Mint Season 5 episode 18 welcomes Dot, the artist, producer, and audio engineer, as well as
founder of unspeakable records. She joined the podcast to teach how she’s planning to create overwhelming value for her collectors.
In this episode, we discuss:
- 00:51 – Intro
- 07:02 – Dot’s EDM Genre
- 10:22 – How To Find Your First Collector
- 13:45 – Understanding Value in Web3
- 16:39 – What Makes One Music NFT More Valuable Than Others?
- 17:45 – What Collectors Look For When Buying a Music NFT
- 23:11 – How Dot Creates Value for Collectors
- 30:45 – #1 Tip for New Music Artists Entering Web3
- 33:48 – Outro
I hope you enjoy our conversation.
Support season 5’s NFT sponsors
1. CyberConnect – https://cyberconnect.me/
2. Coinvise – https://coinvise.co
3. Mint Songs – https://www.mintsongs.com/
Interested in becoming an NFT sponsor? Get in touch here!
Dot, welcome to mint. Thank you for being on. What’s going on?
Dot: Thank you so much for having me. Oh, I’m good, it’s good week, all things considered. We’re here.
Dot: Making it through. Let’s go.
We’re here we’re alive. Are you in your studio right now? Where are you?
Dot: I am not. I’m actually in Sun Valley, Idaho, crashing out of family member’s house at the moment. So, I have some of my gear with me, but I’m not in my usual environment.
Nice. All right. I think.
Dot: If I’m recording.
I think a good place to start. Okay. And this is kind of where I start with everyone is a quick intro. Okay. For starters, who are you, Dot? What does the world need to know about you? But more specifically, how did you get your way into crypto?
Dot: All good questions. Yes. So, my name is Dot. My real name is Kate. Dot is my artist’s name, I am a music producer, audio engineer, DJ, multi-instrumentalist. I just, I really liked music. That’s an easy answer to that question. I love making music. And, yeah, I got into web three, and crypto, let’s see, initially, it was in like 2020, 2021, I was kind of day trading, swing trading as like a fun side hobby, just various coins and things and then kind of got out of that, because it was taking up so much of my time. And like, at the end of the day, I want to be an artist and a creator, not so much a trader, I just don’t have the bandwidth to stay researching and keep up to date on all the news around all of that. So that was kind of my entry point for about a year or so and then actually got into NFTs and minted some of my work at the top of the year this year of 2022. And so, I’ve mainly been active just as an NF T creator. And also, collector over the past year, I’m just having so much fun with that. So yeah, music definitely my main gig still but just been having fun with exploring web three, and especially at this early point in the whole timeline of things. It’s a really exciting time.
I haven’t met an artist in the space that was also a day trader. That’s first to me, that’s a weird or an interesting combo.
Dot: I was just really curious about it. And, you know, I got super lucky, obviously, the timing of when I was doing that definitely helped. And I happen to just get out at a good time as well, because it took up so much focus, and you know, the markets never close. So, I felt like I was like losing sleep over this sometimes. And got super lucky. There are people that I’m sure do a way better job at it than I do. So yeah, it was fun for time. And it helped for me to fund some music projects and to just reinvest in music and buy some scents and things like that. But that was, it was a very short chapter in my life. But yeah, whenever people asked, like, how did you get into web three, they’re often surprised to like, hear that was my starting point because it’s a little bit far removed from music.
Before trading, did you have any other like financial or technical background that you kind of like mess around with? Or was that like your first experience doing something like that?
Dot: Not a ton, you know, it’s like, I guess I have like a Roth IRA somewhere, of my. Yeah, like, I don’t know, adventures in finance. So, it was something totally new and I was like, kind of just experimenting with very small amounts of money.
Dot: Yeah, but it did help for me to just understand the space a little bit more and understand the technology behind it before and then entering as an artist and creating NFTs and just having you know, a little bit more of a well-rounded perspective there.
So, I what age did you get into music?
Dot: Oh, I’m always zero. No, that’s not true. I mean, I started playing piano when I was like six or seven, I think is when I first officially started like lessons but there is this hopper a piano at my grandma’s house in Aberdeen and I remember when I was super small a time we’d go Visit her, I just want to like bang around on there and experiment and make noises and so eventually my folks got a piano for our house and which is such a huge gift and put me in lessons and from there also got into singing, a little bit of guitar, had I had a drum set for about six months before that got banished from house, growing up. Yeah, and just always loved music and then I got into Ableton and producing, that came a little bit later in life. I think when I was in college like my sophomore year of college undergrad, I downloaded Ableton for the first time and then it was just like, the game over. I was so excited about all of the things you could do with just a laptop and some headphones. That’s all you really needed. So yeah, it’s been a lifelong thing for me for sure.
So, when you first got into music, did you initially explore like the EDM side of things or were you exploring other genres? Because that’s your main genre, right? EDM? You just performed that EDCs well?
Dot: yeah, it is. But it’s also, I love all different genres. I have like a lot of older releases that are more on kind of like the indie all rock side of things, I’ll pop, and I have just kind of been more into EDM lately because that’s where my music seems to fit best. I wouldn’t necessarily call myself like an EDM native artist, but I love playing those festivals. I love DJing so much. I love dance music. I love dancing. So that’s kind of where I’m exhausting at the moment. We’ll see where it goes. Yeah.
Dot’s EDM Genre
I’ll link your some of your songs in the show notes. But for those who haven’t heard you yet, what, how would you kind of explain your genre to someone in EDM?
Dot: Yeah, it’s like, I eat sometimes, I know, it’s kind of a corny way of putting it. But it’s like, dancing while I’m crying type music, like it’s still very emotional. I’m using less conventional, maybe that’s the wrong word, less common. chord progressions, still throwing in like a lot of sevens and nines and extra notes and things in there. So, there’s still like, there’s a, I’m not, that’s not to say that mainstream media isn’t also emotional or doesn’t sometimes employ those chord progressions. But yeah, it’s definitely not just all about partying and getting drunk at the festival and all of this, like, I do want to convey a wider range of emotions than what I don’t know, some people might think of when they think of EDM, I don’t know.
You know, when I, when I first came across you it was at Eth Denver catalog, the NFT platform, and the one-on-one platform hosted like a really, really great party. They featured a lot of the artists on their platform, and you were one of them. And I remember at the same time, I tweeted about this, around that time, but Tiesto was playing the same, around the same time that you were playing. And my cousin and I we work together. And we were like, should we go to Tiesto? Should we stay here? And thankfully, we stayed because I think out of everyone that was performing. We really enjoyed your set the most. And we like when you got on stage, like the vibes kicked in kind of thing. Right? And I remember we were like looking at each other like, wow, like, who is this? Like, this is really fucking good. Like, who’s playing right now? We’ve never really heard music like this before. So that kind of like intros us into a web three. So, when you first minted that piece on chain, was that on open sea? Was that on Zora? Like, how did you kind of know what platforms to use and how to navigate that landscape?
Dot: Yeah, that’s not a good question. So, my first one was actually on catalog. I was very, like blessed and fortunate to have connected with CeCe from catalog and then through her Jeremy. So, they helped to onboard me onto the platform, walk me through the whole process. I kind of held my hand through the first minting experience. And so that yeah, that was my intro. And since then, I’ve also done a couple of drops on sound. And those are the only two platforms that I’ve worked with so far. And just kind of being very, I got the careful isn’t the right word but selective, where things end up, that’s I don’t want to be. I don’t want this project to be scattered across too many different places, too many different chains, etc. So, I’m just kind of keeping it limited to those two for now. But yeah, my first foray into minting was through catalog. And it was, it’s been such a great experience ever since.
One of the biggest challenges a lot of creators have in the space, whether you’re a musician and artists, whatever is finding that first collector to support you to kind of align with your art. How did you find yours? Like, what was the story behind that.
Dot: The internet, I had never actually spoken to my first collector before, didn’t know who they were. But months leading up into the drop. I mean, I was still very active in a lot of different spaces around music NFTs, supporting other people’s projects, learning as much as I could. So, it wasn’t like, hey, I’m just going to mint this. And, you know, see what happens. Like I had definitely done a few months of work prior to that just learning, understanding, and really just trying to connect with the community. Because that’s been my favorite part of web three. So far, honestly, and I’m sure a lot of people would say the same thing. It’s just the people that they’ve met through this space. And so, I think putting in that time, and making those relationships ahead of time is really what kind of led me to wherever I am now with a client, I have no but, yeah, I didn’t have any personal relationship with them prior, it was just a total surprise.
How To Find Your First Collector
So, that’s kind of like what I preach on the podcast, I think it was Daniel Allen, who introduced this kind of concept of learning and educating yourself and joining communities prior to kind of approaching your first drop and trying to find your first few collectors. When he was on, I think it was like season three kind of reference, like, okay, if you want to drop something, put a pin in it, and then revisit that three to six month from now. Join communities, buy some tokens, support other people, educate yourself meet and make friends online. And then likely, those people will probably be your first few collectors, not your first collector. So, you didn’t know who was your first collector from what you’re telling me?
Dot: No. I didn’t know who they were. Yeah, it was like, who’s, their Twitter handle is side bourgeoisie. I was like, who is that? So funny, so clever. And yeah, so and even since I mean, I think the one collector, who I have now who I knew maybe prior to minting was Cooper, and Cooper is, I think I met him like maybe the year before minting, I was playing exchange in LA. And so, we had some mutual friends and met backstage there. And then I was just being a creepy internet stalker for a few months, and like, just absorbing a lot of what he was sharing. He’s, you know, as many know, you know, such a wealth of information and resources. And so, it was just following a lot of what he was putting out. And so, it was really cool to then, you know, so much later after first meeting him, like, have him collect one of my one on ones on catalog and some other kind of NFT sense. So, yeah, that was one like preexisting connection. But yeah.
Understanding Value in Web3
Yeah, Cooper has been on the pod a bunch as well. Shout out to coop. So, I also want to talk to you about this, like this concept of value because an NFT is just like a token at the end of the day, right? And it derives value somehow, right? Figuring out what to price, your first drop, or your first one of one or your first edition can actually be really challenging. When Verta was on who’s another like, really well-known artist in the crypto space, she basically suggested not putting a price on it rather leaving an open market bid and letting kind of like the market decide what the value is. Right? Did you approach it the same way? Or how did you kind of design decide what value to attribute to your first drop, let alone future drops that you initiated afterwards?
Dot: Yeah, that’s a good question. Because I think my approach to this has sort of changed over the last few months to where, nowadays I really am most comfortable just letting the market decide. I do think it is though important to value yourself, you know, and to value your work and I think you can still do that while letting the market decide via auction or however, you know, what they want to spend on something or value something at. But yeah, a lot of my first drops, I set like a pretty, what I would consider a fairly high reserve price. And then now in a lot of recent drops, I’ve just been setting it at like, point one or something that’s really accessible because I do also want to give folks and I’m talking about this and speaking on this in reference to one on ones. And I do want to give collectors, you know, a chance to maybe get things at more affordable prices, if someone’s not really prepared to spend like, you know, four Eth or five Eth on a one on one like, it’s cool. It’s also like, give folks a window into collecting that doesn’t immediately, you know, price them out at a certain point. So, it varies. I wish I had a clear answer to this question. Ultimately, it’s something that I have decided in this format is out of my control, I can’t really force people to say like, hey, you need to value this at this much money. Because it’s up to the person and it’s up to their relationship with the work. And it’s not so much in my direct control and you know what something sells for doesn’t necessarily dictate, you know, what I consider the work to be worth at the end of the day. Also, you know, and so those two things don’t have to be the same. Basically.
What Makes One Music NFT More Valuable Than Others?
I’ve heard stories of artists getting offended by bids being placed on their work. And I guess that leads me to like my next question, like, what makes one music NFT more valuable than others?
Dot: Yeah, I don’t think there’s an easy answer to that question. Because it’s always going to be different for different people, you know, folks have different motives for collecting things, some people see it, you know, as a way to make money. It’s, you know, a new asset class for them. Some people, it’s about the connection with the artist. And it’s about their, you know, maybe belief or future belief about where the project is going to go over time. Maybe there’s some overlap there with financial gains as well. For some people that’s about the utility of the NFT. And like maybe what that gains access to, either in the moment or in the future, depending on what that particular artist or project is building towards. So, it’s just, I feel like it’s an impossible answer.
What Collectors Look For When Buying a Music NFT
I think like what ends up driving value to music NFTs could be things that occur off chain, like the amount of royalties or streams that song crews that ends up being tokenized. Right, or sort of the community that gets built around the assets, right, and building a band of collectors around your brand, building a band of collectors around your music on chain. And I guess like my next question to you is, what do you think collectors care about the most before they buy a music NFT? Is it the song? Do they actually connect with the music? Do they see a potential to invest in an artist and like a non-equity format? Because they think this artist is going to do well in the future? Do they just want to join a community or be a part of the conversation? Do they want to help the artist? Is there all sorts of answers that I’ve kind of heard trickle in the past? But from your perspective, why do you think collectors care about collecting these music collectibles, and that’s a lot of collects in one sentence.
Dot: Yeah, from who I’ve talked to you, which is you know, it’s a limited perspective. But I find that at least with a lot of my collectors, it really is about community for one thing, and also just wanting to support the artist. Again, everyone is going to have their own unique motives based on their own experiences. But I really, part of the reason why I also wanted to make music NFTs and work with this format and this medium in the first place was because I genuinely, I crave stronger connections with my community. You know, with a platform like Spotify, I might have like, a million plays on a song but I have no idea really who those people are. I can see like breakdowns of demographics, but I don’t have a way to directly reach out to them or start conversations with them. And that’s really disappointing and it’s hard for me to get excited about putting music on those platforms, because it just feels like there’s no real emotional connection to the listener in that way. Whereas, you know, if I’m playing a selling live at a show, I can see everyone in front of me who’s connecting with that, I have that experience. So, I think through music, NFTs this may be offers a way to just improve those connections and that sort of feedback of energy with people. Beyond, you know, the sort of, it’s almost like a one-sided conversation of like, hey, here’s my work, and then the Convo stops there. That’s just not as exciting to me.
So, should artists strive for quantity over quality or vice versa? For example, optimized for streams versus small band of collectors on chain? For example? Like, what’s your mental model around that? Because you need to do both, right? I think they’re not like, I don’t think they live individually. But where’s that happy medium, you know?
Dot: Yeah, I think that’s gonna be different for everyone. I know, for me, and my career, and I’m definitely trying to approach all of this in as balanced of a way as possible. I recognize that within web three, at this point, we don’t really have the reach of that, you know, Spotify, iTunes, or Apple Music, and putting music out on these platforms can have. So, we do need to exist in those spaces. I do appreciate connecting with people in that way, too. I don’t mean to say that I don’t appreciate that. It’s just, I don’t feel as much of an emotional connection to it. Because I there’s no way for me to even really process like the numbers of people that are streaming it. Right. So, it’s like that, to me is still a necessary part. And, you know, interacting with, like, the traditional music industry, in certain ways, for me is still necessary, you know, working with an agent going out, getting on these other festival lineups, and like trying to tour and play as many shows as possible. That’s all super important to me. And it’s something that I just love doing, I’m so thrilled to be able to spend time doing that. And at the same time, you know, like I want to make music that it’s not necessarily for the masses, of course, I want to connect with people as many people as possible through music, but I don’t ever want to compromise my vision to make something that’s maybe more like easily digestible or listenable to someone or fits easier onto a playlist. So, to me, then having a small group of you know, more like hardcore fans, appreciators collectors, who really care about that niche type of music is special to me, as an artist, and sort of from the perspective of like, my own integrity, and just not compromising, you know, the music that I make to fit in these other arenas. If that makes any sense? Kind of, I’m wondering.
How Dot Creates Value for Collectors
That makes a lot of sense. Because I guess you want to create more value and more like, in a personal experience with your listeners, slash collectors. Right? And I know, you’ve been vocal about that. And kind of the conversation that we had prior to the interview was kind of understanding what you have in store for your collectors. So, my next question to you is what has been your experience, one with trying to bring more value to your collectors and two what do you have in store for them in the future?
Dot: Yeah, so my experience so far with utility has been, giving collectors you know, access to my shows for one thing, so if I’m, you know, on tour and in the city, they can email an address that I have, request guest list and come to the show. So, they can just be on my list and in some cases, come hang out backstage, in some cases, also when like festival passes to EDC, or to hard summer, which is coming up. So definitely try to create value through that kind of just preexisting shows and things and sending people merch, sending people signed vinyl, so they have some physical things as well. But going forward, I’m actually really excited to be putting together a new, it’s going to be an annual series. Then the first one is kicking off this August, called Sonic Summit. And so, it’s going to be an intimate kind of, it’s almost like an artist retreat, but you don’t have to be an artist to come and to participate. So, it’s going to be three days here in in Sun Valley, Idaho, which if you’ve never heard of Sun Valley, it’s not maybe like the farmland that comes to mind when you think of Idaho, It’s nestled in between like these five different mountain ranges. It’s a really, really beautiful place. And it’s somewhere that I’ve come to like most summers and winters since I was a kid, I’ve lived here on and off actually a lot in my adult life. I just have such a deep connection with this place, a lot of other artists in the past who have all come here to write, to create music. I know Hemingway has had a very strong presence here. And he’s actually buried here.
So, lots of like, authors, artists from many different points. In the last I guess, decade or so I think this place was started in like the 30s, I should brush up more on the history of Sun Valley, it’s a really cool place, it’s a special place. So, I’m really excited to be bringing people out here for three days of just some hiking, eating some good food in town, having some good conversations, we’ll do some yoga, do a little bit of mindfulness. And on the last day, we’re actually going to do a small outdoor concert. So, it’s going to be open for collectors to come to, we’re going to get a nice production crew out here to come and film it. So, it’ll be streamed for those who aren’t able to travel for it. And then I just, I just want to have recordings of everything. So that way, we also as artists have those assets to then share, use however we want to and it’s, we’re creating something that’s this really special intimate experience. But I also don’t want to like exclude people from experiencing the art. So, we will have like recorded versions of everything too. But I’m just so thrilled to be putting this together. Like I’ve done a lot of artists retreats out here in the past and have been trying to think of ways to like, put something together that also includes fans, includes music appreciators, but not have it be an overwhelmingly large event or something that I can’t reasonably manage with a small team. Because, you know, I’m still independent, I’m not signed any major labels. And it I think, to fund something on a larger scale would be very challenging. So, I think it’s small and intimate. And kind of like a laid-back easygoing approach. It’s like, I don’t want every single second of the day to be scheduled, I want people to be able to come out here and relax. So yeah, putting together something like this has been a dream of mine for a long time. And it just seems like using web three to kind of connect all the dots, no pun intended, is a really a great way to bring together the right community for this. And yeah, execute this project. So, I’m really excited.
I have yet to see an artist do something at this scale for their community. I think it’s really unique. I think it’s really powerful. And I think once you do it, you’re gonna set the example for many other artists to create more like, grandiose experiences around their collective community. Right? I guess my question to you is, what do you hope to achieve by the end of the festival? Like why put something together? Okay, sure, bring people together. But is it to have everybody connected with one another? Are you dropping something during that time? Do you just want to say thank you, like, what’s the goal behind this?
Dot: I just want everyone to make really good memories, honestly, and to have really good experiences that you know, maybe shapes a little bit of their outlook on life in some way or their perspective on life, or just maybe provide them with a little bit of relief from this crazy, crazy world that we’re living in. I know, maybe politically speaking, bringing folks to hide as much in alignment with my values as other locations, but the nature here is really powerful. And that’s something that I just genuinely want to share it with good people. So, there’s not really any bigger motives at play besides just wanting people to have a really good experience here. This is something that it shapes a lot of the music that I create and so I think to have like fans come and be able to see you know, some of the inspiration behind what I’m doing. I just think that’s a really cool thing. That and that’s yeah, I wish I had a cooler answer.
I love it, that’s as cool as it gets. Honestly.
Dot: Like I just want people to have a good time. Yeah, and everyone’s gonna get Airdrop some, I’m calling them adventure passes which I know is a little bit corny and Disney sounding but I thought it was cute. So, all of my holders are getting these adventure passes and then for you know future events and like if we can keep doing these maybe even in other locations around the world. I’m you know this getting a little far ahead of myself. cuz I want to make sure we can just get this one executed so far. But my goal and my plan here is to do these in other locations. And then you can get like your adventure paths stamped for each one you go to. So, it’s kind of like an on-chain passport for this project. So, yeah, I’ve got like a million other ideas be honest, too. But you know, this is what I’m focused on executing right now, and just really excited about it.
I love that what a way to tie value all together and create memorable experiences for the people who kind of bet on you early on. I’m hoping I can make it to the festival.
Dot: You’re gonna come?
Yeah, I’m down
Dot: 19th to 21st. It will be fun.
#1 Tip for New Music Artists Entering Web3
That’s really cool. And actually, a really unique experience that I have yet to see more people do so, props to you. Top. Before I let you go, I want to leave you off with one final question, okay, for new artists entering the space that want to achieve, I guess, a fraction of success or level of success that you’ve achieved so far, finding collectors, building a community, performing at web three conferences, building an audience in the space? What are some tips, three tips that you’d give someone on how to navigate and this could be either from something that you wish you had known prior to starting, that you’ve kind of learned as you as you’ve developed or just whatever comes to mind?
Dot: Yeah, that’s a really good question. I think the biggest tip that I would give is just showing, beforehand, showing up in the community as a as a supporter. Even when I was getting my start in music prior to web three, like a lot of where I began as a producer, and as a DJ, all came from, like the LA kind of underground scene. I played at, like Low End Theory, which was this really incredible club that happened every Wednesday night, at the airliner in LA, for I think, over 10 years running. And the reason why I was able to play there so much in and like release records on Alpha pub and be immersed in that communities is because before all that happened, I was just showing up every single week, because I was a huge fan of the music and a huge fan of all the artists who were playing there, and I wouldn’t be there open to close, I would help like, load stuff in and I was like an intern at the label for a while. And so, I think I really just tried to apply a lot of that ethos to my involvement in web three. And it wasn’t even done like on a conscious level. I just understand that like, if you want to participate in a scene, or a community, you have to start as like a supporter and a contributor. Otherwise, you’re just showing up and saying, hey, look at me, this is what I can do. And, and it’s like, people like okay, well, hi. Why should I care? Like, okay, cool. I just think it’s important that you show up as a supporter, and it’s not even something that you know, maybe you should have to think of doing it’s like, if you love that scene, or that community that music, like hopefully that just kind of comes naturally. So that’s definitely a really big tip, just, you know, maybe show up for other artists who you care about and support. If you can’t afford to, like buy someone’s one of one, you know, a retweet is free. Sharing the word is free. So, I think that’s really important. Besides that, as far as tips go, gosh, that’s really my biggest one, can I just have one instead of three.
That works. We’ll wrap up with that. That was the Mic drop. We’d love to hear that. Before I let you go. Where can we find you? Where can we find more about the conference slash event you’re putting together? Yeah, and your music in general? Where can we find that?
Dot: Oh, yes, so I think if you follow me on Twitter and Instagram, those are pretty, two pretty good hubs. I am dot music on Twitter. So, D O T M V S I C, dot music, same thing on Instagram. So, there’ll be more information there. You should be able to find like you know there’s a link in my bio that has all the links to all the things, so if you want to jump in my Discord server that’s getting a major update here in the next week and we can connect there. So, I’m really excited to get that hub going again. Music is everywhere you like to listen to internet music. It is on Spotify Apple Music if you just search dot or dot, ambush ep is my latest release. It should pop up for you there. Drops on catalog and sound and yeah everywhere.
Dot: You have to be everywhere.
Dot, thank you so much, we’ll have to do this again soon.
Dot: Thank you so much for having me, I really appreciate it. I just I love the podcast, I’m such a fan and just so stoked to be here thank you.
Thank you, thank you.