Podcast Transcript

From Joshua Tree to Web3: How LNRZ DAO is Changing the Game for Musicians


Mint Season 7 Episode 28 welcomes Reo Cragun and DLG, two talented musicians deeply involved in the web3 and NFT space. In this podcast episode, we explore their backgrounds in music and art and their work with LNRZ DAO, a music NFT distribution platform. Our focus is on LNRZ’s upcoming project, Satellites, a collaborative effort by a group of exceptional artists who came together in Joshua Tree to create groundbreaking music. We also examine the challenges faced by artists in the traditional music industry and the potential for web3 to offer new opportunities. We highlight the importance of collaboration, community, and data for artists to succeed in this rapidly evolving space.

I hope you enjoy our conversation.

Time Stamps

  • 00:00 – Intro
  • 02:20 – Introduction to LNRZ
  • 03:02 – Reo Cragun’s Background
  • 07:14 – DLG’s Background
  • 14:21 – Collaborating with Mom
  • 16:23 – The Emergence of LNRZ
  • 21:26 – Incubating a Music Project
  • 28:53 – Collaboration in the LNRZ Project
  • 29:57 – The Joshua Tree Project
  • 32:25 – The LNRZ Freshman Class
  • 35:12 – The Impact of LNRZ on the Music Industry
  • 39:26 – LNRZ as a Curation Vehicle
  • 44:32 – Tokenizing Music For Verifiable Sources
  • 45:34 – Importance of Data For Artists
  • 48:20 – Tokenized Music and Traceable Payments
  • 53:03 – Satellites Project Launch
  • 55:09 – Community Involvement In Decision-Making
  • 57:00 – Presale Price For Previous Collectors
  • 58:20 – Outro

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We’re back with another episode with me today. I got Reo Cragun and the one and only DLG, both of them from LNRZ. Now guys, I’m really excited to have you on Reo. Welcome back, DLG on for the first time. How are we feeling? What’s going on?

DLG: Feeling good? Yeah, this is long overdue. I, uh, appreciate you having us on. Totally.

Reo, welcome

Reo Cragun: Yeah, I’m excited to be back. Uh, just got back from New York and I’m happy to be, uh, back in my own bed.  nice. It’s a long week. Nice. But are you, are you in Vegas or are you in la? Where are you? Yeah, so I’m in Los Angeles. I ended up just moving back out here probably like a month and a half ago. So sick back, uh, to this being home base.

DLG: We, uh, we rented a a what, like a 26 foot U-Haul to move Reo out out here. Wow. . It’s crazy. That was, lemme tell you, I am, uh, baffled. They don’t make you have a special license to drive one of those things. . I was pretty like, I was pretty dumbfounded when we just pulled up at the U-Haul spot and they were like, yeah, here’s a almost an 18 wheeler. Go for it. Jesus. Jesus, right. Yeah. What’s that? I mean, I’m, I’m just, oh, I was saying I’m stoked to have you out here. Uh, finally. It’s, uh, it’s nice. It’s nice. We got some of the LNRZ, getting the LNRZ team a little closer together.

Completely. And, Reo How long have you been in LA for? 

Reo Cragun: Uh, I’ve been here like a month and a half now. Yeah, it’s been, it’s been cool. Uh, just, uh, ended up getting a place in Van Nuys. Um, we have a backyard now, which is great cuz I have like a little dog , so yeah, she’s happy for sure. Uh, but no, yeah, it’s been great. Uh, like Dave said too, uh, he, he actually ended up driving the U-Haul , so shout out to him for that . But yeah, it was, uh, it was a mission to get back out here, but, uh, I’m, I’m glad I’m super stoked to be back, man. I was here for like, you know, like six, seven years, uh, before Vegas. So yeah, back to home. Let’s go. Welcome, welcome. Till a, we’re happy to have you DLG. If all else fails, you’ll be a professional U-Haul driver. I can see her now . Um, it’s gonna be great.

DLG: Hey man, I got the skills. I’d like to think I have the skills. We’ll see that I, we’ll leave that up to everyone else who was on the road with most of the time.

Introduction to LNRZ

On more important news. Let’s get into LNRZ and the reason why we’re here today. Okay. I want to, I want to take this conversation into a couple lights. Okay. Number one, understanding what LNRZ is. Reo. It’s the first time we’ve actually like done, uh, a more formal deep dive on LNRZ, um, and DLG having you here. I know you guys are, are like you and a few others, other brains behind LNRZ. So hearing it from your, from your perspective and kind of having a conversation focused around it will be really great. Um, I wanna talk about the new project that you guys have coming up that’s dropping on Friday. Talk about the, the, the, I guess the overlap between web three and music, um, curation, community, like all these buzzwords. Okay. Yep. Um, but I think a good place to start guys, is understanding who you guys are.

Reo Cragun’s Background

Reo Cragun: So for those who haven’t listened to previous episodes, how would you go ahead and introduce yourselves? We can start with Reo and then move our way to DLG. Yeah, completely. So, I’m an artist man. Uh, first and foremost, uh, you know, I moved out to Los Angeles, uh, in like 2016, I wanna say. Had about a thousand dollars in my pocket couch surfed and grinded it out until, you know, my music started picking up. And, you know, I put out my first, um, album in partnership with Virgin and, which is like Capital Records, like, I guess like subsidiary label. Um, and yeah, it did, it did really well and it kind of, you know, took me all over the US and yeah, it just kind of grew my career from there from, uh, about like 2019. Uh, a friend, a friend of mine, uh, flume and I like put out this project. Uh, it did super crazy. Definitely like, changed my life, uh, as far as like my artist’s career goes. And we toured that all around the world, came home and Coronavirus, , it ended up striking and, you know, it was, it was pretty wild cuz like, I, we had like a lot of stuff like booked out for that year. And then to be at stay at home order, I was kind of just like, well, I don’t even know what to do with my hands anymore because , I’m just like, everything that, you know, touring had just become such a, you know, part of my, I guess, identity, I would say. And so I, you know, I went pretty deep into crypto and I was, I bought some long-term holds and I just fell in love with this space. And it was around that time that NFTs were also kind of just like popping into the conversation, uh, a little bit more on a daily basis.  And I was like, this is really cool. So I, I ended up collecting a whole bunch of PFPs and then I was, I realized was like, wow, there’s like a real application here for like, music, but where it’s, where is it happening at? And so, you know, I I spent a lot of time deep diving into, uh, who some of the builders were. And yeah. Uh, just completely took over my entire existence. And now I’ve j I’ve just been full-time here for the last like, almost two years. When, when you were originally on, I know we did a dual episode with you and Daniel, um, I’m pretty sure it was either it was for Glasshouse, right? Or what was it for? Which project was it for? Uh, for criteria. Criteria. That’s right. Criteria, yeah. And that was the first time you were on, um, and that was like, I think two til two til today. It’s like one of the largest, if not the largest music N f t drop, um, that that has happened so far in the space. Um, yeah. And, and I know LNRZ existed before that as well, cuz I remember for a while now there was a mirror campaign, a mirror post, a blog post where LNRZ did a crowdfund and I remember contributing to that campaign. So Yep. I’m og bro. As og as it gets saw that blog. Oh, we Crowd . Oh, gee man. No, we really appreciate you. 

Yeah, no, for sure. I mean the, the crowdfund, you know, like that, it’s crazy to think about. I think that was about two years ago at this point now. Wow. Which is, yeah, man. So yeah, this is, uh, the first body of work that’s, uh, coming to fruition, which like, we’re super excited about. Obviously we’ve done a whole bunch of things in, in the between time as a community. Uh, but yeah, this is, uh, this is the, the first, the first big project. Yeah. , let’s go. And DLG for you. I mean, I gotta, I gotta get started and just say on the record like, I’m such a fan of your music, genuinely, like no bs um, I, I collect your stuff, I have your shit saved on Spotify, like, I’m a fan. So the fact that we’re doing this same mode, I’m, I’m actually super, super excited. But for those who don’t know you, for those who haven’t collected your music, for those who aren’t as big of a fan as I am, who are you DLG what does the world need to know about you?

DLG’s Background

DLG: Uh, well thank first thank you man. I’m, I’m honored. I, I love hearing stuff like that and really appreciate it. Um, yeah, my name is Dave, David del Garza, de la Garza, d l g. So it’s just the, the initials of my last name. Um, I’m an artist. I’m from Austin, Texas. I grew up between Austin and Germany, so I spent a lot of time in Germany as a child. Um, but yeah, I, I, uh, I’ve kind of always, you know, I’ve always been musical. I’ve always been an artist. I, my mom is an artist as well. Um, and, uh, so yeah, I grew up drawing, painting, playing guitar. Uh, I played classical guitar since I was five or six. And, uh, and kind of have that going throughout my life. In high school. I like, I guess middle school and high school, I got into like, songwriting and, and end of high school, a friend of mine had Ableton on his computer.

DLG: You know, he, he got a, a new laptop. He had Ableton. He was like, Hey, come over. Let’s, let’s, uh, let’s learn how this shit works. And so I, I kind of started diving into production at the end of high school and, and yeah, I really like Ableton grabbed the hold of me. And then into college, I, uh, I went to school, uh, at Cal Poly in the central coast of California. So went out there. I was studying music and business. Um, I didn’t really ever, I, I wasn’t a hundred percent sure I was gonna be a professional musician. You know, it’s one of those things that, uh, it feels a little crazy to, to think that’s a possibility before it becomes an actual possibility. But I just, I knew that I wanted to make music my whole life no matter what I was doing. Um, and you know, even if that meant working a job on the side, that was something I medium liked, maybe some graphic design stuff that I did for a while. Actually, I, I, I was a graphic designer for, for a decent chunk of time after college. But yeah, I, I just started kind of building my craft, uh, when I was, I was in college and getting a little better here and there and, and eventually getting more comfortable with like, telling people I was an artist and putting a song out here, a song out there. And, and it really just kinda, there wasn’t really one moment where it was like, oh wow, that changed my, like, that took me from, from not a professional artist to a professional artist. It’s just been a snowball, honestly, like consistently from the time I put out my first song to, to now. And it’s just been very steady, constant, constant. And then suddenly this past year I was working as a graphic designer and it was just like, I was like, I, you know, I’d always said for a while, obviously when I get to the point where I don’t need the day job anymore, I’ll, I’ll quit. And it was kind of crazy cuz last year I came to a realization, it was like, well, I don’t really like, need to do this anymore. So transitioned out of that into being a full-time musician, um, and LNRZ, uh, you know, I like LNRZ had always been on my radar. I, I met Reo, uh, I guess, well, I, I should say about kind of my introduction to web three that happened through Daniel, um, Daniel Allen, you know, we were, we were internet friends, uh, kind of before even he was introduced to, to the web three music space.

DLG: And we had a Zoom session or two during the pandemic, um, connected through some mutual musician friends of ours. And yeah, it made, made some cool stuff. And I remember him telling me like, yeah, I’m gonna throw a little event, little backyard concert, invite some industry people. One of those people was Cooper, he’s told this story like 500 million times , but, and I’ve also heard him tell it 500 million times. But it’s a great story. And like, that is what, you know, that was the only example I had of a musician thriving in the web three space. I’ve been familiar with crypto for a while, but not with NFTs or with any of what was possible for me as a musician. So just seeing Daniel go through that journey. Um, it was probably like October of, um, oh my God. Like, I guess, yeah, almost two years ago.

DLG: 2021. Um, anyways, I, I can’t even remember when it was, but it was like a little bit after Daniel’s kind of n f t journey had started. And we were both in Austin together. He was visiting and it was during his like, initial crowd fund and he did, and like that closed. Yeah, we were all in the room when that closed. And it was crazy. And I was like, this is insane. I have to, I have to see what this is about. Cause this is nuts. I mean, you know, we just have an independent musician here just hustling. Just as you know, lots of other independent musicians are out there hustling just as hard. But like Daniel really found that pocket and, and you know, so did Reo and now me and all these, like, all the loners freshmen. Like, it’s crazy to see how that has just snowballed into being like truly one of the most exciting areas of the entire music industry.

DLG: Like, there are more hyper talented musicians in this tiny pocket than like anywhere else, um, which has just been awesome. So yeah, I, I mean, LNRZ was on my radar, like from kind of the moment it emerged because of, you know, Reo. And then I kind of got involved though this past year when it was like, you know, we were, LNRZ was gearing up to do a lot more than it had been mm-hmm. , and it was coming outta hibernation. And, uh, and that’s been crazy. I mean, that has it, like, it’s been almost like six months plus of us doing like the weekly drops, the spotlight drops now, and, and it feels like it’s been a, a week. It’s just been cr it’s been a whirlwind and so much has happened, but, uh, yeah, I’m super, super blessed to have like, you know, seen this awesome thing happening in the web three space that I thought was one of the most exciting things. And now I’m, you know, working on it every single day, right. With Reo and Braden and Jeremy and, and all the freshmen. And it’s, it’s just been super cool to see it all come together. But yeah, that’s my, that’s nice. That’s my spiel. Yes. Um, yeah,

Collaborating with Mom

One thing that I picked up on your background, DLG is yeah, you brought up how your your, your mom’s, she’s also creative and I couldn’t, yeah. I couldn’t help but think like, what influence has she had on your work?

DLG: Yeah, great question. I actually very glad you brought that back up cuz So my mom actually, uh, we make all of my album artwork together, so, um, oh wow. Like, yeah, so she’s a, she’s a like, next level watercolor artist and sculptor and designer and art and architect. But, um, the watercolor was the thing that, like I always, I I can’t draw architectural diagrams, but I can also kinda watercolored paint. So that was, you know, I, I grew up drawing with her and, and I would, we would do this thing when I was younger. We would, I would draw something and then she would take that drawing and, um, paint it in a way that was like, you know, added shading and depth. And it was really cool. So it was like a children’s drawing that had this very like, you know, detailed like depth to it and almost kind of realistic feel.

DLG: Um, and we actually, I actually have a, a book that my parents like and I published when I was probably six years old, and it’s filled with my, um, drawings that my mom then painted. So it’s been something that, uh, that kind of method of collaboration we’ve been doing since I was five or six years old. And, uh, my album artwork when I started releasing songs and was like, well, I, you know, the first few, I made the artwork myself, but, um, I like always thought that that art style that my mom and I had collaborated on together was so cool. So we started doing it again, and I would draw some stuff and I would send it to her and we’d talk about what colors we wanted for it and, uh, and then yeah, she would paint it all and on, on a lot of ’em. She would paint it in, in segments and then scan those and send ’em to me and I’ll take them in, arrange them in Photoshop, and that way we can get really, really clean cut lines, uh, for something that, like, for watercolors, sometimes it’s, unless you are masking out parts of your art, it’s very difficult to get those. So yeah, we, I mean she’s had a enormous influence on, on the way I create art, but also like, actually still makes art with me for my music. Um, yeah. Which I’m, I’m very thankful

The Emergence of LNRZ

That’s really cool. You guys have a very, very cool story. Um, each of you individually, Reo, from your like, couch surfing days, Dave, for you being in that room for the Iconic over stem drop, um, and somehow you guys sort of parted ways, um, I’m cuReous to learn more about like the both of yours, uh, your, both of your backgrounds and how that sort of merged and even from a bigger picture, kind of like the emergence of loner style. And maybe even start with like, what the heck even is loner style? We’ve said, we’ve said that keyword so many times, but I feel like people still listening, they still don’t know, like they don’t know what exact, like, help us understand what that is exactly. 

Reo Cragun: Yeah, for sure. So, um, to, to touch on like how our paths kind of like diverged. Um, it was actually at Glasshouse, the variety camp. Yeah. Uh, and that was kind of around the time that also, you know, I had realized like there was such a need for, uh, you know, more in depth curation in this space. So like for musicians in web three, uh, who are new to it and looking to make an entry point, I kind of like, you know, always hear the same things, uh, very similar to like what, you know, David from Sound says. It’s like artists, it’s not the easiest thing to discover or to, to put a finger on what you should price your initial mint at, um, what you should, how much quantity you should have as well. And like, that’s just not, it’s not an easy thing . It’s, it’s actually a lot like at the, as you do it more and more, you know, you get like a gut feeling and you’re like, cool.

Reo Cragun: Like, okay, this feels correct. Um, but at the very beginning right, it becomes difficult and, and so the idea was cool, we have so much talent in this space, um, but no one is really like creating music together and no one’s like curating it. I’d like an extra level I think, like we need to build this vehicle that, that does that and that is a home and kind of like an incubator for new talent in the space, uh, and where we can guide artists and put a spotlight on the music and, you know, know really, um, uh, set it out into the world like in a proper way. And so that’s kind of what the initial idea of LNRZ was. Um, and we still, you know, even with this project, this is, that’s exactly what we set out to do. Um, it ended up evolving, um, after we realized that if we just sit and work on music one project for like, let’s say a six month peReod, that’s six months of us kind of not being in front of everyone’s faces and, you know, we really want to build community and we want, you know, a lot of people to be a part of this rather than, you know, just having like a select group.

Reo Cragun: Um, and so we rolled out this curation system where we started dropping like a song every single week, and it was called, um, you know, season one. And so the moment that we started doing that, kind of like, everything I think clicked, um, and it was just insane at the beginning, like how fast like the community was growing. Um, and now we recognize that, you know, I think that what LNRZ were, what we’re setting out to build is kind of like the next iteration of, you know, what a, a new music Friday or like a pollen looks like on Spotify. Hmm. It’s this community, you know, like that people are paying attention to. It’s where you can discover new music, but we also want to take it, you know, a step further where you can get, you know, content, uh, know more about the artists who are, you know, releasing, um, on these drop days, you know what I mean? And really like, be an actual part of the community rather than just, you know, clicking follow and then having, you know, hearing the new music on like Thursdays . Yeah. Yeah. So it’s a step further. How would you add to that DLG?

DLG: Yeah, I would, I mean, I would just say that like, yeah, it’s really the, our goal is to make it a hub for, I mean, really all things music that just has a level of depth to it that like doesn’t currently exist. Um, you know, sometimes the elevator pitch we give is that it’s a, a web three music distributor, but it’s really so much more than that. There’s a, you know, a huge community aspect. We, as Reo said, like we wanna be a place, a taste maker, a place that people go to and the way they go to Pollen or New Music Friday, or these, uh, these playlists that exist on, you know, DSPs that people love. I mean, the crazy part to me is those, those, uh, taste makers, it’s just a list of songs and there’s no further depth there. There’s no further way to engage with other people listening to that music. There’s no way to further engage with the artists that are on that list of music. So, I mean, that’s where we really think that the, the game has to change and, and we wanna be the first ones to do it, to just bring a level of depth to music curation and music discovery that hasn’t existed before. And yeah,

Incubating a Music Project

That. Like I love that. I, I I love how you guys called it an incubator, um, yep. Music Web three incubator. It. I can visualize that. I can, I can really understand what that means. And a lot of this conversation was predicated around the first project that you incubated, um, called satellites, right? And, um, yeah, I wanna spend a lot of the, a lot of our conversation sort of going into this first project that you incubated. What does it even mean to incubate a song, a project, let alone in, in Web three? Like, what does that really look like on a step-by-step basis? I can’t really visualize, help me understand that when you incubate a project, um, like satellite for example, which maybe this is a good time to even introduce satellite. Um, what goes into it?

DLG: Yeah, so yeah, so the, give a little context, satellites is a six track EP from Loaner’s, first freshman class. Uh, the Loaner’s freshman are a group of five artists acts that were selected by the community a while ago. I I think Reo can probably go into that process a little more later. But it’s a list like from a large list of artists narrowed down to these, uh, these five acts, and they’re crazy talented. Um, I think the thing that artists do best is make art. So, uh, to incubate that process. I mean, we take care of, you know, we want it to take care of the rest of the surrounding, uh, items that have to go into a large, uh, project. And, you know, starting initially with just getting all the artists in the same room, able to create music together unobstructed by distractions in a place that like facilitates that creativity. So, um, yeah, we, we flew all the artists in or in some cases drove ’em. We got a few who were in la um, got all the artists in one place and Joshua Tree in, uh, January of this year. So got a big spot for ’em, made sure they were all in one place, happy, and just like able to create to their fullest extent. And the project was all supervised and executive produced by, um, Jeremy on the LNRZ team, aka Clear Eyes, half of MaReon Hill, who’s a insanely talented producer. And Anne was definitely the, the glue that helped, uh, kind of guide, you know, these, these, uh, six artists all in the room together, uh, in certain directions, maybe like, okay, this song, this is sounding like a song, this is sounding here. So he, he really like, was instrumental to keeping that whole, uh, process organized, focused on the end goal, and just like, kind of, kind of overseeing the immediate day to day of everything there. So, huge shout out to Jeremy. Um, definitely couldn’t have this project without him. And a huge shout out to all the freshmen because they are incredibly talented. Um, and like the project itself, I, I would like to say I think we did a really good job at incubating it because I listened to it like every day. And, um, the songs are just really cool. They sound really fresh and new. They’re all over the place in a really good way. They sound cohesive while also just like you can see all of these different artists who have very different sounds all blending in a way that’s just so cool. And, you know, some of the songs are like, really aggressive and go super hard, and then other, like, one of the songs on the project just gives me chills every time I listen to it. And it’s super like spacey and just, oh, like, I’m like getting chills thinking about it right now. the first time I heard it, like Reo is in the room with me, I was like, I was like, what the fuck is this? This is nuts. Like, um, so yeah, it’s just awesome to like see like, you know, I, if you told me those artists were coming into the room together, I have an idea of all of their sounds. Uh, and so I can like kind of think in my head, oh, maybe it would sound like this. And it’s so rewarding to like, hear the end result and have it be something I never in a hundred years would’ve expected. And it’s like, so just so goddamn cool. Um, so yeah, I mean, we like facilitating, you know, incubating the project definitely comes down a lot to, uh, getting all the artists together and able to create, it also means getting all of the visual assets, uh, you know, organized and made shout out to Everlasting, who’s the super talented visual artist who is putting together all of all the 3D assets and all the renders for this project.

DLG: It’s like super awesome stuff that just helps build the whole world and I think is critical to having an awesome end result. Um, so, you know, the artwork, there’s all just the like, kind of behind the scenes, like just administrative, just legal shit marketing, like, you know, there’s a lot that goes into, I mean, this right now, you know, making sure that we’re, we’re talking to people in the space, we’re getting on the best podcast in the game, and we’re, uh, you know, getting like the word out there. There’s, there’s so much extra that goes into these projects. Um, and, you know, it’s really, it’s, it’s super, it’s super rewarding just to like curate awesome music that’s already out there and helped it succeed. Having that music start from the ground up has been like a whole other type of experience and is is just that much more rewarding. Um, so, and, uh, yeah,

Let’s, talk about that because Bellow, uh, the project that I’ve been working on for months just got into an accelerator. Like, it’s more of like, um, um, a startup accelerator, but in many ways I feel like LNRZ is very much like a startup for artists and a startup for creativity. Um, so when I think about like creating and cultivating the right environment for an accelerator, right, it’s all, it’s all about like people coming together. It’s all about doing things together. It’s about learning the process, collaborating, shooting the shit, like throwing stuff at the fan, seeing what sticks very quickly. Can you sort of like sum up up the environment that you guys built in Joshua Tree, um, and how you think that sort of contributed to the final product of what we have of the six track, uh, project? 

Reo Cragun: Yeah, for sure. So, uh, again, shout out to Dave and shout out to Jeremy for the, for the setup for. So like, really what ended up happening was we got this really large lake house in, in Joshua Tree, and it was a two story house. Uh, upstairs we had like the B studio and in the living room we had the, a studio, um, you know, when you have, uh, five artists and an executive producer, and then one of the ax is actually two, uh, individuals, so really like seven people total in the house, right? Um, there you need like, more space than just one studio . So that was really important. Uh, and yeah, so that, that’s pretty much what went into it. Um, a lot of ideas, um, happened as a group and then like people would break off, uh, go flesh out the ideas, um, come back. There’s, you know, a whole song made off of it now and like, so that was really cool.

Reo Cragun: Um, we did not have like, you know, all the time in the world. I believe that it was like four or five days that we were out there. So that’s also an important factor to like, think about. So how do you make really good music in like a limited peReod of time? Um, so yeah, we just wanna make sure that everyone, you know, was comfortable had their own space and, um, yeah, I mean we actually overshot, I think like the freshman of Jeremy, uh, made like 13 songs when we were out there. Wow. Uh, we ended up condensing down to six songs. So we still have like a lot of great music, uh, kind of just in the vault. Yeah.

Collaboration in the LNRZ Project

So really, really quick. I can imagine with so many like creative minds in the room, there could be clashes and there could be like always a frustration or there could be, and like, not from like a negative standpoint, but somebody wants to add their input here or they think this should go over here and that that had to have happened. Right. Are there any stories you could share around that? 

Reo Cragun: Dude, honestly, no. It really didn’t, uh, really, you

DLG: Know? Yeah. Like

Reo Cragun: Shout out to Jeremy too. Yeah. Because like, I think that’s like the important thing about, um, having like an executive producer in the room too. Uh, he really just like did his thing.

DLG: I mean, honestly, like, I I will say we lucked out and uh, like I would say a really good trait of a, of a good artist is being able to, to work like with others and understand if maybe their ideas are worth fighting for in a, in a certain location in the song, and maybe, or they’re not in this other idea is better. And I think like we just, we have the best group of freshman acts here and everyone like, I mean, the times I was in the house, like everything was just blowing. It was like, we got, you know, Ali and Tate up here, we got Madeline and like Farwell, you know, they’re down here like doing like this and Jeremy’s tinkering over here and, and, and like Naomi’s over, like writing over in the corner over here. Uh, it was, it was, it was awesome to see cuz that definitely, I mean, that comes up like all the time in collaborative situations.

DLG: But yeah, I think Jeremy’s role was, was perfectly executed. He was like, I’m sure if there was ever, you know, questions like Yeah, I know he kind of brought it to everyone was like, what are we thinking here? What are we thinking there? And I like, it just goes to show, I think when you get, um, when you get a lot of artists in the location with like that singular goal and kind of get all of them out of their comfort zone. Like, it’s not like anyone was from Joshua Tree, you know, we, we put ’em, ’em all in a new location. They’re all on on level ground here now and, and they’re, they’re all tasked with the goal of creating the best thing possible. I think it just speaks volumes as to what, like caliber of artists they all are. That they are able to, they they did what was best for the song in every instance, you know, every, the greatest artist, they just do what is best for the song. It doesn’t matter. Like your ego shouldn’t be involved. Whatever you think might be the best thing, you know, it’s a real whatever actually ends up sounding the best and just making the best song. Like that’s what they put out there. Um, so it was like, yeah, it was amazing to see. Honestly,

The Joshua Tree Project

It seems as if, um, none of it was really individually motivated. It was very much collectively motivated. Yeah. And yeah, I feel like oftentimes not, maybe not oftentimes, but there are certain situations where people could feel like their, their input is more valued, um, than the rest. But it seems as if like you guys really made this environment the way it should be, um, where everybody has sort of like a balance say, and you really feel like you’re building towards a collective project. 

Reo Cragun: Yeah. And then also, you know, something to highlight too is like we, we’ve all been working together for the last year, you know, and so it’s all been on the internet or virtually, you know what I mean? And so I think there was also the factor of us all coming together for the first time and actually, you know, like bonding, like, and being able to, you know, talk about, you know, everyone’s individual careers and you know, some of the goals that everyone has. Uh, it was just really cool. I think it just added to that. And, um, yeah, I mean we were just, uh, we were a unit out there . It was like family, you know what I mean? 

The LNRZ Freshman Class

Uh, I do also want to, you know, you know, explicitly highlight, uh, all of the freshmen as well, the talent that we have. Um, uh, yeah, we’ve, I’ve been, I’ve realized like we’ve been saying freshman and like yeah, .

DLG: Yeah. Let’s get, we’ll get little proper introduction.

Reo Cragun: Yeah, for sure. Uh, you know, first off, we have Ali, super talented, uh, multi-talent, uh, producer, artist, songwriter. Uh, we have Farewell, who’s the duo, um, out of, uh, London. Amazing. Uh, we have Madeline Duke, uh, really super crazy like, um, singer. She also does a little bit of rapping too, which is pretty cool. Um, Tate Tucker, uh, California native, uh, born out here and, uh, super talented. And then we have Mark Johns, uh, the Goat, uh, and, uh, yeah, man, and that’s pretty much, that was our squad out there in Joshua Ry. And yeah, in my opinion, like definitely some of the craziest talent in, you know, web three music in music in general, but for sure like Web three as well.

How’d you, how’d you pick those individuals? Was there a curation process involved? Is there, was there any certain criteria that I guess like the heads of voters were sort of like eyeballing, like what, what went into selecting those fuel?

Reo Cragun: Yeah, for sure. So there was a lot of thought that went into, um, that process. We ended up putting out, um, uh, pretty much like an application, um, for the original, um, freshman class. And we had like over a hundred applicants, which was like really crazy at the time because, you know, for something that had just got spun up, uh, there was a lot of interest there, which made it very difficult, uh, to choose. Um, and so, you know, hats off to the community as well because we ended up narrowing it down to I think like 10, um, of like, you know, our, our of the choices. And then the community, uh, played like a massive role in, uh, choosing the first five acts. 

Wow. Yeah. So when you say the community, you mean like LNRZ holders or? Yep, in, okay. Wait, how did, how does that work holders?

Reo Cragun: Yeah, so we had, um, we had a vote and, uh, back then it was just in Discord,  because we didn’t have many NFTs at the time. Uh, so it was like if you were, if you held something, we had a, a discord. And these days most of the communication happens in Telegram. Uh, we, yeah. But that’s, uh, that’s what ended up happening. 

The Impact of LNRZ on the Music Industry

I love that. Can we sort of talk about, um, web three music at large for a minute? Yeah. Uh, I’m curious, how do you see this program, whether it be LNRZ, um, the incubator or this project as a whole contributing to the growth of the web through music industry? Um, and is there any impact that you hope it’ll have on the broader music landscape?

DLG: Yeah. Yes… Yeah. Yeah. Um, yeah, I mean, I can say like in the short term, like, you know, our, our goals were really at least the past, like, you know, six months, the goals were really curation focused. I think we’ve been crushing it in that regard. Um, you know, we’ve kind of turned our focus at, you know, the current day and age to these long form projects and figuring out out how we can best facilitate, uh, these, these projects that we’ve made. And, you know, we’re also, we’ve, we have lots of ideas of like tools that we want, uh, to be able to offer to LNRZ artists and LNRZ community members that, uh, either enhance listeners experiences or artist experiences. And, uh, there’s like, there’s a lot kicking around. I don’t know exactly how much, uh, you know, I should talk about that yet.

DLG: I think that people are gonna be stoked when, uh, when a lot of that stuff comes to fruition. But I think, like at the end of the day, um, me, Reo and Jeremy are all artists and, you know, and we like, have dealt with the pain points of the music industry. So I think like something that’s very important about LNRZ is, I mean, one of the reasons we’re able to facilitate a good environment to create a project is because we’ve all been in good environments to create projects and bad environments. I’ve been in horrible environments to collaborate, so like I know what that looks like, and so does Reo and so does Jeremy. So like we have just years of actual experience as an artist to help draw from. Likewise, we have years of actual experience of all the bullshit that we’ve had to go through to try to like, get a song that we love, you know, the love it deserves or like, deal with all these like random musical entities that were spun up like 50 years ago and now collect all of our money from random places.

DLG: Like, getting paid as an artist is a nightmare. So it’s like, you know, getting your song heard by other people is a nightmare. Like  in the music industry, a lot of stuff that isn’t making the actual music can be an absolute nightmare. So I think anything that, just like, we’re very focused on how to, specifically in the web three community, how to get artists like, you know, into this space comfortably and give them the resources and the tools like immediately available to them that they need to, to get eyes on their stuff and to, you know, have, be able to have a successful career here. But for the music industry at large, like, I, I think it’s just about, um, yeah, it’s about like providing tools for artists that we actually want and not like this stuff that is like, there’s a lot of shit out there that I look at as an artist, and I’m like, I don’t, I don’t care about this .

DLG: Like, I don’t know what I, yeah. There, there’s a lot of people out there that aren’t artists and they’re looking at data and numbers and they’re thinking like, how can we make these datas and like the data and the numbers better? And we’re sitting here as artists thinking, how can we make all these artists have a better time in the music industry and be more successful, um, and just like, make music fun to interact with. Again, I think it’s just like, I personally have just been, I think that it just, like, there was, you know, the blog era was this whole thing and it was just this energy was there and then like, you know, I, you gotta focus on where that like, energy is at that intangible feeling like that holy shit, something really cool is happening here. We’re gonna, we’re gonna talk about this as a historical event like in the future.

DLG: And that’s how I feel about the Web three music space. I just, it’s never have I ever seen so many artists that like, have such raw talent and are so pissed off by the traditional music industry, converge in one place altogether, um, and just like have the resources to build themselves, you know? Yeah. It’s really crazy. Like Reo and I talk about all the time how, how stoked we are that like, we don’t have to sit here as artists and wait for someone else to build us the tools that we want, like we have the resources to, to build them. And that is thanks to the web three music space at large. So yeah. We’re, I that was a long-winded answer to your question.

Reo Cragun: It was very

LNRZ as a Curation Vehicle

DLG: Well said. We have, we have a lot of, a lot of tools. We, we want to build a lot of, um, a lot of curation, a lot of community building, just want become the best hub for music interaction and discovery in general. Yeah. Real Reo, you can

Reo Cragun: Also to add to that as well, like, you know, on the artist side, uh, you know, we, we want to help facilitate, you know, the visibility and whatnot, but also on the collector side and like the community side, I think it’s really, it’s becoming more and more difficult, right? Uh, the conversation used to be like, you know, is it gonna take one or two artists to like really break in web three for like web three music to have its moment? And, um, I, I’m becoming a more firm believer that it’s going to be, you know, communities like LNRZ, uh, who are like these, um, like curation vehicles, right? I, I just, I, I really think like that’s what it takes in order to scale. Um, because we’re finding, you know, there’s so many artists that drop music NFTs now, there’s thousands, right? It’s like, if you think about a year ago there was a few hundred there really were, uh, and now you gotta go on Twitter and, you know, try and create, dig through Twitter and find like all the emerging talent in this space.

Reo Cragun: It’s like, how is that scalable? It’s just not right. , I think, like, I think what we’re building here at LNRZ right, is an access point or a gateway, um, for you to discover amazing talent and for talent to discover amazing community as well. So we wanna be the bridge that kind of glues all of this together and it’s like, cool, uh, I know where to go every single week in order to find some really cool music and to be a part of something that’s like, you know, bigger than just the music, right? It’s just that point of connectivity. Um, and really I think that’s, you know, that’s what we’re trying to, uh, scale. It, it already exists and we have an amazing community. Um, but as you know, web three music continues to grow. Uh, we think that LNRZ will for sure continue to grow, um, beyond LNRZ and what you guys have built, are there any other channels that you guys look to in Web three for finding a new artists?

Reo Cragun: I think another good one that comes to mind is Noise Dow and their editorial. I think another one that comes to mind is all the sub pockets of Telegram group chats that we’re in. Um, are there any other that you can speak to? Yeah, there’s a whole bunch, right? It’s like, um, cha no. Uh, I’m a member of the Dow. Love it. Uh, yeah, I mean, there’s Twitter, word of mouth, uh, there’s like vehicles on the traditional side as well. Uh, certain playlists on Spotify. Uh, even things like Lyrical Lemonade, these like other, uh, which I think is like another vehicle for curation as well, uh, or at least like what it started out as. Um, and yeah, and I think that’s like our main points of where we like look for talent currently. Um,

DLG: Also like a, a lot, a lot of ’em is just through our own personal network, you know, of musicians. I think a lot of, uh, discovery of of cool artists just comes from us. Like, you know, seeing an artist that we fuck with on an artist we’re friends with, like Instagram story or something. We’re like, oh, you know, who’s this? Or, um, just, I, you know, between me, Reo and Jeremy, we have met a lot of artists who are really talented and, um, and gives us a, a wide, a wide, uh, array of people to, to pick from. But yeah, I mean, you know, Cooper has a amazing newsletter, um, and, uh, yeah, and Dreams Never Die. Shout out. Um, they’re, they’re a great vehicle for discovering cool talent and, and there’s just, you know, being at these events like, you know, nft, N y c, you go to events, you meet cool people, like that network grows and it’s, it’s, uh, it all kind of channels into us being able to find, uh, really awesome talent.

Yeah. I love that. Those are, those are great answers. I have a few more questions for you guys. Um, before, uh, kind of like diving into the details of the drop. Um, from a high level perspective, because we’re already talking about the intersection of Web three music, how do you guys see the value proposition of music changing, uh, because of NFTs? And what new forms of value do you think can be created because of these new tokenized assets or these digital collectibles, however you want to, to frame them? Anything come to mind? 

Reo Cragun: Yeah, for sure. Um, you know, it’s actually crazy. Uh, I just saw this tweet, I wanna say it was by Rob, uh, earlier today. And what’s going viral right now is, um, you know, the ai, uh, recreation of, you know, the Drake song featuring the weekend. And, um, he brought up like, like a super valid point.

Tokenizing Music For Verifiable Sources

Reo Cragun: It’s like if more of these kind of like, you know, deep fakes start happening, um, it makes sense to tokenize the music because that’s like gonna be a verifiable source, right? , um, I think that’s like actually an insane value prop and, uh, is like true because, you know, it’s kind of wild, but these days it is, I feel like there’s so much, you know, information out there that is just not correct , uh, whether that’s intentionally or by mistake, you know what I mean? Uh, it’s harder and harder to like actually see what the truth is. Um, so yeah, having verifiable sources, um, you know, uh, on chain, uh, I think is like a, in a really good value prop. I think also, um, you know, uh, scarcity, uh, direct, uh, cu cu linkage as well between artists and supporter slash listener, uh, is super important.

Importance of Data For Artists

Reo Cragun: Um, you know, for example, I mean on Spotify, if I log into my Spotify for artist’s account, right? I do not know if Jimmy is listening to my music in Toronto. You know what I mean? Like, and I think that’s, it’s kind of messed up and it’s, it is a little wrong that like you don’t have access to hardly any of the data, right? Um, and then you actually don’t even know, um, if you just, your song got playlisted, right? Um, are the people who are part of your monthly listeners actually true fans of yours, right? Like, so does that mean because my song is pumping in Los Angeles this week because I got put on a playlist, does that mean I can go sell out a show in that area, right. Or should I even go, you know, do some type of live activation? Uh, I think that from an artist’s standpoint, uh, having the data is super important and you know, like the, instead of top down communication between supporters and listeners, like Web three has been so cool because it’s like center out, I would say. Um, it’s a lot easier to communicate with community and um, yeah, man, do do meaningful stuff. . Totally. Yeah. It’s been cool. Yeah, it’s, and that track slaps, by the way, that AI track the ghost writer. Yeah,

DLG: It does dining. It’s actually good. Dude, it’s good.

Reo Cragun: It’s wild. I think the piano is, is too, is too loud, but I think they got, they got the point. I think it’s, uh, it’s really well done. I, I feel like I’ve listened to it a few times by now, like, shit, this fucking slaps . It’s

DLG: Uh, that’s crazy. It’s fun. Yeah, like that’s a huge, I mean that’s a huge unlock in the value add of, of tokenized music over traditionally. And even adding to that, like I think the artist’s goal is always to be successful regardless of what platform you’re involved with. And like the cross-platform portability of, of, of fan base and of your actual music assets is like something that we only would’ve dreamed of, you know, five, 10 years ago. Like, I wanna still have, like if Spotify like, you know, imploded and, and the, the platform completely shut down tomorrow, I would want to make sure I still have a connection to these fans and that they can still listen to that music. Um, whereas now it’s like I have to send my music to a distributor who then they, like behind the curtain send it to everybody. And then also I get, I mean, you know, most people don’t know how we get paid as musicians.

Tokenized Music and Traceable Payments

DLG: And the funny part is most musicians don’t know how we get paid either. Like on the, on one side, on the, on the master side, it’s pretty simple. My distributor pays me every month, you know, just for streams. I get whatever. On the publishing side, there’s like, I think there’s like six major types of publishing, uh, money and each one has like 30, 40 entities involved in it. And like someone is, you know, your song is played here in a movie or something. Someone pays this person, they keep a cut, this random entity keeps a cut. The it goes here, they keep a cut. I have no idea who those people are. I don’t know who’s touched my money before it gets to me having a tokenized song. Like just having everything on chain is, is the future. It has like for, for artists especially where our industry traditionally just like fucks us completely.

DLG: I, I want all of my payments to be able to be traceable and just like have that permanent data. Um, like to even speak to the bullshit of it. Do you, have you ever heard of the Black Box? No. Do you know what this is now? What is that? This is cr this is crazy. So Buck buckle up, this is like, when, when, when people say the music industry is fucked up, it’s like this is what they’re talking about. Um, so the black box is this name for this essentially bullshit that, um, , I think it was like the Millennium Act or something. There’s some like Bill passed at some point, I should probably know more of the details on it. But essentially, uh, when you as an artist don’t collect, um, it was like a small little line somewhere in like a giant bill to do something.

DLG: Uh, when I as an artist don’t collect my publishing royalties, that side that goes the side of my money that goes through all of these random entities. When I fail to collect that money, which most artists do, like most artists out there today, if you have to, I have to hire a company to help me collect that money. Do I have a publishing admin? You do, their entire job is to collect that money and then they get to keep a percent that is like necessary to make that money. Cause I’m not gonna out go out here and call up hundreds of organizations to get like a cent here, a cent there, blah, blah, blah. But either way, when I inevitably as a just independent artist who doesn’t know what the hell I’m doing, when I fail to collect that money, it goes to the black box.

DLG: The black box is, is essentially the bank accounts of all the top recording artists in the United States and the top record labels. There’s like a, it’s like the top whatever percent of artists and like these few like record labels, like, you know, like the big record labels that everyone’s heard of, they just get a check every year of everyone else’s royalties. So it’s crazy. I like, when I hired a publishing admin, I, they were like, Hey, like give us all the information, you know, cuz you’re definitely like, we, we are at risk of losing, you know, we’re like a year and a half, maybe two years out from um, this, you know, I had a big song like Blow Up a couple years ago. They’re like, get us the information on that right now cuz we need to get on it. Cuz we, you’ve probably already lost, uh, some of your royalties just to the ether, to the black box, to other people’s wallet that have nothing to do with my project.

DLG: Like none of these major labels are providing any services for me. I’ve never talked to Beyonce, you know, these top recording artists, but they just get a check for my publishing royalties that I failed to collect and all like, these probably hundreds of thousands of other artists royalties. So like, it is that level of fucked up for artists to just get paid that. Like, it needs to just be traceable. I need to like, it needs to be like, I made money here, it went to this wallet, then it went to my wallet. None of the middle men, none of this black box bullshit, right? Like it is, it’s, it’s nuts.  wow. You just lose it. Like it’s money that I earned and it’s like now it’s, oh, I waited like one to two years. If you leave money in a bank account for two years, it should still be there. , right?

DLG: Right my money. I forgot to fucking hire a whole other company to help me get it. And now it’s, it’s

Gone. It’s messed up.  messed up, messed up. So I just hope you guys claim the funds from the contract that’s about to happen on Friday. And that doesn’t disappear. It doesn’t, it doesn’t

DLG: Enter the black box, right?

Satellites Project Launch

Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Uh, but let’s talk about Friday. Okay. What, what’s going on on Friday? We have satellites dropping the first grandiose project since LNRZ started about two years ago since that Miro fund really, really big milestone, really big moment. Um, what is there to expect, what’s going on Phyllis in guys?

DLG: Okay, so satellites is a six track project made by the very talented loners freshman class. Um, yeah, this is our like, you know, this is our debut long form project. It’s something we’ve been building towards for a long time and we’re super excited to share, uh, a lot of the, you know, the music, most of the music we’ve, uh, curated and, and released up until now has been, uh, awesome songs that artists we respect have made on their own. And then we’re just helping distribute them, get them in front of people. Uh, this is, you know, kind of different for us. This is like we really incubated this from the ground up with artists that, you know, we in the community selected. So going into this week, we’re gonna be giving a lot more information on all these artists on, um, you know, the drop structure, just sharing bits and pieces leading up until Friday, which is the Mint.

DLG: Um, you know, collectors who own LNRZ pieces are going to receive like a discounted presale price. Um, we obviously wanted reward the, the current LNRZ collectors, but wanted to just kind of have the whole mint on one day and really make an event out of it and not do the like, presale day and then the day after public mint. So the mints all gonna happen at one time on Friday. Uh, it’s gonna l n So we’re getting the whole site together right now. We’re working with the lovely team over at Bonfire. Shout out to them. They are, they’ve been incredible and just helping us build the infrastructure, the lovely people at sound, you know, uh, we also have a, uh, uh, kits activation. You know, we’re doing a, a sample pack of sounds collected from the project and stuff that’s on the songs stuff that got created at the camp, but isn’t necessarily on the songs. So there’s gonna be a free sample pack for everybody to, to collect and use, you know, in their songs. And we just kind of want to have, you know, everyone be able to dive into the world that, that we lived in when this project was getting created. So, yeah. Reo, I don’t, do you have any other, uh, any other things you wanna add on?

Community Involvement In Decision-Making

Reo Cragun: Yeah, so, um, also something that we wanted to do differently this time around, right? Is for most of these, like collection drops, let’s say, uh, the community doesn’t really have a say in kind of like what happens, um, as far as the decision making goes. So, you know, for this time around, like we, we really wanted to emphasize, uh, the fact that this is the community’s project. Like they helped put this all together. Um, you know, like even the camp was funded off of just like the treasury, which was super cool. Um, and, you know, so we ended up having a vote, um, as to what the price and supply would be, and the community decided on 1,250 additions at 0.01 for the mint price. And so that’s what we’re running with. Uh, you know, they helped, uh, curate the first class of freshmen, which is really cool. And we thought it would be completely, you know, the only thing to do was, uh, bring them into like a higher level, um, as far as the decision making went. And so, yeah, that’s what we’re running with on Friday and we’re really excited. Uh, it’s gonna be really cool. And

DLG: The, uh, the rarity of the songs as well was, was decided through, uh, through a community, like on chain vote. And we had, uh, some of the, you know, like percentages of the different rarities and then we let, we released, uh, previews of the songs, just little 15 second, uh, snippets of every song and let people decide which one felt the most rare, which one felt like it should have the, you know, largest supply. And that was just, that was, uh, that was really cool. Like, it’s just really awesome to, to have the community be the ones deciding like the order of the track list and like what the drop is actually gonna look like. So yeah, that will all be on Friday. Amazing. Our website at LNRZ X, y, Z.

Presale Price For Previous Collectors

And is there an allow list at all for previous LNRZ collectors? I’m sure people are thinking that. Yeah. Yeah, for sure. So if you, if you were part of the initial crowdfund, if you were, if you hold any LNRZ piece Yeah. You’re, you’re on the allow list. Yeah. Got it. Is is it like a pre-sale price and a public sale price, or how does that work? 

DLG: Yeah. I believe that it’s going to run in tandem, so it’s not gonna be like, um, you know, on the hour before, uh, you have this window to mint at, you know, your pre-sale price. Uh, but yeah, so it’ll all happen at once. That’s like the new,

Reo Cragun: Shout out to the sound team as well, because that’s like Yeah, they can, they can do that now. .

DLG: Yeah, so there’ll be, we’ll, we’ll like be definitely releasing more details as to like the actual pricing and like the exact time of the drop on Friday, for example. Um, so definitely like stay tuned for that. But there’s gonna be, um, yeah, there’s definitely, there’s a, there’s a discounted price for, for people, you know, based on their LNRZ, uh, uh, like, you know, LNRZ holdings and, and involvement with the community pReor. And uh, yeah, it’s gonna be fun. Amazing.

Reo Cragun: It’s gonna be cool. 


Amazing. Amazing. Well guys, I’m excited. I’ll be, I’ll be watching and supporting. Uh, before I let you go, um, where can we learn more about you guys working? 

Reo Cragun: We learn more about LNRZ she let away Yeah, at LNRZ_xyz on all the platforms. And, uh, for myself, I’m @ReoCragan

DLG: Yeah, I’m, uh, at DLG underscore sound waves on Twitter and DLG sound waves on Instagram. Um, but yeah, DLG sound waves and can find me and yeah, definitely, definitely give LNRZ a follow and, and stay tuned. We got a lot of cool stuff coming. Yeah,

Let’s go. Yeah. Uh, and yeah, I, like I said earlier, um, you know, would love to have everyone, you know, just like, um, join the LNRZ community. Um, you don’t even have to collect, right? I think, you know, the most important thing is just like listening to a lot of this music that’s first and foremost, like what we, you know, want to preach. There’s a lot of talent, uh, in web three music and yeah, I think, uh, just get involved. Um, like I said, you do not have to collect. Um, I think just being a part of the community and uh, having conversations, uh, there’s a lot of great people, uh, in our, you know, uh, in our chat and just like on our Twitter and yeah, would love to have you. Yeah.

DLG: But I will say if you do collect, make sure to join that telegram chat. Yeah. . And uh, yeah, we got the link in our bio on Twitter. So if you either already have Alon piece and you aren’t in that telegram chat or you are not in the lone community yet and you’re going to collect on Friday, make sure to join that chat cuz we would love to have you there.

Amazing guys. I’m really excited for you. Congrats on all the progress. Congrats on the big release. Um, we’ll have to do this again soon, but until then, keep killing it and uh, chat soon.

Podcast Transcript

Building a Future of Digital Identity and Ownership for Creators


Mint Season 7 Episode 27 provides a summary of a panel discussion held at Outer Edge (also known as NFT LA), where a team of experts and I delve into the current state of the creator economy in web3. Our discussion encompasses a range of topics, such as the different types of content verticals, the significance of experimentation, collaboration, and co-creation. We also examine the most effective strategies for web2 artists to transition into web3, the vital role of data transparency and control, and the differences between being a creator in web2 versus web3. In addition, we touch upon the importance of building audiences via collectors, digital identity, and ownership. Lastly, we explore the possibility of creators taking out loans based on their social reputation and the value of their content. If you missed the event, I’m excited to share this insightful discussion with you!

I hope you enjoy our conversation.

Time Stamps

  • 00:00 – Intro
  • 01:59 – Current State Of The Web3 Creator Economy
  • 06:20 – Optimal Strategy For Web2 Artists To Make Their Way Into Web3
  • 07:58 – Using Web3 As A Tool For Storytelling
  • 10:38 – Clearing Up Misconceptions For Creators Entering Web3
  • 13:31 – Importance Of Data Ownership In Web3
  • 15:17 – Difference Between Web2 And Web3 For Creators
  • 17:16 – Transitioning To Web3 Social
  • 19:54 – Visualizing Relationships In Web3
  • 21:11 – The Value Of Collectable Content
  • 23:08 – Digital Identity And Ownership
  • 24:22 – Glass Protocol And Content Control
  • 25:19 – Building Interoperable Audiences
  • 26:56 – Creator Credit Score And Crowdfunding
  • 28:03 – Content As Collateral
  • 30:07 – Outro

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Let’s go . Hey, everybody. Bond the stage. Make some noise. Everyone in the back. Come to the front. Everyone in the front. Take a seat. . All right, I’m super excited. Um, I guess you guys should just come up. Brett, Ellie, Nick, Rex. Let’s do it. Let’s run it. Welcome to Data in the Creator Economy.  super hyped to be here, fired up, awesome lineup we got with us. Um, everyone’s an expert in their own respect, uh, from the Creator economy, data, tokenizing media, so many subjects to talk about. Web three, social, all the buzzwords. So I think a good place to start guys is a quick intro. I’ll give a quick intro on myself. My name is Adam. I host a podcast Mint co-founder of Bello. Uh, Bello is building data tools for creators in Web three. And with me, I got my co-founder, Ellie, but we’ll get her in a minute. Brett, Ellie, and we’ll take it away. Give yourself a quick intro.

BlockchainBrett: Hey everyone, I’m Brett, uh, co-founded Palm Tree Crew Crypto, which is an early stage creator, economy focused crypto fund. Uh, Palm Tree Crew is Kai’s lifestyle brand, so Kai’s my partner as well. And, uh, we invest in early stage awesome companies like Bello 

Ellie Farrisi: Hey guys, I am Ellie. I am a full stack web three engineer and the co-founder and CTO of Bello Building for Creators and big advocate for all things data transparency and excited to talk today.

Nick Villar: And guys, I’m Nick, uh, I manage operations at Glass of Video NFT Marketplace. Um, yeah, I’m super excited to be chatting with these people.

Rex Wong: Hey, that, yep. Hey guys, I’m Rex, uh, and I’m CEO of a company called Fame Cast. We’re an on one creator operating system, and we also operate a creator accelerator in Santa Monica. We hosted the hackathon this week, um, and, uh, we help creators, uh, build their businesses and manage it.

Current State Of The Web3 Creator Economy

All right, so experts and their own respect. I like to kind of get, uh, some taste from the audience really quick. How many people here are creators themselves? Why? Show of hands. 1, 2, 3. Okay. How many of you guys, uh, minted in NFT before? Like what’s the audience? Okay. How many of you guys collected NFTs? Okay. How many NFTs? A hundred NFTs less than a hundred. Okay. 200. 300 . A thousand . Okay, cool. So I’d just like to get a primer for who’s who, who we’re speaking to, just to kind of get an idea of, of the complexity of the conversation. Um, I think a good place to start guys, is understanding the current state of the web through creator economy as we know it. Um, we’re in the bear market right now. Creators are still creating, tokens are still being minted. We’re seeing different asset classes sort of form from music, photography, podcasts, and so much more. How would you guys explain the current state of the creator economy today in web three? We can start with Brett and then work our way down. 

BlockchainBrett: Yeah. Um, it’s definitely overall very early. Um, I think, you know, what is the creator economy? It’s kind of like, I guess, you know, thinking about different verticals of content is kind of how I would start. Um, so you’ve seen things like crypto art, you have music, NFTs, video NFTs podcasts, writing, uh, and there’s a bunch of different companies and different kind of shared infrastructure being built across all that. Um, yeah, I think like we’ve all kind of seen the big beep sale. So crypto art has seen a pretty big adoption already. Uh, and then when you kind of go beyond art, music has been a bit more of a kind of, there was like 30 million in volume last year in music NFTs in comparison to like, you know, a couple billion in 2021 for crypto art. Um, so that’s still early, but definitely bigger than, you know, videos maybe in more in the million you have like writing in around a million. So these other like areas are starting to be created and bubbled up and, and uh, you know, there’s apps and platforms starting to be built for that. That’s kind of how I’d break down the current landscape.

Ellie, how, how would you explain the current state of the creator economy right now?

Ellie Farrisi: Yeah, I think, I think Brett touched on a lot of, a lot of really good things. Um, I think it’s definitely, we’re at a stage of tons of different experimentations happening both on the creative side of what, what creators are building, but also on the technology side of how we are actually implementing and utilizing NFTs. And so I think, you know, over the course of the past several years, we’ve seen a ton of different manifestations and optimizations to allow, uh, different forms of digital ownership. So very early, but very experimentive in trying new ideas and kind of seeing what sticks.

Sure, Nick

Nick Villar: I totally agree with that. I think one other thing that um, has really stood out for us recently has been collaboration and like co-creation as being a really important driver of how new content and new, new creations are made. Um, so I guess with, and that kind of ties into the experimentation too, you know, like trying to find, there’s no really winning formula that like everybody kind of follows or does, you know, it’s like very unique. Each, every NFT that gets made, every drop, everything is like kind of its own little world, you know? And I, I love that part about it. So that’s what I would add is the collaboration aspect.

And, and Rex, how would you say the, the current state of the credit economy looks like today?

Rex Wong: Uh, I think it’s, so we’re seeing it evolve from yeah, just art and apes to experiential, uh, as well as digital. Uh, so we do a lot of, we help creators create their merch lines and we can incorporate like NFTs for example, through like smart ships that connect to the merch, uh, and then create that as an experiential. So like, for example, with a musician we’re working with, he’s getting ready to launch a record. Uh, if you get the N F T, which is beyond what the, the regular, let’s say 12 o’clock release is, uh, at 10 o’clock you get to get into the watch party. Uh, the, the product is incorporated with a chip that’s connected to an nft, that’s a membership that ties into experiential. So I think that’s where it’s going is kind of this experience, uh, and tying that whole membership experience access type of piece into the nft and then drawing from that to create like royalty smart contracts, different things that can come off of that.

Optimal Strategy For Web2 Artists To Make Their Way Into Web3

Yeah, that, that makes sense. I want to talk about sort of, um, the web two creator and the web three creator. Um, and I wanna bring up this conversation because we see a lot of experiments of people trying to bridge Web two revenue with Web three or strictly taking a web three approach strategy to growing a creator base or a collector base. How do you guys see like the optimal strategy for Web two artists making their way into Web three? And Rex, we could, we could start with you cuz I know you have this accelerator that you work with a lot of creators.

Rex Wong: Yeah, in fact, we’re really a web two company that mingles things cuz creators are interested in web three, they’re interested in Metaverse, they’re interested in, uh, NFTs. Uh, and at the same time, 98% of our revenue comes from web two. So, you know, it’s the memberships, it’s it’s content. Uh, and so it’s trying to bridge the two together and, and like I said before, like creating these experiential connections and access, uh, where we can use NFTs as a bridge. Uh, and honestly on the consumer side it’s how to get that in there without saying, well, you need a wallet or you need this. It’s just kind of that seamless experience that if you can create it, it it will just naturally happen.

Using Web3 As A Tool For Storytelling

Nick, I know Glass has had a quite of interesting journey from moving from Ethereum to Solana Bow back to Ethereum, um, and working with all sorts of creators to tokenize video content. When you go and approach a web two content creator on YouTube, you’re like, you guys should tokenize your stuff on glass. You should mean like, what is the optimal approach to onboarding those people into the industry, you think?

Nick Villar: I think a big part of it comes from, or, or like one of the main things that I think we try to get creators to understand when we wanna work with them is that what, what we’re developing is kind of a medium for telling stories. It’s not, it’s really something that it’s like a tool that you can use that is used to then further the experience of your creative work. And so I think it when from that foundation of something that it’s like, okay, here’s similar think like, I would say similar to like a piece of paper in a pen where you can like write a story, you can use the crypto and like the web three creator ecosystem as kind of like a canvas for that. I think finding people that match that perspective and kind of have that vision for it makes it a lot easier to try to onboard and, and get, you know, because, because creators do want to tell stories, you know, like that’s ultimately what they’re, what they’re about. So I think proposed like presenting it as like a tool for enabling that and, and new ways of like hearing those stories and understanding and, and connecting with the artists really resonates with creators. At least we’ve found,

Brett, I know, I know you’re behind a lot of, of like really successful creators and Web three weather from a collection perspective or even just onboarding web two native artists into web three, figuring out their community base and then taking them, launching them off from that point on. When you think about like the optimal strategy for organically entering the web three space, what comes to mind?

BlockchainBrett: Yeah, I think, you know, in the current state where it’s definitely pretty early and like most people that are like participating are basically it’s collectors and artists as like the two sides of it. So from a collector ba like what do we have right now? And like how many collectors are there that, you know, use meta mask or understand the concept of NFTs are collecting content, maybe they’ve collected crypto art, maybe now they’re buying music. Um, you know, that’s kind of the market that the demand that we’re dealing with right now. And so I think it works really well for newer like, kind of next gen artists, like artists that are just kind of getting started getting into the, into the space cuz they can really kind of fully commit to it and embrace the earlies of the ecosystem. Uh, so I think it works really well for that. And then I’m really excited to see over time as like these markets, these different content markets grow and more volume comes to these different spaces as like basically more values unlocked across music and podcasts and writing that, you know, you get to see, um, artists that look at it and see, oh wow, that market actually could sustain and value my work more than it already is in the current system. I’m gonna kind of opt in over there and start to figure it out. And I think we’ll see like more lower priced, more high additions, better user experience and things really start to scale for the next mainstream audience.

Clearing Up Misconceptions For Creators Entering Web3

Ellie, and I know you yourself, I mean, you’re very technical, very talented at what you do, but you also have an experience of actually managing musicians, right? And between you and I, we talked to a lot of creators. I’m curious, when you have conversations with creators and they wanna make their way into web three, they wanna figure out the right strategy for launching their content, finding their collector base, what tend to be sort of like those initial misconceptions that kind of like act as red flags for them that you try to clear up in the air?

Ellie Farrisi: Uh, uh, yeah, I think that’s a really good question. Um, bringing in, I guess specifically for me, like working with mu talking to musicians or people that I’ve known for the music industry coming in to Web three, um, I think that that for me at least with like what we’re doing at Bello, there’s there’s so much information out there that already exists that creators can leverage if they’re trying to join in, into utilizing a new technology. Um, and so I think something that I’ve found really interesting is like, how can we show them the, the communities that are, that these, uh, individuals are a part of leveraging on chain data to allow them to kind of get a better oversight. Because when you’re coming into web three, you, you start hearing all these buzz terms, you start hearing all these things, you have like no idea really where to start. Um, maybe you see a music artist out there, or if you’re a different type of creator, uh, artist, et cetera, and you kind of looked at them, maybe you start following them on, on Twitter. Um, but you don’t really know much more than that. And I think something that I’m really proud that we’ve been able to do at Bello is say that like not only can you go follow that person on Twitter, but you can actually understand who their collectors are and you can understand who their community are by like, searching those NFT contracts. And so I think in general it’s just about like giving more awareness to them, like having them sort of ease into a seeing, um, on social media where these different accounts live, et cetera. Um, building for that way, go ahead

BlockchainBrett: And I’ll add on to that. I mean, I think like, you know, it’s super important to be able to get data out of what’s going on in the ecosystem to understand, you know, how to make good decisions. Like think about it, I think about it from my perspective, from like the VC side, I wanna understand how these protocols are performing. Like people go like, you know, analysts and stuff will go to do an analytics and write these queries and try to figure out, oh, is this protocol has volume, how many people are collecting on it? All this kind of information to make a good decision from like an investment perspective, right? Um, and I think like that same exact type of information is really important for a creator, but I don’t, we can’t really expect a creator to write sequel, right? So how do you kind of go in and say, all right, who are all the collectors that overlap with what I like to release and, you know, what are they collecting and how much are they buying it for? And kind of pull all that data and surface it in a way that you can make really good decisions as a creator is a super important tool. Good. Go ahead, ed.

Importance Of Data Ownership In Web3

Ellie Farrisi: Yeah, I think, uh, to kind of add to what you had asked earlier about like the comparison between the Web two world and the Web three world, I think this idea around data for creators in the Web two world is something that, you know, is talked about and it’s frustrations, but, and I think to the volume that like creators truly understand how much of their information is owned by the platforms that they dis they disperse content onto. So if you’re an artist making music on Spotify or SoundCloud or YouTube or you’re doing TikTok videos, like you’re kind of like just the every every piece of content you put out is just like making them more profit really. And you know, you might see a little bit of the stream come through, you might see a little bit of, of the revenue come at some point, but at the end of the day, like you’re feeding their business model, right? And in web three, you are your own business, you are your own business model, you have the, the leverage and ability to go out and create your own brand, all of this stuff. And with that, now you aren’t gated by the web two platforms data that they have on you. You have the data on yourself. And so with that comes a new need for a shift of tooling and availability around the data that is out there. So Spotify doesn’t own your NFT data, YouTube doesn’t own your NFT data, you own your NFT data. And what is so important now at this stage of crypto, of, of while it’s so still so complex and the the way in which, like what you were just saying with like sequel, like it’s pretty unpractical to say yes, you own your data, but like you have to learn how to code to be able to get it. No creator, most creators are not gonna wanna do that. And so I think building for a future where creators can truly own the content they create and own the data and distribution and all kind of pieces of it along the way is really important.

Difference Between Web2 And Web3 For Creators

Rex, you and I, we were having a conversation off stage. You were sort of explaining to me something that excites you at, at your company is sort of explaining the difference between the web two side and the web three side to the creators that you work with and these gated silos that people publish content on, right? Can you elaborate on that for a minute?

Rex Wong: Yeah, so I mean, we’ve built tools that we kind of call ourselves a creator operating system. So a lot of it is helping them manage these web two platforms. But, um, but the, the key is that, yeah, like she was saying, the data, they’re living on third party platforms. They could get Shadow Band, they could get, you know, they could get, uh, canceled, right? So the key is that they have to be able to collect their data. And what’s important is, like right now, a lot of creators, influencers, they make their money on things like brand deals at the same time they, I don’t know if too many creators that can tell the brands like, what, how did I do? I posted the story on Instagram, what did I do? And so we’ve been trying to build data tools in the back to collect even like, like what? Getting your data from these platforms, you need to be able to program well they don’t know how to do that. So we kind of give tools to kind of connect them to their data and then pull that into a, a place and we’re working on something where then that goes on chain, right? So that, let’s say a brand could come in and actually be able to access that data, see it, right? And so if you’re doing an Instagram story, now you have data behind it, uh, and you have all this other data that you can pick up. Uh, and you could do this pretty easily with different things. Like as an example, if you did a giveaway on Instagram that drives people to something that you now control, now you’re collecting lists and data and now as you’re collecting that you can, you know, a creator that is armed with that kind of data can go back to brands and can get a lot more money than they’re getting right now. Uh, and you can build that into, you know, uh, these smart contracts that basically can come in and, and help creators monetize their data better.

Transitioning To Web3 Social

So I think, let’s zoom out for a second because what you’re explaining is a really cool model that I talk a lot about in the podcast. When you think about the Web three creator economy today, you have to sort of zoom out and think about it like this creators use web two platforms to build distribution and virality, and when they’re more crypto native, they use web three to capture that value. So there’s a constant bridge between those two worlds to kind of build audiences that, that attract virality that can distribute the messages of an N F T drop and then linking them to a smart contract platform, whether it be glass sound, Zora, whatever these platforms are to actually mint the NFTs and to capture more of that value. But now I feel like we’re, we’re transitioning into a new world, the era of web three social, right, crypto native social wear. And this may be a hot take, but my bet is your community of collectors will surpass your community of followers, right? So as you build viral audiences, right, they’re gonna be sort of kind of like measured by what they’ve collected from you versus what they’ve liked, what they viewed and so on and so on and so forth. So I’d like to sort of transition the conversation into Web three social because I think what you were alluding to earlier, re in Ellie’s, like when you build audiences, you can get shadow ban, right? And there goes your entire account. Or if a new platform pops up, like let’s say in 2018 when TikTok started getting its moment, all the Instagram creators kind of became Mia and TikTok creators became the new thing, it becomes less of a problem when you build audiences via collectors in web three. So let’s transition the conversation into the topic of Web three social, just to kind of like share some general thoughts. Brett, I know you’ve been vocal about this lately, collecting content, talking about building audiences on chain. Any quick thoughts to share on this?

Visualizing Relationships In Web3

BlockchainBrett: Yeah, I think what’s going on in the NFT space right now where collectors are collecting are valuing content from their favorite creators or from creators, they appreciate their content, um, is already the beginning of a very social experience. I mean, the relationships being developed are much more beyond anything we have in web two in comparison to like following someone on Instagram or liking a photo. Those don’t really carry that much value or don’t differentiate one fan, one person of the audience from the other versus now in the NFT space, how much do you actually care about that artist and kind of create that signal that the artist can notice and appreciate you back? Uh, so I think in the future, as this is a much bigger space, running up to your favorite artist and saying, I was the first one to follow you, I love your music since the beginning like is much less of a reality where it’s like you probably already know each other, you’re probably invited, you know, you’re in the right spot, you’re being taken care of the right way. Not necessarily just in i r l experiences, but just more of like as an example. Um, and I think Webley Social is just like, how do you show off all these relationships that are being created in this nft in this ecosystem of owning content, of collecting your favorite creators and apprec and showing off your appreciation for them. Uh, so I’m excited for platforms that visualize and make it more clear what kind of relationships are being formed, that it actually is really valuable, what’s going on. Uh, and then also things like Lens, for example, where Adam is maybe the most followed creator on Lens. Shout out Adam Levy, arguably. Yeah, I mean, it’s really impressive. It’s past his Twitter followers at this point. So I’m all in on lens now.  , I love it. Um, but yeah, lens is also actually adding more data constantly. Like, so I think whenever something is putting more content, more data on chain for the creator, it’s adding to that like relationship social graph that’s being built. Um, you know, whether even if it’s just like the equivalent of a tweet that someone ends up collecting, it’s, it’s creating more context for people to realize and view relationships around. So I’m excited about it.

The Value Of Collectable Content

Really quick, just to kind of pull the audience again, how many of you guys are on TikTok? Okay, so when you, and how many of you guys have a crypto wallet? Okay, so when I sort of think about the mental model of collectable content, the same action that goes into liking a video on TikTok and it being added to your favorites folder is sort of the same mentality of collecting something and it being added into your wallet, right? But the cool thing about that, the way I sort of think about it and re Rex this is back to what you were saying, like brand deals are still a big part of a creator’s revenue. When I build an audience on chain, there’s so much information that I can tap into to understand what other communities are my collectors a part of, go to those communities, figure out really cool collaborations and cross pollinate together. This is something I can’t really do efficiently in the Web two world. And I’ve done this, I bring podcast sponsors, right? I find the people cuz I give out free NFTs to my listeners. I see who, what other communities are my collectors a part of? I go to those brands and I try to do activations on chain accordingly because wait a minute, we already have overlapping audiences, I could probably cross pollinate and get value and you could probably cross pollinate for my community and get value, right? So just to kind of give like an off off the bat example of like the depth of this data and the value that kind of gets accrued to the creator. But yeah, on the, on the topic of web through social, Ellie, any, any quick thoughts into what you’re seeing in that space?

Digital Identity And Ownership

Ellie Farrisi: I, I think the, the kind of two main frontiers that we’re seeing in the web three social space is this idea of creating a profile and this idea of either collecting this content on chain or off chain. So what we just talked a ton about was Lens Protocol, where Lens right now, uh, allows you to create a profile and everything that you quote unquote like or retweet whatever is all collected to your wallet. Uh, there is, at the other side of this Web three social, which some of you guys probably have used or or heard of, is called Forecaster, where you still have this digital identity store like tied to your social, uh, wa uh, account. But all of the collection is just kind of the same way that you would do on Twitter. And I’ve been talking a aloud about the kind of differences between the two. And I’m not saying I, I think one will win or the other, there are definitely two different use cases that I’m curious to see which a mass consumer actually adopts. Um, but the thing that is the same about both of these are this like digital identity that goes with you. And I think this concept alone, regardless of what you’re collecting from it, is so huge and so monumental to what we’ve already seen in the past like five years or so, even more with the centralized control of social media platforms and sort of how, how little effort it takes for them to snap their fingers and you be gone. And I think that that’s something that, you know, you exist in the real world. There’s, there’s no situation in the real world where someone can just like, make you invisible. And yet we, we spend so much of our lives interacting digitally and we give the power to people to say, no, you don’t exist anymore. And I think the, the more that we can build for this future, whether it’s through NFTs or through digital social profiles, whatever it may be that you truly own, I think ownership all the way data ownership, social ownership is gonna be the only way that we allow for a future where we own who we are, right?

Glass Protocol And Content Control

Truly, And this is a great transition into Glass because when people think of Glass, they think about the Web three YouTube, right? And earlier Nick, you talked about NFTs acting as tools. So the biggest sort of difference when I think of YouTube and I think of Glass and the creators and how they publish content and I think Jacob Horn from Zora said this best, it’s like people have been publishing on the blockchain except it’s been YouTube’s blockchain. So the same concept is when you publish content on glass, you just have more control, more autonomy and more say into how that content can sort of be evolved. Owned Exactly. Leveraged.

Nick Villar: Yeah, exactly. And I think the big thing for us, and you were mentioning this a little bit before, is just like the portability of those audiences and being able to connect and, and bring them to new experiences on different platforms, different projects, you know, that have maybe have nothing to do with glass. Um, you know, and but like allowing glass to be a piece of that ecosystem of distribution and of, of, you know, connection with the audience. Cuz that’s ultimately what I think people are, are interested in developing, you know, so

Building Interoperable Audiences

I think that’s a great example because that’s, that’s like a core primitive like building interoperable audiences. So I can build now an audience on sound, on glass, on lens and all these other platforms and wherever I go, my community follows me. So it’s not like I need to create these convoluted funnels to transfer a user from Instagram to TikTok and then back from TikTok to Twitter. It’s all seamless as long as I have ways to communicate to them. I can own my distribution, I can own my value capture and so goes in my community following me everywhere I go. So it’s like a very, uh, I feel like it’s a very zero to one sort of, uh, innovation here. Rex, I’m curious if you have anything to say on the, on the topic of Web three social?

Rex Wong: Yeah, I mean for, for us we look at it as, uh, cuz we’re an operating system, we see what the creators are doing and we’re looking at it from the lens of helping them monetize. So we kind of look at it as, uh, like one of the projects we have is kind of creating, I’ll call it a credit score for the creator. Uh, because for a brand it’s, they’re thinking are the clicks real or the views real, right? And because we can see all that, we can do it and on that data you can build different things. Uh, for example, we run a lot of their merch so we can see all this data on e-commerce as an example. And let’s say the, we’re also trying to, to incubate these creators as brands and businesses. And so the idea there is that you could use some of this credit score as a basis for, for example, crowdfunding, right, right where you could, so if somebody’s saying, oh, I want to invest in this creator, I think they’re doing great, uh, but is their business real?

Creator Credit Score And Crowdfunding

Rex Wong: Is the data real? And by doing that on chain, we can basically have this kind of immutable ledger of of them and what they’re doing. Uh, and then that can go into what we believe, you know, moving forward is like a crowdfunding model where basically they can go in, your investment model is tied to a smart contract that basically ties to the investment. And you see, if you’re an investor, you see the data and what it’s doing, uh, and if they promised you a return, it basically can guarantee that return based on the what the contract says. And so I think that’s where we’re seeing it going, but we’re much about kind of the business plumbing of how a creator works and, and being able to take the data from all their different platforms. And because we’re helping them really in web two platforms to kind of push their content, create their content, manage their content, we can then take all that data if they opt into that and they will because hey, I want to raise money, I want to get brand deals. Well I’m gonna be much more credible than the, than the guy or girl that doesn’t do that. And that’s kind of where we see tying in, you know, web three into the creator economy. I

Content As Collateral

Love it. And I would love to take it a step further too, because when you build an audience on a sort of open social graph where you own more of your data and you think about crypto as a whole being Lego blocks to one another and you just continuously build experiences on a protocol and that gets built on top, another protocol and so on and so on and so forth. Imagine being able to take your social graph that you built on Lens, for example, and being able to take a loan on Ave based off how good your social reputation is, right? So now you’re, you’re entering a whole new world of finance, whole new world of, of building audiences, a whole new world of reputation that just doesn’t exist in web two. Cuz right now we’re dependent on the credit system, right? And you have to have a good credit score to take out loans from the bank and you have to play by the rules play by the game to ultimately get out of the rat race. But I don’t know there’s a, or

BlockchainBrett: Even, yeah, even imagine if, uh, your content that you create, um, like that piece of content that N F T has carries enough value to be able to take a loan out against that. Wow. Yeah. Yeah. I think it’s, it’s really not that farfetched. Like what’s the difference between finding a piece of art valuable and finding a social media post valuable. They’re both files, they’re both pieces of media. Um, and now with NFTs they can be owned. Um, so, you know, I mean it feels like a far bridge right now, but you know, we’ve seen crypto art from 2018 to 2021 go from $50,000 in volume a year to 2 billion, right? I I don’t think anyone expected that. Um, you’re seeing music go from a million dollars in 21 to 30 million in 2022. So I mean obviously a much smaller market, but it’s just kind of expanding more and more into these other verticals, right? Uh, it’s going into writing, it’s going into videos, it’s going into all these different things. Um, so yeah, imagine using your content to back alone.


I love it guys, thank you so much for listening. Appreciate you all. Um, and yeah, we gotta go. Yeah. Oh yeah. You can find me at Levy Chain on Twitter

BlockchainBrett: Brett.

Ellie Farrisi: Uh, yeah, you can follow me on Twitter at Ellie Fari and our company that Adam and I are building again is Bello at Bello sites on Twitter.

Nick Villar: Follow Glass protocol on Twitter

Rex Wong: And you can follow us on, uh, Instagram fame cast.

Podcast Transcript

Inspiring Sustainable Practices through Music: Blond:ish’s Bioplastic Vinyl Compilation


Mint Season 7 Episode 26 welcomes Blond:ish, an artist passionate about web3 technology and creating a more equitable and inclusive world, she joined me today to share her journey and current focus. The episode covers her upcoming drop on, her innovative bioplastic vinyl, and the 14-track Plastic-Free Party. Blond:ish emphasizes the importance of taking time off and shares her multifaceted interests, including her crypto fund Indigo Investment Partners. Overall, this fun conversation showcases how one person can use their talents and resources to make a positive impact on the world.

I hope you enjoy our conversation.

Time Stamps

  • 00:00 – Intro
  • 01:02 – Blond:ish’s Background And Journey Into Web3
  • 04:11 – Blond:ish’s Current Focus
  • 04:43 – Blond:ish’s Upcoming Drop On
  • 06:09 – Innovating The Bioplastic Vinyl
  • 08:20 – Making Plastic-Free Vinyl
  • 09:32 – Launching The Drop And Scaling
  • 10:45 – No Trade-Offs Between Bioplastic And Traditional Vinyl
  • 13:56 – The Plastic-Free Party
  • 15:28 – Messages Conveyed In The 14-Track Compilation
  • 16:55 – Blond:ish’s Vacation And The Importance Of Taking Time Off
  • 18:53 – Indigo Investment Partners
  • 23:20 – Blond:ish’s Multifaceted Interests
  • 27:36 – Blond:ish’s Sound Drop Details
  • 28:42 – Outro

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We are back with another episode here with me today. We have the one and only Blond:ish. Welcome to the Mint podcast. Thank you for being on.

Blond:ish: Ah, thank you for having me. Always. I miss you, Adam.

I miss you too. At some point, we’re gonna have to do this in real life, but until then, this is the next best thing, and I’ll take it. I’m really happy about it. The last time we did an episode, I’m trying to think, it was a minute ago. It was, um, well, we had Draper going home. We were doing blockchain and Boo that’s what it was.

Blond:ish: It was with Anatoly, the Solana guy. Right,

Blond:ish’s Background And Journey Into Web3

Right. The Solana guy. Anatoly. Yeah. Funny enough, I had him on recently too, so we’re doing a bunch of re recaps and bring him back to our roots. So I’m here for it. Blond:ish, I’m really excited to have you on. You have a drop coming up on sound. Um, you’re doing a lot of cool stuff in web three. You have the ish token, you have your feet in so many different things beyond just being this really great dj. So I think a good place to start, Blond:ish for those who aren’t familiar, sort of, uh, with your Web three journey, give us a quick background on how’d you get your start into Web three and what that process has been like for you.

Blond:ish: Yeah, sure. I mean, it’s a constant journey, like for all of us. But basically, I, I mean, I got into Web three because I’m, I’m actually a computer science major and I never really got to use that degree all at all. Like, I was building computers when I was 13 years old. Um, and basically when, you know, I’m a dj, I’ve been to music for a while, and when Web three kind of came about, I was, I felt like marrying those two really like encompasses all my goals and everything I wanna do with life and where I wanna, what my beliefs are, my ethos and where I wanna take, take my life, but also, you know, take my community with we go together to happy, happy world. And I, I felt like Web three was that kind of outlet for, it was a part of a piece of the puzzle, you know what I mean? Because we live in this system and I never, you know, the system of, of life, um, governmental structures, the pharmaceuticals, the food system and, and you know, the capitalism, all that kind of stuff. And I personally never felt, uh, it didn’t really fit in. You know, there’s a lot of nos and a lot of like, it feels like a video game of, so I never really fit in there. So Web three was the next best thing. And I don’t think we’re gonna stop at Web three. I mean, you know, we have, uh, what’s his face? The Twitter guy, my friend Jack, the ER guy? No, no, no. Jack, no, no. Before, before the ex. Jack Dorsey. He’s, he is talking Web five. I actually, I saw him in Costa Rica and I’m all about Web 69. Okay. Oh,

let’s go

Blond:ish: Yeah. So Wave

Line, it fourth’s Web 69.

Blond:ish: It’s, it’s the, the, you know, web three taken over by VCs Web five, that’s not a numerical special number. You know, 360 9 math frequency, Tesla numbers. That’s, those are magic numbers. Okay. So that’s where, where Web 69 comes in, because that’s when we just, we get it right. You know what I mean? Yeah.

All right. All right.

Blond:ish: Yeah. Nothing is serious there and everything works. Everything works out how you want it to. I’ll take it. Basically the, the what we wanted web three to be

Web what we, web, we wanted web three to be Web 69. We

Blond:ish: Always did.

We always did. It was always supposed to be that way. But beyond that, Bondish, I didn’t know you have a degree in computer science. I didn’t know you studied computer science.

Blond:ish: I did.

I You tinkered with computers as a kid? I had no idea.

Blond:ish: Yeah, I mean, uh, there’s like, guess there’s a lot of things you don’t know about me. I listen, I, I have a lot of passions. Okay. I’m a super nerd, so I go deep down rabbit holes, uh, and then I’ll go down another rabbit hole. So I’ll know a lot about something for a period of time, and then I’ll totally like leave it beside and go, go on to the next thing. Cuz I’m, I’m a visionary, or at least, I mean, I guess self-proclaimed visionary, but I love to, to think about what’s, what’s next and how it can benefit and impact humans on a, on, you know, with my music. Like how music and can benefit humans in a positive way.

Blond:ish’s Current Focus

So on the, on the primitive of like being a self-work visionary, always having these grandiose ideas, what’s keeping your mind busy as of now?

Blond:ish: Uh, right now is, uh, it, it’s constantly how can I marry my I r L life with my web three life? Like, how, how do we do that? So I’m always thinking about different activations.

Okay. And, you know, and I guess that that brings us to where we are today then this, this new activation in light of your drop tomorrow on sound.

Blond:ish: Yeah, exactly. I mean, that’s been a long time in the making. We’ve been working on that innovation for like four years. Um, do you wanna tell them about it or? I I’ll tell

Blond:ish’s Upcoming Drop On

Them about it. I want you to, I want you to break it. I want you to break the news because I read a little bit of the brief and I’m a, I’m a big NFT collector, but I never gotten into really the, the world of collecting vinyls. And I think what you’re doing of sort of mixing both worlds together is super unique. And I think you should sort of like break the news and, and, and take it away.

Blond:ish: Yeah, for sure. I mean, I could’ve, I could’ve dropped this normally not through an NFT. Um, but it’s just, it’s not interesting. I’m not connected to the, the holders as, you know, we, we all know why we use NFTs, right? So, so basically, uh, together with sound, it’ll be my second drop. And instead of just releasing, uh, you know, ano another music, NFT whi, which is also great and has its value, but I want to take a step further. And we’ve been wor we’ve been innovating this, uh, this mat new material for vinyl. So everyone knows vinyls made out of fossil fuels petrochemicals, uh, it’s a plastic vinyl, right? And I have a foundation called Bioplastic, and we remove single-use plastics from the music industry. Um, so the number one thing, you know, that we hear in conversation when I’m talking to people around the world is they hear you have a foundation there, but like, they’re like, but what about CDJs and vinyl? Because they’re both made out of plastic, right? I was like, guys, like, I’m just talking about single use plastic. It’s a big enough job already, but I would love to come up with a plastic free vinyl. Like, and then we just had that, you know, wow. Like that eureka moment, like it was just a dream, you know, we never thought it was possible. But then we started learning about materials and how nature mi loves to mimic, uh, and make any material that you can, you know, give to it. So basically there’s a lot of different plastics. I don’t know if you know, there’s like P E T P L A and now if we take it a step further, we met these guys evolution music. Okay. Okay. We’re introduced by Soul Clap, uh, other artists in the industry. And these guys are also super passionate about making the music industry more sustainable. So we came together with them and they were already making a, a pla vinyl, uh, which is a bioplastic. Okay. Keep it simple. But then we were like, bro, what if, so basically PLA is compostable. I’m not gonna get too nerdy. Okay. But it’s hard.

Innovating The Bioplastic Vinyl

It’s Hard. I know, but I wanna, I want see the nerdy side of you. I wanna, I want to hear it because I know there’s like a bacteria element to actually building these non-plastic finals, right? And I’m thinking to myself like, how is that even a thing?

Blond:ish: Yeah. So PLA is compostable, but only by industrial composters, and the waste management system isn’t really that great. So the bot doesn’t usually get to an industrial compostor. Okay. So it just gets lost in the waste and the garbage. So that doesn’t really help us. So we’re like, guys, can you like try developing, uh, p h a, which is a bad p h a’s bacteria based, uh, vinyl. And they were like, well, we can try. So we did and uh, we figured it out. And then the hard part was to figure out the sound cuz you know, you have to get the sound quality to, to sound like the plastic counterpart, but we figured out as well,

How do you do that? How’d you figure that out?

Making Plastic-Free Vinyl

Blond:ish: A lot of testing. I mean, evolu, listen, I’m, I wasn’t in the plant doing it, but we were just like, we were helping with the r and d on the r and d side. Yeah. You know, so they, they were just in the pressing plant. The, you know, they have different molds and they keep going through the molds until it, it sounds right. And you use a lot of frequency generators. You hook it up to a computer and you test the frequencies as the vinyls playing off the pressing machine. So, okay. Number one, uh, I’ll, I’ll, uh, I’ll get to the, like, the point of this whole story. So number one, we figured out how to make a plastic free vinyl. Okay. Correct. P h a number two is like, okay, how do we actually make this, get this mass adopted versus just become a souvenir or a novelty item? Right. Which most fi items as NFTs are, they’re, they’re kind of, so far, they’re kind of just material items. Right. But these vitals can actually be, um, used existing pressing plants and pressing machinery. So we don’t have to build new machines. We can use the old clunky vinyl machines that everyone’s using to press, to press vinyl. So we’re, we’re Gucci.


Blond:ish: So now we’re, now we’re at the next step is first we’re gonna launch this drop so that the world knows about this new material and you can own a piece of it, um, or own one of the first ones, and then we’re gonna figure out how to scale the thing.

Launching The Drop And Scaling

Okay. I love it. Do things that aren’t scalable just to see where they’re at in the interest with the greater community. I think it’s a, I can, I can resonate with that. And I think hearing your entire story from the dream of like making this a reality to now seeing it and its inception and now being it pegged and, and kind of like introduced alongside, it’s a 14, it’s a 14 part track, right? 14 track compilation, uh, introducing this new plastic and this new innovation. I think it’s very, it’s very ambitious. It’s very, it’s very cool. And it feels very, you like first and foremost, you know, and most importantly, and I’m curious, how are there, are there any trade offs between like this material and the original vinyl material in terms of the quality of the music or what you can do with it? Or is it just, it’s much better for the environment and so we should just be transition transitioning to this by default? Like, I’m trying to think, are there any tra trade offs between using one version or another version? Any, any that you know of?

Blond:ish: Not that I know of, no. Nope.

Okay. So

No Trade-Offs Between Bioplastic And Traditional Vinyl

Blond:ish: It’s just, but we might discover some along the way, but I mean, other than it’s the same size, it’s the same weight. It has the, you know, uh, the sound we figured out and it’s compostable, you know, in, in nature. So, Hmm. I don’t trade off. I mean, I’m, you’re not gonna be storing your vinyl in 55 degree weather. Like, I don’t even know what it breaks down at  yet.

Got it. Got it. So walk me through then the, this 14 track compilation, because what are the, what are the overlaps between this, this new track compilation to this new innovation? Like, are there any sort of like, synergies that you can sort of think about that they compliment each other, that bring more awareness to this, this new type of biodegradable plastic? Like I’m trying to understand the overlap between the music and this new innovation that you’re so, you’re so passionate about.

Blond:ish: Yeah, sure. So, uh, basically Byebye plastic, I’m my co-founder. They curated this whole thing with, uh, art named Shamor and Shamor, um, went out to all the different, uh, DJs that are on the Echo Rider, which is a program we have in bioplastic where, you know, we help you, um, become plastic free. So it’s all basically DJs that care about the environment and wanna make a difference. So we invited them to collaborate on the album and it’s basically just a bunch of, uh, producers and DJs that also care about the environment. So it’s this sub-community of people in the music industry that care about the environment. And that’s kind of how Web three is. So now with the collectors, now we can all overlap together and become this bigger unit, you know what I mean? Because we’re all, you know, we all want, we have it all, all have the same goals.

Yeah, that makes sense. I’m also trying to think Blond:ish, like how can biodegradable vinyl inspire individuals in other industries to sort of embrace more sustainable practices and products? Like anything come to mind around that?

Blond:ish: I mean, one, just, just realizing that a dream can exist these days. Okay. So to innovate it, it exists. Um, to also look in your industry, each industry has a bye-bye plastic. You know, people that care about making that industry potentially more sustainable and hold will hold your hand through that process. Um, so it’s about re it’s usually just about reaching out to them because honestly it’s a full-time job, more than a full-time job. It’s, it’s not so easy as just replacing a product. There’s so much more logistics and stuff to think about. Um, so on that respect, it’s just good to get someone to hold your hands because you’ll get, gain a lot of knowledge much quicker. And you will, you’ll have time, you know, because this stuff takes a bit of time and they’ve done the legwork.

The Plastic-Free Party

Can you walk me through more the inspiration behind life is and the opening song from the Plastic Free Party? Cuz that’s what this, this big grandiose project is called, right?

Blond:ish: Yeah. It’s, it’s all about the plastic re party. Um, but yeah, I mean, I was in, um, I created this track actually of my inspir. I was inspired by my trip to Antarctica last March. I don’t know if you guys ever been to Antarctica, but like, it’s like,

Wait, I think I saw something on your story about that.

Blond:ish: Yeah, I mean, I went with a bunch of friends. I got invited, this was their crazy idea to go to Antarctica. And then they had like eight different friends also inviting, you can invite a few friends. So we all went to Antarctica last, uh, march, and we jumped in the, in the sea at minus, it was like minus 0.5 degrees Celsius. Wow. I don’t know that in Fahrenheit. That’s around 32. A little less than 32 Fahrenheit. We all jumped in. Anyway, it was a life changing. Mark Weinstein was on that trip. Um, but that was what inspired life is because you’re away from humans. It’s just you and nature and no nothing between you. And that just brings you back into yourself, right? Like right away, you know, and you got solid foundation and everything’s just super clear. And that, that was the basis of creating that track that will be in the NFT tomorrow.

Messages Conveyed In The 14-Track Compilation

So when, when people listen to this track and they listen across all the, the 14 different tracks in, in the compilation, are there any messages you hope people sort of take away? Any, any themes or messages conveyed that you hope resonate with people?

Blond:ish: That anything is possible? Honestly. Like what? Just like when you think about making change as you, as one person, it does, it seems impossible, but the power of community, and I’m in web three, we know what community means and how controversial it is, but the power of humanity and the way people connect and community when it, when you start taking baby steps and then it starts to get bigger, and then it turns into a movement and then it turns into change like that is that, is that, is the fuel what this compilation needs to, to get across, or I want it to get across.

How long did it take you to produce this 14 track compilation?

Blond:ish: Well, I actually didn’t produce it. I mean, the, I produced the track, but Shamor and, and Camille and got it. Everyone from Bye brought it together. Got it. Wow. It wa it wasn’t, it wasn’t, yeah, it wasn’t long. You just accept demos and you take what you like and then there you go. You got it.

Yeah. Another thing I’m noticing is, last time we had this call, you were in a completely different environment with a completely different background. So I can’t help but ask where are you in the world right now?

Blond:ish: I’m in London. Ooh. We, um, yeah, I’m here. Uh, I had a, I was just in like Switzerland and France. Um, I had a little tour there, but Listen, wait, wait, wait. Before I get into London, before London I took actual vacation. I took a vacation. Two weeks vacation.

Blond:ish’s Vacation And The Importance Of Taking Time Off


Blond:ish: Yeah. That, that exists. We take them. Okay. I haven’t taken one in years. Okay. I’ve taken like a bit of time off here and there, but like, this was a real vacation. Okay. Doubled up as a few things, because first of all, I had no phone for two weeks. Hmm. I locked, I locked away my phone and I respected it. So that was the, the single most best thing I did for myself. And that you, whoever’s listening can also do for yourself. And if you can’t take two weeks off of your phone, if you can take a day or half a day or, you know, respect not bringing your phone into the bed at night or, you know, all that kind of stuff. Like, it’s, it’s a life changer. Mm-hmm. Life changer. But I was at this resort in Thailand, it’s called Chivas Sam.


Blond:ish: They have hundreds of treatments. Okay. So you go there, you pick a kinda a program, you know, and they have like physio and like tons of massages, but also energy work and tai chi and like, like basically you just, you can come out a new person. So that’s what I did. I’m still feeling super fresh. Wow. And now we’re back in London in the grind. My crypto partners are here. Indigo Fund, I have an event, a cadabra. Uh, you know, we’re just, I’m cross pollinating all these amazing, all these amazing worlds through music

Really quick. When you’re on vacation, do you have your equipment with you and you’re still like shooting the shit? DJing, like for your own personal? Not none of that.

Blond:ish: No. I, I forgot who I was for two weeks. Wow. I, I did not hear Blond:ish. Like, I was, like, I had no, no gluten, no caffeine, no alcohol, no dairy, uh, and no Blond:ish for two weeks. Wow.

Indigo Investment Partners

Wow. Yeah. Okay. So we’re in London. You mentioned something about, you said Indigo Investment Partners, right? That’s the first time I’ve heard. I’ve heard that. What is that?

Blond:ish: Oh, um, like right before Luna collapsed last year.


Blond:ish: Uh, we started a fund, uh, with my F three partners. And the way that kind of happened was, uh, you know, like during C O V I lived in Miami.


Blond:ish: And, uh, you know, we, we lived with one of my friends, he’s a, he’s a hedge fund guy. And you know, we had dinner together every single day for like six months because of quarantine. So, you know, you need, you, you talk about stuff and all I talked about, all me and Liana, my girlfriend were talking about was crypto. Like, cuz we’re so deep into it again. And he was just talking about stocks and I was like, yawning. And then so, and crypto was moving, right? So he, like, he started investing a little bit and then more and more and then off of our, all our alphas, he, like, he made a lot of money and at one point he was like, girls like, you need to start a fund.


Blond:ish: I swear he is like, I’m gonna give you my fir the your first 5 million and you’re gonna start a fund. And then, uh, we were like, no, no way. No what not, not a chance. We’re not, we’re not doing it because for instance, I’m, I’m a, I’m a dj Okay. Kathy, the other day, I’m a dj, I’m an artist. I’m traveling around. I, I’m not back office, you know? Right. Taking care of LPs other than like, on a cultural communication level, I mean, . So I was like, there’s no way we’re gonna do this. And Leanna, my girlfriend, she’s, you know, she, she does events, she organizes events, but she’s a boss. So at that same time, I met my two other part who are now my partners, Thomas and Nate. And they’re from traditional kind of finance, but they moved to crypto in 2017. So they, you know, they set up the first regulated, uh, crypto desks here in the uk, regulated ones. So they, they know the, they’re all a part of all the brokerages. They, they know what’s up. Hmm. So we were like, we had the same vision, now were gonna start an asset management. We, we had the money to start a fund, but we didn’t wanna start it  and, and apparently the alpha. So we came together and we partnered and they’re here based here in London. So Nate does all the investment strategies. I mean, we work on it together, but he does investment strategies and Thomas is our ceo. He’s very personable and, uh, Leanna’s also part of the team. And, uh, wow. Yeah, I mean, we’re a liquid token fund.

Blond:ish’s Multifaceted Interests

Okay. So it’s all publicly traded tokens. You don’t do like private investments, like equity to startups, for example.

Blond:ish: Like, we have done a couple SPVs on the side, but the VC part of our fund, we’re gonna, we’re gonna launch that. It’s not the time right now.

Okay. Okay. Fair, fair. So yeah. Now that, now that we’re at a bear market, how do you think about investing? How do you think about like, like I feel like you, you, your mind is, is divided across multiple things, yet you’re able to excel on all of them in parallel because you’re still creating music and that’s irrespective of the bear market, but you still have such a strong crypto presence and the swings of the bear market have, like, they have to be affecting you in some way. And now that you have this fun, I’m thinking like, wow, like are you trying to, are you trying to like arbitrage? Like are you betting against, are you doing options? Like, what are you doing? Like what

Blond:ish: No, no, we don’t do options.

You know, like, I’m trying to think like how do you, how do you balance everything?

Blond:ish: Okay. So I know a little bit about a lot of things, but all these things are very important pieces. Like I was saying this at the beginning, they’re all very important pieces of the puzzle to get to democratizing, you know, I, I wanna change, I wanna change the financial system. I, I mean, I wanna be a part of it. I don’t know if I can actually do it myself, but, you know, I, I, the, the fund is to have more financial inclusion. That, that’s the goal of the whole thing. You know, I love it. And we have a lot of context to institu institutions. Right. And we’re, we’re just there, speaking the good word, to really make them understand what the future is, you know, um, through web three. And like, cuz they just don’t understand, they don’t care. So we’re kind of here to, to again, hold their hand and just holding everyone’s hand basically.

Now that we’ve, we’ve had this conversation, we’re like 25 minutes into it, hearing about your background, hearing about all your interests, trying to understand better the way you think and the way you approach your life. I can’t help but wonder, and I keep going back to this original statement, like, you had, you were a computer science major and then you went into DJing, but you’re also super passionate about sustainability and environmental impact. But you have such a deep interest in crypto and NFTs and, and you, you invest like, you’re so multifaceted. I’m trying to think like, how do all these interests tie together into, into who you are? Like what is, what is the end goal here for you?

Blond:ish: Uh, for me or for everyone?

You tell me.

Blond:ish: It’s happy, happy world, and happy, happy world is a place of freedom, abundance, and happiness. It’s really just like, I, I meditate a lot. Okay. Okay. I really, I do pragma, I do tai chi, I medi like I, me, I work with energy. I’m all about energy. And since I’ve been going deeper and deeper into that, you just, I, I feel like I’m on a different highway than most of the world. Like most of the world is really suffering and not happy and, you know, nine to five, barely making it. And I always ask myself the question like, we, why are we in this position? Like, we don’t have to be like, why when I go to the grocery store, I I can’t trust any of the food in the grocery store. Why? Totally. It’s not fair that, um, the normal, the things that are normalized that are given to us in this system is actually all shit. It’s all bad for us. So why do we have to live in a world like this? And why can’t I kind of help create a new system where we don’t have to live like that? So everything I do is in my, I’m hoping that it brings us one step closer to happy, happy world, which is just the opposite of this system that we live in, where we have to suffer so much, you know? Hmm. Music is the nucleus of all of that. It’s the nucleus, it’s the accelerator, it’s, it’s my, it’s what I use as fuel and connector to all these different projects.

Why do you, why do you think music is a nucleus of all that?

Blond:ish: Because it’s where I’ve, well, two reasons.


Blond:ish: That’s where I’ve built trust with my community. Real authentic trust. Because it’s, it’s real as it gets, you know, when I’m playing music and, and people on the other side or around me, they feel that energy that is a, a instant connection. Ex instant loyalty, instant understanding we have between each other. It’s real. So that’s one reason. Number two, we all, we all are music, we’re all resonant frequency. Okay? Hmm. You know, no, in no words in the English language, are you gonna be able to tell, like, make you feel what music does. So just understanding that we’re all, yeah, just understanding that we’re all resonant frequency. Every single cell in your, your body is resonating a frequency. So I just, you know, it’s a big round off to call it music, but let’s just do it. And for that reason, we’re just little music beings. So why not? That’s the nucleus.

Blond:ish’s Sound Drop Details

Why not? Why not? I think part of this nucleus, nucleus is the sound drop that’s happening, um, tomorrow. So as in today. Cause it’s gonna be dropping the day that the drop goes live this episode. So I’m excited for you Blond:ish really excited for everything that you’re doing. Uh, major props to the plastic free party and the, the, the biodegradable vinyls. Like, it’s very exciting to see that out in the wild. And I’m really, I’m really curious to see where that could go in the future. So before we, we end this call and we, before we end this episode, tell me about this drop. Like what are the details of the sound drop? What should people know? What, what, what are the details?

Blond:ish: Yeah, sure. So it’s dropping tomorrow, 8:00 PM Central European time, two o’clock eastern, 11 Pacific. And all you gotta, I mean, you go to, I mean, we’ll do a Twitter spaces, I’ll do a Twitter spaces when the drop goes live tomorrow on my with sound and with Dave, um, on my Twitter. And what do you need to know? I mean, it’s a, it’s a open edition.


Blond:ish: And, uh, the Golden Egg Gets Golden Egg, which is, there’s one copy you’ll, you’ll get some mish tokens and some Byebye tokens. And the first whoever’s in the pre-sale, I’m gonna gonna sign a copy of that. And uh, actually I might be giving away the actual, the actual test press, which is the first ever p h a test press to, you know, one of them will be rare one there. So there’s a lot, there’s a lot to look forward to there. Okay. Yeah. All


Right. Well I’m excited. Thank you for, for coming on. Thanks for sharing more of the story. Um, we’ll have to do this again soon. But until then, good luck on the drop. Good luck on all these initiatives and, uh, talk soon.

Blond:ish: Love you, long time Adam.

Podcast Transcript

The Rise of Writing NFTs and Collectible Content with Nick Hollins


Mint Season 7 Episode 25 welcomes Nick Hollins, a journalist, podcaster, and co-founder of the artist collective Voyager and the UFO project. We discuss Nick’s background in journalism and music, his interest in crypto, and his involvement in various web3 projects. We also talk about the importance of community building and marketing in the web3 space, the role of writing NFTs in building his community, and the unique aspects of writing NFTs compared to other forms of digital content. Nick shares his mental model for using different web3 platforms and his vision for the future of web3 native audiences.

I hope you enjoy our conversation.

Time Stamps

  • 00:00 – Intro 
  • 01:16 – Nick’s Background 
  • 07:46 – Counterculture in Crypto 
  • 08:39 – Documenting the Web3 Space 
  • 11:33 – Creating Content Worth Collecting 
  • 15:48 – Marketing and NFTs 
  • 19:17 – Building a Top-Level Funnel 
  • 22:23 – Community Building in Web3 
  • 24:39 – Writing NFTs and Collects 
  • 27:41 – Building an Audience with Web3 Tools 
  • 29:23 – Minting Podcast Episodes as NFTs 
  • 30:54 – Challenges of Starting in Web3 
  • 36:29 – Curation and Web3 Social 
  • 38:37 – Navigating Web3 Platforms 
  • 39:51 – Different Use Cases of Web3 Platforms 
  • 43:07 – Building Web3-Native Audiences 
  • 49:07 – Missing Tools for Web3 Creators 
  • 50:23 – Integrating Platforms and Tooling 
  • 53:03 – Nouns Builder Projects 
  • 54:28 – Outro

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Nick Hollins, welcome to the Mint Podcast. Incredibly excited to have you on. Thank you for taking the time. Welcome your big debut. I’m kidding. It’s a pleasure.

Nick Hollins: Of course, yes. Thanks so much for the invitation, man. I, I appreciate it. Um, been listening to plenty of podcasts for quite a while now, so it’s, it’s really cool to kind of loop in. We’ve had a few conversations before already. We’ve kind of met each other a few times, but yeah, this is nice.

This is very nice. I like when, when, uh, when two podcasters come together, I’ve done it with rehash. I’ve had Lucas from Bankless, and it’s only right that we continue the love with the UFO podcast. Um, so it’s an honor to also have you on. I think that it’s, the feeling is very mutual because you’ve been killing it in your own respective, right? You’ve, you’ve figured out a really cool niche, a really cool pocket that, uh, you’re owning. And it’s really, really fun to see how other creators like yourself are owning Web three, building an audience, monetizing an audience, and navigating the trenches of crypto. So, Nick, before we dive into this entire conversation, who are you, man? Like, what does a world need to know about you? But more specifically, take this question from giving us an introduction on yourself, like how did you get your start into Web three?

Nick’s Background

Nick Hollins: Uh, sure, absolutely. Um, so I’m based over here in Australia, at least for the time being. Um, but I’ve been here for most of the, of the time. I’m from Sydney originally, and when I started out, it was, uh, you know, I went to journalism school and did a lot of like radio and broadcasting over the years and all that kind of thing. Um, very involved in, in the music scene in Sydney as well. So it was kind of, you know, playing in bands, being about music, hosting a, a radio show focused on independent music in Australia for a few years. Uh, also helping to organize like live shows, small festivals, all that kind of stuff. So that was up to about 2017. And then, uh, with my family moved up the coast to Byron Bay in Australia, which is like a, a surf town kind of thing. And so when we moved out of the city, I was no longer doing a radio show. You know, I’d been at this station in Sydney for like five years, uh, at that time. And so it was right at that time that I also got interested in crypto and started really delving into it, kind of been on my radar earlier. Um, a friend of mine from high school invented Dogecoin, you know, so , it was, um, strange trivia, uh, from my hometown. Um, cool. And so I’d heard about this stuff as early, I guess Dogecoin were like 2013 or something, so I was like, oh, that’s weird. But it wasn’t until 17, uh, and I guess in that kind of wave of crypto that was happening that I got really interested. And so from 2018 onwards, I started like attending some events, uh, overseas hackathons and conferences and stuff like that, and kind of meeting the people that were actually in the space and building stuff. And so as I started doing that, the first thing I did was I’ll create a podcast and talk with these people. And so yeah, launched a show, uh, back then, got to meet a lot of like, really amazing founders, uh, and stuff like that. So I was doing that through 20 18, 19, also starting to, um, you know, put, uh, contribute to various projects and, and things like that as well. And then the last thing I did was like Berlin blockchain week in like 2019. I was recording over there, uh, collaborated with the team at No, and recorded like a pop-up podcast through Dcon. And so it was hanging out around Dcon and ETH Berlin and all that stuff. And then of course, uh, the world shut down from like 2020, right. So I was pretty much back in Australia from like 2019 until mid last year was the first time that I’d been overseas, uh, in between. And so like a lot of people over the last few years, like kind of slipping into that very online, extremely online thing, getting into more into NFTs and Dows and, and all that stuff. Um, in I think the beginning of, uh, 22, we launched an artist collective called Voyager that we’re still, still working on, um, and been experimenting with that, some really amazing people that are part of that community. And then with UFO, uh, it was myself and Ivan, who’s a co-founder from Voyager as well, uh, came together to do the UFO project. And so bringing back, like doing a podcast and stuff, but also we’re kind of, I don’t know, we’re kind of building out, like UFO was a, as a counterculture project basically. And our name comes from like the UFO Club in London from the mid sixties, which was like a venue that existed for about a year and a half. And, you know, pink Floyd was the house band Yoko performed there, Jimmy Hendrix, the Kinks, like all this incredible, uh, music from that time, which I’m, you know, huge fan of. And so got to thinking about that as like, how cool would it be to hang out at the UFO Club in the mid sixties, all the people that you would meet there and stuff like that. And so with this project, we’re essentially think of it, thinking of it as another manifestation of the counterculture, which I feel like crypto and web three, that’s what it is. You know, it’s the same, same kind of people that would’ve been into counterculture type stuff in any previous decade and like here in the 2020s, like, amazing things are happening. Um, and so yeah, I guess that’s a brief of what we’re doing.

Why do, why do you feel like you have such a strong affinity to the sixties? Like, okay, you mentioned Pink Floyd, you mentioned the music, but like, what is it about you as a person that connects or that era so well

Nick Hollins: Yeah, I th I think, um, my childhood and then coming up through, like, I’ve been a Beatle fan and a music fan since I was very young. And so, and just being, you know, know super geeky about it. Every band, every record, and reading plenty of books over the years and all that kind of stuff, like identifying with what was happening at that time. And I think like the sixties very interesting with the, the kind of post-war situation. And so all, you know, the members of the Rolling Stones or the Beatles or all these bands, you know, they grew up in like the rubble of these cities and stuff. And so the societies that they’re in, also in, in the States at the same time were kind of everywhere. There was this kind of like the rigidity of the fifties and kind of how tamp down society was. And in, in England, um, you know, they still had, you know, rationing going on and, and all that kind of stuff. So they grew up in this kind of environment. And then the Beatles were the first thing to kind of start to blow the doors off the place and be like, you don’t need to have a certain accent and look a certain way to get on radio, which was the case back in the day. So just how all this stuff just completely broke out, recreated the form, uh, and, and all that. And, um, I don’t know, I, I just think a lot of my favorite music is from that time, the sixties and the seventies and, and, and onwards. And, um, yeah. Yeah, I love that. A lot of favorite writers and stuff as well. Publications, you know, you kind of, the, the cultural impact that Rolling Stone had at the time, you know, long before the internet, it was like through Rolling Stone and through the records that musicians were producing. Like that was how that generation was communicating with each other, you know, protest sounds about the war, um, and, and stuff like that coming outta like, like, you know, San Francisco was another, uh, major spot and inspiration, uh, LA and Laurel Canyon and, and all that stuff. So I’m, yeah, I’m super about all those things I suppose.

Counterculture in Crypto

Do you think crypto is still in its counterculture phase?

Nick Hollins: Uh, yeah, definitely. I mean, cuz like crypto as a whole is such a broad, uh, tent and umbrella and main different things that go on within that. But I think there’s definitely a lot of counterculture, uh, type energy in various, in various forms and how these tools can now be used for, uh, artists, creatives, musicians, like just new ways to kind of get their stuff out. And I guess the fact that these are like open tools without an intermediary or whatever is kind of fits nicely with people that are doing stuff independently and, and things like that. So yeah, I think, I mean, like, the counterculture is kind of always, always happening. Like, it, it’s always there. So this is just the new forms of, of distribution, you know, maybe in the eighties it was radio and, you know, tapes and things like that, and it just keeps, keeps evolving.

Documenting the Web3 Space

One thing that stands out to me about Unique as a creator is, and now that I’m hearing more about your background, your interests, um, where you are today, I feel like makes a lot of sense in terms of the things that you’re documenting and the things that excite you in Web three. Um, when you look back to all, all your professional experience and you try to connect the dots, does it make sense to you, like from an outsider’s perspective, like, I think, oh, okay, it makes sense why he is a podcaster, why he is documenting the space. Like, but does that, does that resonate that same feeling resonate with you as well looking back at all your experience and all your interests?

Nick Hollins: Yeah, yeah, I think so. Um, you know, like years before I didn’t mention, but sort of when I was in the music scene back in Sydney, I was also producing a website and we’re recording a lot of like, live performance and stuff like that. Cool. So that the kind of, um, the, the instinct to document what’s happening and, and record and stuff I’ve been interested in, um, for a while. So yeah, I guess it kind of makes sense. It’s similar to what this project is now, but just with more of an opportunity now where you can open it up and a bunch of people can be contributing into a shared shared space. Um, but yeah, as for various sort of experiences in crypto and how it, how it led to this, like, it, it took a while to kind of get a bit of a sense of what was happening and the differences between different, even crypto scenes around the world, you know, how things happen in Europe is a little bit different to the states and, and stuff like that.

The types of projects that people are interested in, um, and all that kind of stuff. So, um, you know, I’d, I’d met really interesting people building all these amazing things, and then since you’ve seen them build these giant crazy, uh, protocols and, and huge things and, um, a lot of them are just like, these are super young people having like a huge impact in, in the world. Um, and often, you know, they’re hanging out at a hackathon a few years ago and now they have these like, enormous projects and, and stuff like that. Um, but yeah, it, I think it’s interesting to kind of just snapshot and capture what’s happening you’ve been doing, right? You’ve been doing this for years, you know?

Yeah, I think there’s something beautiful about being able to document and like creating long form content around certain stages of where we are in cycles. Um, I really enjoy that process and having individuals like yourself on learning about the things that you guys are doing, um, whether it be documenting music artists, photographers, digital artists, whatever may be founders at our building, investors that are taking massive bets, you know, and then coming back to those bets a year down the line and seeing where that was based off where their mindset was that we documented in that time, right? So there’s something beautiful and there, there’s an art to it. Um, I feel like, which kind of brings me into Season Seven’s theme, which you’re a part of, right? Is the art of creating content that’s worth collecting. Like, that’s the theme that I’ve been going into every single conversation with, for the most part, for people that I’ve had on for this period in season seven. And if there’s one person that understands what it means to create content that’s worth collecting. Nick Hollins, I feel like that’s you and the UFO podcast. Um, you’ve had a really cool journey coming up in the web three social scene, um, selling out like podcast, uh, not podcasts, but uh, writing NFTs like consistently. Um, and it’s a world that I don’t know too much about, and selfishly something that I want to learn more about. And I think the experience that you have could be incredibly valuable for more writers, uh, more content creators. So let’s dive into it, shall we?

Nick Hollins: Absolutely.

Creating Content Worth Collecting

Let’s do it. Okay. So when you think of the phrase create content worth collecting, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind?

Nick Hollins: I think of like a lot of the great open edition drops that have been happening lately. And it’s almost like people who are starting to produce with this concept in mind and like the kind of the conceit of the thing Min podcast has been doing great stuff with those, like animated kind of blocky, uh, things around like podcast content that you’ve created. And so here’s this other artifact that’s interesting of itself, not just the fact that it’s linked to this particular podcast, but it all kind of like loops together like that. Um, and also content worth collecting. It’s also, we may decide what was and wasn’t worth collecting after the fact or later. It’s like we don’t actually always know what’s gonna be the most impactful stuff in the moment, uh, especially as at any given moment, we’re missing personally 99% of what’s happening on the internet that day.

There’s actually no way to kind of be across all of the things. But, uh, so yeah, I feel like it’s this whole interesting new field where people, the mere fact that we can collect stuff to kind of signify what we’re into, um, to, you know, I was chatting with Nia from Yep. Uh, recently and he had the phrase of um, essentially like, one of the only things that is verifiably true on the internet is being early to things, you know? Um, and so yeah, I I think it’s like a shared knowing between like the creators and producers of some of this stuff, and also how we as a community or an audience or collectors are starting to interact with media itself in completely different ways.

It’s interesting you bring up that, that phrase that near said. Do you find yourself following that as like part of your, your big picture playbook of trying to find ways to provide people with ways to prove that they were early to something, especially around the UFO brand?

Nick Hollins: Yeah, we have been actually like, we, so like UFO all altogether, I think we launched about six months ago. Um, and so we’ve been playing with multiple platforms at once between publishing posts for our episodes, uh, on Mira, but then also publishing a lot on lens and experimenting with different, different forms over there. And then more recently we’ve collaborated with coin bias a bit to create some like NFT drops that were, you know, free mints for say lens subscribers, for example. Um, and all these things started to play, play off each other. We also had the UFO Genesis Pass drop on Mira, uh, uh, mint did a similar thing as well. And so with that, it was like a subscribe to Mint, um, on, on there and we, you know, we had like a crazy response to that. So all these things kind of playing, um, off, off each other. But we did a thing with Lens in particular where quite early into the project just tweeted out, like, I think we had about 700 ish, uh, followers at the time on Lens. And we said, Hey, like we’re gonna do, let’s do a free collectible NFT, like let’s, let’s capture who was here early just cuz you know, interesting. Um, and then we had a huge response of many, many people, uh, coming in and, and fol following the account on Lens cuz we just announced each day like, okay, we’ll first one K, three K, 5k, uh, followers will get like a collectible NFT along the way. And then we open that up for 15 K as well, and imminently we’re gonna be dropping a 30 30 K. So we ended up like, um, uh, minting minting those NFTs on, on Coin Vice and people could just go and claim it and sort of verify. So we would go get all the wallet addresses for everyone that had, uh, subscribed to UFO on lens and then capturing, which were in the first thousand, 3005, all these blocks, and then throw them in the allowers for these NFTs to to claim. And so, uh, I think there’s just interesting things that can happen in the future based on who holds a certain one of those things. Uh, and the same kind of thinking with, you know, dropping open edition mints or different things like that. Um, essentially just, you know, giving giving things for the community. Right. And then the potential, um, I suppose utility or, you know, interactions that can come through holding a, a certain certain token.

Marketing and NFTs

How marketing conscious would you say you are? Like when you, when you try to divvy up your mind and how you, how you think about things, how much of a marketer would you consider yourself to be?

Nick Hollins: Yeah, it’s probably a pretty high number. Okay. Um, like I’m quite, I’m, you know, I’ve read, uh, quite a bit of like Seth Golden type stuff I’m interested in, like, I’m really interested in brands and design and, um, you know, modes of communication, creating like stories and, and stuff like that. Um, so yeah, I, I would say I’m like fairly marketing conscious. I’ve, I’ve also like worked in that capacity in the space a little bit, uh, like at XX Labs and, and stuff like that. So. Cool. Yeah, I I’d say that’s in there.

So this, this is sort of like, uh, a primer to my next question, like a follow up to my next question, which is when you understand the concept of programmable social okay, and you think of where we are today in terms of web three, social building, interoperable audiences, either measured by collectors or a new follower factor, where do you think marketing and growth marketing gorilla marketing sort of fit into that category, and how are those keywords sort of looked at differently in the context of web three?

Nick Hollins: Yeah, it’s, it’s interesting, like often it feels like, uh, sort of running old plays, like things that you would’ve done in other contacts years ago in terms of trying to build like an email subscriber list or whatever those kinds of things are. And then like, let’s say you are, uh, I don’t know, a music venue or a magazine, maybe a magazine that has X amount of email subscribers. Um, and then there’s like a value in that. So potentially you can engage with brands or events or whatever it might be because you can, you’ve reliably had distribution to reach this audience. And I feel like it’s a lot of the same thinking in terms of Web three and crypto publishing and what we’ve been doing at U ffo just in this early run. We have like a lot of evolutions of the project that are coming up in the near future. But just in this sort of opening thing, it was, it’s almost like, and I’ve heard other people talk about this, like just trying to reach as many wallets as possible, like make really great assets, really cool NFTs, and then just like give them away as much as possible. Um, and there is an interesting affinity that comes from the things that we collect, the things that we have in our wallet, uh, and stuff like that. So kind of playing in that space too. It’s like we can create stuff that people will own, uh, even if it’s free for them to get it. So, uh, that’s proven like quite effective in building like a decent social media following for UFO for instance. So just the, I I guess like there’s an attention that can come from publishing in that, in that way.

Building a Top-Level Funnel

Okay. That makes sense. So this kind of goes into an article that Zion posted of building like an on chain brand and getting as many people to collect something that’s affiliated with your brand, um, as many times as possible for as many people, as many people. Right. Um, I’m a big believer in that as well. I’ve been experimenting with my podcast NFTs, my listener pins for a minute now, and been able to build like quite a substantial reach of emails and wallet addresses and, and, and create more tailored experiences for my community accordingly. And the way I understand this, and I’d love to kind of like riff, riff with you for a minute, is sort of like building like a top level funnel of people to enter your community and creating experiences from there on out, um, through that funnel. Right? And I know people don’t like to be thought out as funnel, but just to kind of like give like a mental model for people listening, for people watching, watching sort of like a visual kind of like perspective. Do you think about it the same way building a top level a funnel, creating sort of like a mass entry point and then figuring out ways as to how to cultivate experiences, whether further free paid or free free experiences or paid experiences? Like how are you thinking about it?

Nick Hollins: Yeah, I think quite often I’m thinking in terms of my experiences, uh, at the radio station Okay. At FBI in Sydney. I think it’s a good mental model for thinking about some of this. So it’s like, if it’s a radio station and this is a, you know, we do a podcast, so essentially we’re trying to reach as many potential listeners as as possible. Um, so in terms of that, you’re just kind of doing whatever it is to kind of, of attract as big a high number as possible. You know, we have whatever, 26,000 on lens, um, and, and stuff like that, which is like useful to have in terms of how things can, can kind of build out. Um, but yeah, I’ve had really interesting conversations with Rafa, uh, Rafa, the builder, um, uh, previously, recently, uh, of Mira and like, uh, savant for a community and, and thinking about all these kinds of things. And he talks about like these various tiers of intimacy with the brand or the project that folks have, which can be translated as like how much they’re willing to contribute or give or interact or whatever, whatever that might look like. And so designing releases for, for UFO, you know, there’s like an ecosystem looking map that we’re gonna publish soon to kind of like share our thinking about some of this stuff. But it’s like, you know, you have various things or like, uh, you know, free mints to collect or like it’s free to subscribe to us on lens or follow us on various social channels and things like that. If you want to engage like a little beyond that, maybe you collect a, a post on mirror or something like that. Um, there may be particular drops that come on lens or other mints in the near future on Zora and stuff as well. And so it’s like you’ve reached as large an audience as possible, but you understand that only smaller and smaller segments of people are actually gonna be quite connected or paying attention to the project ongoing, if you know what I mean. So, um, yeah, it’s almost like more community building approach rather than a sort of top of funnel marketing kind of thinking, if that makes sense.

Community Building in Web3

Yeah, that makes sense. So when you build that entire collector base, um, how do you actually tailor experiences that are aligned with the things that they like, like how do you, how do you build a community and it’s such a buzzword, but I know you have a certain way to do it and you’ve built such depth and growth and value through your community. So when I ask you, when you think about building community, like what is that stage for you? What goes on in your mind when you hear that?

Nick Hollins: Yeah, I think, I think it’s shifting gears to something that is a little more nowish in, in its quality and kind of an opening up of like what this, um, organism or ecosystem kind of is. It’s, it’s sort of community is more about, uh, people being able to come, especially in web three and crypto kind of land. It’s about people being to come in and potentially like, make proposals or pitch things or to, you know, uh, like nouns is a great example. You see that they propagating the noonish meme and the noggles and projects can come in from all over the world and kind of like make proposal and, and do a thing and, and do that in their own context. I think that seems like some of the higher goals for what community building looks like in crypto is not just for people to like be in an audience or we’re kind of viewing, uh, a creator in in the space as we may have traditionally it’s like I watch a YouTube creator, but like, how do I actually interact with this person? Whereas web three community stuff, it can potentially open those, uh, pathways for folks to kind of come in and, and, and initially some of that can be communicated by the people that collect the works the most or engage with the thing the most and, and all that kind of stuff. The people that will reply and comment the most on, on pieces and stuff like that. It’s like people will always let you know from the community if they’re like really keen to kind of bring some stuff through. And I mean that’s when you talk to people who’ve been in crypto for a while, uh, and how they’ve made their way in the space and stuff like that, it’s usually hung out in the Discord. I like this project. And then eventually they hired me to do something, you know, cuz I was really about that. Um, so yeah, I guess that’s part of how I would think about it.

Writing NFTs and Collects

So that transitions into writing NFTs because you say people that show up consistently and collect those bodies of work consistently. Right. I think a good analogy to pair that to, or a good example to pair that to is the writing NFTs, um, that you guys consistently sell out, um, every single time you publish a new episode, which is fantastic. It’s such a cool, it’s such a cool thing to see, especially when like a year ago, like writing NFTs, were not, were not it. So this next phase of the conversation, I wanna talk to you about writing NFTs, um, because they do play a big part in building the UFO community from what I understand, from an outsider’s perspective. Would you agree on that?

Nick Hollins: Yeah, I would say like, it’s been completely surprising, um, to us, like we’re just experimenting with these different tools and ways of publishing and like we didn’t, uh, anticipate that collects would kind of take off, uh, as they have. I kind of think of them a little as like early editions of say Rolling Stone magazine or something like that. So collecting those early editions I think or, um, you know, certainly have the, the possibility of becoming quite culturally interesting, um, a along the way because there’s not many of them at all. You know, it’s like, but it is been wild, uh, to see, you know, um, I think we had a string where we were doing 500 supply on the collect and they were minting out, but then we decided to just like halve the supply and, and bring it back down and just, it’s pretty much been a two 50 since then. And um, yeah, I would say we’re not, we’re certainly not stress, you know, stressing it either way that it goes and some of them will mint out slower than instantly. Some of them are instantly, it’s a fairly mysterious force, like where are all these collectors coming from? We’re just doing stuff, putting stuff out, but it’s not like we have some overarching strategy to drive collects on, on the mirror post. It’s just kind of happening.

Building an Audience with Web3 Tools

Hmm. The way I understand, like as a web three native creator, the way I understand the model working today, somebody that is actively spending hours building out their Web three creator strategy, they use let’s say like a, a platform like Lens as a broadcast network, right? Um, and assuming you build virality and you can also build value, right? You can both capture value and build virality on lens. But very much so when I go through your feed preparing for this interview, I see you very much using Lens as a broadcast network, right? And then when you promote the new podcast episode, you then outlink it back or outlink it to mirror xyz, but also through Mirror xyz people are subscribed to Mint, so they get a notification every single time you publish a new episode. And those people are just trigger finger ready, like they are trigger finger ready and they, they, they go hard, you know? So when you think about like your creator stack, okay, and you think about building the, the tooling or using the tools necessary to kind of see the growth that you’re at right now to build that audience, to understand that audience. What does that look like for you to kind of like see that vision in, in those actions come to fruition?

Nick Hollins: Yeah, I would say like the, the email subscriber piece on Mira has been like a huge driver of what’s going on, as you say, like each time an episode goes out and it drops to, I think it’s somewhere in the range of like 15,000 emails at the moment, um, has a really healthy response and like listeners to the show and, and stuff like that. So that’s really great. And then like on lens we just like, uh, you know, we create uh, a unique poster for every episode that we do and put them out as free collects there own lens as well. So it’s something like that kind of fits the lens world, um, which is really cool. And we also do like kind of short form audio video, uh, type stuff that goes out on on Lens. But yeah, ultimately it’s kind of looping back in with, because on the Mirror publication we have the opportunity to kind of, you know, publish some sort of deeper links and show notes and stuff like that. So if you kind of, if you go back through, um, the catalog of episodes that we’ve done, there’s a lot of links to different, like if you’re interested in one thing, we invite you down the rabbit hole into that and you can kind of go further. So publishing on Lens, but then linking to the mirror that provides like a deeper context for what’s going on. Um, and at the moment we’re, um, setting about building a website as well. So all these things can kind of live, uh, live in a sort of a neat place that’s kind of together. Um, and yeah, and in the near future we’re going to be minting the actual episodes as well. So kind of bringing the catalog on on chain as a project that we’re working on at the moment.

Minting Podcast Episodes as NFTs 

Cool. I don’t wanna jump the gun, but I do want to talk to you about Podcast NFTs cuz that’s what you mean by minting the episode, right? That’s what you’re referring to?

Nick Hollins: Yeah, exactly.

Okay, cool. Do you see any, any particular challenges or limitations with writing NFTs either in terms of like the tech or the terms, uh, in terms of how they’re marketed or sold? Like do you see any, any limitations as someone who’s been playing with them for so long?

Nick Hollins: Uh, sorry, do you mean for writing NFTs or Podcasts?

Uh, excuse me. Writing NFTs

Nick Hollins: Okay. Limitations on those things.

Challenges of Starting in Web3

Yeah, like creating, writing, NFTs, deploying and, and, and publishing, uh, uh, uh, blogs, publishing episodes. Um, any challenges or limitations that you’ve encountered by doing so many of these over time?

Nick Hollins: Uh, um, I’m trying to think. Cuz I’ve been having some conversations with people that are focused on writing NFTs. Okay. Just lately, um, I mean in this moment it’s more, I’m finding it easier to think of sort of potential opportunities that are there to an extent. Like, um, recreating something like a sub or do you have a CK Plus and a Web three NFT, uh, aspect to a thing. Um, building up an audience of, you know, collectors of a writing NFT that then that potentially can, uh, fund the creation of like a physical book and stuff. Like I’m hearing of like projects like that going on. Um, but I guess like, I don’t know, problems or challenges is setting out to create in that space are, um, the same as ever before. Okay. Like starting to capture an audience, get a, get a thing going and, and getting started, uh, in, in a new, in a new space.

So I guess it’s like bringing back attention on onto your works. Um, and, and things like that. Building that kind of, uh, relationship between, uh, the community and your and stuff. I’m seeing like Lens, uh, the Lens team do really great stuff with this at the moment. They have like the creator cohort kind of creator, uh, group that they’re setting up. So there’s kind of various groups focused on writing NFTs or podcast projects or music NFTs and all this kind of stuff. So the Lens team doing some really cool stuff as far as, um, where people will be facing those like early challenges of how do I, how do I get started? There’s a lot of kind of, um, you know, the Web three social community is relatively small at this point and quite interconnected, uh, and stuff like that. So I think many of the problems that you may face if you’re just like sitting down your own, you don’t have like the full picture for what you might need to do. Um, there’s some interesting kind of, uh, default knowledge to they’re starting to share about how do I get started on Lens? And they’ll say, do your kind of genesis post first, announce your project and stuff like that. Invite people to collect this thing to be looped in on what you’re doing. Uh, Marcus from the Ethereum Foundation, I think you may, uh, know him as well. Yep. I’m doing some really fantastic work at the moment, publishing on Mira, um, and also minting across on Lens and stuff like that. Um, I think is another great example of kind of this approach to like, how do I get traction and attention coming back onto a work or series that I’ve done. I think Marcus is doing a really great, uh, great job of this, but yeah, it’s like Genesis Post and then leading into Got it. The subsequent series. Yeah.

Makes sense. So what do you think sets writing NFTs apart from other forms of digital content? We have music NFTs, we have podcast NFTs, we have digital art, and now writing NFTs are building up their, their corner in the market. What do you think sets ’em apart from other pieces of content?

Nick Hollins: Yeah, it’s such an interesting one. Um, cuz I guess it’s how we, how we interface with, with media or art or any, any of these things. And it’s like, how, how do I in interface with a piece of piece of text compared to a music? NFT is like a sound that I can play, I can listen to, I can play it for others or whatever Art is immediately pops off the kind of laptop screen, you know, some kind of like glitch art or, or whatever it might be. Whereas writing NFTs or still it’s like, I don’t have, like, there’s less of the having a visual token that captures the writing NFT itself. It’s usually more a token represents ownership of this thing that’s minted on mirror or wherever it might be. Um, so I feel like yeah, almost like our relationship with the content itself is different to these other forms. And so I think people understand a cryp a crypto punk at this point, you know, it has a utility just in that I can look at it and stuff and like appreciate it for what it is, but writing NFTs seems more like a relationship with that creator or something a little bit closer to a sub or Patreon type of thing potentially. Uh, but I think there’s a really amazing opportunity for these things being like really valuable, compelling cultural artifacts in themselves. Um, you know, like if I could pick up like a Hunter s Thompson writing NFT or something like that, do you know what I mean? Um, and I’m not sure how much of that has already started to happen. There’s probably some great examples of it that I’m not aware of. But, um, yeah, I mean, writing is quite a huge field and industry in, in human society, so I, I feel like writing NFTs may well like, have their moment.

Curation and Web3 Social

This makes me even more excited for the curator economy that I feel like hasn’t really had, uh, hasn’t really been empowered in Web two, but is really getting empowered in Web three. And the more writing NFTs I collect, the more of a, a taste making ability I kind of build online the more maybe people will count on my curation based off what I collect to read the content that I collect. So maybe there’s an opportunity to build a, like a, a curation network, like a, a publication network that’s strictly based off curation where people subscribe to my network and then they get notified when I collect things to read the content that I collect so that they can read it as well. Like, that’s a mouthful what I just said, but that’s like those, it’s like layers of like media and content aggregation and now we think about the world of Lego blocks, like there’s so much opportunity to build on the base of content that you’re creating Nick and that many other people are creating that other people can sort of like leverage remix and present and curate accordingly. I feel like it’s a world that we haven’t even, we haven’t even tapped into yet.

Nick Hollins: Yeah, I think it’s one of the more exciting things like happening on the internet in this moment, um, that hasn’t been communicated out super, super broadly yet, but it’s like moving into a web three social environment where it’s almost more horizontal, like where stuff comes from. It’s not whatever content the Twitter algorithm is serving up, or Instagram or something is serving to me on one of these apps. It’s people in my network, as you say. Like they collect something, so that surfaces it for me. Um, you know, like Far Caster amazing, like there’s a an NFT you’ll drop and I can click into this very niche thing that I also minted and it’s showed me the a hundred other people that also collected it. So it’s like, ah, interesting. You can also kind of meet people, make friends and stuff like that based on your kind of very niche interest or it’s having those people in your network so it will, you know, surface more of their, I guess it’s curation. Like back in the day, very early social media people would just, I don’t know, post a YouTube clip mm-hmm.  to track that they’re listening to in that moment, and it’ll just be there on the feed. Remember when people would hang out on the Facebook feed , um, very long time ago. Um, but that’s kind of gone out in social I think a bit, you know, like Twitter is just a, like this crazy town square environment. It’s less of the just dropping, sharing a link. The algorithm will squash that anyway. Um, but in Web three, social, just the way these tools work is kind of like bringing bringing that back. Yeah.

Navigating Web3 Platforms

When you think about being a creator in Web three, in all the different social protocols and platforms, you have the choice of spending time on how would you categorize what is what, like what do you spend your time on, on Lens and what is the goal when you, when you’re on Lens, when you are on forecaster, what do you aim to achieve when you’re on Yep. What do you aim to achieve? And when you’re across an active across all these other social protocols and applications, like how do creators navigate this landscape and what’s the mental model that they fixate on every single platform to get the best advantage and the most, the most exposure, the best value out of?

Nick Hollins: Yeah, that’s a great question. Um, I feel like at least on the individual level, or personally as I interact with all these many platforms or web three social spaces, um, you know, I’m, I’m not trying to spend my whole day on the computer or on the screen or whatever. I’m trying to limit that. And as I’m kind of like producing stuff and making stuff, I essentially try to focus as much on my time as possible on actually making, making things and, and whatnot. So when I’m like interacting with those various places, I’m either in discovery mode, uh, reading into things that people are sharing or interacting with drops or stuff like that. I’m kind of, you know, um, uh, what would you say, interacting with the, with the content. But the rest of the time that I’m there, I’m mostly just trying to like publish, publish our own stuff, I guess, you know? Mm-hmm. and I try to like limit my time on screen a little bit. Um, yeah, I like, maybe that’s something for, for creatives I suppose. Like, don’t, don’t, uh, spend all your time on a, on a thing, like focus on getting your own stuff done. But I don’t know, that’s like, just part of my own kind of practice. But I think you’re also asking like how do, uh, what are the differences between these different platforms? Yeah, yeah. And different types of interactions. Like

Different Use Cases of Web3 Platforms

I have my own mental model of when I use forecaster or when I use Lens, or when I would use Yup. Or when I would use Cyber Connect. Like I have my different model and they’ve presented different opportunities and different problems that they solve within me. Right? So I feel like if I was biology and I was creating like biology, like content right? It would perform really, really well on forecaster because that’s just the community that’s been curated over there. Right. Whereas with Lens, I have more flexibility to tap into the element of programmable social right. And cr and create really cool experiences that I otherwise cannot create on Twitter by using smart contracts and token dating and all these really cool primitives to build an audience around to build a collector base around and use Lens in the follower base that I built on Lens or the collector base that I’ve been on, built on Lens to act as a broadcast network accordingly. If I just wanna like mindlessly scroll, I’ll go on. Yep. And see between my writing NFTs between what’s happening on forecaster, on Lens and so on and so forth, if I’m trying to create an event mm-hmm. , right? If I’m trying to create an event, um, either a Twitter space or some sort, and I wanna, I want to gamify engagement, right? And I want to try to bring in more people through that I would use, uh, cyber Connect SL three. Like they each serve their own purpose and in many ways I don’t see them competitive. Right. I see them all complimenting each other, but I know they see each other competitive, right? I don’t know, am I thinking about this wrong?

Nick Hollins: Uh, no, no. I think, yeah, I mean like each of these kind of platforms have their own, uh, culture and, um, communities that, that are there. I agree. Like far Caster feels a little like a, a private Twitter or something like that mm-hmm.  and it’s less, it’s less akin to be used as like a broadcast kind of channel. That’s not the space to be broadcasting in feels like mm-hmm. , you know, um, it’s a little more conversational and, and polite, more low key , um, . And, um, you know, with Lens there’s all these like great apps building on the protocol, all these new kinds of potential content experiences and modes of like, you know, minting and collecting and different mechanics that they’re all playing with. So there’s this more kind of creative experimental energy that’s going on there. Uh, lots of interesting opportunities, as you say, to use it as a, as a broadcast space. Um, yeah, definitely. And then, and then, you know, I’m a huge fan of Mira, um, as well and the kind of discovery between all these different, you know, I can be publishing on there, but then I’m also collecting pieces, uh, and stuff and you can kind of, you know, jump on other creators and see what they’ve collected, discover a lot of great work there and stuff like that. Mm-hmm. , um, so yeah. Hu huge fan of that as well.

Building Web3-Native Audiences 

I love that. Let’s talk about, um, building web three native audiences. Okay. Um, when you think about, again, the world of program, the, the word programmable social, you think about building, uh, an audience through collectors, right? Where do you think this sort of heads long term? Because we’re no longer building, we’re no, we’re no longer building an audience based off like the follower count. Like quite frankly, our collector count will surpass our follower count. And I feel like it’s more, it’s more lucrative and more valuable long term. Where do you see the future of this heading? 

Nick Hollins: Yeah, cuz I mean, UFO launched with this, like we had no existing web two profile or anything like that. We had zero subscribers, um, when we launched in, in September. And then interacting with these various platforms kind of got that early, early ball rolling and, and things. But I, I feel like it’s much more fitting for projects, you know, to essentially be platform less. Like that’s, that’s what it is. Um, and whereas before I keep thinking of the radio station example or something like that, that, or a, you know, a, a Vice Media or Rolling Stone or whatever it is. Okay. They exist across every platform. It’s just a thing like Vice is gonna show up on Instagram and Twitter and YouTube and all, like, it just exists in all these spaces that manifests in, in many different ways. Um, and I, I feel like this is the same thing.

Nick Hollins: Only the new platforms enable, as you mentioned, the sort of like, you know, tokenized social graph, uh, and all that kind of stuff. And it was built on like an open protocol like Lens, for instance. Uh, the mere fact that, you know, I can be posting on lens to, and putting stuff out and then decide to post my first video on Lens Tube and I have all of my followers from that other app or also over here on Lens Tube and stuff like that, and every other app that’s built on Lens. So I think that’s a super, super powerful thing. Um, potentially culturally we’ll see more and more interesting works being done. Um, if there isn’t this sort of, uh, what, what do we say? Curation, borderline censorship of various social platforms or publishing platforms of just like, we’re sorry, we cannot, you know, we cannot have this content on our platform due to our, uh, you know, standards or, uh, corporate relationships or anything like that. Who knows what. Um, but like in this space we kind of, we own, you own your distribution, if you like your connection with these audience members and, and stuff like that. You can reliably reach them, which is kind of the most important part of any media, you know, uh, publication.

Missing Tools for Web3 Creators

Is there any tool that’s missing in your stack as a, as a Crypton native web three native creator?

Nick Hollins: Oh, hmm. Interesting question. Um, I’m sure there’s a bunch there

And I only ask because I often reflect on my operation as a creator, and I think about the way I publish content, the way I tokenize content, how I find my collector base and mm-hmm. , it’s really difficult. Like, it’s really, really challenging to manage all these different platforms, publish across all these different protocols like Mint, make sure you’re relevant, publish your, like, everything. And, and now you’re trying to merge both worlds together. Like the Web two world and the Web three world, it’s very overbearing bearing, and I know you treat your craft full-time. Like I know you’re very good at what you’re, do what you do, you are a full-time creator. So you have insight and a perspective into your operational flow as to as to how you get things done. That many people who, who aren’t in our positions yet, we can share that light with them. Right? So absolutely that tool, that tool, it could be either, um, something that you wish that was automated, something that you wished you could do more of, but you’re restricted mm-hmm.  when you think about mm-hmm, that flow of creating content and tokenizing content and doing what you’re doing, do you wish there was something in place that could help amplify what you’re doing today?

Nick Hollins: Yeah, so like o over the past like few months, I guess, like we’ve had ideas for various drops or activations with our community and things like that, whether it’s dropping in a free NFT or a different thing. We did a collaboration with Yep. Uh, like two weeks ago mm-hmm. Or something. Mm-hmm. And dropped this really funky NFT that’s got this sort of like hardware device from a parallel dimension, um, you know, there for like a frequency, uh, receiver, um, sort of thing. But for a lot of these releases, like we’ve had the idea for what it was, but then the platforms didn’t quite allow for that at that point. So we’ve been, um, collaborating with a lot of these teams to kind of, um, you know, encouraged like integrations between some of some of their platforms as well and sort of getting that stuff happening. So that’s been really nice. So we can solve a thing and then do a certain release and then we’re hearing from, um, from Coinbase for instance, or, or others, like, once we did that drop or made that thing work, now a bunch of other creators from Lens also went and did that after the fact, you know, so, uh, I guess we’re helping to solve various of these little tooling things of the ways that we hope they would work, but it doesn’t quite work like that, um, yet cuz it’s, you know, it’s early. So little, little things about how you know collects can work dynamically. Um, different ideas for how collects can work on lens, I think are super powerful. Um, as, as different, different things come on, come on there. But, um, yeah, kind of on the production side, um, I guess we’re building in that direction as well as we intend to like bring the podcast on Shane emitting on Zora. Well then now the episodes will show up on future tape. Um, it’s a really great, uh, project and then potentially we can embed that into the mirror post, you know, and so the kind of the way those things start to flow, like when we started, uh, the first few episodes we just published on Mira hadn’t had a chance to chat with their team yet or anything. Uh, but then when they looped in and, and got in touch, one thing was you couldn’t embed the podcast player on Mira properly at the time. And so they’re like, oh, cool Bubba, like bit of custom code and got that working. And then they said a bunch of other podcasters hit them up like, Hey, how’d they get that m embed working? Or whatever. And they’re like, thanks for that. We shared it with a bunch of people. Like, ah, awesome. Um, so little things like that, like along the way all the, yeah, it’s, the platforms are just being tweaked a bit. Love it. So it just works, works better and better.

Nouns Builder Projects 

Amazing. Nick, before we wrap up, um, what’s one thing that’s constantly lingering in your mind that’s new in Web three or that’s different in web three or in crypto that you often think about? Um, anything come to mind?

Nick Hollins: Uh, lately I would say like Nouns Builder projects. Okay. Like, I’m quite, quite interested in, um, I’ve done some episodes, uh, on the show with like a public assembly. Um, uh, she had from Forefront is quite engaged with the nouns type stuff. Raha had a bunch to say about it as well. Uh, had Sesu from Black Hand on a recent episode, uh, as well. So all these nouns builder projects I find really cool and interesting. Various of them that existed before Nouns Builder, but now they’re transitioning into that model. So it’s really interesting to see how those sorts of experiments are, are playing out. I feel like it’s a, it’s a really neat way of creating a doo and then the kind of projects that are picking them up, like what they’re setting out to build and create, I find, you know, really cool. Uh, the park as well. The music music Doo shout out on, on Nouns Builder is amazing. Yeah. Yeah.


I collected one trying to hit the park one Friday. We’ll see if it happens. Really eager to do it. And I’m in LA like I should do it. I think it’s, I’m gonna try to go this Friday. Oh, for sure. We’ll, we’ll see. Um, but Nick, this was amazing. Thank you so much for your time. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and your insights and your learnings. I’m sure we’re gonna look back into this episode that we’re documenting a year from now and be like, wow, look how far you’ve come. This entire journey has come. So yeah, man. Appreciate you. Before I let you go, where can we find you? Where can we learn more?

Nick Hollins: Uh, sure. Um, we’re on, uh, Twitter at UFO Double Underscore Club. Um, is there, uh, ufo club dot lens, In the near future, we’ll have an website all of our own. Um, and I’m on Twitter at Nick underscore Hollands and at Hollands on various web three social apps.

Amazing. Thank you so much. We’ll do this again soon.

Nick Hollins: Yeah. Appreciate the, the invitation, man. Huge Shout out, uh, to everything that you’re doing.

Let’s go.