Mint Season 5 episode 23 welcomes web3-native EDM DJ Daniel Allan and Matt Alston, co-founder of Bonfire.xyz, to share more about their recent collab with bringing “Glass House” to life and why Daniel has shifted to minting his latest music NFT project on his own site.
In this episode we discuss:
- 01:46 – Intro
- 03:05 – Current State of Music NFTs the 2022 Bear Market
- 06:04 – How to Build a Community in a Bear Market
- 10:16 – Daniel Allan’s New EP titled ‘Glass House’
- 18:43 – Designing Daniel Allan’s Website
- 21:28 – Evolution of Bonfire
- 25:06 – Glass House NFT Reveal Process
- 26:29 – How Daniel Allan’s Web3 Success Impacted His Image in the Music Industry
- 28:19 – The Ethos of Glass House
- 32:55 – Minting on Curated Marketplaces vs. Individual Site
- 39:06 – Challenges with Minting on Individual Site
- 42:54 – The Mood Board for Glass House
- 45:19 – Understanding the Butterfly
- 47:00 – How Daniel Allan is Measuring The Success of Glass House
- 53:52 – Outro
I hope you enjoy our conversation.
Daniel and Matt, welcome back to mint. What’s going on, guys, thanks for being on.
Daniel Allan: Let’s go. Happy to be here.
Matt Alston: Thanks for having us. Thanks for having us.
Big moment, we got some really cool things coming out both on bonfire side, both on Daniel side, you guys have been on the podcast already. But for those who haven’t seen those episodes, okay, I always like to start with a quick introduction. Okay. So, Daniel, why don’t you go ahead and start and then we can go to Matt, who are you, man? What does the world need to know about you? But more specifically, how did you get your start into web three?
Daniel Allan: For sure. I’m Daniel. I’m an electronic music producer from Louisville, Kentucky. I’ve been working on a lot of projects. Since I moved to LA, I started doing electronic stuff. Now I’m kind of in the rap lane and whatnot. But I got into web three, about a little over a year ago, I minted my first music NFT like 439 days ago. And I know that because of the blog that I just wrote. Yeah, and it’s fundamentally changed my life. It’s let me live a life where I’m able to have relationships with people that really value my music, and it’s let me make art that is true and honest to me. So, I think that works. Yeah.
That sums it up really well. What about you Matt?
Matt Alston: Yeah, I’m Matt, I’m one of the two co-founders of bonfire, bon fire is building white label, no code tooling to help creators engage and really build and manage the web three community. And so, building like, you know, white label and custom branded experiences for things like token gated content, merch, and then NFT drops.
Current State of Music NFTs the 2022 Bear Market
So, before we even go into the announcement, I want to understand what’s the current state of music NFTs in this market? Like, what are we seeing exactly?
Daniel Allan: The reality here is, this is a lot of artists first cycle, me included. But I think what I find really interesting is that it’s opened a lot of design space for people to try to figure things out when their backs are up against the wall. In reality, I think that it being in a bull market, you get used to a life that is, you know, you know, oh, like I’m selling music NFTs, this is working for me, this is working. But I think that actually, one of the benefits of being in a bear market, like you guys know, is a lot of the best products and services have been built. Historically, if you look, coin base, open sea, there are a host of others. But what’s been really interesting to see on my end is while it has slowed down a little bit, and obviously I think we were all kind of due for a correction, if we’re being a little bit, if we’re being honest about it. But while it has slowed down, I have seen a lot of people embrace new ways of putting stuff out. Like I’ve seen a lot of people start to do things on Zorro a little bit more. I’ve seen free mint enter the space a little bit. So, to me, I think, maybe to a fault. I’m an optimist, but it has been nice to see people start to experiment and do new things, regardless of what things are on the market.
Matt what about you, from a collector’s point of view? What are you kind of seeing in the market?
Matt Alston: Definitely echo a lot of what Daniel said, I think the format for music NFTs that work two months ago, I think, you know, is not necessarily the same one that’s gonna sustain through the bear market or maybe, you know, be the dominant model on the other side. And so, I think that it does change the constraints, kind of within which we’re all you know, building and playing and minting and collecting. And I think it creates, as Daniel mentioned, just like a different design space and one that personally I’m really excited for things like free mint the kind of proliferation maybe of like cheaper mint but into the hands of collectors who are able to earn or are able to sort of, you know, signify their fandom in ways that are not just you know, spend point one Eth or spend a lot of Eth on chain. And so, I think it’ll be an interesting kind of like playground these next few months, however long the bear market extends where, you know, as builders, as creators, as collectors, we’ll all kind of experiment our way there and figure out what model works in a bear.
Yeah, I think that’s really wisely said, I’ve seen a lot of people experiment with free editions and really cheap editions as a way to just like get their music out there and use NFTs as a tool for distribution, rather than maybe monetization. Are you seeing the same thing? What are your guys’ thoughts around that?
Matt Alston: We were on that free NFT summer and Twitter space yesterday with showtime, but yeah, no, I mean, I do think that we’re seeing the same thing, we’re seeing a bias towards you know, instead of point one, maybe it’s point 05 or point 025. Maybe it’s free. And those also are like, you know, unlocking larger quantities, different distribution models, and so things that maybe are based on, you know, past fandom, past engagement, things that are maybe like more interesting distribution models than purely you know, first come first serve. So, I think we are seeing that trend, at least from my point of view.
How to Build a Community in a Bear Market
You know, a lot of people in the bear market tend to leave, those who kind of were in the delusional era of the bull market, or everything was up only and it’s a good time is only, we’re all gonna make it kind of times is now it’s like, it’s a little bit weird, it’s a little bit weird energy. A lot of people lost money; a lot of companies are going insolvent. And this tends to happen every single bear market, but creators still need to create, NFT still need to be minted, community still needs to be built. How do you actually build a community in a bear market when morale is so low? What are you guys seeing as the right strategies, and maybe Daniel would be interesting to hear from your point of view, because you have so many collectors and fans now in crypto.
Daniel Allan: I’ve always just followed the trend of what’s worked for me from the very start, which is just you have to keep showing up regardless of where the market is at. I mean, regardless of what happens with my life, I’m always going to be making music. Like if I’m having like a bad day, if I’m having a good day, it’s just kind of like the go to thing for me to do in either scenario. And I think it’s kind of the same thing with this. I think, regardless of where things are at, the most important thing is, is just keep showing up. Because in web three and crypto, you get paid by the time that you put in and you’re, even if you don’t have money to be able to put in something, if you just keep being in all the right places, then you’re rewarded for it. And so that’s something that worked for me early on, it’s something that I’m gonna continue to do. And it’s the same thing with my community. Right? Like, I think that there was a window when we did our first podcast, I don’t know discord was the end all be all, it was absolutely everything. And if you’re not, and if you’re not on discord or checking your discord all day, then you’re not doing it right. Okay. But ever since then, this is a conversation that you and I have had off air, right? Like, what is the best way to be able to create some sort of marketing funnel to be able to have these relationships because the reality is discord, burnout is real. I’m sure you guys are all on like hundreds and hundreds of servers and then have to be disciplined about which ones you cut in and don’t. And I think really, even if you’re trying to adapt like I am, right, like I’m trying to figure out, am I using LELO, for my broadcast outreach and finding a way to use guild through telegram or whatever it is, the most important thing is that you just keep showing up and adapting. Because if you look at a lot of your favorite artists at the spectrum of on the web two side even, I think that there’s a degree of loyalty and your fan base, that regardless of what kind of music you put out, they’re always going to show up and always going to be there. And I think web three is the same thing, regardless of what the market is, regardless of what kind of drop you’re doing, regardless of how clunky the communication is or isn’t, I think the loyal fans will continue showing up. So that’s kind of, that’s been my approach.
Now what about you, as someone who builds tools for creators to empower them to kind of build these on chain communities? Is there a certain demand for specific tools now, now that a bear market has kind of kicked in? Have you seen any interesting trends and how people are trying to keep communities engaged?
Matt Alston: The beautiful thing about the creator economy and where it needs web three is that like, creator, fan engagement, content consumption, like all those things are completely uncorrelated with asset prices. And like, you know, that really is a part of the market that should be resilient to this. Because if you’re in a creative community, because you love the content, you love what they put out as art in the world, and like, you feel like a part of this community of people who like to feel the same, then, like, what about that as lost value? And so, I think that, like, there is the case that, you know, in a bear market, all assets are, you know, are going to decline in price. But I think that really, if you’re there for kind of the other reasons, and the reasons really that I think are what driven the creator economy kind of to where it is today, then those things really should be more resilient to a bear market. And so I think the tooling that’s going to be needed and that, you know, we’re working on bon fire, but a lot of great teams are working on it, it’s really how do you realize this promise of like, being able to use web three to identify and engage directly with your like, you know, true fans, how do you like merge those, you know, web two and web three communities? How do you help onboard those people who are like passionate about the content, the art and help, you know, get them on boarded and familiar with web three and like, see the value in it apart from you know, maybe price goes up, and so I think it does sort of change Just maybe the type of participants that’ll be in the space, the types of tools that are needed, but I think it, it may be is actually like a net positive thing for the space over time because it’ll help you know, everything mature and get to a point where I think we’ll really start to see those sustainable use cases emerge.
Daniel Allan’s New EP titled ‘Glass House’
Yeah, you know, a lot of why we’re doing this episode today is because Daniel, you’re still on the verge of like, still trying to build your community, grow your community, introduce new music, new drops into the space. And with that you have glass house coming out, which I was lucky to play a really, really small role in that from being in Malibu to even contributing to the crowd fund and seeing this thing kind of evolve over time. I don’t want to introduce it for you. What is glass house? Give us the spill.
Daniel Allan: For sure. This is actually pretty surreal to talk about. It’s my first time like, publicly talking about the project that’s been behind kind of closed doors for a while. So, you know, a while ago, I did a podcast with you where I talked about where we brought Henry Chatfield on who was obviously the community manager for over stem and a lot of the other projects that I’ve been working on. And at the time, we had just done the crowdfund for, I guess we would call it Daniel Allan and friends, I believe was the name of it. But you know, the whole premise of that was to be able to do something that I’ve been dreaming about doing for a while, I wanted to make sure that I was focused on the right things, which was at the core of everything, making really good music. So, you know, not to go back to it too much. But I, we did a crowd fund, and I made this project with all my best friends in a glass house in Malibu.
I want to talk about the house really quick. Because.
Daniel Allan: Yeah, for sure.
Part of creating music is like being in the right energy, being in the right environment and kind of creating the right mood and vibe throughout, right. And I managed to come I guess in the last final days, it actually was like a glass house, like the views were immaculate. It was really inspiring, really, really relaxing, really calming. What a great place to actually sort of like construct and formulate this next project. But why a glass house like why Malibu? Why did you want to get an Airbnb in that specific location? Why was it the right environment to kind of produce this next project?
Daniel Allan: For me, it was just like, the first instinct. Like, I feel like that’s the thing that a lot of musicians have in their career, you know, when they first moved to LA, like, oh, one day I’m gonna do the Malibu thing, where I just, you know, I get a house and I make music with all my friends, but I didn’t even remember this, but one of my friends Elder, who’s a writer on one or two of the records, we used to be roommates in Hollywood. Like it was this crazy situation like I was making, I remember I was making like $800 a month off of mixing masterwork, and like a lot of other things that weren’t necessarily like making me happy. And we were splitting a bedroom in this no AC, you know, just the LA started being an artist. And apparently Elder told me that I that I told him at that point in time, like one day I’m gonna get a, I’m gonna get an Airbnb in Malibu and make a project with all my best friends. I totally forgot saying that, but he told me when we were there, said dude, I swear this is something you said. So, I guess it was like a very subconscious thing. But yeah, to your point, Adam, I think it’ll present itself when people start to share the music, but I want every song on that project to feel like the view in that house and it’s really cool that you saw that and you know, as like a collector and were able to see like the exact thing that I was trying to create through the music. But yeah, like the Malibu thing was a subconscious thing, but I guess I’d been thinking about it for a while without even knowing it.
How many people actually ended up coming to the glass house?
Daniel Allan: Oh, dude, I couldn’t even tell you, I mean there were there were 92 backers I believe of the crowd fun because remember our goal is to top over stem somehow, I think in between artists. So through duration of the whole camp I want to say there were like somewhere like 15 to 17 artists, like in that range, like an artist, songwriters kind of all over the place, producers and then at the very end we did like a little get together, I think like you know 20 people came or something because not everyone lives in LA but yeah, give or take that’s what it was but it was also really hard man to like narrow it down. Because I think when you came on that last day, I didn’t even have like any demos. I had like a bunch of like ideas that were thrown around, but I was like man like I don’t even know what to play because when you have, this is also my first time putting together a writing camp outside of the web three side and you know there’s so many people in one room like I remember there were 64 Ableton project files that came out of that. So that next week after extending and getting like Airbnb somewhere else and like narrowing down which ones, which songs were the songs and what the storyline was and stuff like that.
64 project files that came out of the glass house across many different artists. I remember, cuz I did come I think one of the last few days and I asked was like Daniel, did you guys create a bunch of songs here or is it just ideas? You’re like, nah, man, you crazy? These are just ideas. There’s no way we could have completed songs in such a short period of time, especially at this quantity with this amount of minds in the room. How did you actually filter through everything and come to terms with what you want to bring to life? What does that creative process look like?
Daniel Allan: Bro, it was so difficult because I wanted, overstimulated was the best EP I ever put out. It was the first time that I was like, okay, my music really holds up to people that I look up to. And then I was like, I have to beat that. And what I was referring to why, like they were just a bunch of ideas and not songs is my like, creative process is very weird as a producer, right? Like, it’s not really the most functional thing to have six people in a room and I’m, you know, fucking with a synth for six hours. You know what I mean? Like, that’s not the most inspiring thing for other people to get in the room with. Right? So, for me, I had, the reason that I got that place afterwards was to do all those, you know, all those really nitpicky things to see like, how does it, how can I make this sonically really unique and, and whatnot? And how can I get it to tell a story? And so I was, because I honestly know like, the position that I’m in is like one of the, I guess, like first artists and music and web three and dropping music NFTs. And because of that kind of responsibility that I hold, I really wanted to make sure that I was being super particular and putting out like the best music that I could possibly put out. And so, it was a really tedious process, if I go through my notes app right now, I probably have like, easily 20 different versions of what I thought the project could have been, like, I have six song versions, I have three song versions, I have 12 song versions. And then I ended up narrowing it down to the four songs that are on it now, but it was, we’ll see the other songs eventually. But to me that just felt like the most cohesive, best, nitpicky high-quality songs for the four that ended up being.
And this is kind of like where bonfire comes in as well to kind of bring this entire project to life digitally for the most part. Matt, what was bonfires involvement in this entire project and how did this collaboration come about?
Matt Alston: Yeah, So, we’ve been working with Daniel since, I guess, December really 2021. And kind of first aired on debuting just the overstimulated Dao homepage, at Daniel Allen dot XYZ and you know, for bonfire, like a big part of our platform. And what we’re building is a page builder, and kind of a no code and web three native page builder. And so, the ability to you know, have your community connect wallet, and then engage kind of, you know, through permission to access based on the tokens that you hold, or even to like mint directly from that site. And so, after the over simulated kind of Dao homepage launch, Daniel approached us to say, kind of like, no, I’ve got this idea for like, I want to put out my next project. Like, what do you all think? And I think immediately upon hearing just sort of, you know, what his vision was for the project. We were soaked. And I think like, it’s kind of about the, you know, philosophy about why, you know, why this project and why in this way? Which I think you can definitely hear more about, but also about, for us, it challenged us to say like, okay, you know, bonfires, we really think of ourselves as more of like a utility, like application layer, company. And you know, we’re not a protocol. But in web three, there’s this promise of interoperability, there’s this promise of composability. And there’s all these creators on contracts out there. And so, for us, it was like, what does it actually mean to let a creator you know, import their creator on contract, and then use bonfire studio to build the front end for that kind of custom experience. And so, that was really like, for us, we saw it as like a challenge one, but also like, this could be such a cool just case study of kind of like what it actually means to start to build, you know, in a way that is really a little bit more composable and interoperable within kind of web three creator economy, creator economy meets web three. And so, we got really excited about the project. And we started, you know, getting into all the details. It was definitely, you know, it was a challenge. And I think there’s a lot of, you know things that we ran into along the way, but super excited about how it all came out.
Designing Daniel Allan’s Website
So what’s really cool is that you guys really understand the funnel, because like Daniel said, Discord gets really overwhelming and you need other forms of communication to stay in touch with your creators, the first thing that stood out to me was the SMS integration, of being able to kind of build like that phone number list, to instantly reach out to the people who support you, love and adore you in your creator economy. I thought that was really, really cool. And it’s such like a simple feature, but so powerful that many people actually aren’t taking advantage. People typically use email, Telegram group chats, Discord, whatever. But there’s so many other forms of communication that I think are so much more powerful. SMS is one of them. So, I’m excited to see how you use that and not abused that. Kind of like, in the future. I guess, Matt, my next question to you is like when you’re designing this site for Daniel, so many, and I guess this may apply to more creators in general, like so many creators are picky with what their things look like, what they feel like, right? How it kind of interacts with the audience on the surface. And there’s so many touch points that when you try to build like a custom page for a community, you have to take all this into consideration. When you were designing Daniel’s what were some of the most like important elements that were required for glass house and building this website?
Matt Alston: Yeah, that’s a great question. I think the hard requirements were needed to support a custom contract. And really, a lot of complexity came from what we wanted the contract to do and to be. And I think also, you know, a lot of the design was really the creative that lives at the contract level, which, you know, Sophie Loftus was, you know, kind of the champion there on creating the dynamic layers, but a lot of it was sort of at the layer beneath us. And so, it was just first establishing, like, what do we want the contract to do? And then like, what does the UI need to have or need to be able to support but then when it comes to the actual, like, front end experience, I mean, really, we started with, like, just trying to get a feel for like, what we wanted it to be like, what is you know, some of the, what are assets that we can use kind of as, like examples of, you know, what this project is going to look like, and then, you know, we went with our designer, we came up with some concepts, we reviewed them, we iterated and we just sort of like, you know, had a very, I would say, like, collaborative approach to getting to what that final site looks like. And one requirement for us on the bonfire side was that everything that we do for Daniel needs to be reproducible, and completely self-service way within the bonfire product. And so, we didn’t want to do anything that was going to be completely custom that like, you know, couldn’t support other artists, you know, after the Daniel Allan launch. And so that was kind of one constraint we were playing with, but really, I would say like it was a lot of, you know, iteration and feedback. And yeah, it really stuck with how it all kind of turned out.
Evolution of Bonfire
Can you talk more through about evolution of bonfire, because I think it’s really interesting how you guys got started in where you guys are today. Started being in the rally ecosystem, and today expansive, and this really all-encompassing platform. Can you walk me through that history?
Matt Alston: Yes. So, we started in the rally ecosystem, as you mentioned, rally is a social token platform helps creators mainly issue their own creator coin, and they exist on a Ethereum sidechain. And the vision was always to be chain agnostic. But we really felt like within the social token context, you really did need to eliminate gas fees before any used cases made much sense. And so, we really loved the team building out rally, they had eliminated these gas fees. So, we saw an opportunity to go there and start like, building tooling to enable, you know, experiments enable various forms of social token utility. And then very quickly, so this was, you know, April 2021, NFTs were on the rise, but hadn’t quite like, you know, commanded the public’s attention in the way that they ended up doing later that year. But I think pretty quickly, after starting building, we realized that NFTs were going to be just the easier starting point. And the more straightforward kind of tool for creators when it comes to community building, it’s just a little simpler, it’s a little bit less complex. And there’s a little bit less in terms of like, the things you need to think through and the token omics and all that.
And so, we pretty quickly realized that the platform needed to kind of treat both fungible and non-fungible tokens as dual class citizens. We also in January and kind of with the, you know, overstimulated Dao homepage launch, really shipped the first web three Ethereum collect wallet kind of integration. And so that was sort of us dipping our toes in the water being like agnostic across kind of two ecosystems. And then since then we’ve kind of, you know, continued meaning in and out support, token gating, kind of across Ethereum and polygon, there’s this chain, and then still the rally ecosystem, and then continuing to build out new features, I would say, definitely, they veer more on the NFT sides today than they do on the social token side. still bullish fungible tokens, but I just think that we’ve started to see how they play into communities and it’s, I’ve got some thoughts there. But anyways, yeah, I think that that’s really where we began and the focus has always been around like building utility, long term kind of engagement amongst creator communities, but we you know, the markets proven that’s wrong a couple of times, and then I think, you know, we’re still iterating our way there and it’s been a blast.
Glass House NFT Reveal Process
One of the most exciting ways to keep engagement alive. I think you guys have tackled it specifically you Daniel is the reveal process, the grandiose reveal, and understanding and seeing what you actually get, I’m a sucker for reveals. I got a lot of the chaos packs too. And I haven’t opened them up yet, because I’m on like the verge of should I open them? Should I not? But you’re doing a reveal. Okay. And I’m trying to understand how does that actually integrate with bonfire? Like, is the reveal going to happen natively on the website? What will the reveal process look like? Can you guys walk me more through that.
Matt Alston: So, the reveal itself is definitely a smart contract feature. And so, when you mint originally, you’ll get the same pre reveal image, it’ll actually be an audio visual asset, just like the final token. And so, you’ll get kind of the preview audio to the EP, and then you’ll get, you know, the same image that everybody else has. The actual reveal will basically be, you know, updating the pointer on the smart contract to point to the individual assets, where each person will then kind of discover like, what token did they get based on all the rarities and traits. And then on the bonfire side of things, like, what we will have is a collector showcase, which will basically highlight then all of those assets, as well as like, you know, the owners of each. And so, it’ll be kind of a gallery view of all the variations that the contract produced. And then who’s holding those tokens.
How Daniel Allan’s Web3 Success Impacted His Image in the Music Industry
Got it, your rise, especially at NFT, NYC performance, so many different places. And you pour from the marquee, right, you performed at Cooper and Brett’s thing, and a bunch of other spots. I couldn’t chase you all around the city, I came to a couple things. But I’m curious how your success in web three has sort of changed the tone of the conversation with peers and the music industry in general? Like what does that look like for you today?
Daniel Allan: Yeah, man, I mean, I’ve always held this thought that I think for web three to be, for web three music specifically to have like a mainstream moment, an artist has to break. I’ve said that publicly. And I believe in that. And in an ideal world, I’m trying really hard to make that mean, you know, speaking candidly, right, I think that because of web three, I’ve been putting like unique position to meet artists that I wouldn’t necessarily have been able to meet otherwise. And I think that a lot of producers and a lot of artists that live in LA just need some sort of a chance or some sort of an opportunity to show what they can do. For me, like it really served as a foot in the door. Like, I started working on bigger projects, I started working with artists that I really, really look up to and I had before but what I’m getting at is it kind of I guess fast track that situation for me. But at the same time, like it has been like a healthy amount of pressure to because I’ve, like I said, I kind of have this responsibility on both sides, on the music side, and on the live show side to be able to put on a dope show that isn’t like a web three crypto event, you know, like I want the shows to really feel like wow, like, this is like a dope concert that someone would want to go to. And so, I think from my way around navigating, it has just been like, treat everyone as a fan, you know, and try to like to put on the best experience always. So, but yeah, I think that it’s definitely opened up a lot of doors. But I’ve tried to approach it as responsibly as I could.
The Ethos of Glass House
Yeah. So, Daniel, walk me more through the ethos of kind of bringing glass house to life. What was your main goal behind doing that?
Daniel Allan: I first had the idea to do the Glass House drop at Eth Denver this year, what month was that? Do you remember? Was it maybe March? March, April?
That’d be February ish.
Daniel Allan: February, March. Yeah, something like that. And what I really, what I had noticed is, frankly, a lot of my friends were having a hard time getting on some of the platforms, which makes a lot of sense, right. Like, I’ll be the first to say that my career would not exist, as it currently is without sound or catalog. And I think that in an ideal world, what this looks like is all of these platforms can like kind of work in tandem with being able to do things on your own. But I kind of noticed this trend where, you know, in the early days of the music industry, there was this kind of divergence between discovery platforms and the actual marketplaces, right? Like, people would go to hype machine to be able to discover new music and you know, similar blogs and aggregators, and then they would go to iTunes to be able to buy that music, or they would go to LimeWire, like, whatever they were doing, right. And then eventually that kind of trended towards the situation of Spotify or Spotify is kind of both of them, right? It’s they have the new music Fridays and the curations of the world where people can discover but then they’re also consuming it right on the platform. Right? And I think, in a lot of ways, there’s some similar patterns with the early days of streaming and the current state of music, NFTs right?
So, if you look at, you know, sound for example, sound hosts these Twitter spaces, and everyone who knows what’s good about music NFTs pulls up to the spaces right? It’s a great opportunity for artists to be able to really organically develop their first relationship with their first batch of collectors, right? And for me the question for the entirety of my career in web three has been like, okay, like, how can I experiment given those things? Like how can I, I’ve tried this thing, I want to be able to try something else. And so, one thing I want to make clear in this conversation is that you still, I think that it’s still never an artist’s best benefit to be able to release with these platforms. Because the reality is, is they are the primary discovery tools in web three, and they’re very valuable. Just think, to you as an artist. My question has always been okay, what do you do after that, because the reality is, is platforms that are very busy, have to, I want to be careful with my wording here, because there’s no, I’m not trying to talk down on any platform. But you have to spend a lot of time to be able to, you know, plan out what your next drop is, for me like full autonomy and full independence means, if you have music done, you should be able to drop it the very next day, and do a drop, that is something that is super curated to you. And it’s something that that is that really has like less boundaries, right. But at the same time, right, the reason that has been such a difficult thing historically, and like the music NFT landscape is, you need to hire a dev to do that, right, and full stack development costs anywhere from you know, 10 grand to 100 grand, that’s just not something those independent artists have. And even if it is something that they have, that is a really big risk to take on.
So for me, like what I wanted the entire storyline to be with the drop was, you know, you can get on, you can use catalog, you can use sound, but what happens to the artists who maybe aren’t able to, or what happens to the artists who want to be able to take some of those relationships and be able to cultivate them a little bit further without having to be I guess, in the queue of some of the platforms, right. And so for me, that’s kind of where this whole thing came together of like, oh, like, really, if you do have an audience to yourself, which you have to use these platforms to be able to create, then I guess my fundamental thesis is if you have those relationships, and you’re able to develop enough marketing funnel on your own, then you should be able to do the drop on your own. And I think that in some ways, right? Like, there are worlds where you can use like a sound, contract and import that. But for me, the storyline I wanted to be was to my friends were like, oh, like I can’t get on catalog because obviously, they have 1000s of artists in the queue. Like I want to be like, oh, you don’t have to. And that doesn’t mean like having doing 1000 auditions, it can mean doing five or doing ten. So, for us, that’s kind of where this whole thing came together. And again, like for people who couldn’t use a dev, we decided to use ramp, right? Because but we’re using ramp because it’s able to, it’s able to process like some of the dynamic rarity traits that we wanted to implement in the drop. I want it to feel like this DIY thing, like you can do it on yourself, you could do it yourself, kind of like the early SoundCloud days and music. But at the same time, I still think that all of us kind of have to work in tandem. So just want to make that really clear.
Minting on Curated Marketplaces vs. Individual Site
Yeah, you know, like you bring up the pros and cons of curation marketplaces like that’s a very like, it’s a very known and normal thing, right? The power of having a highly curated marketplace is that you create an environment that attracts a certain type of collector, and they bring audiences to people that otherwise maybe wouldn’t have any audience, right. And I think there’s a time where, there’s a time and place where you can kind of like fly out of the nest kind of thing, right? And experiment beyond the platforms and make room for other artists that need a platform, that need to be in the nest and use these curation primitives to kind of build an audience, find their collectors, find their first collector, second collector, whatever, and grow accordingly. And I think your whole entire approach of like, it’s okay to do things yourself. There’s still value in that is super powerful, because it’s going to inspire a lot of other artists to kind of think that way. You’re also seeing if you can’t get onto like curated platforms, we’re seeing artists, kind of like lean on non-curated platforms like Zora, right? People have been dropping stuff on Zora, whether it be free mint, whether it be a pavement, whatever it may be. And there are collectors that are like devoted to Zora because they love that culture. They love the Zora topia culture, right? And they’ll find stuff over there. I remember in the beginning of like, the whole music NFT scene, Zora was one or if not one of the main places where people would kind of source new music artists, and it still is like that unique hub. And I tell people to go over there, if you’re waiting in the queue. I also tell artists, and then I think you exemplify this really well, is you shouldn’t be on somebody else’s schedule. If you have a vision for something that you’re trying to do. Go out there, go find a way to do it. And if you can’t get on those major curation platforms, that’s absolutely okay. There are other ways to build an audience in the space. You know, Matt, what is your perspective around the whole curation marketplace side and kind of minting on your own site? Like what are your thoughts around that?
Matt Alston: I mean, I think curation is critically important. And I think what’s interesting is the more abundance that we have in music NFTs like the space is still small today. And like as more and more artists adopt web three for all the benefits that it has for them as well as their community members. It’s like, there’s going to be a world of abundance and curation becomes only even more important and discovery becomes only even more important, you kind of see that, seen that trajectory in web two and so I think that is like, critically, critically important. But I think that at the same time, like curation is amazing for discovery, it’s amazing for as you know, a consumer, like knowing where to look and where to spend my time. But I think there also needs to be that permissionless layer of, you know, I can go direct, and I can, you know, use the curation and discovery platforms to build kind of, you know, my audience, like, that’s top of funnel maybe. And then there’s a place where I can engage directly, I think, we see that in web two, you know, Tik Tok, YouTube, etcetera. Like, those are amazing places to grow your audience. But if there’s not an off ramp, if there’s not some place that you feel more ownership over, and where you can engage directly, then it really does limit kind of that ability to create and capture economic value. And I think, web three promises a lot of things, I think one of the biggest things for the creator economy is really the creative freedom where like, yeah, now you can drop music the day after you put it out, you know, you can put out any music, you legally have the rights to, I think it widens kind of that design space, like immensely. But the tooling needs to catch up to enable and support that. And so, I think like, there’s, obviously, a lot of great platforms out there. For a bonfire perspective, you know, we want to sort of be that having been home, that’s really the place that you can engage directly with existing collectors, community members fans. And so, we really don’t want to do kind of the distribution, Discovery curation, like that part, I think platforms do that extremely well. But we want to be like that place where you know, it feels like yours, it’s your home, it’s your home for collectors, and it’s your brand. And so, I think that like you really need both in the space. And I think they complement each other really nicely. And we’re just starting to kind of see all of this play out.
Another element of doing things on your own site is kind of using your own smart contracts that you have control over. Right. And this is a conversation that I had with Richard for manifold a while back. And I think a lot of creators still don’t understand why is that powerful? Like, why is it important to have control over your smart contracts, and maybe in the present tense, like, it may not signify much, but maybe long term, it can unlock new opportunities that you otherwise may not have with platform related smart contracts? Am I on the right train of thought here, Matt? Daniel, like, what am I missing here?
Matt Alston: I think that’s spot on, I think like creator on contracts, like allows you to have total control of, you know, when the drop what you drop, and then like that is in a relationship with those collectors that you know, you own an agnostic of any platform, you know, independent of any gatekeeper like, you know, that can’t be taken from you, because it’s sort of ingrained on the blockchain. I think that as we get deeper into the space, and you’ve got, you know, 10, 20, 50, projects, drops, etc., out there, then the ability to have you know, everything under one or a few contracts, which you own, is like, that then becomes the backbone for like that CRM of your fans. And I think that’s really powerful. But I think one thing to know in like, as we were doing kind of a lot of investigation on just everything that’s out there today, like a smart contract is not really an end user facing product. Like the fact of the matter is, is that there’s a bunch of functions on it, you can call those functions, but you need to, like, you know, have properly formatted requests. There’re all sorts of like caveats, and there’s no UI for it. And so like, I think that there does sort of need to be a layer that sits between the smart contract level and kind of where end users who are non-technical are able to actually, like make use of that smart contract. And so, I think there’s the front end, you know, often gets overlooked in web three, but that’s also a really big part of like delivering the actual experience that matters. So, we think that like, you know, both are important there.
Challenges with Minting on Individual Site
How difficult is it to actually do what you did Daniel, like that entire process of doing like a self-hosted launch party, right? Getting your own smart contracts, designing your entire site, creating a whole encompassing experience, that would not depend on a platform. What does it take today?
Daniel Allan: So, the first thing I’ll say is, I think to an extent it does depend a little bit on a platform because I did have to create enough of a fan base, and I didn’t use those platforms to be able to do that. But I think, so it has been like a long time coming in terms of like, to be able to, I guess, a drop of this scale. But I think that my philosophy with everything has been like, how is this replicable? How’s the scalable? How can artists be able to do the same thing? I think that that’s one of the reasons that I decided not to have a dev write a contract for me. But yeah, I mean, I think a lot have us know that one of the biggest bottleneck in music NFTs is there’s just not a lot of music NFTs out, you know, and so for me like the, once I had the music done and I was like prepared to do it, and I figured that it made the most sense to just take kind of five, six months to be able to take the time to build it, I guess maybe it was probably closer like three months, two, three months. But I want to be able to take the time to be like, okay, once this was set up for me, I have a scalable way to be able to continue dropping, whether it’s additions, whether it’s one of ones, whether I want to add interesting dynamic, rarely components and audio visual experiences, things of that nature, I wanted to be able to just have a hub that makes it live together. But there were a lot of moving pieces, man like we had Sophie Loftus, who did like the visuals for it, like, she spent a lot of time on the phone with Matt, on the phone with me trying to ideate and find ways to make layers work together because like a visual component to drop is something that I’ve never done before. You know, Matt and Melissa bonfire put like a ton of time into building the front end. And but for me, what I want to drive home is it didn’t require a ton of money upfront, which I think is really important is I don’t think that’s a thing that a lot of artists have. So, but yeah, I think all in all, Matt, you can comment on it too. But maybe I want to, say, three months, including like ideation and like wants, like seeing what it feels like, and whatnot.
Matt Alston: Yeah, and I think that’s also because like, you know, we had to establish this system, which was repeatable, and like, that was sort of a priority on both sides from the jump. And so, you know, three months to set up the first one, but, you know, now, at least, that one process that we’ve already, like, built out can be, you know, infinitely replicated. And I think that for us, you know, we would certainly love like the opportunity to just work with other protocols like be kind of like that front end like interface between creator and protocol for creators that are using bonfire. And I think that’s just, you know, a much-needed part of the stack that kind of hasn’t existed yet, where you’ve got a lot of new code contract builders out there. And then you’ve got a bunch of people who see the promise of web three and want to be able to realize that and I think like that kind of mid layer is very much what we’re seeking to build out with bonfire and, you know, we will kind of post Daniels drop, like, be able to support that same like flow and used case for any creator. And really, you know, it takes a couple of hours maybe to set up now. So, it’s like, very much like a process that I think has become refined. And we’re hoping that it just like enables, like, a lot more drops to happen, a lot more music to be out there, a lot more experiments to be run. And, you know, that helps accelerate kind of this space. And so that sort of, you know, to the extent we see, yeah, our role and kind of what’s been happening.
The Mood Board for Glass House
Daniel, what was the mood board in designing the audio visuals and the auditory experience for this drop? What did that look like?
Daniel Allan: It’s a great question. It’s almost like you’re, you do a podcast. You know, it’s actually interesting, because I wanted it to feel like over stem is a big part of my identity and a big part of my brand, but I wanted to be able to have some sort of a departure of it while still, you know, making it feel like an important part of my life because it is. A lot of this project was dictated by the view in glass house. I think that there some Easter eggs that you’ll see in the visuals, because we have, we have a pre reveal and the post reveal, obviously, but there are some Easter eggs that you’ll notice that have something to do with that. I’m not gonna give the full Alpha. But that’s just a little nugget, you know. But the, you know, a butterfly has been a big part of my career for a while. And the reason that that’s the case is because I think that it signifies change in a really beautiful way. Like if you think about the lifespan of a butterfly, like a caterpillar, I think is only alive for like, it’s only like a caterpillar flying 30 days or something like that, or whatever it is. It’s like a very, I read it once like a very short period of time. But I think it’s just very synonymous with like adapting both musically and like, given where the market is, and things of that nature. So yeah. For me, a lot of, I wanted the visuals to be able to feel as much like the view and as much as the music as I could make it feel and fortunately, Sophie, I owe her like, a lot of credit for making that happen. Because she’s someone that I met. I met her at Eth Denver and I just showed her my music and she used to be an A&R before, she was doing all this, so she definitely, you know, has an honest taste in music and will tell me things that she likes and doesn’t like and she was able to like ingest it and sit with it and listen with it for a while and I gave her some notes and things that were interesting to me and symbols that I wanted to bring in, so I can talk about visuals all day, but I owe her a big, big, big chunk of the credit on that side. Because I’m, you know, I make wav files, you know, that’s my life. So, for her to kill it the way she did it was pretty impressive. And I hope people will see that.
Understanding the Butterfly
Can you talk more about the butterfly though, because it’s so iconic to your brand. And you talked a little bit behind the analogy, flying and all that. But I feel like there’s so many other like, insects or so many other animals. There are so many other symbols you could choose right? To signify who you are. And when people ask you like, what’s your spirit animal? You’ll tell them like you’re a butterfly, you know?
Daniel Allan: Yeah, I mean, the actual origin story of it was September of last year, I was actually right before I did the over stem drop. I was in Spain. It was like the first vacation I ever elected for myself. And I went to Spain, I went to this Bishan called Loretta Mar and I would like to go on Morning hikes there every day. And I was like finishing the final mixes for over stem because I did everything on that project myself. And I started to I guess, think about like what I wanted it to look like and feel like, and I like went on this hike and like there was like a locust of like monarch butterflies that kind of like flew over me while I was like taking a hike one day. And literally for the rest of that trip. I just kept saying, like, I was like, I got on the plane, like the girl next to me had like, you know, she had like a little butterfly thing on her backpack, like my phone case, has like butterflies on it. You know what I mean? Like, it’s just things that like, I guess subconsciously presented themselves. And I’m not like the crazy spirit most spiritual dude. But it’s just come up so many times in my life that I like, I guess have to acknowledge it. And Sophie, by the way, who did the visuals has, she has her own life backstory for why they’re important to her too. So, it’s kind of just worked out.
How Daniel Allan is Measuring the Success of Glass House
Interesting. How are you measuring success for this drop beyond the mint itself? How are you thinking about success?
Daniel Allan: Yeah, I don’t think success. If we were to put it in terms of like a primary, secondary and tertiary priority. I don’t even think that minting makes the podium like minting out makes the podium like.
Daniel Allan: Yeah, like, for me, I think what, in an ideal world success for every job that I do is empowering other creators to try to do the same shit or take what I did and make it cooler. So, I think for me at a foundational level, it could mean that an artist’s decides to do a drop on their own contract, but maybe they have, maybe they have three fans that they want to interact with, right? Or maybe it means that suddenly curated platforms might, you know, open up the floodgates a little bit and start to send things themselves, maybe it’s if I do another job, I can import sounds contractor or maybe, you know, just finding ways for to create a little bit more cohesion because the reality is no one has it right. Myself included, sound included, catalog included, mint included, Zora included. I think that everyone has little holes that they’re all trying to fill out. And so, for me, I kind of have this responsibility in the landscape to try to patch some of them. And I’m sure they’re like, little, little holes in my in this project, I probably won’t be perfect. But I guess success for me is really just putting it out and being able to inspire a few people to do the same thing. I think at a fundamental level. That’s probably the best answer.
What about you, Matt? How are you guys measuring success for the Glass House drop? What does that look like?
Matt Alston: I think for us, I mean, really, it’s been mostly defined kind of up until this point, which was like, can we bring Daniel’s vision to life in a way that is reproducible, in a way that, you know, can be done in an easy and intuitive UI? And so, I think, you know, we feel pretty good about kind of having accomplished that. And so, you know, everything from this point on is gravy, assuming that, you know, everything goes smoothly and well as we, you know, fully focused intent that it does. And so, I think for us, it’s similar, it’s like, we want to encourage and enable the experiments to be run. And you know, we’re not creators, ourselves, but it’s ultimately creators who are leveraging these new tools. And so, I think, you know, we want to be an enabler and to be a part of that in kind of the sort of invisible tooling layer, but that helps visions come to life and kind of be able to support, encourage, and then really kind of like that can be our contribution to the web three sort of music movement that’s happening right now. It’s like letting those experiments be run, letting those visions come to life and then letting kind of you know, 1000 flowers bloom if you will, and like, and then see what happens because I think, yeah, to Daniel’s point like, yeah, we’re all very much I think thinking positive sum, thinking about, like, how do we like move the space forward and get to ultimately what we think the potential is? And I think nobody has it right. It’s not a solved problem. But I think you know, every builder, every creator, every collector has a role to play.
Yeah, I think part of measuring success comes with strategizing how you’re going to be dropping the project. And I think what’s really interesting about your project, Daniel, is how you’re first releasing it on web three. And then on streaming platforms, which has typically been your strategy from the get-go, even with overstimulated, like that started in a web three, that launched in web three, and then it hit the streets of web two. Right? Can you talk more about your strategy and what like, obviously, it’s worked, right? Like people, there’s a level of fandom that gets developed and hype that gets developed, when people collect things and there’s a band of collectors that kind of form around the EP or the album in question. But how do you see it? Like, why do you continuously follow that structure?
Daniel Allan: I mean, I think it’s because it gives time for mobilization of your fans. Veritatem made this point to me once and it was a really good one and stuck with me ever since like, and she’s brilliant. I think she’s one of the smartest people in web three, and music. There’s always been this notion that there are 1000, you need 1000 true fans to make a living off of music, right. I think what that, one of the alternatives and one of the one way that that ends up manifesting itself was yeah, you need 1000 true fans, but maybe you also need 50 to 100 web three superfans. And I think in an ideal world, those 50 to 100 web three super fans, some of the resources that you’re able to allocate from those fans can funnel back into web to success. And I think that if you’re successful in a web two landscape, there’s a lot of synergy that’s created with your web two and web three audience. And I think that in a lot of ways, that can be one of the really fundamental things that helps bridge the gap, like, which was a term that we all say, but no one really has like a solution for, like, imagine that I sell some NFTs. I have a relationship with these people. It helps me mobilize; we help. It helps mobilize a way for the songs to do better. If the songs do better and more people listen to my music, more people are going to ask about my story. If more people are going to ask about my story, I’ll be very open about web three. And like the importance of that being rooted in that. So, for me, it’s basically just been a really good way to mobilize early on, have resources early on, and then collectively find a way to win. And ideally, we all just kind of share the fruits of that win.
I want to get into like the details of the mint. Okay. Because there’s three parts to it, spending three days with a reveal party happening on the fourth day. Daniel, what is that structure? What is the timeline look like exactly?
Daniel: Three phases for us are going to be a free mint, pre-sale and a public mint
Matt Alston: The free mint is July 17th. So that’s kind of when it all kicks off. And then yeah, the 18th to 19th, the two days following are the pre-sale, public mint and then Friday the 22nd is reveal.
Daniel Allan: Really important part of that is kind of the incentive structure of being someone that’s supported me in the past. So, the people who made the music happen, which are the people who backed Malibu, and literally helped us get their Airbnb to make the music. Everyone is allocated one free mint for that
Let’s go. I love that.
Daniel Allan: So yeah, be on the lookout for that. And then for the presale, I mean, Adam, you and I have had this conversation, you’ve given me really good feedback about it is like trying to figure out how to price things in a bear market. So, for the presale, what we ended up doing is, we ended up doing a point 05 Eth mint for the presale and the people who qualify for the presale are holders of Daniel Allen NFTs and people who have been a part of over stem. And then the public sale will be point one Eth.
Cool. Guys, I’m super stoked before I let you go. Any last words from Matt or from Daniel?
Daniel Allan: Yeah, I think I think if you’re an artist out there and you are trying to find your footing, don’t think about too many constraints, I think try to instead have the idea and find a way to execute on it and make it happen rather than being in a box and thinking that you’ll only have a few options. In reality you’ll be able to scale things later down the line but in an ideal world I just want this to feel like a really good steppingstone, a really good alternative that can work in tandem with some of the other things so yeah, if you’re an artist that’s just getting into it. Just try to do things your way.
Amazing. Amazing. What about you Matt?
Matt Alston: Yeah, I mean really not too much to add, I think it was an honor to be a part of this drop and to kind of help kind of see this come to life but really from bonfires perspective you know, big thank you to Danielle, Sophie and it really excited about this drop, see how everything all comes together. Thanks, Adam for having me by way.
Always. Guys, go check out Daniel’s new site, Daniel Allen dot XYZ, it’s actually really nicely done. Shout out to Matt and Melissa and the bonfire team. Guys, this was great. I’m gonna be tuning in all four days, including the reveal. And we’ll have to do this again soon. Thanks so much.