. But I mean, I feel like Mint is really, in the level of like guests that you have, like, I feel like I’m amongst legend, and definitely the least important person in the space. So, I’m super honored that you would even consider me and thank you for making the time. And yeah, I’m just curious, like, where do you see Mint headed? And what’s kind of?
Yeah, so first of all, always welcome on the show. I think you’re one of the like the leading people that has, that has a purpose that kind of like beats his drum. And you really see that through your work. So welcome, anytime. So, in terms of mint, it’s a good question mint started 10 months ago, with the sole intention of trying to selfishly learn more about what’s happening in the greater economy by inviting people that are smarter than me onto the show to teach me about it. And then just so happened to document the process along the way. And it slowly spiraled to now reaching like over 20,000 people a month across all platforms. And every single season, I give out free NFTs to kind of document who are my early participants, who were my early contributors via po ops or minting on my site. Season Four was the biggest season yet, we had over 6000, NF Ts minted for free, which is wild. And we had like 1000s upon 1000s of hits to the site to which was really, really cool to see. And the community is growing and growing and growing. You know, my whole intention of starting Mint is like I’m a creator, creating content on a podcast, right? Creating content on the web through creator economy. So, through my business model, through my levels of growth and engagement through my content, I kind of set out this thing to be as web three native and as crypto native as possible. I envision me kind of doing more drops myself in the future. But I want to do it in a way where I really do it like really thoughtfully, and part of it is kind of rewarding my earliest contributors first somehow, and because we were able to provably show that either they were a speaker on one of the seasons, a listener on one of the seasons or a sponsor on one of the seasons, they somehow have a role into kind of like playing the future of mint. But the goal is not to create a coin desk or an NFT now or a decrypt or one of those, it’s more so to create it as independent as creator first type of environment and see where it kind of goes from there. I take it a step at a time I get lucky enough to learn from people like you and other people in the space and kind of helps me inform. My end goal like the way I see this kind of unraveling is I’d love to build something at one point and kind of use it to benefit my audience somehow in the web through creator economy space. So, depending on what’s brewing, we’ll see what kind of happens in the future, but I guess I’ll leave it at that. So, from either tokenizing my content, I brought that up and building something, and just continuously creating more content to help other people. That’s kind of like a future. You know, the most rewarding part about this, David is getting tweeted at afterwards and be like, yo, I listened to your episode with Daniel Allen or with catalog or with this person or with that person, you know, really inspired me to launch my first collection. And look, I got my first collection because of it, or I use the principles that Verde talked about in season four to price my collection, and it helped me do this. And then it helped me do that. Like, that’s the most rewarding thing ever. And I hope at the end of this episode, listening to your point of view, that same value kind of like trickles down to more and more people like that’s selfishly, what it does for me.
David Greenstein: You know, I think, in that sense, we have a very shared mission and terms of just building things for to help as many people as possible. And I think something that’s really cool is what you said, like just even on a podcast level, like it’s not most podcasters don’t know who their initial listeners were, I think, the opportunity and obviously, they know who their speakers are, but the opportunity to intertwine those two. Like I’m very excited to see what you come up with. I’m looking forward to hopefully being a participant and anything that I’m officially.
David Greenstein: I’ve been a longtime listener.
I appreciate it.
David Greenstein: Thank you, Adam. Pleasure, pleasure.
Of course. Before I let you go. Where can we find you? Where can we find sound, show us the way, and then I will wrap it up.
David Greenstein: The name is our domain. So, you can find us on sound.xyz or sound xyz on Instagram, sound xyz underscore on Twitter. My personal is D Greenstein one with a Napster logo is kind of how I run around the internet. So that’s where you can find me but most of the time, I’m on Twitter, talking to artists and listeners and kind of just building sounds so.
David Greenstein Thank you, Adam.
Thank you, sir. Till next time.