Mint Season 7 episode 3 welcomes Aidan Musnitzky, the creator of Spinamp, a platform for aggregating and consuming music in Web3. We explore the different types of content on the platform, the music consumption layers in both Web2 and Web3, and the innovations in the music NFT space. We also discuss his challenges in building Spinamp, the potential for monetization on his platform, and strategies for turning listeners into collectors.
I hope you enjoy our conversation.
- 00:18 – Intro
- 05:29 – The Vision for Spinamp
- 07:48 – Types of Content to be Aggregated On Spinamp
- 11:05 – Music Consumption Layers in Web2 and Web3
- 13:52 – Exciting Innovations in Web3
- 15:14 – Factors Limiting Other Forms of Content From Taking Off
- 28:48 – The Mechanics of Spinamp
- 32:10 – Multiplayer Abilities for Consuming Content Collectively
- 33:44 – Unseen Possibilities in Web3 Consumption
- 36:38 – Challenges Faced While Building Spinamp
- 40:51 – Recommendation Algorithms for Consumption and Collection
- 45:45 – Why Should Spinamp be Allowed to Aggregate My Music for Free?
- 49:35 – Potential for Monetization On Spinamp
- 52:35 – Strategies for Turning Listeners into Collectors
- 55:21 – Outro
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Aidan, welcome to mint season seven. Thank you for being on. How are you doing?
Aidan Musnitzky: Hey Adam, I’m doing good, super excited and good to be here and looking forward to discussing a bunch of interesting stuff related to season seven and where you’re getting curious about and want to share about.
I think spin up fits exactly where my curiosity lies, which is hence why you’re part of the lineup, part of the season as a whole. The whole entire theme is creating content worth collecting. And spin up plays an important role in that entire layer, the consumption layer, as I’ve been talking about on the podcast for a minute now, I feel like since February, when I did my season four and music NFTs, one of the biggest discussions was like, okay, what is the consumption layer for all the music that we’re collecting? And lo and behold, spin amp, and a few others are building that right. So, Aidan, before we jump into spin amp in this entire topic, I want to start with you, as a founder, as an entrepreneur building in web three, what’s your story? How did you get into crypto, let alone why the founder path in general?
Aidan Musnitzky: Yes, so sure. So, my background is originally more on the technical side, doing math, computer science distributed systems, I spent a few years working in like traditional web two distributed systems, and then consulted and freelancer for like many years, across different technologies, different entities, different stacks. And I think, you know, that going to crypto originally must have been like six or seven years ago, at the time, I was gonna like fed up and bored of kind of the traditional work that I’ve been doing in web two and in like, traditional full stack kind of software engineering and product work. And so, I decided to, like take some time off, explore new technologies and areas. And even back then, like, I always wanted to make the time to dig into Ethereum, and Bitcoin more, eventually got around to it and started digging in, ended up getting a whole bunch of cool people in the space coming a lot, a lot of cool parts in the space. And so slowly shifted to spending my attention and time on projects related to Ethereum. And that was, again, like six years ago. Since then, I think it’s growing to consume most of the work that I do. And, you know, the first few years, I continued along that like consultant Freelancer path that I was doing. But in more recent years as interesting, I like wanting to transition into working more on my own projects, my own ideas and things that I find exciting. The opportunity to do that, from like a founder perspective, I think brings a lot more potential for like performance and for like, creative control and influence on like, the way you’re spending your time. And so, I think that’s been a collection of the factors that have led me to where I am now.
Got it. So where does spin amp come into the picture?
Aidan Musnitzky: Yeah, so spin amp started, probably about seven, eight months ago, before spin amp we, myself and my team had been working on another music NFT related projects, which was a way for us to like our toes into the water for the space. And it was a fun project to be working on. But it was, wasn’t something that I founded myself. It was like a party we were helping out a friend with and it at the time, we didn’t really manage to find the right like market products, so this project was called noise. It’s a music NFT marketplace focused on African music, and it’s still live, it’s still got a lot of cool content and music on there. But the artists in the community there’s like quite disconnected from web three, that to some extent, even disconnected from like Twitter, and the internet and all these like social systems that web three revolves around. And so, the idea of like collecting music was a lot harder to form a connection with for the community of the musicians and the concept that we were using to create music, NFTs, as opposed to the stuff that we’ve seen start to take off in the last year or two. And I think part of that, you know, influence it’s been in the sense of wanting to build something that actually brings the like listener and fan experience into collecting and the act of consuming content closer to that of collecting, as well as at the time. You know, I was working on that project from a technical perspective, I wasn’t really that familiar with the artists themselves. And I found like, I’m helping build this thing that I don’t even know like that much about the artists and the music. And I wasn’t listening very much to the music that much. And so, for me, I wanted an app that I can actually start using, to stop paying attention to the listening to these artists. And so spin amp was born out of like that personal need that I had at the time, and so we launched it, you know, with three or four platforms initially, sound, catalog, noise and one other to solve that problem of like being able to just easily listen to the music in your day to day life. And over the last six months, we’ve like grown and evolved into essentially becoming this core consumption layer for web three music and music NFTs, a place to like discover music, place to discover new artists and their drops. And recently, we just released a feature that allows you to actually collect directly and spin amp and bring that like, collection and consumption experience close and close together and make it like as seamless as we can.
The Vision for Spinamp
Let me take the backseat for a moment from someone who doesn’t understand the space. Okay. Are you just building another streaming service? Like a deconstructed streaming service or what’s the vision here?
Aidan Musnitzky: Yeah, so I think like a key component of the vision is this idea that like, collecting music NFTs is a different kind of experience to just streaming or listening to music. There’s, you know, we can dig into all the different reasons why people collect and like what’s worth collecting or not. But the core of it is that like, it’s quite a different experience. And there’s a lot of different reasons why people would do that, as opposed to just pure streaming. And so, part of this thesis is that, additionally, as part of this collecting experience, consuming content, and engaging with the music, listen to the music and enjoying it, is going to amplify your collecting experience. And in some ways, even lead your collecting experience, like we released spin amp collect a week ago, and like one of the key aspects of that is, we really want to be able to continue to be like a listener focus app, music focused, putting the content of the music first, but also driven under the thesis that content will encourage and entice people into collecting. And that like collecting can follow listening. And I like it a little bit of a different experience to you know, both say, on Spotify, where it’s great for streaming music and for experiencing it, but it doesn’t have that same like direct access connection into the collection process. And it’s that engagement directly with the artist and their content and their story. When they open sea, it’s good for you know, collecting stuff, but it’s not grounded in that like consumptive experience and the actual, like enjoyment of the content. And so, you know, if you look at the user base of people collecting and trading on open sea, a lot of the time it can be quite disconnected from the content. And we feel like in order to create like the most ideal experience, finding a way to have consumption and collecting really go hand in hand and like the symbolic experience together, where they both encourage and support each other, through the users, actions and experiences is this how we imagine like the ideal user music NFT experience to look.
Types of Content to be Aggregated On Spinamp
From an outsider’s perspective, the biggest differentiator that I see is, Spotify is missing commerce, like that’s what it really kind of comes down to. And with spin amp, not only do you guys aggregate all the music, or a lot of the music on chain in a very nice, intuitive manner. But now recently, as of last week, you can now collect that music as well and put offers on that music. So, if you enjoy a song, and you feel some type of emotional connection to it, or you believe in in the artists or whatever your reason may being, you can actually execute a purchase with that, collect with that, and tap into that artists community, right. And it starts with the music. But where does it go from there? What other forms of content do you imagine aggregating and putting a focus on?
Aidan Musnitzky: Yeah, so I mean, I think spin amp always falls with music being the focus. And that will continue to be so. But, you know, once, there’s easier ways in which we can add other forms of content to the app. So, like the easiest way there is, of course, podcasts, it’s also audio content, we’ve seen Spotify do it, they may be separated into a separate section. So, it’s easier for people to navigate how they want to do either. Maybe they lead people into discovering new podcasts as part of their listening experience. But it’s a fairly straightforward thing to think of how that could fit into the context of the spin amp than listening app, it’s still quite a different experience. And so, when we think about like, content worth collecting, and like why would people collect podcasts versus collecting music and all these, like different user types and people with different intentions, certainly the case that there’s a lot of overlap, but there’s also a lot of separation. And so, I think, you know, the finding the place for that to fit into the experiences is something we will want to experiment with. But I imagine there’s still a place for that. I think the other one that’s easier to imagine fitting in is like music videos, where again, it’s still, you know, within the same domain, it’s potentially even the same artist from the same kind of producers of content. And so, especially if you’re collecting as a way of engaging with not just like that particular track, but the whole artists, artwork and their story and narrative around it. Their music videos are most likely going to be a big part of that as well. And similarly listening to that and watching music videos can kind of fairly seamlessly fit into the experience of spin amp. And so, I think that’s kind of the areas that we’re imagining potentially evolving to. And there’s like medium term, I’d say longer term, like all our tech infrastructure and such as like both in a way we could support other kinds of content, whether that’s like other kinds of audio visual content, written content, interactive content, but it’s not really something we’re thinking too much about at this point in time, I think in order, like we are trying to stay focused on music, and potentially other audio content, as the primary drivers of what’s been at before. And, you know, if we start to extend it to other content types, I think they will still be grounded in the idea of like music listening out, you know, maybe an artist has wants to push their lyrics on the page or is doing, you know, a blog and speaking about their music, and it still fits into the context of showing the artist profile. But I would say it’s still something that’s much more longer term than where we are today.
Music Consumption Layers in Web2 and Web3
How do you envision the consumption layer in web two differing than that of web three, we kind of identified the biggest one collecting. But is there anything else that the Spotify is and the Apple Music of, music of the world are missing, that you could probably potentially fix through web three?
Aidan Musnitzky: Yeah, I mean, I think another aspect of web three, that stands out, maybe like the two biggest one that stands out to me is, one is the social aspect of web three, and two is the composability aspect of web three. So, to dig into each of them, the social aspect, well, a lot of web three is about like finance, it’s about NFTs. It’s about these, like financial objects, that people are engaging with, trading contrary to each other. And they finance and money itself is a social technology, like money was invented and evolved, because of the ways in which it allows people to socially coordinate with each other. And that aspect of the like social activity is something that’s been missing from major music, streaming platforms, whether it’s Apple Music, Spotify, we have seen a lot of cool experiments with that in, you know, web two, whether it’s like SoundCloud, or Last FM or some of the other, more weirder social music experience. But the fact that they haven’t really seemed to have taken off in the context of like, the bigger streaming app when it is interesting. And it feels like an area that is still ripe for experimentation. And especially in the context of web three, where the collection itself is completely entwined with the social landscape, it’s, I think, a hopefully will provide a fertile ground for voting out social experiences, where maybe they haven’t fit easily into a platform like Spotify, due to the way in which people experience that. The second one that I mentioned is composability. Is this idea that in web three, so much of what people release is public, whether it’s an open-source emulator, or smart contracts on chain, or stored on the blockchain, the data and applications are public, and anyone can integrate with them and build stuff on top of them. And so, like even spin amp today is both on that, in a sense that spin app aggregates content that’s already on chain, that other platforms have been working with. And we feel like that aspect of web three also just opens up a fertile ground for experimentation, both within our team, also within other teams in the ecosystem, and with the tools and open source systems that we released and infrastructure that we released, the ability to experiment through composability feels like it’s something that could lead to a lot of innovation that we haven’t been able to see with these, like more closed API’s in the web two streaming world.
Exciting Innovations in Web3
Any innovations that you’re incredibly excited about more and more specifically, that we haven’t maybe seen kind of like prevail publicly and in different used cases yet?
Aidan Musnitzky: Everything I’d say like the social aspects to NFTs are ones we’ve seen, like scattered experiences around, whether it’s like NFT holders banding together to set up a snapshot or discord group, or telegram. Whether it’s like even like lens is an example where we’ve got a fairly cohesive social platform. But it’s still very, like generic interfaces that have been built for it, that are not tailored to particular social experiences. I think seeing how these building blocks that are now in place, get built on top of and start to evolve could be exciting in terms of how we unlock like, you know, one of the core propositions that we’ve seen in like traditional profile picture styles and if NFTs is how, and things like nouns style is how they’ve managed to grow like a social community around them. And a community that’s both socially engaged but also like, takes action together makes proposals together votes and things together, spends money together. And so, you know, seeing how those products and experiences can mature over the coming year, I think will be super exciting.
Factors Limiting Other Forms of Content From Taking Off
Yeah. Something that I think about often is trying to understand what types of content will succeed in the traditional web three format, content in web three is underpinned by capital. So, when I think about, like, what other forms of content are next, to take off PFPs and different variations of profile pictures, right, to photography to digital art, AR, VR, even digital property, like land, film fashion? What do you think is restricting other forms of content from taking off?
Aidan Musnitzky: Yeah, I think to dig into that it’s probably worth digging into, like your term content worth collecting. And so like, what is it? What does it mean for something to be worth collecting? And I think like, that really comes down to like, what value do people get from collecting it and why do they collect it? And I think we’ve seen at least in the context of music, NFTs has many different reasons, there’s like, the kind of patron style user whose they’d really love artist, they want to support them, they want to give them the money so they can keep producing the outcome, keep producing the content. There’s like the speculator, the speculators there, to you know, potentially bison resellers later, making profits, there’s the like, everyday fan, maybe they’re buying the NFT because the NFT gives them some perks, or some like private chat with the artist, and they can make some for the artists, you get, like the community aspect of it, where maybe the fans are buying the NFTs not necessarily to connect and have a relationship with the artist directly, but have a relationship with other fans in the same community as the artist and like that subculture. And you get all the aspects of social signaling that you see in like the high art world and like the entertainment industry, where, you know, people are buying NFTs as part of like social signaling. And those are like, very different used cases, there’s definitely a blurred overlap across all of them. But they are all the kinds of things that bring value to NFTs and like, you know, make them worth collecting, and so that the content was collecting, how does that tie directly into content? I think it’s like, it’s harder to ascribe those things to the medium of the content, whether it’s like video or audio, or interactive media. The things that we mentioned, though, that I mentioned in the last topic around, like what makes something worth collecting are somewhat like independent of the media. And a lot of them are related to like the context around the media. And so, you know, I don’t know if that answers your question. But I think those are like some interesting nuances to use as a starting point for how to think about answering that question. But yeah, nothing to your like response to that, like perspective.
I think it’s like such a redundant answer. But I think education and onboarding is restricting other forms of content from taking off. There’s a specific subgroup of collectors that appreciate and enjoy collecting a specific type of content, music being one of them, or digital art being one of them. We’re seeing other forms of content arise, but there, they haven’t picked up as much traction just yet, video NFTs, photography NFTs. We see fashion starting to take off more and more and more, I’ve been covering fashion since like 2019, I feel like and the same people are still pushing the needle, but you’re seeing new creatives enter the space with new concepts and whatnot. But it still seems as if music and digital art still have captured, like the largest, the largest market so far, right. And when I think about the types of creators that exist in the world today, and the biggest platforms that support specific types of creators, for example, like short form content, all the creators on Tik Tok, that create content for a living, and try to tap into the algorithms to build followers, right, in a viral setting. Like, that’s a whole new market to tap into short form content that’s worth collecting, right? I think the most kind of like prevailing example is looking at memes, memes that get virality and get a lot of views and a lot of attention have become one with culture, right? The memes of culture, those are probably worth collecting as well. But there aren’t markets for that, like the markets aren’t yet completely ascribed to just yet, right? So, I’m trying to think about like, it comes down to education, onboarding, maybe it comes down to more like successful case studies, right? I’d argue that seeing Daniel Allen kind of like take off in the music space, has motivated a lot of other musicians to enter the space, seeing what he did in 48 hours right, opened up the minds and creativity for many labels, many independent artists and everything in between. So, kind of getting more of these case studies out there have, like a successful short form content creator and a successful podcaster and a successful videographer and a successful cook, right like a chef that wants to create a cookbook and wants to sell eBooks via NFTs. Right? I think it’s documenting that through education and then providing the right pipelines for onboarding that could stimulate.
Aidan Musnitzky: No, totally, if you look at like, the way that goes often happens, it comes from people replicating things that they’ve seen work elsewhere, whether it’s, you know, the different models, we saw with profile picture NFTs and art NFTs, mapping over to music NFTs. And people experimenting with similar models around one on ones, versus multi print editions to people replicating the successes of people, other artists that are doing similar things to them. I think, you know, sometimes that replication works, and like a model that’s proven to work in one context, or in one form of media does map over to another. But other times, we need to find like tweaks on the structure of the release in the NFT, that’s maybe more suited to the kind of content being released. And I think that the like, I still feel like the place to be looking, in order to find the evolutions to how releases should look like for new forms of content. And for new mediums. We should be looking at those like underlying value propositions and like reasons why people collect and like why people get value out of collecting to help us find, like what needs to evolve, as we kind of spread to new mediums and new kinds of contents and new relationships between collectors in their NFT base.
I also often think about like, who was the original content creator in crypto, and it was the journalists, the writers, right, the ones who would document the space and share thoughts across subreddits or whatever those forums were at the time. And if you look about, if you look at the market for like writing NFTs, for example, they’re not as hot as music, right? Even though I feel like I read more online than I do listen, I don’t know what we would really entail for me to collect a writing NFT, let alone pay for it. I see the fun of collecting a free writing NFT to show you where there, like Dennis says this premiere, he’s like, if you didn’t read something, or if you didn’t collect something, did you even read it? He says a variation of that I’m paraphrasing. And it makes me think like showing your support and showing your patronage by collecting something, even if it’s free, right? That’s, that’s content worth collecting, but as a content worth paying for. So, when I think about the original creator, I think about the writer, I then think about the artists, I think about all the artists that use music to sell their digital art and how that introduced music into the picture. And yeah, I don’t know, I also have like this internal debate of like what’s worth kind of giving up for free, and then what’s worth charging for. And there’s this big, I guess, stigma in NF T’s around drop culture, right? Like, you have to have like this big PR moment, you have to do your threads, you have to do all this, like PR marketing and prep in order to sell out like a big campaign for the most part, right? And I’m trying to think like, is that a new form of publishing, and I guess preparation for a different type of content, right? Like, whereas in Tik Tok, you just publish something, and then you let the algorithms do their thing. Versus in web three right now, it’s very much like you hustling, and being the, your solopreneur, you know, trying to sell something out.
Aidan Musnitzky: Yeah, I would love to see.
You can see my thoughts are just like all over the place.
Aidan Musnitzky: Yeah, I mean, I would love to see like that idea of kind of longer-term growth in collecting happening, as opposed to, you know, or being there at the point of the drop. And especially like, it depends on the kind of content itself, because some content is best consumed, like, longer term, like I think, I remember reading a quote by Vitalik a few weeks ago, or months ago, maybe it was years ago now. But it’s a good point around specifically writing, and like blog posts, and long form content. Often, if you look at the majority of content that people consume, it’s like more recent, it’s more like music, it’s more about like recent activity, but if you look at the highest quality content, that’s the most impactful, it’s often content that’s, you know, had months or years to kind of simmer and to get curated into, like sustain itself and things like long form books that people written, or just like, articles that people keep coming back to a year or two later, that are like the most impactful and like that feels incompatible with the ways in which we’re currently releasing NFTs today. And so that’s the like, previous conversation we were having around like, okay, how do these models of NFTs need to evolve and change in order to facilitate the ways, like different kinds of content and to be more aligned with the ways in which like that content is actually consumed? Feels like important and like you know, in the context of music and FTEs, even with music we see, there’s a difference between say, you know, pop music that charts and is popular for a few weeks, and gets a ton of plays, but then fades away, as opposed to like albums that artists spend like six months putting their time into and then releasing. And that becomes like this piece of work that embodies them for like a long term and for like the rest of their discography. And so similar and that’s something I think I’ve been also like a little bit torn on in the sense that like most of the content on spin amp today is individual tracks, and individual releases that maybe gets the most attention only at that point of release, but don’t have that same kind of longer term retention, that you would get from like an album on Spotify, or, you know, a book or novel or an article that is on the Atlantic that people were referenced 10 years ago.
Makes sense. I want to bring up another example, and just have a quick dialogue on it. While he may be controversial in the current times, but Logan Paul, in my opinion, killed it with 99 originals. Are you familiar with that project?
Aidan Musnitzky: I’ve seen it like here and there. And to be honest, I haven’t gotten into exactly what it’s doing, and like how it works, but slight glimpses.
So, it was the first project that I saw that resonated and got respect both from the web two audience and from the web three audience. And it took a noun Dao approach to kind of like selling or auctioning content. And he basically took 99 Polaroids, across 99 different experiences, and really perfected the elements of storytelling around these pieces, and sold each JPEG, essentially each Polaroid. Some had additional perks, others didn’t have additional perks, but sold each one for tons and tons and tons of money, grossed I think, few $100,000, if not a mil I could be mistaken. Don’t mark my word on the number. But I remember it was a massive success. And I remember at the time when he was producing that content and publishing on Tik Tok, and Instagram, whenever, he got such supportive comments from his traditional fans, because he’s like, wow, Logan is actually like an artiste. Like he really gets the creative journey and he’s an incredible storyteller. And then a web three, you had that wow factor of it just being Logan Paul, but also the storytelling element of content that was worth collecting, you know, and it had the significance and this historical significance to it, that wow, he went on this entire journey, documented his entire step, his entire process, step by step, and was able to auction every single one of those moments, for God knows how much in Eth, right? So, when I think about like content worth collecting, and I wrote this on Friday, it’s like content worth collecting requires a deep understanding of your audience, and what motivates them, right? It’s that ability to connect with people on a deeper level, to understand their needs or desires, and to create that content that speaks to them in a way that is meaningful and authentic. Like that’s what I think about, right. And that may trigger someone to either just press the collect button, and whether it’s a paid collect or free collect, but it’s content worth collecting, you know, a little bit of a tangent.
Aidan Musnitzky: I think that’s a good example. And like, even you mentioned the noun’s model as being like a potential source of information from them. And it’s an interesting one, because we’ve seen that like longer term, kind of rollout of nouns, and you know, they seem to still sustainably continue to get sales week by week and month by one. And so, it’s a great experiment to prove, like longer term models of releases, whether it’s in the context of a Dao, in the context of NFT, are ones that I could potentially work. And so that also, I’d love to see, like, as already said, like nouns bought a few weeks ago, I’d be curious to see how that could be applied to content that is best consumed on like a longer form basis, whether it’s, you know, those mechanisms or further composed experiments on top of those mechanisms that are tailored to different types of content.
The Mechanics of Spinamp
I want to jump born into spin amp and understand the mechanics of spin amp. Okay? If I read correctly, when you create a playlist on spin amp, you actually mint that playlist, if I’m not mistaken, is that correct?
Aidan Musnitzky: That’s not correct, today, sorry. That is an idea we’ve been toying with around missing playlists on chain. But at the moment, playlists are off chain, they are decentralized. They’re stored on like a decentralized infrastructure indexer but it’s still off chain. And they’re not NFTs. I think that, you know, there, we’ve had a bunch of conversations around building like, protocols on chain for curating content. And there are already some protocols on chain for curating content and putting spin amp n a place, something would be a form of that. But I think because we’re still at the stage of experimenting with, like the underlying NFTs. It’s unclear whether it’s like the right design for curating stuff on chain. And the other aspect of it is like, the experience that we wanted to create with spin amp is one where, you can easily go and curate your collection, create playlists, add stuff to favorites, change stuff around and, you know, modify and share your collection without having to do transaction, without having to pay anything. And so, in order to have like the UX to facilitate that, we didn’t want to meet to go on changes yet. But yeah, that is something like, I think on chain curation is certainly like an open question and like to see how the current and upcoming experiments play out with that will be super exciting.
It always feels like Aidan, that every interaction should be some form of collect. And let me explain to you what I mean by that. So, when I like a video on Tik Tok, and that ends up in my saved folder, right, that I can then review, it’s very analogous to collecting something and then it ending up in my wallet, right? Or when I save a song on Spotify, and then it getting curated to my master playlist, right? It’s very analogous, again, to collecting something and getting into your wallet. So, I feel like as an end user, when you create a playlist for yourself personally, to consume whatever content or music you want, I wonder if those interactions make sense to be minted a free mint, right? So that you, you understand more of the user’s preferences. And I don’t know, maybe even the artists can use that information in a creative way to understand who is top listeners, his top collectors are, his top engagers? You know what I mean?
Aidan Musnitzky: No, I totally agree. I think every interaction is really like something like a collect. And even if you look at spin amp today, like the stuff that you’ve favorited, and add to playlist, we put into a library, and it’s almost like it’s kind of like your collection, we use the term library, but it’s similar term. I think that’s a separate question to, like where should that collect load? Should it be an NFT? Should it be on chain? Should it be off chain? Who should get to see it? Should the other fans get to see it? Should the artist get to see it? There’s all like, individual separate questions that I think you need to ask separately to, whether it’s like a collecting, whether that engagement is something like collecting? And I don’t know if the answer to all of those questions is that it should just be in an NFT on chain. But I definitely think from like the user experience perspective, and from the person that’s going and making these interactions from that perspective, like that is certainly part of the collective experience. And every interaction you make is like a way of you engaging in collecting their content.
Multiplayer Abilities for Consuming Content Collectively
Got it. What about the multiplayer experience, do you imagine what, do you envision any form of multiplayer abilities with consuming content collectively, amongst a group of collectors? Is that even a thing worth exploring? Maybe I’m throwing shit at the fan here. But a new idea that popped up right now?
Aidan Musnitzky: No, no, we’ve actually been thinking about that a lot, like so like party Dao released a product a few weeks ago, around like party birds and party collecting. And they did a few things before and they’re really some music NFTs, like a few months ago, that people form little parties to collect. It definitely feels like there’s a lot of like untapped fun in those kinds of experiences. Whether it’s through the stuff we’ve already seen around, like practicing NFT that’s been collected, or whether it’s through, like micro-Daos, and like spontaneous Daos that are formed for the purposes of collecting and curating even spin amp playlists, we wanted to, you know, we’ve been thinking about adding support for like a Gnosis saved out, to be able to kind of do spin on playlists and share them. And so, I think, as soon as, as part of like, the social evolution of like music NFT collecting, you know, allowing groups to exist and take social actions together, whatever those actions may be, is definitely like a kind of thing I’d love to see happen. And, you know, maybe our team will release something along those lines in time. But I think there’s a ton of potential around that area in the space in general.
Unseen Possibilities in Web3 Consumption
Yeah, you know, I look at I look at spin Amp, in it’s current form, and I look at you as a founder. And something that I think about as a podcaster is like, what are the links between the founders DNA and how they’re wired to what they’re building? And I want to understand considering where spin amp is today, the product that you have both iOS and the web app, what excites you that you haven’t yet executed on for spin amp? Like, what are we not seeing in the mind of Aidan, that has yet to be kind of prevailed in the world of web three consumption, right, that you’d either want to tag along into spin amp’s product flow, or new ideas that you’re thinking about new philosophies? Where does that lie?
Aidan Musnitzky: Yeah, I think, you know, I think the social aspect is definitely one aspect there, in the sense of, you know, further differentiating what we’re doing from traditional streaming apps, and like really homing in on what web three brings. That’s different, I think, looking to see what kind of interesting social features we can build is a part of that and specifically, I think, ideas around what we can do on chain, that is like involves you stretching the models for how people are collecting, whether. And like the, you know, fractionalization example is like a already existing example of that. But I think there’s a wide design space for how we can build new kind of structures for people to engage with NFTs, engage with collecting and engage with each other on chain, it’s time to experiment with and explore some of those, I think would, would be like, you know, something that I find exciting and like technically challenging, and there’s a lot of like a bit of potential to, I think, you know, one thing we’ve been thinking about adventures, trading NFTs, being able to swap them with each other, like trading card game style. And then you know, how that fits with the content at hand and music and like what that means for, if we think about how much NFT marketplaces work, especially to say, like open sea, and the majority of them today. They, there’s often a disconnect between the participants that are trading with each other in the marketplace and finding ways to kind of grow that connection and help like trading be an act of like an actual engagement with another collector. Is I’d say that’s like a collection of some of the things we’re thinking about it. There’s some other ones that I think there’s still, you know, like bubbling and like getting refined. But yeah, those are some that have certainly on our mind as a team and excite me in their potential.
Challenges Faced While Building Spinamp
So, in this response that you just gave me, you talked about enjoying the technical challenges that came with building spin amp? Can you walk me through more of what challenges you faced while producing the initial version of the product? And I also want to know, how did you land on that sort of design style for spin amp? It’s very, it’s very edgy, it’s very different than what you typically get from a traditional media player that you, that maybe we use on a daily basis.
Aidan Musnitzky: Yeah, so maybe I’ll go through design sites for us, I think one of the things and the name is spin amp, which rhymes with Winamp. There was music player app decades ago, which I suppose is still exists today. But it’s no longer as popular called Winamp. And like it had this like old school retro style, I think that was a part of the design inspiration. There’s, like I don’t know if you’re familiar with like poolside, they launched, initially as just like a little music radio app, and they had like, you know, square, kind of retro style design. And like, we had a bit of inspiration from there. And I think in general, like the design comes from, I think, when we initially bought spin amp release, it’s like templates of like, how to build a like template, like mobile app thing. And like that had like a very generic hackery technical style design, where it was straightforward, like squares and lines. And I think that, you know, a lot of it was like intentional in the sense of like, okay, we kind of like to stand on it to kind of get inspired from it and these different sources, but a lot of wills incidental in the sense that we just wanted to like, build stuff, and work on improving and involving the aesthetic and time. And I think that’s true today, where, you know, we’ll certainly continue to evolve the aesthetic and design. And you’ve probably seen a bunch of that with like themes, which are not like, you know, that craziness, mostly like colors and skins and things. But evolving the design in kind of other ways to suit different artists and different users over time, I think is something that’s naturally going to happen. Back to your technical questions, like what have been some of the interesting challenges, I think one thing was spin amp, that we really like stuck to is, ensuring that like, all the infrastructure we build, can continue to be aligned with the web three quarter. And so, what does that mean? That means that our infrastructure, either lives on chain, or if it lives off chain, it can be open source, and it can be run by anyone. And it can be running like a peer-to-peer network. And so, you know, if you look at IPFS, as an example of that, which you know, most people in the NFT scene are aware of, IPFS is it’s not on chain. It’s an off chain, peer to peer network where people share content, and the content automatically gets distributed to a decentralized group of nodes. And you’ve got like two, I’d say like extreme sides. IPFS is an example where it’s just pure content. There’s no real like computation or logic. And so, you don’t really need complex kind of consensus algorithms and so, you don’t need a blockchain. And then you’ve got the other extreme where, it’s like a layer one blockchain, where there’s a double spend problem. It’s like a financial ledger, and you need a consensus, and you need that, within that consensus you need everyone in the world to agree on that consensus and to agree on an order of transactions. And so now spin amp live somewhere in the middle where we still need consensus, you know, take the example of an artist going and updating their name or updating their profile picture. That’s data that can change, there is some computation there, and that they need to be able to, like update their profile picture to a new one. Another example would be like, say, we want to show a summary of like how many drops as this is done, six drops. So, you need to add up all their drops. And there’s like a little addition computation that happens there. And so, we’re, we still kind of require computational require consensus there but we don’t want to be a blockchain. We don’t want to have a full like BFT consensus algorithm. But on the other hand, we don’t want to be like done kind of storage layer or a centralized system. And so we the one of the goals that we’ve kind of stuck to, in our design for architecture is, how can we find consensus for these kinds of simpler computations without requiring a blockchain or without requiring like traditional web three systems, because as soon as you introduce a blockchain, you’ve got a lot of other complications that come to mind, whether it’s like scaling, or like token related considerations, whatever it is, and so the meter we use to do this is, on the technical side, it’s called a CRDT. And it’s essentially an algorithm that says, if everyone runs this algorithm, everyone’s gonna get to the same answer. If we take like addition of example, if you see six drops, I see six drops, we know we just, you know, add them up, and we both get to the number six, it’s like a very simple formula, just add up all the drops and then get the total. And so, you don’t, so to me, and you to agree on, like how many drops as an artist need, we both need just need to know how to add in the same way. And we also need to see, we actually have to have seen the drops, to know, but we don’t need to like run this complex back and forth consensus to determine, hey, do you agree about this or do you disagree about this? It’s, you know, we have a single source of truth of like, if we’ve seen a drop, then we know it’s true and we know what to add. And so, it’s like a different style of consensus that doesn’t require blockchain. But that does impose constraints on how we bought our index and how we bought our architecture. And it’s been an interesting challenge that’s like guided a lot of the technical implementation of what we do.
Got it. That makes a lot of sense.
Recommendation Algorithms for Consumption and Collection
On the topic of product, okay, I want to pick your brain on recommendation algorithms when you use Spotify and Apple Music. Not only do they recommend you playlists, but as you consume, and you listen to new songs, they recommend you individual songs to kind of like enjoy as well. Right? So, the biggest differentiator in terms of behavior is, you don’t just consume in web through you also collect, how do you think about recommendation algorithms from the sense of consumption and also, collection? Where does that come into the picture?
Aidan Musnitzky: Yeah, I know, that’s a great question. And I think like, the answer ties into like our previous topic around, why do people collect and what value do people get out of collecting? And, again, you’ve got these different users that are trying to get different things. If you’re thinking about like a speculator, in order to give them a recommendation, the only thing you can recommend to them, that’s going to satisfy them is something that makes them more profits. And to give that kind of recommendation is also a very risky one, because the claim that’s only going to be profitable or not, is a claim that you know, only, it’s again, something that you have to predict that you can’t necessarily be sure about. If you look at say someone that’s looking to support auto set as a patron, then there’s, the things that they would want to see is maybe like someone that’s up and coming, someone that’s got like a rag to riches story, someone that maybe they resonate with, and then they’re actually liked the content. And the recommendation there, I think happens along different set of dimensions. If you look at like a fan that wants to find a community and like connect with a subculture, then maybe they’re interested in like who the other collectors are, what are their interests? What are the music NFTs do they collect? What kind of activities do they have a shared discord? Do they have a telegram? Do they have like a social scene? And so, because we’ve got these like different dimensions of why people collect, I think the kind of like, automated algorithmic single makes one size fits all recommendation algorithm that you see, and like Apple and Spotify and these platforms is not really ideal, at least for spin amp, where it is today where it’s kind of covering, like a murky mess of all of these kinds of NFT used cases. And so, it means we have to be quite careful about collecting and I think anything that we do, sorry about recommendation. And I think like anything we do, at least around recommendation will have to tie into stuff that’s either like, directly personalized to the user based on their interests and their desires and what they want to be recommended, or directly coming from, like ground truth, like on chain data around like, hey, this is exactly what happened on chain, and we can relate like this on chain data to one of those designs, that you may have around while you’re collecting.
Why Should Spinamp be Allowed to Aggregate My Music for Free?
Got it. I want to sort of like end the conversation with approaching you and asking for your, I guess, your open dialogue on some of the music aggregator debate that happened about a couple of weeks ago. So, Aidan, when an artist comes to you, and they’re like, why should spin amp be allowed to aggregate my music for free? And then give that to their fans or to the platform’s listeners, and I make nothing off the listenership, right? I don’t get that sort of like revenue that I would traditionally get, let alone why should you even be allowed to take my music or aggregate my music? How do you respond to that? What are your thoughts around this entire debate?
Aidan Musnitzky: Yeah, yeah, no, great question. I think there’s a few aspects to this debate, I’d say like, the one kind of key point for me is I think, like, what’s happening with music NFTs is very much an experiment today. And we’re experimenting essentially, with all the new ways of valuing music, new ways of economic models emerging around music. And so, in order for those to succeed, we like we need to be able to experiment. And so, we do need content to experiment with. And so, this whole experiment of like web three music couldn’t really exist, without, you know, at least some artists making the music available. The second aspect of it is the kind of ethos of web three, you know, I think, certainly a lot of honestly, you know, signed contracts with specific platforms, like sound, catalog, and so on to kind of share the content there. But if their content is locked on those platforms, and it kind of doesn’t really form part of this web three experiment, if it can actually be something that’s like more accessed and composed. And so, we’re not really like doing the experiment justice, unless we do it properly. And we risk, you know, just putting the same kind of web two style, centralized systems in that way, and I think on a more practical level, you know, that I think the purpose of experiment is to get artists more funding and get them more money. And so, the like more practical answer is that, really, by having their content open, by allowing agreements to aggregate and share their contents, actually, they’re going to get more money than if they don’t do that. And like, that’s obviously like a claim that we might think, it’s a claim that will be approved, I can say today for spin amp, like that’s already true. And, you know, the content that people have collected to spin amp, has already got artist more money than they would have in traditional platforms. We’re literally relatively and so I think like the bigger part of that is that the whole thesis around collecting is that, like people are going to collect and give money to artists. More likely, in a stronger way, if there’s actually experienced the content, and they’ve gotten access to the content first. And their experience consuming the content has actually led to them wanting to collect and find artists. And so, the like last piece of this is, especially for spin amp, one in which we believe that having access to the content and allowing people to consume and listen to it, will actually essentially lead to more collecting and more money going to artists. And so, it’s actually in the oddest, best interest, for listeners to be actually consuming that content as part of a cohesive collection experience, instead of just going into like a kind of financial marketplace, to like to buy their content, which is kind of disconnected from the relationship that they’re building with their fans. And that like closer relationship through their content, actually, you know, we hope will lead to actually more like financial successful artists than otherwise.
Potential for Monetization On Spinamp
I do see a world where being able to accrue revenue through secondaries, with traffic driven because of spin amp to those applications or to those NFTs will ultimately lead hopefully at scale to a more, I guess, beneficial model for a lot of music artists, at least independent ones. But I also see a world where there couldn’t be a challenge of music adequate graders getting attacked by traditional legal reforms and whatever that may look like to kind of like recognize the traditional manner, and then apply that and tack that on to sort of, yeah, this new school manner of engagement and consumption. What other ways of monetization do you imagine spin amp enabling in the future?
Aidan Musnitzky: Yeah, so I think that one kind of guideline, and, you know, motivation that we have is like spin amp is there to support the space and support awesomeness space. And so, when it comes to monetization, I think any monetization that spin amp has, will tie directly to us succeeding at bringing artists more money themselves. And so like, that’s, you know, the thing that we released last week being able to collect on spin, and we’re not currently monetizing that. But it is, of course, like financial flow that’s happening through our app. And the nice thing about it is, you know, let’s say hypothetically, in the future, it succeeds. And it takes off, and it scales. That is a feature that directly translates into artists getting more funding. And so, if it happens to be a monetization model that’s been pursued in the future, it is directly aligned with artists getting more funds himself. And so, it has that aspect of like, how success is dependent on and can only exist if we succeed at making artist successful. And, you know, when we think about other kinds of monetization models that we may explore, they all will have that kind of quality, where it’s never the case that you know, spin amp is taking advantage of content from artists and making money off their backs. It’s where it’s always the case that actually, we’re amplifying the potential revenue that artists can make. And, you know, of course, there’s always the risk, as you say, that traditional streaming platforms. And that’s like having open access to content compromises that but you know, that’s not the case today, we already have, like data that shows that it’s succeeding as we scale. And I think we have a like kind of responsibility to stay beholden to that. And to say that like, as long as we scale and grow our product, any monetization skills in a way that artists scale with us, and that essentially, we help amplify them. Rather than then, like, providing just like something for us to kind of build out and on top of.
Strategies for Turning Listeners into Collectors
I want to ask you one final question. It’s a question that I asked frequently, throughout season four, that I actually think you’re the perfect person to ask, considering the problem that you’re trying to solve. Okay. Every collector is a listener, but not every listener is a collector. How do we turn more listeners into collectors? What do you think?
Aidan Musnitzky: Yeah. So, I mean, I think that question is like one of the core motivations behind why we will spin amp, we wanted to build something that was for listeners, that was for fans, and builds it with their experiences and flows in mind first, and so being a listening app, on your phone, being well off first. And being something, that people can integrate into everyday experiences, I think is step one, where we actually get people to like, engage with the content. And these web three systems in a much more like, low impact way, when you go and install spin amp, just search on the App Store, or find on the website and install it. Immediately, you can start using it, you can listen to music, you can see the content. If you start to like tap around and explore. But more you’ll maybe see, oh, there’s some, what’s this like feed going on? What’s this NFT? Why this time, why there’s numbers here. And so even if you’ve never heard of web three and NFTs really like, we like to think that this is like a way that you can start to get a small introduction to that, I think. And then I think that’s like the starting point. I think the next is like how do we start to build features that entice and encourage people to collect and entice and encourage people to, you know, set up their wallet and so on, and, you know, actually fun things and buy things. I think there’s a UX questions that are out, okay, how do we just make better UX and so on? How do we make that purchase UX? I think that’s something that everyone in web three has to deal with. And there’s certainly like some solutions to that, that we could evolve towards. But the harder question is, how do we get existing listeners to see the same value in collecting music NFTs that the collectors do? And I think that comes down to, again, those core underlying values of like, why do people collect and how can we make those more transparent and clearer to like the everyday person? When they’re, you know, browsing spin amp and coming across an artist and they, like what can they see that actually makes them realize, hey, actually, I could support this person and like, make a difference to them. And, or what can we show them that they can see like, oh, hey, there’s this like interesting subculture and community, again, I want to be a part of this and like, I’d like FOMO. And I want to join this. And I think creating those kinds of feelings in people through their usage of the app, that encourage them and entice them into collecting, is the direction that we’re going to need to explore in order to make that happen.
Aidan, Godspeed, I’m rooting for you and the spin amp team, excited for what you guys are working on. Before I let you go, where can we find you? Where can we learn more?
Aidan Musnitzky: Yeah, it’s been great. Thanks for having me and lots of fun conversations. I think the best way to find us is on Twitter, where @Spin_amp, or our website, www.spinamp.XYZ. And from there, you can see our Twitter, you can see links to our iOS app, Android app and our web app and check them out. You know, the thing that we care about most is people actually using our products. So, check out the app, listen to things. See if you find value in consuming web three content. And hopefully you become a spin amp user and start to engage with all the awesome content and artists that we’ve aggregated.
Amazing, Aidan, thank you so much, till next time.
Aidan Musnitzky: Likewise.