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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.
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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 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.
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: 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: 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,
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
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,
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.
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,
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?
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
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 happen@LNRZ.xyz l n rz.xyz. 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?
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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?
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
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?
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
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
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.
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 Sound.xyz, 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.
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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,
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,
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.
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
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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, ufo.mirror.xyz. 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.
Mint Season 7 Episode 24 is a pre-recorded fireside chat at ETHDenver with myself and Shannon Wells from Livepeer who interviewed me on my thoughts spanning the web3 creator economy. Our conversation covers the definition of the web3 creator economy, the tools having the biggest impact on it, and the importance of building a strong community. We also discuss the different platforms and chains I use for my podcast’s NFT giveaways, the evolution of the creator economy beyond digital art, and how web2 companies and brands are entering the crypto-enabled creator economy space. Finally, I suggest building a web3-native podcast player at the hackathon and using tools like Bello to succeed on your crypto journey.
I hope you enjoy our conversation.
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Shannon Wells: Hey. Hey. Nice to meet you.
Nice to meet you too.
Shannon Wells: Um, so for those of you who don’t know, Adam Levy actually hosts a podcast called The Web three Creator. Well, I think the subtitle this, the subtitle of your podcast, mint is the Web three Creator Economy.
It’s called Mint. And then I add this like additional long thing. It’s like we’re Crypto Meets Creators.
Shannon Wells: Amazing. Yeah. So when I was putting this event together, I discovered the Mint Podcast and realized that for the last year and a half, maybe longer, Adams interviewed literally everyone who is, um, directly or indirectly related to the Web three Creator economy. So I thought this would be a great chance for us to hear from you what you’re, what you’ve learned, um, over the last, um, you know, year you’ve been doing the podcast. So Adam and I also want want you to tell the audience about what, what you’re doing, um, with Bello as well. But maybe to start, why did you create the Mint podcast?
Yeah, so my name is Adam. I host the Mint podcast, and, uh, what’s up? I get to be on re’s live streams or her content page. I’m honored. Um, so we’re almost at 400 episodes of the MIT podcast, which is kind of wild over a year and a half. And, um, I created a mid podcast because when I was working at a fund at the time, I felt like there wasn’t enough content on the creator economy and nobody would talk to me about it unless I told ’em I would have a, I have a podcast for them to be on. So it just so happened that I like hit record and selfishly try to learn this stuff myself. But then it kind of evolved to something much bigger than that. And, uh, we publish multiple times a day, three newsletters, an episode every single day, whether long form or short form.
I just did the math this week or last week. We published about like 60 pieces of content a week on the Web three Creator Economy. So it started because I’m a creator myself, I’ve been a drummer since five years old. And I got into crypto by seeing how music was helping or how crypto was helping musicians. And then I ended up going through like the fund route and I kind of got like bored of that and I wanna do something else. So I was like, all right, let’s start a podcast. So I quit the fund to start a podcast. I don’t know who does that, but that’s what I did.
Shannon Wells: Yeah, And what is the Web three Creator economy?
That’s a good question. I think, um, the way I understand the web three or crypto enabled creator economy, it’s creative entrepreneurs using crypto primitives to build, monetize, and own their audience. So right now, a bunch of us, we are web two native creators. We are in this thing called crypto Twitter. But, um, there’s a new paradigm evolving where we get to own our audience. We get to own the platforms that we publish our content on, and through that we can discover new means of monetization in ways that we couldn’t have done before. And crypto is like the primitive, the foundation to enable that new era. So a web three native creator economy is like a crypto native creator economy where creators use crypto tools, minting tokens, forming dows on chain activities to kind of build an audience, monetize an audience, and move accordingly.
Shannon Wells: And what makes that different than the old creator economy or the Web two creator economy?
The biggest thing that makes it different is when we build an audience today, um, we are kind of like slaves to that audience. So when I build a following on Twitter, for example, right, that audience is native to Twitter, I can’t take that to TikTok, I can’t take that to Instagram. And uh, then I become a, a slave to sort of like this algorithm. So a crypto enabled creator economy from my perspective is using crypto primitives and building an interoperable audience. So an audience that you can take with you from platform so that you’re not bound to the rules and barriers of the platform they’re originally building, uh, an audience on. But you can use NFTs other means of tokens to kind of like take your audience with you wherever you want, so you actually become the platform, right? So wherever you go, your audience follows, and now all the platforms want you because with a simple message, you can take your community of collectors wherever you want. So I can take them across lens, I can take them across Zora, I can take ’em to sound, I can take them anywhere I want in ways that I never was able to prior. That’s like the zero to one is sort of like how I understand it.
Shannon Wells: Yeah. Beautiful. Thank you. So you’ve, you’ve interviewed a lot of people, you’ve literally asked all of the questions about the Web three Creator economy. Um, what projects do you think are having the biggest impact on the Web three Creator economy today?
So a few months ago I published this blog post on mirror called the Web three Creator Stack, and I started the blog post kind of like shilling the, the tools that I use. And then at the end, selfishly was a plug for Bello and how I use data sort of to kind of navigate my collector base. So my tool stack that I use as a creator and I see other creators use is Guild xyz as a way to build a community lens protocol as a will, as a way to build like a follower base, like an interoperable follower base. Um, I use sound to collect NFTs and to support creators. Um, telegram Mirror, there’s a bunch of tools. I think it really comes down to kind of using tools that understand that you are the creator and you are the platform and that they build tools to kind of empower your collector base, right? So there’s a, there’s a variety of tools. I can, I could list a laundry list if you’d like, but I plugged a few here and there.
Shannon Wells: We’re at ETH Denver. Um, is the creator economy an e thing or is it cross chain? What are you seeing outside the Ethereum ecosystem? Or do we have a strangle hold on it?
Creator economy is definitely multi chain. Um, two biggest networks are ETH and Polygon, um, biggest platforms on eth it’s like kind of hard to tell, but Polygon, you have Lens Protocol, right? Everybody can build an audience, an interoperable audience on Polygon. Um, those are the two main platforms that I use personally where every single season on the podcast I give out like free NFTs to my listeners. And these are non-transferrable. They have no speculative value and I always mint them on Ethereum and Polygon. So I’d say those are the two primary chains. Yeah.
Shannon Wells: Cool. And who are the first moving web three native creators that you think are having a big mark today?
So how many of you guys were here for the Nifty Gateway era? That’s what I like to call it. Okay. Um, if you guys remember, there was a bunch of artists that kind of left their corporate jobs and their, they, they were, they had great platforms on Instagram and then they found NFTs as a way to, as a tool, sort of find like their creative liberation, the creative freedom. There’s a few that come to mind like fuck render, ferocious, slime Sunday, Justin blau, like these are some like the premier creators that sort of set the tone for the Web three creator economy. But now it’s evolved and if, if you guys recall from the nifty gateway area era, it was mainly just like digital art. But now we have podcast NFTs, we have Music NFTs, we have video NFTs, and there are all these like sub pocket of communities and all these like premier creators are, are, are, are kind of like kind of arising from. So for music NFTs, I’d have to say Daniel Allen, Rio Kragan, shout out to them. Um, they’re killing the game when it comes to music. NFTs, uh, video NFTs, I think there’s a bunch. I think when you look at video NFTs like the first platform that comes to mind, it’s glass and I know live Pierre is like the foundation of glass. So there’s all sorts of artists kind of like minting and, and kind of like being experimented on the video front podcast, NFTs, I have to shout out the Mint podcast. We’re dropping podcast NFTs every almost every week and trying to experi kind of experiment what that kind of looks like. Um, photography, I’m not too well adapt with the photography, uh, space, but I collect a lot of music. NFTs podcast, NFTs, occasionally digital.
Shannon Wells: Are think there’s some photographers on the lens ecosystem.
Are there any photographers in here? Come on guys. Who’s taking pictures? There we go. What’s up?
Shannon Wells: Um, how are web two companies and brands entering the web three creator economy space, and if so, how are they trying to muscle their way in?
So if you guys remember, like at the height of the bull market, you saw like all these like Pepsi brands and all these like big mainstream corporate brands. They’re, they’re, they were tweeting like, uh, wame and they were, they were tweeting, uh, uh, gmi and that was like the top signal 100%. Um, but now we’re seeing in the bear market really cool brands and different forms of IP and web two and to web three. The first one that comes to mind that did a really good job in my opinion is Smurfs. Do you guys know Smurfs? You guys heard of Smurfs? Should I show hands? Is this room awake or what? <laugh>. Okay. All right. So Smurfs did a really cool entrance on, on Lens and it was a very sort of like low barrier to entry, non-threatening way to kind of enter the ecosystem. And they took their existing IP tokenized different element elements of it. I think in the, in the height of like the movie, if I’m not mistaken, that was coming out. There was some sort of creative event and they kind of brought in their old collector base or their old audience and merged it with the new audience on chain. So I thought that was pretty creative.
Shannon Wells: Cool. Um, you recently tweeted that every creator is going to be crypto native in the next few years. How do we get to that?
I wish I knew. No, um, I think, uh, everyone likes to say it’s like education. You know, like people need to get educated on what a meta mask is cuz that ends up being your entry into all these, all these primitives that we we use on a daily basis or a weekly basis. Um, I think the way more creators get into Web three is that they see more use cases and case studies of crypto native creators finding success in web three. So I think the best example that we saw recently is the height of the music creator. And, and this is thanks to platforms like Sound XYZ and Mint songs, which shut down recently, but there were key players in this movement that tried to sell out drops or tokenized music and have creators find new means of monetization through that. Um, so I think using those people as examples and kind of obscuring away all the, all the buzzwords and all the lingo will end up influencing a lot more people and forget what I think. Like that’s what happened, right? You saw someone like Daniel Allen raise 140 K in like 48 hours with 200 Twitter followers using a mirror crowdfund that’s gonna wake up people, you know, and he’s independent. He started making music in Covid was a nobody prior to that. And overnight, overnight became somebody he took six months and like seven months to actually get himself ingrained. But that sparked a lot of light bulbs for a lot of other independent music artists and then motivated them to come into the space. So I think education first and foremost, but you have to be driven by use cases, show other creators outside of Web three the monetization opportunities and do it in a way where you can show like ethical, like commemorative, you know, ways on how to monetize and build an audience cuz the industry’s filled with scams and unfortunately like that’s, that will end up going trending on TikTok. You know, like people like clicking on that, people like viewing on that, but there’s a bunch of other use cases that we need to, we need sort of like double down on. I feel like that sort of set the example for everyone else.
Shannon Wells: Yeah, I feel like that time to meaningful profitability is really huge. Like even six to seven months is a, is a lot shorter than two to five years, which it can take on YouTube. Cool. Um, last question. What are the biggest opportunities for builders in this space? So a lot of people here actually hacking at East Denver or looking to start their next project. What should they build to help grow the Web three creator economy?
So I’ll, I’ll give an example of something that I tried to build that didn’t work out. I think el where was it? The last hackathon? Columbia, yes. Didn’t work out, but I still want to see somebody build it and then I’ll give sort of like a general sort of like a kind of tidbit in the air. So if you’re hacking this East Denver, try to build a Web three native podcast player and through that it would be really cool if I can direct my listeners to listen to my content through that. And then they would get an N F T based off when they stop listening so that I can understand my drop-off rates and understand who my listeners are on chain. Because I built an audience on Spotify and Apple Music and on lens and tokenizing audio a across the web, pre ecosystem and web two ecosystem. But I still don’t have like, listenership based data. So that’s one example. I think that’d be super cool. And then I, I have different ideas as to how you could do it. And then I think if you wanna build for creators at East Denver, try to become a creator for a few hours and whether it’s gonna be like a, become a video creator or a podcast creator or a photographer, like try to be the creator and see what it’s like, sort of like publishing content and then try to find pinpoints of, of paints, you know, pain points through that. Um, yeah, there’s bunch of ideas if you, if you want to come chat afterwards.
Shannon Wells: And your building, I think your co-founder is also here in the audience and you guys just got into a 16 z crypto startup school. Yes. Congratulations. Thank you. Just quickly tell us what you’re building with that Yes, he’s excited
Dog. Let’s go Um, alright. So Ellie and I were building Bello. Bello is a no-code tool to help creators understand who their collectors are. So I alluded to earlier that I give out a ton of free NFTs to my listeners. I feel like I’ve minted over 20,000 across, uh, six seasons to date. And, um, for the longest time I knew nothing about who my collectors were, couldn’t go to Nason and look at the trading data and I couldn’t go to Dune cuz I don’t know how to write code. So we sort of build this tool as a way to help creators understand what their data means and find interesting trends and insights through their collector base. So what can we surface? We can help you figure out a price at which price point to sell your NFTs at. We can help you determine what day and time to sell your NFTs at. We can show you what assets in common, in your collectors whole, so that you can find communities to cross promote with and so many other insights that you can use. And part of our thesis at Bello is we believe that your community of collectors will surpass your community of followers. And with that requires a new set of tools. One of them is being Bello, so Bellos away. So if you’re a creator, you have collectors, you’re dropping NFTs, come talk to Ellie and I, we’ll help you understand more about who they are so that you can succeed on your crypto journey.
Shannon Wells: Adam, thank you so much. Give him a follow Levy.eth sign up for his podcast. Nft, thank you so much.
Mint Season 7 Episode 23 welcomes Reka.eth, the Co-founder of Guild.xyz. Throughout our session, we discuss how Guild has evolved since our last episode in November 2021 and how their tooling has broadened out to fit a larger audience beyond just DAOs.
Reka shares how Guild has grown into being the bridge from the point of discovery to becoming a core member of a community, helping guide new members into the creator’s audience. We discuss the mechanics of transforming an audience into a community, and how Guild can help cultivate that.
We also talk about Guild’s tooling and its place in the creator stack, with me sharing my mental model and Reka sharing her thoughts on how Guild stands as the connective tissue to bring people together.
I hope you enjoy our conversation.
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We are back with another episode. With me today, I have one of my favorite people in web three, Reka.eth. What is up? Welcome back to the podcast.
Reka.eth: Thanks for having me, the last year and a half has been a lot of fun. I caused a lot of chaos and internet in a good way. And I’m very happy to be here and see you and talk to you. The people are not prepared for the amount of giggling that’s going to happen.
Reka.eth: If I know correctly.
This is gonna, so this is gonna be either a chaotic, like positive disaster or just, you know it, I’m not even gonna go there. This is gonna be great. Okay, this is gonna be great. Last time we ran an episode. Okay, it was November 18, 2021. And we talked about understanding Daos tools, governance, pinpoints, and more. And at the time, you guys were called agora not guild, I feel like guild was like underneath the surface, like it was there. But in spirit, you guys were agora?
Reka.eth: Yeah, the thing with that is that at that time, we were still using the brand because agora was always the studio behind guild XYZ, it still is, we just realized, it’s not a good use of your energy and time to escalate and run two brands at the same time. And we came up with guild in September, we talked in November. So that was the point where we were like, are we guild or agora? Let’s just go with agora still. And after that, we were like, okay, guild gained some traction, we had quite a few 1000 users at that point, just like, you know, get and give, growing and then we were like, great. So, of agora doesn’t really make sense to be a brand now, everybody knows guild that uses us, so or works with us or see us on the internet. So, let’s just skip agora. So, since then, actually, I think that was like our last public appearance, using the agora name and after that it’s guiled.xyz.
And a lot has happened since then. I think now that we’ve become very close friends, between you and I, and Roz and I, and just the guild team, we get to laugh at a bunch of things that sort of like we went through in the past, leading up from November 18, 2021, to where we are today, March 27, recording this episode 2023. And I’d love for you to share the story of me reaching out to you guys. Because oftentimes people ask me, like how do you start a podcast? And like what does it take to start a podcast? Like what goes into that process? And I feel like every time we talk about, or somebody asks like how did we meet? That story always comes up. So, share it from your perspective, then I’ll share it from my perspective.
Reka.eth: Yes, you have to know the grind because Adam was not a beginner when we got on the podcast. We’ve been a year and a half ago. He was like deep in it already. So, the grind that this man is on is insanity. We, you know, we were just being founders and stuff being busy. And Adam just reached out over, I think Twitter at first and then telegram, we were entered into telegram DM. And then he kept messaging us like, Guys, I’d really love to have you on my podcast. We could talk about this, just give me a time. And then I think we ghosted him like three times because we just like, well didn’t have the bandwidth, honestly. And we also couldn’t decide like who should go on, when we should do that. Like it wasn’t honest. Like we didn’t think anything bad of that. And we didn’t even know him. We were just like great. Like we could do this sometime but we just like don’t know when. And then I kept having this like really bad feeling like we shouldn’t, like this is such a nice dude, like he’s so always reaching back again, like every few weeks. He’s like, hey, guys, I’m still open. Like let’s do this. And I think after like the fifth DM or something, we were like, okay, let’s just set a date. And then even the process of us sending images to you, to use as our like pictures on the podcast took like a month and I don’t think we even send it. That’s why we have the like OG like agora things. Also, we were kind of semi anonymous at that stage, like we weren’t as openly on Twitter and anywhere as we are now. We still weren’t really sure if we want to be there like out there. So, the grind of what goes into starting a podcast is you have to have a massive CRM, a lot of skin and just no shame reaching out to people and circling back and double texting and triple texting and quadruple texting. Because that was something that made us be like okay, so he really wants us, like even though we don’t have the time we have to go now and then we got to know him. And he’s the one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. So, just give people a chance and just fit. You know, especially someone as, like what’s a good word here? Tenacious maybe, keeps dming you, just do it, because it’s like one of my favorite things that ever happened to me. And maybe not even the podcast. Some people then later told me that they saw us on the podcast because Adams, since then, at least, and time to have grown so much, and so many people listen to the podcast, because he just keeps having awesome people week and week again, and I cannot imagine all the apps that have to be going on in the background for all those very successful people, very busy people to even take this hour with you. Like not like, you know, it’s a podcast, and it’s a great opportunity. But like the amount of people that you have, I feel like, yeah, it’s insane, the DM mechanisms there.
The DM mechanisms, that’s the secret, my mechanisms of DMing. Real talk really quick. I only bring up that story again, because many people asked me like I want to start a podcast, I want to go into the content creation game, how did you get started? And I want to highlight that story because it’s like being a podcaster it’s like nonstop DMing. And when you see something cool on your timeline, that at the time, like agora was like this mysterious thing that had a really cool brand and really cool visuals. And I still couldn’t tell it and it drove me crazy, but everybody was talking about it. So, it’s like, alright, I’m gonna figure out a way to because if I’m feeling this, probably a lot of people are as well. So, I want to be the point of like awareness. Right? That’s how I think about it. So, the DM and the tenacity, what to call it, to figure it out. It was well worth it; it was well worth it. Because through that came a really long loving friendship where we’ve, I feel like we’re very, very close. And I value that. And it started from a DMS. And that’s what I love about this entire story. And that was, like you said a year and a half ago, November 18, on my right screen I have, I’m on Adamlevy.io/blog, I found our episodes, and I’m going through it. And the title again, was understanding Daos tools, governance, pinpoints, and more. And when I look back, I’m like, and I look back, and I see where you guys were, and I see where you guys are today. And I can’t help but wonder and think Damn, you guys have made so much progress. And it feels as if since then, the narrative around Daos has shifted and so has guild.
Reka.eth: I think so too, fully agree. You’re absolutely right. I’m all the affirmative sentences here that I know.
So, walk me through that because I want to try. Oh, wait, there’s a lag again, hold on a second. Give me a second. Go ahead and take it off. And then I’ll edit it into where you start speaking.
Reka.eth: So, should I just like go with like, how the Dao has changed and how we changed?
Yeah, so start with, yes, guild has changed a ton and here’s how.
Reka.eth: Thanks for the prompt. So yeah, guild changed a ton. And we just realized, especially with the tooling that we’ve built, at first, it was solving something super simple. That was token gating, connecting Ethereum to discord. And then later on, as we kept working openly with hundreds of community builders in the space, including Daos, we realize we can do much more with this. And we came up with the model that we fully build out today. It’s called the guild model, very, very creatively. It’s consisting of requirements, roles and rewards, and everything else that we built before that for the token gating requirements and everything. And what we build now with mostly on the reward side fits into this. So, anything that you can think of from any permissioning or authorization requirements, like do you own my NFT? Do you follow me on Twitter? Do you support my growth? Do you, have you been a longtime supporter since 2021? How many NFT do you own since then? Are you a developer? Are you contributing to any GitHub repositories frequently? And many, many more, and then, you know, getting roles for these that match these requirements. And then at the end, you would get access or abilities in return for being yourself on the internet and participating in these activities on the internet. So, we put everything into this model. And since then, we’ve been taking more of the role. That was last year, actually, last year around this time. So, last year 2022 March, when we came out with this. And since then, we’ve just been proliferating this model and putting so, so many requirements into the requirements side, so many integrations and partnerships that people use actively to manage their memberships and roles in their communities automatically. And then this year, we were like, okay, so, we have more than 30 integrations on the requirements side, you can set up very spicy stuff for people to get access to something, what are they going to want to do with that. So, this year, we’re focusing on the reward side, and adding 30 things there. So, you can set up anything from, have you played this game at least 100 hours in Steam? if so, you can get access to the alpha release of a new map in this game, just you and a couple other people that have played over 200 hours and own these special skins. So, stuff like that, from coming from, so all the way coming from Dao and very, very web three native crypto communities, going into more broader like online community satisfaction and growth and management. It was a very straightforward pipeline for us in the past year and a half to see this happen. And it goes very well hand in hand with what we’ve been seeing as like active participants in it our space as well is that we’ve been talking about this for on other podcasts actually, for quite some time, the innovation with Daos and around Daos happen on both on a technical level and on a like human-to-human interaction level at the same time. And for some reason we wanted to do both so, so fast, and neither the tech could pick that up. But most importantly, that human to human aspect is so slow to change and make decisions and realize new patterns in. So even though I think now we have more technological advancements in this Dao to link space that could be super useful, to enable how the original Daos were dreamt up, and they could work with them. But I think we still need to work so much more on the relationship and the human aspect of it. And so, I think we need to generalize it a little more, especially with all the cool infrastructure and tooling that we have now, we can fully bring that up into a more general community experience. And not only what we named Dao strictly, you know, the fully decentralized tokenized super mega web three organizations that had no heads, I think we can so much like generalize that and open it up to different settings and communities. Because I think a lot of things that aren’t necessarily like one leader, everyone else is the audience, or a fully decentralized horizontal organization. But everything else in between can work with this technology. And I want to empower that. And I think that’s super cool. And that’s what we’ve been doing. We’ve grown a ton; we’ve learned so much and we’re just starting with the cool stuff. This has been preparation so far.
Many products in web three that built for web three typically have a difficult time branching out and generalizing their product to fit a larger audience. But what you guys have figured out is, we don’t have to token gate based off tokens. As token gating has sort of, kind of like mass popularized its name across web three, we can gate off other requirements that are also off chain requirements too. And that kind of like goes into what you’re saying of being able to create certain criteria from like Steam players, right, and allow them access into certain stages or experiences or as you coin rewards into that community, which I think is quite fascinating. My question for you is like how do you actually broaden out something that was actually built for a web three native audience, that’s now being broadened out to more web two native audience? While realizing that gating is like a universal theme, and you could get anything, as long as it’s digital? Am I getting that correct?
Reka.eth: Yeah, absolutely. You can, one of my friends actually, who’ve dug themselves into how guild works, like to the core of it. And they said, you can lock up anything that’s guild unless or until you have a key or wait, unless you have a key, which was so beautiful. And I don’t necessarily agree with like the key lock metaphor, and in this sense, because I feel like we’re more but it’s beautiful, and it makes you understand that so much, so much better. And generalizing, I think you have to keep in mind that even though you started building in web three, you built for people. And I think in our tool, especially, the used case was always managing roles and managing memberships in a community. So, for us the context changes of who these people want to have in their communities. So, it only changes a little bit. So, if you think about how Dao wants to manage contributors, or new people who are just being on boarded to the community, and they need to learn about it, and they need to have this like peer-to-peer experience of getting accepted, and so on, that our tool can satisfy and is good for, that we built it for. That is mega similar to how a creator who posts on Spotify, posts on different platforms, wants to get to know a new audience member or a new audience member that wants to get to know the audience and their fellow, like top fans better, as they worship the same person, like I’m so, like proper fan communities. Or if you think about how I love using notion as an example, they have done such a wonderful job of building their community around the product and doing like a full proper community lead growth over time. And it’s also the same thing, it’s how do you identify people who have contributed to their notion ecosystem who have given and made templates for other people? Who do you say has been there for a long time and how do you reward them for it? Who has done what in regard to this, like small ecosystem of the internet that they’ve created for themselves? And then how do you get them to do more of that? And how do you reward them for creating this very value led vin, vin van scenarios, it’s the same logic, it’s just you might need a wallet, you might not need a wallet. And each of these used cases requires a different set of integrations. So, all three that I mentioned, uses something else as the requirement and there’s the reward. But the goal is generally super, super similar, or at least a process of it.
So, does that mean that you guys are after creating templates or for guild community members to create templates for other people to replicate? Am I understanding that correctly?
Reka.eth: Well, I used that as an example. Oh, that’s what notions doing. That’s how they, that’s the value that the community provides for them, like that marketplace of templates is what they found, that is super like a good spot for the team, the whole ecosystem, other users and the people who create these templates, like they found a really sweet spot. We are thinking about that too, as we got this recommendation for many, many members and users that, like some guilds work really well and they just want to copy it. And it would be so fun if we could make that happen. And so, we were thinking about it. But that’s not the point where I was trying to make, I was trying to give that as an example of what notion did.
That make sense. Okay, so what I think of guild today, and I think about where it stands in the creator stack. Okay, I have one way of sort of imagining the mental model around your tooling. Before I give and reveal my mental model. I’m curious, where do you see guild in a tooling stack for a web three native creator today?
Reka.eth: I’m biased, very biased, obviously. But I do see us as we, in the past year and a half, we’ve grown into being this connective tissue from the point of discovery to becoming a core member of a community, where they’re all the way managing that path, and helping guiding new members into the creators, audience or community. And I love thinking about the mechanics of how we transform an audience, which is usually a one-to-many conversation into more of a community, which is many to many types of situations, I love that we can help cultivating that. And we’ve seen some quite beautiful examples of artists who venture into the NFT space, and they use us for rewarding their highest engagement and biggest supporters and identifying them from the crowd, and then rewarding them with special treats. And just focus conversations and direct access to the artists, which I think is such a big unlock compared to like when can I talk to Drake? Like you know, like that would never happen or like whoever else that I’m listening to or, you know, like that will never happen unless it’s web three, and it’s automated. So, me proving that I’ve supported you all the way automatically and then getting the proper reward for it, such as having direct channels to chat with you. And know the first, be the first to know when you drop something, even hear a sample of what you’re making. So, guild stands as the connective tissue to make that happen. And I think that’s pretty fun. We are still very unopinionated of where we stand in this. And I feel like this is the time where we should become more opinionated and identify more of how, like what do we like double down and do the best at supporting these artists and creators. I have had such a fun time, my friend and I have went on creating journey or like this creative creator journey together. And we created multiple experiments where we will use guild amongst many other tools, including Riverside, which is what we’re recording on. We use so much, tried so many of these products, and somehow always came back to the conclusion of we’re on the right track of what we’re creating, because we’re more looking for, not just like big events of activation, where you mint one NFT and that’s the like whole thing but more focusing on building the experience. And kind of this like, share the journey with other members, but also, yeah, other committee members that have to share the shared interests and experiences with you. And then having a lot of easter eggs that you find uniquely on your path. And it’s amazing, I feel like that has never been a thing. At least I haven’t seen it or experience it maybe in some like old path on the internet, I could have found something that works like this, but I haven’t yet.
A lot of what you’re saying resonates with how I think of guild and my value stack. Okay. So, when I think about the concept of the theme of Season Seven of creating content worth collecting, there’s many layers to that. There’s actually the element of publishing the content, collecting it. But then there’s the after effect of building your community of collectors around that content and kind of commingling and creating experiences accordingly. And guilt has sort of become like the de facto sort of tool for a lot of crypto native creators, specifically, in the music NFT scene. What you often see, you see creators minting their music, building their collector base, and then funneling their users, from sound, from Zora, from catalog, etc., into their guild to kind of like keep that momentum alive, to keep the engagement alive to keep the emotion and the energy alive. And I think it’s such an important tool in the stack. Because right now creators build distribution and virality using web two tools. And they use value capture, the create value capture through web three tools. And I feel like guild like fits in between both. And like you said, I love that word that use, the connective tissue. So, I have a guild from my podcast NFT collectors. And I’m constantly thinking about how can I bring more people and usher people offline, right, or I guess online to like this like, sub niche pocket of my telegram community, so that I can have ways to consistently communicate to them. And I think of it as like a core tool like email, because I own the relationship between my readers and my subscribers, when I use email like Substack, or my database like HubSpot, and my CRM, right, it works as a similar way of owning my communication channels with my collectors. So, I love that element. I love the element. I’m curious, have there been any case studies or used cases, that you’ve seen people use guild that extended beyond what you thought guild would be used for?
Reka.eth: Well, it’s not in a greater sense.
Reka.eth: But we, one is really exciting, it’s fairly new. And I have never, like offered this to anyone to use guild this way. But there’s a project who is just launching, and they have created requirements in their guild and roles, so that members who collected their announcement posts and participated in the early releases of the campaign get access to a telegram group again. But the like kick is, is that nobody can, I think that there’s no like chatting going on in the chat, is just for like the alpha release. So, those who get in, get access to the product way earlier than anyone else, which I think is so cool. And this could have been done easier through our SDK and programmatically, but I love how like it’s done through a telegram group, and it’s like much more personal. But I also really liked the idea. And I’ve seen very, very beautiful successful executions of this, is the like tagging, which I think we didn’t come up with this initially. But some users started using a guild this way, is that they set very specific requirements and many, many requirements, too many roles, that are so specific to the user’s individual journey, that even if they, even if there’s like 15 different roles, because you came from Twitter, you came from my podcasts on Spotify, you came from somewhere else, or through my mirror posted article and minted the NFT there, it doesn’t matter where you come from, you get a different role. So, you’re like tagged, so the manager or the creator knows where you’ve been before, what you’ve done, what other projects you’re interested in, based on all that history, and all those holdings and assets in your wallet. And then you get to the same place with everyone else. But the person who’s managing and building this knows, has so much more context on you, and knows how to provide a better experience for you. So like, if I have a community for like dog lovers, and I’ve seen requirements that you only have interacted with like Jack Russell content, I like know to send you Tik Tok of Jack Russell, you know, like, I’m not gonna send you pug videos, because he obviously, well, you might like it, but like, I’ll go out of my way to send you Jack Russell content, you know, like that’s obviously a silly example. But that’s the point to give more tools for the people who create these groups, to make the experience so much better for those who choose to go on this journey with them. And like in our community, I can target events, we have weekly events, multiple different types. And since our requirements setting and our role system, I can fully target, is this event for someone who’s a developer and is interested in how to build with their SDK, or is this event for someone who is a fully non-technical person, and they’re building a community and they’re interested in how to use new features, and I can fully target the whole event and the operations and the announcements of it directly for them. I also know how long they’ve been in my community, and many, many specificities. And it’s extremely helpful to make sure that my building efforts and their time is the best most values as it can be.
So, just because we’re on the topic of creators for a minute, if I wanted to create a group chat of everybody that’s listened to one of my recent singles on Spotify, assuming you guys had integrated Spotify API into guild, I could technically do that. Right? Is that the depth in which I’m thinking correctly?
Okay. Okay. Super cool. I love it. Yes, precisely. Let’s talk about Daos for a minute, because that was the initial topic that first brought us together and made this entire familiar thing. Okay. Daos have developed tremendously the last year and a half, two years. It’s been quite a whirlwind experience. I can’t even say that word correctly, world wind experience.
November, whirlwind. November 18, 2021, agora came out as very much like Dao in front and Dao tooling. And now you guys have sort of become the rewards and access layer for both web two and web three communities. How have you seen the shift in Daos in the last year and a half to two years? Where do you stand on where we are today?
Reka.eth:I think they’re taking themselves a little bit less seriously. And I also feel like the, like last or this bearish market, whatever we call it, that we’re in right now, which is kind of crazy and wild, have shown where the true activities and engagement actually is, which is, you know, not in the places that a lot of Daos or organizations that set up to become Daos were thinking that they’re going to have those at, so the core values are being revealed. And I think that made a lot of communities’ rethinks why they exist and their value and how they want to be set up. And I think that’s super healthy, and I love it. I’m here for it. That having said that, a lot of the things and communities that we still call Daos, I don’t think or but I’ve always feel like it’s just the naming, like if, there’s like five Daos that are truly Daos that I can name right now, maybe a little bit more, but the rest are also like very Dao edition, going towards decentralization, going towards being autonomous and definitely internet native organizations that have web three native assets involved and I love it. I actually like that it’s not as serious anymore, that it’s not every wanted Dao, and everyone has to make legislative decisions being incorporated, somewhere being super official, I like how we go towards more what we’ve learned from executing Dao so far, or being, you know, this whole process of becoming Daos. And taking that into Internet communities in general. And I think there’s going to be an uprise or second wave of Dao soon, which will be much, much healthier than what we had in the past years, because of our learnings. And because there was time to rethink why we’re doing this and how we want to achieve this. So, I can’t wait for that to happen.
What do you think is missing for that to happen?
Reka.eth: I think right now, a lot of people are touching grass at this exact month. I think like that’s what’s happening. And I think a lot of people lost trust in quite a few organizations and how they were set up. You know, a lot of shit went down last year, and many involved. Lots of financials that Daos were also conducting and I think the trust issues need a little bit more time to be resolved. So, having said that, the thing that I mentioned before, the human and the technical tool aspect, still have to come in alignment. I think we still, well, first of all need more specific tooling, and I couldn’t really say pinpoint what, but I feel like it’s been a very high barrier to participate in a Dao previously, I feel like that barrier has to be lowered still. And the human coordination aspect has so, so much work to be done there. In my experience, even the Dao that we call it Daos. Because they technically are, I’ve heard how centralized they are in terms of power and financials. And I think that’s going to be really hard to shake because that’s how a lot of organizations have been run in the past in human civilization. I know that’s not the only way and then there’s definitely improvements already, but I just feel like yeah, there’s more trust to be rekindled, and then are rekindled and then implementing the learnings from last year and probably.
The way I understand Dao.
Reka.eth: Also, we need stuff to do, you know, like I feel like, oh, we have a lag. Sorry. I feel like there’s, we still need stuff to do. We need to figure out the goals and be much, much stronger with the values and the mission that we’re on together as a Dao and cultivate that meticulously. Because I feel like even if trust and every financial and every different system is crumbling, if the mission is strong and the core of the whole org is going to survive in either shape, any shape or form.
What do you think or let me scratch that. Who do you think is executing on Daos in the thesis around Daos and the governance around Daos best today? And don’t say nouns Dao because we know their creme de la creme, but beyond nouns Dao.
Reka.eth: I actually heard pretty sick conflicts coming from noun Dao, I’ve been selling them forever. But I’ve heard there’s like pretty vague conflicts going on in there. So, I don’t know about that anymore. I feel like that turns out with every organization that I know about, like I just I named them as they’re great. And then three months later, it turns out that they have pretty systemic issues. So, like I’m scared to say anyone right now. I feel like someone who’s still have, has been working for through the Dao upsurge that we have, and still now is developer Dao I’ve always, they’ve been in my heart for a long time. There’s so hard working and yeah, I just, I appreciate the work that they do. And I feel like there’s an uprise, is that a word even? Like there’s a growing number of media-oriented communities, that are going towards decentralization, like they also started from a small core of core members, but they are actively getting contributors and they are funding themselves through selling off NFTs and I feel like tokenization is coming soon to them as well. So, I’m super excited to see that happen. You know like every, as the saying goes every web three native community is a media company at some point. And so, I’m super excited and thrilled to see how media companies function as decentralized organizations.
Okay, I think this is a perfect segue into talking about guild as a media company, as a creator led media company, particularly, right guys you’ve been introducing new product features new insights, with a twist, kind of like portraying yourself as a creator building guild, which I love so much. And that has sparked a lot of new creative paths for you as a creator with your Chaos journey and everything in between. So, being a brand that is actually mediate brand, right, just kind of like playing on your argument. How does guild think about media? How does guild think about content creation? And how does guild thinking about content worth collecting the theme of season seven?
Reka.eth: Ooh, I love that. I have a lot of thoughts. This is my bread and butter and the thing that I think about most under the shower, and I think it all started back last year. Once upon a time when I just had this feeling of having been in the space for a while and building a brand in the space for a while. And like you said we started very mysteriously both with Agora and then also with Guild and like, that was such a strong start I think and then we slowly opened up to be more and more approachable. And I feel like I have to, I just always felt like were doing such big responsibility for these teams and they trust us so much. We have to be more approachable. We have to, I want to build a soft brand. We are actually like dark themed or like arts as you can see here is pixelated, it’s very like gay Marie and I always felt like I’m a soft girly. We need to soften this up and the best way I knew how is, by showing, by always being there for our users. And then yes, back on the ominous day, I had this thought of I saw an announcement with Starbucks and Polygon I think, and I was like, like that’s such a big brand. Like if these brands keep coming in, we’re gonna be drowning. Like they have millions of dollars to throw into marketing. We’re not gonna be nowhere. We have such amazing tooling, like collectively invest and so amazing companies coming up. And if these like loyalty gigantic web two Wales come in, we’re gonna be nowhere, like we’re not going to be heard. We’re just going to drown in the ocean of cool things to do and collect and I was like, no, no, no, that cannot happen. And my solution in my head was whichever web three native and kind of like, you know, a company that lives the web three thesis, so that in being that different than the web two companies that are arriving right now into the space. Whatever company figures out, being approachable, being a recognized known brand and creating digestible, fun, relatable content continuously, even if it’s mediocre, but it’s continuous and it’s out there, is going to be so ahead of the curve. And whenever these big giants come in, they won’t drown. And I had this vision, I think over a year ago, but it took me so long because I’m like everyone, I’ve been a creator on not web three. Well, let’s continue the water theme on that web three oceans before overseas. And so, it’s not like brand new for me. But I still have such a big like, what am I going to say? Like I need to figure out how am I going to make a video, I need to figure out what tooling I need, like editing takes so much time. I’m a founder, like how am I going to juggle being consistent with content it’s so, it’s a full-time job. And then I figured it out. I had a great accountability buddy that we continued to assure each other into the right direction. And give validation constantly whenever each other feels like oh, we don’t want to be online. I don’t want to be perceived stuff perceiving me. We just talk to each other and validate each other and that was enough and so I figured everything out. I trial error. I tried so much tooling. I did the things and then here we are in the space where I can comfortably, like before this podcast, I set all of this up, the lighting, my phone records, my mic, another light, so that I’m balancing out the big light. All of this was set up in eight minutes, and the flowers and the background and everything and because I’ve done this, it’s the practice my babes. They’re not lying to you. I’ve done this at least seven times now, this whole setup, like I have the practice, it’s gonna be seven minutes next time, catch me doing that instead of and so it really is, it’s the elbow grease. And people are very shy to put content out. And I feel, I always just feel like it’s silly because whenever you feel like people aren’t going to relate to you, you’re going to be looked down upon. It’s not true. People aren’t going to say that. There’s so many people out there, even on the small crypto Twitter that is and people are going to find and gravitate towards you who are like you and that’s enough and you’ll find each other, if you keep consistently putting out stuff, you just find each other and it works. It’s perfect. On the other hand, it’s a scarier thing to be a face of a brand, which I also am in this journey because that’s why I was like, do I go and put like my silly little videos when I’m practicing on my personal account or do, I already posted on the guild brand account with like 80,000 followers? I didn’t there, so I actually, my pseudo videos went out on my own profile, which is perfect, because why not? Whatever I’m doing is guild anyways. My whole life is just guild, I’m incorporated into the product. Putting out something on an official branded account is a little bit scarier because you’ll be judged more, and it also is saying everything about your company or the company that you’re putting out it for. So, it has to be a little bit more polished and a little bit better, have more context. And to this day, in our audience I still get a few comments that there’s, my co-founder is also handling that Twitter account and our styles is mad different and some of the people don’t understand my style at all, which I think it’s a cute thing, you know, but that’s what I’m saying. The rest do and they love it. And we’ve just been in Denver at a conference, and it’s been so wholesome to see because at Denver it was core Ethereum community, so like fully the people that we want to talk to you and talk to on a regular basis. And since I’ve been putting on my solidity videos, I’ve not only been perceived as a creator and someone who bravely like shares on the internet, but you’re recognized, you’re given opportunities, people are kinder to you. They have more point of connection to put to your face and then this faceless, semi anonymous PFP world, that’s such a priceless thing. So, as hard as this journey is and as much bravery and courage it takes, I can only recommend people start doing it and the chaos thing that Adam was talking about, or what you were talking about is, we it was more like, at first it was an experiment, so we can support each other with my friend LDF in this creator journey. But it also ended up being, us being super public about our journey and experience and creating this movement. So, others will also start posting themselves a little bit more and putting out more of themselves. And it worked really, really well. And we’ve encouraged so many people to start doing the same. So, do it. I also need water, can I grab water?
Go grab water, yeah.
Reka.eth: Thanks, that was a wild.
Ready. 3, 2, 1. I feel like it’s always difficult and uncomfortable putting yourself out there. But I feel like long term it makes sense and it becomes super worth it. So, I commend you guys for just like embarking on the creator journey as cringy as that sounds, but I really think it is a journey and documenting your process and creating content around it and finding your voice through content. It’s like a, I want to say it’s a small w but it’s also a big W at the same time. I guess on that topic, okay. What is your creator journey look like from here on out, like what are you focusing on in this bear market? What are you going to be covering? What are you going to be documenting beyond what you’re already doing right now?
Reka.eth: I think so far, I’ve become very comfortable with posting feature updates on the guild account like this. And I’m also extremely comfortable posting silly little thoughts on my own account. I want to focus more on creating, like case study videos and this just in general like inspiring people to do cool stuff on the internet with how other people have done it and how we’ve helped other people do it. And I’m really excited to keep doing this, as I’m going to be traveling a lot this year and that’s also always a challenge, how to keep up consistency, quality and all of that, while you’re living out of a suitcase and this baby little mic is going to be coming with me everywhere, also my tiny tripod for my phone is going to come everywhere. And I think I’m going to trust natural lighting for my lighting situation. But yeah, I think I’m just going to focus more on trying to remain consistent, as I feel like I’ve reached the level of quality that I wanted with my editing, with my direction, with my everything. Oh, a new video was coming out this Wednesday. You will love it. It’s such, it’s my best direction ever. It’s like a YouTube video, like proper top tier 2016 video, you’ll love it.
Wow. Let’s go.
Reka.eth: It’s about creating tokens of appreciation and also using a new feature video. Because that’s the perfect combo of creating fun content and also showing your own stuff. New features and yeah, so staying consistent because that’s the hard part, at least for me.
Totally. Totally. Okay, final question I have for you is, what are you spending your time on during the bear market, beyond content creation, beyond guild, whether it’s spending your time on, like actually doing work or thinking about deeply? I’m trying to get a better sense of where your head’s at in this bear market.
Reka.eth: Well, it’s not gonna be easy to say a creative answer because I just work all the hours in the day right now. But I do think I’m, oh, I’m very into health practices that don’t take too much of your time. So, I’ve picked up sauna every few times a week, to just kind of cool off as an activity, otherwise I’m like barely doing anything aside from work. And what I’m thinking about though, which I do too much is, a lot of how we scale and distribute media better. So, in my opinion, every, I’m sorry, I’m stuck in the creator track but it’s who I am. So, I feel like every community, every creator needs two types of tooling and platform. One for permanence and just sharing it and one for distribution. And, you know, in a web two sense, somewhere where you would share it for permanence is YouTube or Spotify or well, even Instagram, and then where you get distribution is different type, which is like shorts, Tik Tok, Twitter, stuff like that. And I’m trying to think of how do we elevate it in a web three way and because I feel like with the tooling that I’m seeing people building right now, we are doing both at the same time in some cases, and I’m trying to think of how that’s going to be a better experience instead of making it worse. So, I’ve been grinding my brain cells on that one. Otherwise, I’m just living growing, finding balance in everything, like usually.
I love it. I love it. Well, look, I’m excited for you. I’m excited for your creator journey, all the content that we’ll be rolling out soon. Before I let you go, where can we find you? Where can we learn more, where can we learn more about guild specifically and all the cool things you guys are up to? Show it away.
Reka.eth: You can find me mostly on Twitter, Reka_eth and for guild, same on Twitter, guildxyz without the dot, sorry. And then we also have a YouTube channel which, where I post a lot of our content, even our community events, which are usually closed but I post the recordings of that, so that others can learn from what we teach each other there about community building, new projects and stuff like that. I also post a lot of fun guides and little videos there. It’s on YouTube guildxyz. And yeah, I want to help you make your community experiences better. So, get on guild. It’s free. Create group chats for your friends and or just like your biggest fans. I have one for everyone that’s created with me ever. I give them a pull app, and that’s an NFT and then I just created a guild for them, and they don’t talk to each other because they’re like random people, they’re sort of know each other because they’re acquaintances, so I don’t know what my goal with that was, but they’re in a group together, and it’s fun.
Soon hopefully, it won’t take another year and a half to get another episode but till then, wishing you well and thanks again.
Reka.eth: Thanks for having me. So nice to see you.
Mint Season 7 Episode 22 welcomes Morkeeth and Michel, the Co-Founders of Anotherblock. Throughout the session, we discuss how their platform connects traditional music ownership via streaming revenue with NFTs for buying and selling music onchain. The conversation touches on what they claim to be the benefits of royalty-backed NFTs over other forms of music NFTs, the psychology of pricing, and the grey area of whether or not these assets are an unregistered security. This conversation is not intended to be financial advice, strictly informational as it goes with every conversation on Mint.
So without further ado, I hope you enjoy our conversation.
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Michel, and Morkeeth, welcome to the podcast, excited to host another block on this episode, a part of season seven. How are we feeling? What’s going on?
Morkeeth: We’re good. We’re good. It’s getting late here in Stockholm. So, it’s, you know, it’s perfect way to round off the day.
What time is there now?
Michel: It’s cold, it’s getting into spring, it’s 1920.
Wow. Okay, well, I appreciate you guys being on super late. I know, we’ve been trying to make this episode a reality for a minute, but never, I guess better late than never. That’s what I wanted to say, right? I think a good place to start guys as to how I like starting all these episodes and is understanding a little about, a little bit about who I’m speaking with. Okay, so I wanna start with a couple intros from you, Morkeeth and then from you, Michel, who are you guys? Like what does the world need to know about you and more specifically, how did you get your start into web three? We can start with Morkeeth, and then work our way to Michel and maybe even include like how you guys met each other in that.
Morkeeth: Perfect. Well, sounds good. I mean, you and I, Adam, we met over at Bogota, where I started hacking together with your co-founder from Bello, Ellie, which gave us also a great shout out in your Eth Denver recap. That was cool. And you know we were sitting there; we were talking about creative economy. And that’s basically what we do, I run product here another block and came across Michel after I’ve been working in endow tooling, a little bit in defi and basically start to fall in love with this kind of like alternative acid and the creative economy. And basically, working with something that sparks joy and passion for people. I mean, money is great as well, when you talk about defy, but it hits different with like trying to change a whole generations kind of behavior of trying to reshape ownership, and especially with music.
And for you, Michel, where do you come into the picture?
Michel: So, I mean, long story short, so I’m the CEO, and the founder, one of the founders, we’re three the founders. But yeah, my background also, like grew up between Sweden and West Africa and Burkina Faso, moved back and forth between the two. And growing up, my dad set up like the first modern record label in Regina. So, I really, like grew up seeing and understanding like the difficulties and the awesomeness of music, but also like, definitely, like how difficult it is to monetize and make it, you know, a big thing that he really, like, started that industry from scratch over there. So given that experience, and seeing that, like I’d never thought it would go into music. So, you know, my background has been a lot in FinTech, my path into web three was actually quite slow. So, one of my colleagues in 2015, he went on to start doing analytics. But he was the one who like sat down with me and bought the first core into like, you know, he was doing this whole gospel thing, you know, so, I got introduced via him into the space, but then I would say, I was like interested and I read a lot about it, but I never, you know, I never collected and it is I understood the tech, I understood, you know, why it’s great. But you know, I never really, you know, interacted that much with it. But I understood definitely like what it could do and what the allure was, yeah. And then I met one of my co-founders, and we bonded about music rights in general, and like the power of music rights, and how awesome would it be to both fund like an up and coming artists and be a part of the growth but also, and more importantly, almost like, you know, at that time, you know, Bob Dylan and Neil Young, all these big stores are selling catalogs. And we were like, you know, we’re the ones who are creating the value of the catalog, because we’re listening to it all the time. Like why isn’t that a normal IPO? Why is it that you know, here, guys, you created the value, now it’s your turn to own it. Like why are those deals always bilateral? Why isn’t always one entity or, you know, big corporation buying up all of those rights, which was the same for the stock market for a long time. It wasn’t a stock market, you know, but for stocks in big companies, it was only big funds, buying them until the public could actually participate. So, that was where the idea started about one and a half years ago. And then it wasn’t until like two months after that, where we decided to double down on building it on crypto because we saw that, you know, it had very clear advantages to doing that. Like technically, you have 24/7 availability, it’s easier to track, it’s easier to do all the payouts. So really like the blockchain aspect of this changing after, you know, after the core concept was really you know, were create it. And then, you know, Stockholm has quite a small web three scene and Oscar was, you know, is one of the founding fathers of that scene, I would say. So, you know, we met quite early on and really, you know, did everything we could to bring him in.
Morkeeth: Yeah. And we tried understanding like, you know, we love web three, and try to really add those things that we loved, and to the end of the block ecosystem.
Got it. Why should people feel entitled to own more of the value that they create? Like why should that be a right of somebody interacting in the digital world? Because if you think about it, right now, when you consume content, and you consume media, the average listener doesn’t think, wow, I’m getting screwed here, I should be owning a piece of the value that I’m creating some capacity. It’s a very, it’s a new way of thinking for the consumer. And I’d say you’re very early in the adoption curve that sort of thinks this way. So, when you’re thinking about, and you made the argument that we should be capturing more of the value that we create, like that’s essentially paraphrasing what you said, why should that be a right? And would you say that a lot of people think like that today, but they just don’t have the tools to achieve that that want?
Michel: Yeah, I wouldn’t say it should be right. Definitely not, it shouldn’t be right for anyone, like it’s up to the creator in the end of the day, I’m just saying that it’s something that would be very, you know, I think it’s something that would be very welcomed, and something that people would appreciate having the opportunity to be a part of, because.
Morkeeth: We need the option to.
Michel: Yeah, it’s more on the option side of it. Like obviously, it’s going to be down to the creator at the end of the day. But like if you look at other things people invest in, like music and these kinds of assets, they also perform really well, and they are good investments. But the difference is that it’s so much clearer that you’re a part of that value creation. So, to me, it’s just like creating that possibility. And I’m sure that people will want to be a part of that, you know, because they’re a part of the value creation, they should be part of the value extraction. But it definitely shouldn’t be like, I’m creating, like I should have the right to own some of your rights, because I’m the one that’s listening. But it’s more like, you know, why isn’t this a part of the mix of things people can place their capital in and be, you know, co-owners of.
Morkeeth: And if we’re looking at the kind of like attention economy, like if we do want to have a generation that just scrolls and not participating, and like actually activating, I think this is a great way of just activating people and making people have cautious decisions of what they actually like.
When you think of the average person that’s scrolling through Tik Tok, and contributing to the virality of today’s music, what do you think their mindset is, as they’re consuming this content? When it comes to the music that that’s pegged and complemented to the video content that they’re watching? What do you think their mindset is, in that given time?
Michel: I mean, in the Tik Tok part, it’s hard to say like, because maybe I’m more focused on the image material that they’re watching, and they don’t really, you know, notice the sound or, you know, maybe they do and their mindset then is, I don’t think the mindset is like I’m a part of making this a success. You know, I don’t think that that’s part of the thinking today, but, you know, 10 years from now, maybe if you see a video that you think is gonna go viral, or listen to the song that you think it’s gonna get big, like if there’s an opportunity to jump in early, because you have a great taste, or whatever you care about it, like it would be great to have that opportunity, in my opinion.
That makes sense. I’m a big believer that I should be, I would love new ways to contribute to more of the value that I create, and like be more hands on with more value and value is very arbitrary, could be listening to a song. And my way of contributing is supporting the artists by collecting their NFT, right. Or if I’m listening to a podcast, my way of supporting the network is through patronage by collecting their NFT, like it all comes back to the NFT for me, right, something that shows my level of intimacy and my level of love that’s measured on chain, I think, is a very cool way to do that. But I’ve yet, a lot of people have yet to sort of like get that that fuse clicks, you know, the way we sort of, kind of like came.
Michel: And I agree with you. And I think that like, just, you know, the NFT part of it is an important aspect of it, because it’s like some sort of, you know, almost is tangible, but you know, you can touch it, but it is the closest thing to tangible, you know, owning a piece of something, and being a part of something that you can come, so I think that you know, this revolution is needed in order for people to start thinking this way.
Morkeeth: And a good way to bring around your data instead of having Apple collect, oh, you did a great review on the podcast you level. You gave five stars.
Morkeeth: That’s very limited to the Apple ecosystem.
Totally, totally. Do you think that these behaviors of collecting tokens, are going to be the new form of showcasing fandom on like on a greater scale or is this niche limited to a certain few?
Michel: It completely depends on how well we bridge the limitations right now. So, I mean, if you look at it, like it’s been a focus for us all the time, like how do we make it so, so, so easy for anyone who loves music to be a part of this, but you know, it isn’t that easy today to just interact with a credit card. And to build a product where you can, you know, have your tokens, like where you can have all of the benefits of an NFT and, you know, having on the blockchain, while also leveraging all the benefits of, you know, a web two check out or, you know, that flow of things, and I think it won’t be until, you know, we can have both, where, you know, it can go really, really big, but you know, if we don’t figure out as a community how to solve that, it’s going to stay niche, in my opinion, you know. And what I mean, there’s like, okay, OBC, they’re really good custodial solutions and things like that. But then, with those things, you also lose some of the parts of you owning something directly, right. But if the ecosystem as a whole, I’m talking about the whole crypto, and if the ecosystem figures out a way in which you know, you can really come close to that feeling of like I own this piece, I own this wallet, but at the same time, it’s just as simple to check out as it is on Amazon like, but then if those two things align, then I definitely think this is a mass market thing.
The way I’m understanding the way it works today outside of web three, when you build music fandom, I’m going to use one specific example, I’m gonna use Lady Gaga as an example. It’s an example that I use oftentimes in the podcast, and I like to ask my guests about that are building web three crypto native products. Now, a lot of the premise of this question stems from sort of what’s happening in my world today, going through crypto startup school and accelerator for Bello, right? Talking to all these people who’ve done on chain IP really well, who’ve built communities. And me thinking like what if the thing that’s preventing web three from hitting 100 million users is web three itself? And what do I mean by that? When you go on a Facebook group today, and you look up, or when you go to Facebook, and you look up Lady Gaga, you’ll see thousands of Facebook groups around Lady Gaga that her fans have independently created around different attributes of Lady Gaga, the equivalent of that could be like, everybody has a gold jacket and the board a yacht club will create a discord for those gold jackets, everybody that’s met Lady Gaga will create, will join the Facebook group that says I’ve met Lady Gaga. And by the way, that is a Facebook group. And there’s 7000 people in that group. And they posted like 20 times in the last day. Okay, so they don’t have a token, but they love the music they love. They love the element of connecting with all the other Gaga fans. They love the music, they love what she stands for, they love her fashion sense. They love all these things about her. And that’s what brings them together. Not a token, right? So, and I and I present this question or this narrative, or whatever you want to call this, the speech that I’m giving right now, okay, from the sake of challenging how I think of things in web three, and what’s actually important to the end user, when it comes to connecting with their fans. Because if I feel like if you brought a token into the mix, or any sort of financial element, whether it’s on chain or off chain, into those communities, the entire vibe would be completely different. Completely different. I’m curious if you have any thoughts on that.
Morkeeth: I mean, we had a look in these chords in the sub-Reddits. When we do, when we did a drop with, with Danny Boy style, producer for the weekend, we went on a hunt, to kind of look at the different sub communities. So, you know, try to, there is a difference.
Michel: There is a difference, and we were in like the weekends, you know, just their Discord server that has nothing to do with a token or web three, and it’s super, super, you have so many people have so much activity, they don’t need a token to be there at all. So, I mean, I still agree with you. And it’s like, you know, two years ago, when you met startups, you’re like, but why are you doing this on blockchain? What’s the actual benefit of this in this case? I think to us, if you look at like the big artists that we’re working with are the big producers, the big songs, then obviously, it is like, partly the financial aspect of it, like you can actually, you can actually trace the token you hold to a physical contract that says that you are a co-owner of this track, and that’s what we’re building the community around. So, I mean, that would be more difficult, not having it on chain. But I’m not saying that, you know, the fact that we have this token makes it a better fan community. You know, I think that those are two really different things. So, like, for us having it on token makes it a much easier way to say that you actually own a piece of the song for real. Like that’s what we’re serving today. And I think that, you know, for these really, really big artists, it might be difficult to have, you know, tokens be the bridge to their fans. But I do think, though, on the long tail, that, you know, tokens may play a role in just, you know, assembling those early supporters. But yeah, I mean, it’s hard to say like what it could, what it actually does that that’s completely different from a real Facebook.
Mokeeth: I mean, for us, it’s easy to distribute utility. And I mean, like you did, Adam, with your minting the NFTs. For the podcast, tracing everything, analytics becomes very much I mean, you’ve become closer with your audience at least.
100%. And I think just on this rant really quick of, I think it’s less about if tokens are needed or not, because I do see a world for tokens, it’s more about like what is the human behavior that a token fits into place organically. And when I think about like, web three’s adoption, I think let’s plug in this technology into systems in which everyday user already participate. So, for example, you buy a ticket to see a lady gaga show, the underpinning of that ticket is it NFT, the user and the attendee has no idea that’s happening, they then go create a Facebook like group around everybody that’s attended the conference, and the concert, and the only way to get into that community, is if you were at the show itself. And then forget token, forget price up price down, floor price, like forget all that stuff. You just shoot the shit and talk about Lady Gaga, you know, but exactly, to do was this verifiable thing, right? That would symbolize your access into the community.
Michel: Yeah, love that. And I mean, that also has to do with like, the simplicity in which you can access this. So, if you really bridge everything, so it is easy to buy, we are feared as we are crypto, when you buy this ticket ,like that is the initial step that needs to be bridged before all of those, you know, that example, for instance, would be a reality where it’s like just, you know, just a different technology, it makes it easier.
So, I want to pivot more into talking about another block and just understanding, what is your thesis for a crypto enabled music industry?
Michel: So I mean, the thesis as a whole is, you know, it starts off with like, we want people to be able to co-own music, and there’s two big legs that with that stance on, right? The first leg is we want people to be able to own parts of big tracks, that have delivered and are going to deliver. It can be a new track or from an established artist, and you know, that has two values, it has the emotional value of owning a piece of something. But it also has obvious you know, financial value, because you actually own, think piece of something that’s going to generate, you know, something, and, you know, that’s the first leg. The second leg is for the up-and-coming artists and that’s something that we’re going to focus on. Not now but after a while. So, the reason why we started with the first leg is because we want to bring people in, educate them and how it works, before you know allowing up and coming artists and to have this tool that they can also use, you know, for their community. And I think it’s going to be two different value propositions for these groups, like in the second groups went up and coming artists, you know, royalties is going to be less important, it’s going to be more focused on you know, how you can actually engage with this young artist in their path of creating something bigger. While for the bigger artists, it’s more of this emotional thing of like, oh, I own a piece of this star, and I’m worth it, right? So that’s, you know, I think that that’s in the realm that we’re working, like, you know, better attachment to the songs you already love. And being a part of that, you know, that financial development, and also being a part of this up-and-coming artists, you know, those are the two ways I think that our space can actually have an impact.
What do you say to those who are thinking, forget the old system, I’m here to build a new system, the old system screwed me over. NFT serve as a great primitive to sort of, like, create this new platform for myself, for my music and everybody that loves it. So, I don’t want to integrate the royalties. I just want to create; I just want to tokenize my existing song Independent of what’s happening in the web two world.
Michel: I would say I love that, you know, we need so many products out there, so like, why not do that? That’s awesome. If that’s what you feel like, if that’s what you know, feels the best and if that’s where you’re gonna get a lot of people in, like, you know, definitely do that. And you know, for our up-and-coming artists, what we’re going to do, it’s not as sure that we will work with royalties in the same way. But for, what I would say to someone, like, you know, that has that opinion is that, you know, it’s great, you have some options that are doing that, you know, you should definitely use that. But we’re here to provide a solution for all of the people that say that, you know, these NFTs has no value, like, you know, you just gonna create on just, you know, we’re here to create something that actually bridges the real world and the NFT world, where we say that, you know, this NFT, they are not empty, they actually own, you own a piece of this in the real world. Like we’re doing something different. I think that’s also needed in the space. I don’t think it’s like a dichotomy that we need to do.
Michel: Either one will win everything or the other will win everything. I think, you know, it’s different approaches. I’m a firm believer in what we’re doing. And I think that the reason why I didn’t get too involved with NFTs before, this was that I missed that aspect of it, I missed the aspect of, you know, what does it translate to the real world?
Let’s talk about that for a second. Because I think it’s super important to create frameworks for people to understand how all these new primitives fit into place. So, what you’re sort of explaining is one framework and then there’s another framework. I want you to tap More into your framework, like when does an artist choose to go the royalty backed NFT route?
Michel: Yeah. So, I mean, for an artist’s first of all, like the artist doesn’t need to understand much about web three or anything at this stage. So, an artist today, we can say that, you know, say that the artist, in general gives away a lot, let’s take an independent artist as an example, they can give a lot of weight to a label, in order to get funding, right. So, they give 50% of the rights away to label, so that they get a little bit of funding, so that they have something to live on, while you know, they hope that the song is going to make it big. But if it does, right, the label has 50%. So, if there was an open marketplace for music rights, then you can say, You know what, instead of giving away 50%, I’m going to sell 20%, but I’m going to sell it to the people actually like this music and support this music, and it’s going to spread this music, and they end up with 80% of the right, but maybe they have the same funding in the end. That’s the type of mentality where we think that, you know, the public and the community can actually replace a big part of what the major labels have been able to do, which is, you know, one of the biggest things in the marketing, you know, marketing mix is, you know, being able to give upfront cash. And if that is, you know, if that can be represented by people who will then spread this even more aggressively than that might be a really, really good option. Right?
I love that. And from a product perspective, Morkeeth, when you think about like designing a product, thinking about like the visual psychological effects when you see a product like in a music, royalty back music NFT, right, you can’t help but wonder like, what is the optimal price? And what is the optimal format for displaying these items, for selling these items? Let’s talk about price for a second. Okay. How do you guys think about pricing these NFTs? Because I feel like the Rhianna drop is much different than another drop that you’ll do, that’s much different than another drop that you’ll do. Like how do you think about the psychology of pricing? And how do you actually get to the conclusion that alright, this is what we’re going with, this what makes most sense?
Morkeeth: Yeah, I mean, the evaluation, we have a fairly standardized way of evaluating.
Michel: Yeah, exactly. So, I mean, I can talk a little bit about how we value like the evaluation, so and then, but then it’s up to you and the product team to decide like what to, how many NFTs and how much to split it. But if you started like what to revaluing. So, we have a percentage of the song that’s going to you know, that’s going to bring X amount of capital. And you know, the NFT price is going to be that divided by the number of NFTs eventually, right? But when we look at like what we’re selling it for, we aim to have a yield that is, you know, wildly between 7% and 12%, or something per year. So, it is like when we look at like the performance, the historical performance, we work with third parties that give us a good view on the next coming years in terms of streaming. So, we have a good view on like, how much cash flow this asset to, you know, the song with generate. And then we obviously work with, you know, risk assessments and, you know, interest rates on, you know, on, you know, in five years in the future, that value is going to be less than today. So, you know, we look at like, how is the cash flow gonna be over the next 20, 30 years? What does the cash flow the future mean, in terms of value today, right? Standard discount flow, discounted cash flow methods, but when we put all of that together, we get eventually get a price, like this is what we believe this track is worth and we presented to the seller. So, we’re a platform so the seller is always going to sell it and today, we aim to negotiate with the seller as much as we can, to get as fair price as possible to our end users in the future. The idea is that the seller should be able to price it at whatever they want but we’re always going to state, you know, what our economic calculation of this track. So, that if you completely miss out on that, then it’s up to you if you sell it or not, essentially, right. But that’s it. And then we need to figure out like how many tokens to split into what the price is. And that’s difficult, because that’s psychology, basically.
Morkeeth: That’s a lot about listening to the music, but also listening to the rights holder that wants to divest. Because there’s a kind of psychology and kind of branding mechanism in having a higher price point for NFT, assets being portrayed is more exclusive or more scars. But I would say I mean, let shout out to on chain music that also helped me, we worked a lot with third parties to get this kind of almost independent analysis of the track’s performance. And you know, really fighting for our holders in this current shape to get a good deal and a good valuation.
Michel: So that’s basically it. So, when you put the things were put together, it’s like this is the value of the track financially. And today, I mean, we price the tokens at that value. So, any, if it goes up on the secondary, you know, that’s up to the market, because maybe there’s emotional aspects to own music, right. So today, we’ve seen that yeah, all drops have risen on the secondary, which is great for, you know, our early minters. But it also shows that obviously, you know, music has more value than then than the financial value, which is what we’re pricing it at initially.
So, you talked about the emotional aspect. So, that that sort of like brings me into my next question. Do people mint these NFTs out of emotion or for the investment, the royalty’s element?
Michel: It’s hard. I like what I tell people who ask because that’s such, like a lot of people ask that question. And the honest answer is that we don’t know. We obviously have, you know, in our Discord and everything, like, we can see that there are several types of users, there’s the user who just you know, loves web three and loves this type of application. There’s the user really in it to, you know, to gain royalties and invest and to flip and to make sure that they win financially. And then there are definitely the user that just love building catalog and owning pieces of music. But it’s so hard to say today, like how big these parts are. And you know, if, you know, maybe the ones who are in it for the music are just more vocal than the others. Like it’s so hard, since we’re not collecting that much data, you know, on the people who use this, we don’t yet know, like what is the focus? So, I think that, you know, as this grows, and this behavior matures, we’re going to learn as well, like where to put the emphasis on a product level?
Morkeeth: Yeah, because right now we very much focus on splitting it between the ownership and the financial. I mean, we have one of our biggest whales, working for Goldman Sachs and our superb bullish on alternative assets music. So, he’s always preaching about the financial return and, and the type of assets that are not correlated with the market, because people still listen to music when it’s a bear market. But obviously, yeah, we split it, and we’re trying to figure it out. I mean, we’re running basically experiments with every one of our jobs.
Michel: I mean, what I could say is, I can’t see this being like a Bloomberg terminal.
You cannot see it.
Michel: So, and what I can’t see either, is this just being like a collectible with no rights attached to it. You know, so like, I definitely think, like we need both on a good level.
Interesting, there’s so many, so many rabbit holes to sort of, I guess, go down after that. Like I want to ask you guys like, what is the, I guess, what’s in it for the people that you select to kind of like take a portion of their percentage? And then I guess it’s like, fractionizing it, right? And selling it actually at a premium, right, to people who collect the NFTs for the most part, right? Or is there a different model that you guys have in mind?
Michel: No, I mean, that that is it. So, I mean, we’re trying to sell it at a fair price. So, that means that you know, at a certain price level, it makes sense for the seller to sell it because they get capital upfront and sell capital later. But it also makes sense from an investment standpoint, you know, because it actually has a good deal. So, the definitely is a level where you can actually strike a balance and the buyers and sellers can meet and that’s what you know, we want to do at scale. So, you know, I definitely don’t see at this stage. You know, we don’t want any part to get screwed. But the other factor here, we’ll see how that develops with the marketplace wars, but obviously, like the seller gets royalties on every secondary trade. So, you know, that is an aspect that you can bring in to actually get a better deal for the initial sales, right? Which is a good factor as well.
Got it. Let’s talk more about your recent drops, specifically the Rihanna drop because that was perfectly timed and light with a Super Bowl. I love that the execution of it leading up to the event. It was really cool to see and shocked a lot of people to kind of like come out with that project at that time. So, prop props to you guys. Can you walk me through like how did that happen? How did you like manage to pull that off specifically in timing for the Superbowl and just that entire story?
Michel: Yeah, I mean, the story is quite simple. So, we work with this network of people who sit on good music rights, and I was in LA last year and I met deputy which is the producer for this track. So, he’s done a lot of great tracks. And he did pitch but our money and he has YouTube videos on how he produced it. So, he’s a real superstar producer. So, we basically told him about the concept. We’ve done a drop with one of his friends before we knew people in his network and we were you know, discussing our platform and saying, you know, this is a really good way for you to get more visibility as a producer, to tell people in the world that you know what you created this but it’s great you know, from a financial aspect you know, this is likely to be traded a lot, you’re gonna get cut back on every trade. And you know, if we find a price where you’re comfortable, and that makes sense for the buyer, like this is something we should definitely do and you know, he got hooked, and we started working on it. It was mainly my team, my music team that was working on hashing out all of the details. But yeah, then we started planning on what’s a good timing for this. Obviously, the Superbowl was coming up, and then we did the drop and we definitely like underestimated the impact that would have, we just did 300 additions, you know, three NFTs of this. So, in our you know, we’re sitting here in Stockholm, and we’re like, yeah, it’s good timing, you know, maybe we’ll sell out quicker than expected, you know, that was basically the expectation levels. But then yeah, it went completely viral, like a bit too viral in my opinion, because yeah, we got just so, so, so much attention like it ended up on CNN after a while. And I think one of the great things about that attention is that it brought a lot of eyes to our type of NFT. So, you have people from law.com, like analyzing our, analyzing our contracts that are tied to the token, like how can you actually do this? You get people saying it’s a perfect application for you know, this added in for putting NFTs you got others criticizing, like it’s really good to start a discussion you can, you know, all of that.
Morkeeth: I mean, it started by us talking of all of our other tokens too.
Michel: Yeah. So, it was it was super good. All in all, like what I didn’t like so much is like when a media hype starts, like we were, where we really proud that it’s deputy who does the drop and he creates a song he’s selling it CROs, right, but when the media cycle goes, it goes, you know, deputy selling, which by the money by Rihanna, the next one says something and when it goes on CNN said like Rihanna sells NFTs, which you know, wasn’t at all, our press is it. So yeah, I would say that’s the only like negative factor of that.
So, when you saw a new got news at open sea halted trading on the NFT, what were your first thoughts?
My first thought was like this got too big, you know, because I think we had like, crazy amounts, like we were, at one point I think we were the most traded over the last 24 hours or something like on all projects. So, my first thought was like this is being traded way too much because the secondary price was also going through the roof, which doesn’t really make sense with our whole you know, royalties’ expectations and all of that, you know, when you buy it at that high price. So yeah, I mean, when we saw that was going viral, even on open sea, we were like okay, what is going on here? And when they halted it, we of course started thinking about what’s going on here and we didn’t really get a straight answer to why.
Mokeeth: Because it was also doing the Super Bowl, so but people were on holidays. And we have this issue, which not a lot of other NFT products have that we release new collections, like every single month. So, we have been pretty much in good contact with open sea, trying to understand like get our collections verified, not for that to be like any scam collections. out there. So, but it just got escalated and we’re still, I think a lot of NFT projects gets a little bit stuck in this kind of marketplace more.
Yeah, I think your model is very unique, in which you don’t go to the artists themselves to try to fractionalize a percentage of their shares. You go to the writers, the producers, and then you try to bring those people to kind of like bring light to music NFTs on your platform through their share, right? And the second an artist like Rihanna comes into the picture, who has so many eyeballs on her specifically right before the biggest event, entertainment event in the world kicks off, you know, and just so happens to open with that song as well, throw a lifetime performance, which is even crazier. The media starts twisting, oh, Rihanna started selling NFTs and then the narrative gets convoluted. And then I see why it would get taken down.
Morkeeth: Yeah, I mean, maybe that is why I mean, we don’t, we haven’t really gotten the answer. The narrative got twisted. We’re happy that we got a lot of attention, but we want the attention to go to Deputy because he’s the one who’s doing this, which is awesome. But I would say it is like we do work with producers and songwriters. We’ve done it quite a lot and we have more in the pipeline coming, but we also work with directly with labels. We also like our first job was directly with rehab and Laidback Luke. So, trying to mix it up artists, like for us it’s all about, like all of these people are part of creating this. So, you know, no matter who they are, if they’re the main artists or not, if it’s a good track, we want to give them a platform to share it.
Michel: And just to add, like we’re still listed on open sea and hopefully we’ll get the conversation going and try to understand this together. Because I think like we all need a regulatory clarification of what’s okay and what’s not.
Yeah, got it. That makes sense. Another question I want to ask you guys is sort of the securities element around this because everybody’s thinking about it. Right? And nobody has really provided clarity and I think you guys are the practitioners and the most ideal people we could go to, to kind of get understanding of what are the securities laws around being able to actually associate a royalty with a music NFT. What are your thoughts on that? How do you explain that to the person who asks you, like what the hell’s going on over here?
Michel: Yeah, I mean, so I would say like, we’re based in Stockholm, in Sweden, and here in Europe, it is way more care. So here, you have this framework, you know, to be considered a security you should either deal with depth, or you should have voting rights in a company, or you should be traded on a regulated exchange like NASDAQ. Right, so here you know, we’re clearly not a security but we are something you know, we are something that you know likely should be regulated and I, you know, we have a legal team, like we want to comply with regulation, but it is a gray zone. So, we don’t know, there is no framework in which we can apply to at this stage. So, there’s this mica regulation coming out in Europe, which will be enforced in one and a half years from now. So, we’re hoping that that will give us more clarity and to how we should position this, and you know, what guardrails we should have with the product to protect customer because, you know, the SCC and you know, our version of it here, like they exist to protect the end customer. So, you know, we don’t want to mess with that we want to be aligned but it’s really hard when you don’t know how at this stage, right? We could do like most of the things you do with the security but like maybe that will not be necessary because we know we’re not classified as that, because sharing royalties it’s way different. So, like at this stage we’re, it is great. So, we’re operating in, but we’re keeping an eye on like the European regulation to see how we can comply when it comes. In the States, it’s different. So, we have players like royal.io, you know, that are there, that are doing something very similar to us. And I you know, I’m guessing that you know, being based there and having more, like it’s a minority for us, that are Americans, right, but I’m guessing it’s more for them and I’m assuming that they also are trying to get answers from this is it, like how should you know this be, how should we act in this market, you know, in order to be compliant, but I’m assuming also that it’s not that easy for them to get answers. And we’re looking into this now because we know that like the SCC, especially in America, like can be more aggressive, so we’re actually looking into potentially, you know, restricting Americans.
Morkeeth: Just like blurted with their air drop. And now the trending of I’m not an American citizen, you have to check the box. It’s a weird world we’re living in
Michel: Yeah, so I mean, we’re looking into that, we haven’t decided yet but like one way, like unless it comes out of a clearer communication from the states, like it’s not unlikely that we will, you know, restrict access for Americans because, you know, it’s a very aggressive identity like don’t want to mess with any of that. Once you’re in Europe, we have a much more clearer view on like, what will be the ramifications and like what could happen like if they say we’re security, okay, then we do this so that, you know, we’re more comfortable with that. So, I mean, we’re still seeing but I think in general, people should be happy that this, how do you say it? Entities or you know, that they exist, and they’re here to do something good. But, you know, let’s not hope that they hold innovation either.
Right. Have you guys got any backlash from labels that you’ve tried to work with, with approaching them with this new model, artist and writers that you’ve tried to work with? What tends to be the common misconceptions?
Michel: I would say like early on when we were pitching, like a lot of people are afraid of the space in general, like how can how it can have an effect on the brand. You know, being a part of the NFT world, basically. I think that’s a big thing that we tried to work on when we have early conversations.
Morkeeth: A year ago, it was the environmental aspects Ethereum And then all of a sudden, they changed to becoming like NFTs is a scam. Those are the prejudice that we’re trying to fight.
Michel: I would say that those are the two biggest things because like, from a standpoint of like what we’re offering and the product, like a lot of people find it pretty clear and like, either they like it or they don’t, like it’s a normal sales process, but that’s the factor that I find a bit arbitrary, you know, what they think about the space essentially.
Got it. I have a couple more questions for you. The first one is, the second to last one is this concept of paying people out royalties. I wonder if there’s a world where you can pay people out per second or per minute, or per X timeframe versus the typical like few month period in which people get their paychecks from Spotify and Apple Music, the DSPS. How do you guys think about that?
Morkeeth: Yeah, because royalties are kind of structured in a very conservative and fairly old way and the model of getting paid per year or per six months. And so, we wanted really to bring in the concept. One of the first concepts when we started to contribute to Dao, me and a couple of other devs here was to get paid every second and having that, you know, making it almost trustless that you are not going to get robbed if you work for one month, and then the project is going to decide no you’re not getting paid. But if you get paid every second, you’re always getting paid for what you do. So, we wanted to bring in that concept and I think we’ve really tried to scout all over the web three the ecosystem of finding good partners. So, combine that with super fluid or the money streamers, because we met them and talked with them at Eath New York last summer and we’re like it would be super awesome if we could just remove that little trust from another block and just started paying them by the seconds. So, we can almost you know, stand, like take a step back and become just the platform, trying to facilitate this and giving them based on how it streams, looking at the data and paying it out and giving the custody to our holders.
Got it. And the last question that I have is, what’s next for another block? What are we, what’s on the roadmap? What can we expect that’s coming out soon?
Michel: Yeah, I mean, I would, I mean, that is the big thing coming up, more big drops, more of a mixture of drops, I would say, like more experimentation in terms of genres and where they come from. It’s not just gonna be like, you know, it’s gonna be more of a variety, more of a mix, but still, like proved music.
Morkeeth: And then obviously, like social stuff with lens.
Michel: Yeah, definitely.
Mokeeth: Bringing in some lens integrations to get the fans connecting.
Michel: And then, you know, in the near future, like obviously, something really, really exciting for the independent creator as well.
Morkeeth: We’re looking to scale up you know, having more drops, not just having one every month and just bringing in more music, making you know, people own music, making them catalog holders you know, really getting the music that they like.
I love it. I’m keeping an eye out, excited to see what comes next out of your corner. Before I let you go, where can we find you? Where can we learn more?
Michel: I’m on the blog.io, is the most simple way and you can find your way to our Discord there and our Twitter and all of that.
Morketh: Big mesh.
Amazing. Let’s go. Thank you for being on till next time.
Michel. Thank you so much.
Morkeeth: Thank you.
Mint Season 7 Episode 21 welcomes music collectors Cooper Turley of Coop Records and BlockchainBrett of Palm Tree Crew Ventures who are joined by web3 music artist and producer Daniel Allan to discuss Daniel’s recent one million dollar fundraising round to propel his music career. The three delve into the artist seed round, ROI when investing in artists, how Daniel plans to spend the one million dollars, the future of web3 music + much more.
I think this model changes the game completely and provides creatives with a new means of support. The goal of this episode is to shed light on the process and what goes into raising a million dollars. Full disclosure, I did invest in the round as I’ve been support Daniels journey by documenting his early beginnings on Mint and by collecting his music NFTs. I’m excited to see how this experiment plays out and stoked to capture this milestone for you all to hear.
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We got Daniel Cooper and Brett. The Avengers of web three. Is that what you guys call yourselves? How do you guys introduce yourselves? What is this?
Cooper Turley: So, great friends out here, you know, companions, compadres.
Compadres. Companions. I like it. I like it, guys. I’m excited to have the three of you on. We got a lot to celebrate. First thing to celebrate is we have a trio, the first time a trio has been on. You guys have been on the podcast separately, but never all together. So, that’s one thing. Second thing is Daniel, congratulations, which we’ll talk about in a minute. We have a lot to celebrate on your end of the spectrum, that Cooper and Brett sort of, yeah, all three of you play a big role in it. So I think a good place to start is, quickly, who are you guys individually? Because those who don’t know you, it’s always great to get a brief. So, Cooper, start with a quick intro Brett and then Daniel, then we’ll kick it off.
Cooper Turley: Cool. Hey, guys. I’m Cooper. I’m the founder of a firm called Coop records. We’re investing in early-stage next generation music companies. I’m a big collector in the space, advocate for artists and just excited to be here with the legends that are on stage with us tonight.
Legendary. Brett, take it away.
BlockchainBrett: Hey, guys, I’m Brett and I’m a co-founder and managing partner of palm tree crew crypto, investing in the early-stage creative economy space, and a longtime collector and founder in the space as well.
Last but not least, the man himself Daniel Allan, who are you man?
Daniel Allan: Can you guys hear me? My Wi Fi like cut out. My Wi Fi cut out, so I couldn’t hear a thing.
I can’t do this, seriously.
Daniel Allan: My bad, this is.
We got to figure out a different format here.
Daniel Allan: I’m doing the best I can here. I mean, I could do a good move into another room, like 20 minutes. Right? Probably like the reset everything up. Was 100% Cooper’s fault.
Are you at Cooper’s place right now?
BlockchainBrett: Can we just start from scratch or can just like edit that.
No, no, yeah, of course, you’ll just start from your end. So let me like, so ready, three. Cool. Okay, let’s go. Daniel Allen, the one and only quick intro on yourself.
Daniel Allan: Yeah, I’m Daniel, thanks for having me. I make beats and DJ and have been dropping music NFTs for almost two years now. I think the first one was end of March of 2021. So, let’s call it like, right at the two-year mark.
Wow. Congratulations. I’m really excited to have the three of you guys on. We have a lot to talk about with a short period of time over here. So, I want to figure out how should we kick this off? Like I don’t want to pop it myself. Daniel, can you go ahead and talk about it? What are we celebrating here today?
Daniel Allan: Yeah, it’s pretty crazy to like, say it out loud, I guess publicly for the first time. I mean, right now it just feels like it’s us. But I noticed there’s gonna be like in the broader like world in a couple days when we announce it. And by the time this comes out, but with Cooper and Brett co leading the round, I raised a million dollars. And it’s the first time that I’m kind of treating an artist project as a company. And the whole point of it is for me to like to broaden the horizons of my project both on the web three side and the web two side, and just find an interesting alternative to like, the record label model that has existed for so long.
Wow, one milli, that’s a big deal. I have yet to see another artist raise a million to support their creative endeavors. And I want to start by saying congratulations, Brett, Cooper, congratulations to you guys as well. Yeah, it’s a lot to dive into. I remember seeing that first mirror crowdfunds campaign rollout and the big sort of PR moment that came behind your brand and your music career in web three. And to see how far you’ve come all the way till today, to celebrate a race. Feel like you’re treating yourself as a startup, something that I’ve been talking about on the podcast for a minute and to see you be the practitioner behind it, to see the three of you sort of put this into the world. I’m excited to see what comes out of it. Cooper, Brett, how are you guys feeling? I’d love to get first your perspective Cooper.
Cooper Turley: Yeah, I mean, it’s a longtime comment. You know, I’ve been friends with Daniel for the better half of two or three years now. And it’s really just an accumulation of all the work he’s put in today. You know, Daniel is extremely hardworking, and discipline, I think it takes a very specific type of person to be able to execute on something like this, you know, as Coop record speaking here, we’re just excited to keep supporting Daniel’s career, you know, I’ve been collecting as NFT since day one. We believe that there’s an extremely high potential for it sailing in the future. And I think at this round is really just going to unlock a lot of new avenues for him to expand his career. So, we’re just excited to support and see what happens.
Brett, how are you feeling about the whole thing?
BlockchainBrett: Yeah, I mean, I think this point is, it’s a testament to how powerful music NFTs are. I mean, I originally met Daniel by collecting one of his one of his songs, one of his music NFTs. We’ve grown a lot closer throughout several drops and a bunch of amazing projects that he’s, you know, pioneered the space with, from, you know, one of ones to editions, to generative projects, to collabs and major EP, the biggest EP drop we’ve seen. So, I think it just makes sense that he’s continuing to push the space, the boundaries with this race. And I’m excited to see what he can do with more firepower. And we’re super stoked to support it. You know, like the leading music NFT artist in the space.
Daniel, when I first got into, like startups and venture capitals, seeing all these companies raise millions of dollars, it always like star struck me. And to think that an individual is able to do that right, and sort of put some type of valuation on their brand as a whole very early on in their career, is quite captivating. I’m curious, like at the very early process of kind of like putting this thought into the world, what went into that, like what goes into raising a million dollars to be able to support your creative endeavors? And I just want to deep dive into the entire process.
Daniel Allan: Totally, I mean, I think that I’ve been thinking about it for a really long time. I mean, I think that I’ve been thinking about it really, since overstimulated. I think in a lot of ways this is kind of what like what overstimulated always wanted to be like at scale. And so, for me, I think that, you know, I’ve looked around me, and I’ve said this multiple times, I’ve seen so many people that have been in and out of the record label system. And for me, I’ve kind of built a career so far on like finding the alternatives that don’t necessarily rely on like what the industry system has been, because I think that, again, I think that there’s totally a time and a place for a record label. But it just didn’t, for me, it never took the boxes that were I guess, like I didn’t really have any leverage to be able to do anything on my own terms. And I think that a lot of those entry level deals kind of put you in a tricky situation. And like for me, a lot of my nonstarters have been like, okay, I want to put out music at whatever cadence I want to put out. So, that means that if I make a song, I want to be able to mint it the same day, I want to be able to try to put it up on DSPs as fast as I can, I don’t necessarily want the lag time or wait to have like a Tik Tok moment or whatever. But at the same time, like for the longest time for two years, I was using my NF T sales, primarily for the most part to pay my rent, because I had never made any money off music at all before this was happening for me, right. And so, after two years of that, and like saving some money and whatnot, putting a lot of side, I kind of got to a point where I was like, okay, I’m not necessarily relying on music NFTs as much to pay my rent, but I still really want to scale out my project. And I want to do it in a way where I’m one, able to retain way more ownership than I did, I would understand the record deal. And two, do it in a way that doesn’t take off the things that are my nonstarters, like the cadence, you know, like I said, when I was, in the search of looking for like deals, I would say in the course of the past year, like my preference has had nothing to do with money or term length or whatever. It’s just been like, if I want to put out a song today, is someone going to tell me no. Right. And so, I think for me, all those things kind of came together. And I mean, I think a lot of the people that had, that led this round, or that were involved in the round in any capacity, have been people that have supported my NFT journey, I think in the past two years. So, it’s pretty nice to kind of be like, okay, you guys have been here for, you know, the better half of two years. Now, let’s see what we can do over the next 5, 10, 15 as I build my career past, not only music NFTs, which is obviously always going to be the backbone, but like, what is my brand and web three? Like what is, how do I incorporate that into my shows? How do I incorporate that into like my music right? And so, yeah, I mean, like I said, I’m a pretty, I think I’m a pretty like entrepreneurial, I guess, musician. I guess that’s kind of like been my stamp and I kind of get it. I mean, I went to business school, even though I don’t really count it like that, I was pretty bad student. But I guess my head has always thought about it in that way. And so, just kind of, yeah, I don’t know, a lot of things came together with a group of people, this special group of people that we brought together for this. So yeah, I’m just super stoked, but honestly, just more focused than I’ve ever been. Because a million dollars might sound like a lot of money. And don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for it. But I have to use all the resources to kind of better my career, you know, so I only, in my mind only have like, if you know a few shots and goals, I’m just trying to maximize those.
With raising around like this, you can’t help but wonder what do you need a million dollars for? Like what is that million dollars is going to be spent on? How are you going to be distributing it and allocating it? What are the first few things you’re really going to be kind of like investing in to propel your career forward?
Daniel Allan: Totally, I mean, so the way that music typically works is you have like a manager, you have an agent, you have a business manager, you have a lawyer, right? And a lot of these people have other clients and don’t get me wrong, I still have like my manager, my agent and I love them. But at the same time, there are certain requirements that I need that I don’t necessarily, like I want to be kind of treated as a priority act in a lot of ways, right? Like for me, I want to be able to, I remember when I was doing a lot of the stuff on like, on bonfire, for example, and bonfire are my absolute homies. Like I think that as we started to do glass house, as we started to do projects after that, they were fortunate enough to bring a bunch of people on and but one of the things that I missed, and this isn’t bonfire in particular, this is just like working with people in particular, is I really wanted to be able to have some sort of like a focus that’s like, hey, let’s, I really want to be able to build this out with one person, I want to be able to individualize the experience. And obviously, as all these companies are scaling, you know, I would do the same thing, you know, I would be trying to diversify my client base, you’re working with as many people as possible. And for me, as an artist who’s kind of treating myself as the CEO of a company, I need to have employees that are going to help me whenever I need stuff, right. And so that goes from everything from marketing, reach, audience, like having someone that’s full time on my social media team, having someone that the full time or at least a part time developer, when I have very specific asks for projects that have been put together. Like if I’m doing a generative project, like I could ask a bunch of people who are working on so many things at once, or I could hire someone for like a three-to-six-month time horizon to help build out a website for me, to help build out the, you know, whatever contract work that I need. And so, like for me, it’s kind of, a lot of the money is really buying me flexibility and attention, you know, so that’s kind of, I think, what my goals are, is just like hiring people that are gonna kind of be on my team full time.
Definitely. Brett really quick, when we’re not talking mute yourself. I’ll cut this out. Because I hear like, like plates clinking. Cool. Okay, great. So, my next question is for you guys. Okay. So, 3,2, 1, Cooper, and Brett, I know you guys have been super vocal about betting on artists, supporting artists. I mean, both of you combine probably some of the biggest supporters in the music NFT space to begin with. Cooper, one thing I’m like a big fan on your end is, you often document your thoughts and how you sort of think of the world in web three as it pertains to music. And a while ago, you pushed up this concept of the artists seed round. And it seems as if it very much plays into tack with what just happened with Daniel, was this like the next iteration of what you were expecting to create? Or did this deal sort of just happen through this belief that artists should sort of find other means of capital to bootstrap themselves? Like how are you thinking about this as it pertains to the artist seed round?
Cooper Turley: No, I think this is the Genesis, you know, when I was going out and raising this fund, I was talking to my investors about a concept of investing in artists. And I think that Daniel is a perfect case study for this, you know, I think it takes a very determined individual to sit through all the nuance of raising a seed round. So, behind the scenes, you had a lot of corporate structuring, you had a lot of legal work going into it, you know, a raising through a safe, and Daniel now, you know, this stuff is not the most ideal situations for someone who just wants to sit and make beats. And so, it was definitely a very gradual process. But I think the reality of it is, if you want to bring on outside capital, there’s a lot of legal work that goes into that, that legal work takes time and effort. And it takes very specific individuals that are willing to participate in that. So conceptually, yeah, I think that investing in artists is really exciting. But mechanically, when you go and do that, you know, setting up a C Corp, setting up underlying subsidiaries, being able to raise into a vehicle through a safe, having investors that understand the vision of backing and artists. There’s a lot of moving pieces here. And so, I think, for me, and for coop records, this is our first example of an artist seed round. You know, I’m optimistic that there’s a world where there’s many more of these. But I think in the immediate short term, it does really take a lot of dedication from someone who’s very focused and willing to experiment in a new and creative way. And I think that Daniel was the perfect case study for that. And I think someone like Brett and pumped your crew crypto, were really the other backers that we needed to help make this a reality.
Yeah, Brett for you. I mean, you guys have a pretty prolific portfolio of backing creator economy-based startups in crypto. And it feels as if this is like a, like an outlier type of bet that you obviously believe in and you’ve supported Daniel since the get go from the initial mirror crowdfund to collecting NFTs, advisory, all that good stuff. But this bet particularly feels a little bit outside of the software place that you typically invest it. Right? Can you walk me through your thought process in that?
BlockchainBrett: Yeah. Yeah, I mean, yeah, you’re right. I mean, we usually I mean, we look at the creator Economy space, the crypto creator economy space as like the different verticals of content, and all the infrastructure around that, at its core, and music is obviously a huge part of that. And that’s something we’ve been really focused on. And we’ve done like the infrastructure side of it to start. And I think we’ve kind of just done a lot of those different layers that make up the music NFT stack, from, you know, the co-creation at the, with our Peggi and the minting and curation around sound and heads for creation and, you know, kind of up the stack. And I think when you finally get to like, the top maybe the most important part of the stack, which is the artist, Daniel is definitely my number one favorite choice to be a part of, you know, from what he’s, the hard work he’s put into and what he’s been able to build in this space. I guess you could call it like the brand slash IP layer, right? And I think he’s gonna be definitely like the leader, if not one of the most forefront leaders in the music space in the cryptocurrency economy. So, it does fit in with the thesis for sure, we don’t like normally just go for, you know, creator to creator brands or brand, but it definitely fits in to the total stack. And I think really like as an individual collector, I’ve been collecting Daniel for a long time, we’ve continued to, you know, kind of keep my ownership, I think about like buying music NFTs is very similar to how I think about running the fund. And I have maintained like a significant ownership of the outstanding music and ftu that Daniels put out. But every time buy personally, it’s you know, it’s $100 at a time maybe like the one on ones, maybe it was a couple of $1,000 at a time, but it’s like small little increments. And from a fun perspective, when you have, you know, tens of millions of dollars, you have to kind of do it in bigger amounts. So, I think this opportunity where Daniels raising a more significant amount of cash at once, it gave us an opportunity to participate in a bigger way from the fund and not just from me, personally.
I’d love to get each of your perspectives on this. And we could start with Brett, then go to Cooper and go to Daniel, how do you think this changes the game for independent artists, specifically as it pertains to those that are trying to be more crypto native?
BockchainBrett: You want to start with me?
Yeah, let’s start with you.
BlockchainBrett: Yeah. How does it change? What was it how does it change the game?
BlockchainBrett: We changed the game. Upside down, reshaping and baking it.
This interview, I’m probably just gonna come out great. But you guys are killing it.
Daniel Allan: Answer this question. My Wi Fi is hanging by a thread bro, I don’t want to fuck this up. Let’s go, c’mon.
No, no, no, this is actually important question. Daniel, you’re the first person to fucking do something like this. Like who the fuck raises a million dollars as an artist, that’s independent that started making music in COVID. Like who does that? Okay. So, when I think about changing the game, that’s what I’m talking about. Okay, so let’s try this question again, Brett, Cooper and Daniel. All right. From an artist perspective, specifically, as an independent artist in web three, this model completely changes the game. You guys are a bunch of people and that sort of bet on Daniel and his future endeavors, his musical endeavors. And he raised around a funding, like who does that? How do you think this changes the game for independent artists, specifically those that want to be more crypto native?
BlockchainBrett: Yeah, I think it’s lays down, you know, a path for more artists to follow. I think being an artist that has focused on music, like embraced music NFT space has is, music NFT an unbelievable alternative, or option or kind of new system for getting value directly from the people that appreciate you the most, like your fans, your audience. And yeah, it shows that music can be really valuable. So, you know, that’s something that Daniel is built on. And now this point like, and it’s a really strong exposure. I mean, I think buying music NFT directly the artists will probably always be the strongest exposure to the artist. And I think, you know, an artist, in our case, from the fun like this is an opportunity to write like, a kind of bigger check at once. And push and help push Daniel to the next level. But also, from the fun we’ve been buying his music NFTs directly as kind of like a side as a side to the investment directly. So, we have his music NFTs in the phone as well.
BlockchainBrett: Yeah. And I think it’s like, it just goes to show that like that, like owning his music NFTs are a really strong exposure to his future. And like how he’s gonna continue to innovate and grow on that. And it really is like an opportunity to be a part of his future and like have like his upside, like I think, you know, when you look at investing in this round, like you know, sure, like you don’t have to invest in the equity of Daniel Allan in order to get the access or that be a part of his journey. Like I actually think that NFTs are the best exposure to and that’s why we also thought NFTs insights from the fun and we’re excited to support from all sides of the exposure.
Cooper, how do you think this changes the game for artists in web three?
Cooper Turley: I think it sets a new precedent. You know, you have record deals, you have distribution deals, you have publishing deals, and now you have equity seed rounds. And I think what we’re doing here with Daniel shows that there’s an alternative to everything that exists out there today. I think it’s going to take a lot of time for it to get fleshed out and be able to be recreated by a lot of artists at scale. But you know for Daniel’s specifically, he has a great group of supporters around him. There’s people have been collecting his music for last couple years, they really see the vision of what we’re building here with web three. And so, I’m optimistic that there’s going to be many more of these seed rounds in the future. But I think Daniels really pioneering what it means to support an independent artist that scale.
Daniel, I know you’re often vocal about, like wanting to be the example for other creators in the space, you did this with your personal website, you did this with your like attributes to your different NFTs that you’ve dropped, like you’ve consistently set that tone for yourself. And when I asked you how does this change a game, I’m curious, when you think of other creators that probably want to follow your footsteps eventually. What does this mean for them?
Daniel Allan: Yeah, I mean, I think the way that Cooper put it, saying that it’s like an alternative is a good way of looking at it. I think that the way I look at it is similar. But also, I think that like flexibility is always like the key word for me. Because the reality is like, when you sign a record deal, like you have really like, you know, unless it’s a 360 deal, which are like less kind of common. And I kind of think that this is more of like a web 360 deal. It’s kind of the like the term that we’ve coined for it. Like most traditional record deals are kind of like you have one at that, which currently like as presently constructed is like blowing up a record on Tik Tok, so that you can come out with a single, single does really well, you’re no longer shelved, you’re able to, you know, put an album out and maybe tour with it. But really like that is few and far between. And a lot of ways it’s kind of up to the Tik Tok lottery. I think for me, the reality is there are very, there are a lot of different avenues in my career. Right? Like there’s the music NF Ts which have always been the backbone, and I think kind of the most important part and the primary source of revenue, right? At least in the past two years. But then there’s my masters and my publishing, I’ve been really vocal about, you know, I’ve been very vocal about the fact that I want a big record, that’s something that I care about, and I’m like, not scared to talk about. And then there’s also my touring, which, you know, I signed to CAA six months ago, I have a bunch of really exciting touring announcements that I’m, that I think the first one is going to drop like at the end of this month, right. And then it also has to do with like my future endeavors, which I mean, you know, I’m not gonna say too much, but we have like a lot of plans for things that we’re going to be rolling out in the next six months to a year. And I think that the reality here is like when, you’re a record label, you’re kind of betting on one kind of side of an artist. And I feel like a lot of this has been people betting on me as a person, just as much as it’s them betting on me as an artist and betting on me as a businessman as well. So, that’s like, I think kind of the nuance, and I think that the, I think a lot of artists are not like one dimensional, where you know, I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love making beats just as much as the next guy or girl, you know, but I think that there are just so many things that I’m interested in, so many parts of my career that I want to build out. And I think even if I don’t have the total answer, or what I want my first global headline tour to be right now, I think that the people involved in the round trust that I’ll figure it out.
Cooper Turley: Yeah, and maybe to jump in here, I think that’s what’s exciting from an investment standpoint, is you don’t have to bet on one specific output from Daniel, it’s not like we have to only optimize for as NFTs doing well, or only optimize for his masters doing well. You know, this vehicle really allows you to have exposure to all aspects of Daniel’s career. And when it comes to investing in a creator, there’s so many different things that they might want to do, you know, who knows, maybe someday Daniel wants to open a pizza shop, right. And if he wants to do that, I think there’s a real world in which investors in this round are getting exposure to Daniels pizza company. Now, it’s not something that we’re going to investors today and saying, hey, Daniel is going to open a pizza shop, come and invest in, you know, the seed round. But I think in the short term, being able to say, hey, this investment vehicle actually encompasses his NFTs, it encompasses his masters, his publishing his touring. That’s an incredibly exciting prospect. And if you go out there, and you look at what deals look like today, as Daniel alluded to on the master side, a record deals really only touching your Spotify streams, you know, publishing deals, rolling and touching if you get placement in a commercial, or you get some streams on the radio, but for this opportunity, and the investors involved in it, they can sit back and feel confident that no matter what Daniel does, they’re gonna have some exposure to that. And supporting Daniel actually means just kind of giving him cash and getting out of his way. I think that’s something that’s very different from other vehicles, where people are so much more hands on in the process. You know, I believe in Daniel’s ability to spend the million dollars how he sees that’s fit. If that means that he needs to pay for recording budget, if that means that he needs to hire a content person. I don’t think the goal of us as investors say, hey, you need to do X, Y, and Z because it’s pre mandated based on 100 record deals that have been done in the past. This is creative ground for him to really explore what that means. And I think to his point earlier, Daniel, bringing on a couple of full-time employees to be able to help him scale up his content, to be able to think about things like getting more placements, more press, more opportunities on the touring side, having street teams and more presence in college atmospheres. I think all those doors are kind of open and enabled by this. And so, to really round that out, you know, a million dollars is not a lot in the grand scheme of things for running a company. But when it comes to an independent artist having a full-scale budget to spend on what they believe is best to scale their career, in partnership with people such as Brett, myself and all the other investors participating. I think it sets him up in a really strong position to make a big headline for himself over the next couple of years.
BlockchainBrett: Yeah, and I think it’s amazing how it is 360. You know, it makes a ton of sense but you know, I I think like, from my perspective coming at this, like I think what has been happening and then at the space like and what Daniel has done in the music NFT world is what makes this possible, like we have examples to point to previously, and like the crypto art space, like imagine if, for instance, x copy were to raise a seed round in 2018, or 2019, right, like he went on to do 100 million plus, I don’t know the exact numbers, but tens of millions, 100 million plus in sales. And I think that from an investor perspective, that’s something that you know, to get exposure to. Right now, we’ve seen an artist that you had no idea was possible to grow in that way, in a digitally native world and a crypto native world. You can do it and now we think it can happen with music, you know, or not think we were very confident you can happen in music and Daniels is that person we want to bet on to make it happen. And we can get exposure to that, right. And I think you get exposure to that from the NFTs directly as well. I think and the money is also, I think a big part of those resources that’s really helpful, is to create natively in the web three space with more collaborations, working with more partners, building out more of the stuff yourself that can interact with like. The same way that other web three companies are partnering and releasing on this protocol or doing creation with this app. It’s like, it’s just to have the resources even keep track of everything on web three, all the partnership opportunities, all the collaboration opportunities, where to draw up, how to drop these, there’s like web three, manager web three aspects that I think take a lot of work. And it’s a lot for one person to take on themselves. So, I’m excited for Daniel to use the money to bring on some more help to build, even more so natively in the web three space, in addition to all the different aspects that make being a musician so much fun.
I think it’s one thing to recognize, sure, a million dollars is not a lot of money for a company. And we see people specifically in web three, raise 3 million over here, 10 million over here, a 25 million like we brush this off, like it’s no big deal to become a norm in our environment. But the reality is, it’s still very difficult to deploy a million dollars if you’ve never done something like this before. And it’s very difficult to deploy in a way where it’s efficient, and calculated, and you mitigate risk around along the way. And I feel like it opens up a whole new profile of things to consider than if you were to just take a standard record deal. Right? Like you’ve literally opened, like you are treating yourself as a startup and like respectfully said, like you, you have to think yourself, treat yourself as someone who’s generating cash flow, right? You have to think about your operations, you have to think about all these things that a traditional company would sort of like, consider when they’re raising funds and taking their data do their business in into their own hands. And it’s a, I don’t know if it’s for everyone, like I want to think that it’s like, it’s one of these models where it’s an alternative model 100%. But I don’t know if everybody can withstand the responsibility that comes with this. Do you guys have any thoughts around that?
Daniel Allan: Yeah, I mean, that’s why that’s why for me, I purposefully decided to like, still have traditional mechanisms and barriers in place, like having a manager and an agent, right? Because a lot of my life right now, you know, is going to be, yeah, like making beats and doing the things that I’m really good at. And, you know, a lot of, I remember when I was like starting off, like early in the music industry, I’m obviously still so early in my career, but I remember like, I was really looking for record deals to be able to pay my rent for a little bit of a time. And I remember like, you know, I would get these marketing budgets thrown at me, and I remember having those conversations like, hey, you know, how are we spending this? Like where’s this gonna go? And like, some of the conversations were just like, yeah, man that’s on you, you know, like whatever you want to do, whatever, you know. And so, for me, that’s why I kind of have these barriers in place where I have these people on my team still is because, you know, I, my manager, who’s been, she’s, you know, she’s been in music for a little bit and has touched like, a lot of different aspects of it. It’s kind of just like, you know, it’s kind of been a catch 22, where it’s like, oh, well, like we I have these broad ideas for what I want to do. But then the question is always like, okay, but we need money for these ideas. But then to get money for the ideas, you have to sign a record deal. And if you’re in a record deal, you can’t execute as freely on those ideas, you know, so it kind of became this very interesting like catch 22 situations. And so, my having the guardrails in place of having people who have a little bit more experienced than me, and especially like Phil and Jonathan, my agents on the touring side, who have you know, that, you know, Phil has The Chainsmokers, he’s been doing, he’s been doing this stuff for like a really long time. And he’s also like very involved in web three as well, has definitely been, you know, a place of like, hey, you know, what are we thinking about this? Should I spend this much money on a tour? Or should I spend this much money like, on ad spend, whatever it is, you know, so that’s why I’ve tried to keep it a little bit traditionally intact as well.
Cooper Turley: I would add in there that I do not think that this is for everyone. I think it takes a very specific type of artists to be able to execute as an artist and a CEO. I think Daniel’s very uniquely positioned to do so, hence why this was an exciting investment opportunity from the fund. But to Adams original point, it’s a very complicated process, you know, expecting hours to be able to run a business at the same time as making music. It’s very difficult. And so, I think that there’s an exciting headline here of saying, hey, this artist got a million dollars. But when you really unpack that, that means that Daniel is a lot more responsibility on his shoulder. I think that there’s a lot of artists who are phenomenal artists, but they’re not great business-people, and they have teams around them that handle that. But in order for something like this to be a reality, you really do need the artists to think about their brand as a business. And I don’t think that’s something that’s for everybody. But in the particular situation that it is, I’m optimistic that these models can help to inspire people to think more like CEOs of their brand and of their company, because I think it really challenges you to elevate your ceiling and think more broadly about the opportunities that exist about being an artist today. And so, yeah, I don’t think it’s for everyone. But I think that Daniel is a great person to start this out with, and I’m hoping that he can inspire many more artists to come.
BlockchainBrett: I think like you know, it’s interesting like music and NFTs enable world or like, you actually really don’t need to raise as well and I think like as the music NFT market grows, you know, as you put out content you kind of like, as you release it you’re getting the value that content deserves like back to you. And you can kind of continue to fall off that basically, you’re releasing more music continues to find you more and more and you kind of continue to use that to grow the operations and I think you can do it organically. without raising, like people can do, musicians can do that over time without having to you know, set up a C Corp, but whatever reason to say, I think that option will always be there. I think in this situation, like Daniel is a very ambitious person. He has really big goals and he wants to get there quicker, and he sees an opportunity to make it happen. And we’re excited to support that. But you know, I think it’s somewhere in between like a label and music NFTs. There’s, there’s a spectrum and you can, like you can stay over in the Music NFT and really grow a lot and have a lot of growth around that as well. Even without like raising directly.
Yeah, I want to bring up another interesting topic that just came up to mind as you were speaking, Brett, like art, startups typically raise money, either premarket, pre product market fit or as they find product market fit to help accelerate the things that they’re doing, right. And I’m trying to think if Cooper and Brett from more of an investor perspective, do you guys think of artists market fit? Like is that a thing in your mind where the artists reach a certain point in the market, where they accumulate enough attention or enough revenue around what they’re doing that, now they need capital to help accelerate those initiatives? Do you guys think of it like that?
Cooper Turley: I absolutely. Think of it like that. I mean, I think that Daniel is proven himself as being a leader and went through music specifically, but the thing is, it’s actually bigger than just Daniel, you know, and I think that obviously, Daniel said an incredibly precedent for himself to be able to go and sell music NFTs and have these kinds of major projects and events. But the bet on Daniel as an artist is not only the bet on Daniel’s individual artists career, as Daniel’s individual artists career and everyone else that he can inspire in tandem, as a venture investor, you know, we really think about 100x, 1000x returns, and if Daniel were to go and sell, you know, 500k worth of music NFTs every year, that’s great, but that’s not necessarily what we’re looking for as venture investors. You know, I think the opportunity here is it’s not only about Daniel succeeding really well in his individual artists career, which I very firmly believe will happen. Is Daniel taking that playbook that he’s built for himself, replicating that and executing that against dozens of other artists to come, so that he ends up becoming this sort of center point of saying, hey, if you want to make it as an artist and independent artists, and you’re passionate about web three, here’s the model that I use, and using these resources, we can help to upscale other artists careers that actually have exposure to those income streams as well.
That makes sense and you brought up the element of sort of your guy’s perspective as an investment, right? You guys are investors, you need to return your investment, your LPS depend on that. Right? So I’m trying to think like, is this investment in and I know it’s like it’s an interesting topic to talk about publicly, especially with you on the call Daniel, like we don’t want to think of you as an investment but you’re making an investment, like the funds are making an investment like very simply put, so when I try to think of like the ROI of a bet like this one an artist, right? I’m trying to think like, what does the scale the ROI sort of look like? Because for anybody listening to this conversation, you’re gonna listen, you’re gonna get the creators listening to this, and that stimulating the curiosity and you’re also going to get the investors listening to they’re like, how can we also participate in what Cooper and Brett and all the other investors on the cap table just did, right? So, share that light with me for a minute, like how do you guys think about the ROI, like is this a 100x opportunity that you see a market for, where you see creators actually becoming billion-dollar brands and web three is a large component of surfacing those individuals, like where’s your head at when it comes to this?
BlockchainBrett: Yeah, I mean, I think that from the valuation, if you think about it from a brand like IP perspective of Daniel as an artist, and the potential that he can, I think, just from my perspective, just exclusively what he has ability to do to grow in the music NFT space. I mean, we see music NFTs like we saw crypto from virtually nothing, did like 50k in volume in 2018, to 2021 to and billions, right. And like that is where I see music NFT space going, and if that’s where that will go and who are the leaders in the music NFT space? How much of that volume are they going to be able to do, potentially a significant amount really stir that volume number up? So I see, you know, this as a leading brand, a leading IP, like Daniel Allen as someone that is, like one of one of those forefront artists in this space, and has the ability to like, basically, you know, be a lot of that be a good amount of that volume, like a real amount. So, yeah, in that situation, it’s like, okay, what’s the valuation that we’re coming in at now? And like what would a valuable IP in that area look like and other definitely, from where it raised, it definitely has that 100x potential. So yeah, we’re excited about just from that angle alone and let alone I know there’s always a lot of ambitions around the sort of web two, music web three worlds, and I think those things are just going to add to it a lot and increase ways but from my perspective, we’re pretty crypto native and even just that side alone is enough for us to show I’m really stoked about the opportunity.
Cooper, what do you think?
Cooper Turley: Think there are already billion-dollar creators that are out there today. You know, on the artist side, you can use an example like Jay Z, right. Jay Z has had an extremely prominent career as an artist, his masters are worth hundreds of millions of dollars and he’s the owner of rock nation. And so if you think about that from an investment perspective, what would it look like to have exposure to Jay Z’s masters and all of roc Nation’s masters? Now you add in this new component of web three and NFTs, and you’re just adding another layer on top of that, you have all of these artists that have gone on to start fashion brands or start different clothing lines or whatever it might be. I think all those opportunities are on the table. So even just looking at something like you know the sale of catalog, you’re seeing $10, $50 $100 million catalog sales left and right all the time now, that’s all on the table, plus this net new revenue stream that Daniel is producing. So absolutely, I think that creators are a billion-dollar business opportunities. And I think with someone like Daniel that’s thinking about this from a 5, 10-year perspective, I think there’s a lot of net new playbooks that haven’t even been built or started yet and I think that’s going to lead to even more value creation that we haven’t even seen today.
I love it. It’s such a good visual indicator to sort of think about how big this could be Cooper, because when you bring up the Jay Z example, like that’s a fantastic example, to think about all the other businesses that Jay Z sort of created that are under his umbrella as a brand, and the value that accrues to each of them because of his name, and because of his network, and because of his music and everything that he’s done. So, when you put it from that perspective, this model makes a lot of sense. And quite frankly, it seems huge. Like it seems, it seems really, really big. You have something else to had?
Cooper Turley: Yeah, Daniel, I think it’d be interesting if you told the story about Roger Federer, you know, you’re a big tennis guy and I think that story you told me about him as a creator and some of the business trades that he made was pretty legendary. So, I don’t know if you’re interested in telling that story. But I think it’s an interesting backdrop here.
Daniel Allan: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that’s funny because I’m like, I’m trying to get Cooper more into tennis. Brett is already into tennis via palm tree crew and friends and whatnot. So yeah, I was given Cooper a little bit of a tennis lesson, so Roger Federer, for anyone who has not played tennis, he is the goat like technically speaking, even though Joe Kovitch will have like more slams, Federer is the like tennis playing goat and it’s not even a question, but outside of that he’s also the goat because of some of the business moves that he has, don’t shake your head like that. It’s just like, oh, we can talk about offline. But he’s also made like a lot of great business venture decisions like throughout the course of his career. So like for the longest time he was with Nike. And when it came time for him to renegotiate his Nike deal, I think that they were gonna pay him out on a contract that I think was $10 million a year, just like as like an endorsement deal. And instead of doing that there was this company it’s called on, is it called on running? I think that’s what it is. And basically, they were like, he signed like a clothing deal, I think with Uniqlo, but he was able to have like a separate clothing deal with on running and for on running. Instead of getting money up front. I think he got like 3% of the company and because he wore the shirt or no, he got, how much, yeah, he got 3% of the company and because he wore the shoes, he like basically mooned the stock of the company. And the company just, I think it’s worth $10 billion now so he made like $300 million off of that investment, of just like deciding to wear like the on running shoe. So yeah, good little analogy.
Cooper Turley: The reason the reason I want to tell that story is because A, Federer goated, that’s an incredible story, but B, when we think about investing in artists. I think a lot of the times we stop what we see on the surface, right? We stopped that buying Daniels NFT, how many streams did he get on Spotify? How many tickets did he sell on tour? What I’m personally excited about as with web three, there’s net new ownership mechanics here. If you’re producing and creating value for these networks, you can capture that value, whether it’s in the form of equity on a cap table or governance tokens. You know, the bet on Daniel is not only the bet on his individual assets, it’s actually his ability to create new business opportunities. You know, I think there’s a very real world in which Daniel has equity across a lot of these web three companies. I think that he’s capturing ownership in the form of retroactive airdrops and different things that these platforms are launching. And so, what I want to highlight here is that, again, going into the 360-exposure deal, it’s not only the music, you know, it’s Daniel’s ability to create value across many different revenue streams. And I think when you add all those different variables into the equation, the case for a billion-dollar Daniel economy is not just saying he needs to sell a billion dollars’ worth of music NFTs, there’s many different buckets that in aggregate are going to become valuable. And as investors I think that the opportunities to really make sure you have exposure to all those different instruments that are on the table.
We talked earlier in the conversation like the different options artists have when it comes to getting capital, whether it be a record deal, doing something like this, crowdfunding, whatever it may be. And I can’t help but wonder that this model is like we’ve seen instances of this model, kind of like a crew across other creators outside of web three music. And my question for you guys is assuming this gets adopted more investors love this concept, more creators love this concept. They want to start raising equity rounds instead of taking record deals. Eventually, record deals expire to some extent, right? They have like limited terms and over a period of time either. Revenue gets accrued or whatever it may be in the deal ads, right. And the artists in the label go their separate ways. What is the equivalent of that here? Let’s say an artist doesn’t like the people on their cap table. And technically they’re kind of tied to them for good, unless they buy them out at some point, right? Like how are you guys thinking about the removal process? Because I can only imagine the questions going through people’s head as they potentially want to replicate something that you guys just did. Right. So I’m trying to get all corners of the spectrum here.
Coper Turley: There’s three pieces here and Daniel had some color one. I want to start by saying that because Daniel did an adventure around does not mean that he can’t sign a record deal. You know, I’m actually very excited for Daniel to assign a record deal in the future. And this was structured specifically to make it so that if Daniel does sign a record deal, that fits in very compatible with what was happening here. The second thing that I want to say is that the investors in this round are extremely crypto native, you know, people like Brett and myself, participants like noise Dao, Woodstock Dao, Fire Eyes Dao, these are people that are willing to take on an extreme level of risk. And so, I think their appetite for what this turns into is a lot more flexible than a traditional private equity firm or traditional venture arm of a record label. But lastly, on sort of the ownership side of things, this funding is non recoupable. And I think that that’s something that’s very different from other music investment opportunities. Typically, when you’re signing a record deal and a record label gives you a million dollars. You have to pay that record label back a million dollars before you make money. This investor I was set up to say that this investment is not recoupable. You know if Daniel doesn’t make a million dollars back, us as investors are aware of the fact that that’s the risk that we’re willing to need to take. And on the flip side of that, as far as Daniel’s ability to consolidate the cap table, in my opinion, it’s no different from a tech company going out and raising a Series A and if you don’t want people on your cap table at that next stage, you go to them and say, hey, we’re gonna raise additional shares. I want to give you an opportunity to cash out of this investment and then we’ll probably have to buy them out. But I will say that we were very, very diligent who we brought into this round and made sure that people were already invested in Daniel’s career. They’ve been collecting his NFTs for years at this point, Daniel as a personal relationship with all of them. And as far as the sort of downside protection here. This was not like it was touted to everyone who holds one day and your music NFT or even more than that, that’s residually interested in music at large. This was a very selective round with individuals who are very determined and focused on the sector at large. And so, I think that makes for a cap table that feels very flexible to Daniel’s part and allows him to be very versatile.
I think that’s like that’s the key. Go ahead, Brett. Go ahead.
BlockchainBrett: I was just saying that and really like in this situation. I mean, Daniels still like the biggest owner by far like he’s very much so in control. And you know, he sold like, I guess minority percent of like, I mean, you know, he has like the vast majority of company by far so, so. It’s really his, it’s his to do whatever he thinks is best. But it’s not up to us, we can’t tell him what to do. We can just, all we can do is just help and help guide.
Yeah, I think when we were talking about the stress and the pressure that comes from being an artist and treating yourself as a business, comes with who you have on your cap table. And Brett and Cooper, you guys have so much experience in this investing into different rounds, whether it be leading rounds, Angel and rounds, and seeing companies either demolish, getting into arguments, hits the fan somewhere, right. And a lot of how things get handled depends on who’s on your cap table, who you’re working with and the people that come together around something today. So, I think having a very curated cap table and a group of people around you that bet on you, is pretty much a contributor to what the success of this could look like down the line, especially giving you Daniel your creative and your creative ability to do whatever the hell you want and to make your vision come to life.
Daniel Allan: Yeah, and one thing I’ll say really quick is to be honest, and a lot of ways it really is just putting a formal stamp on something that’s been going on for years. You know, like a lot of the people that I’ve, that are in this round. I mean, I would say like almost all of them or people that have already expressed their belief in me by purchasing my music NFTs and being a part of, you know, part of the way and I remember like Adam from noise Dao after this, who’s also involved in the round both from noise and as an angel. He just sent me on telegram. He’s like nice to formally be in business and you know, that’s kind of how I feel about a lot of this. You know, what I mean? These are people that I’ve informally been in business with, you know, for a couple of years now. And this is just kind of, in my mind, it’s kind of yeah, like it’s a way for me to have resources to be able to scale it out, but it’s also a way to like give them a cushion to be like, hey, you know, in the extremely unlikely event that all my music NFTs go to zero, you guys.
I love that. I love that.
Daniel Allan: Yeah, that’s kind of where I’m at.
Cooper Turley: I’ll add in there to that. It’s funny because from an investor perspective, I think that like where investors are contributing here is actually very funny to me. You know, my relationship with Daniel is basically, he makes a song and then I tell him to mint it the same day that it drops, and Daniel is one checking me to be like, we have to follow this strategy, you know, Spotify, you need six weeks, all this stuff and I’m like, fuck the strategy. I was like, we’re in a net new business here. I dropped the song on the same day and so I think it’s just funny to hear about investor expectations from the standpoint of like, treat this as a very long form project, treat this as like a two to three year blueprint. Daniel is that such a formative place in his career where he realistically could go and upload a song to sound today, with no marketing, no promo, dropped that and make the equivalent of millions and streams in 24 hours. And I think that that’s a window that’s obviously very time based on where we are in the market today. But having that leverage to think about how to scale his business is extremely powerful. And I think the benefit of his cap table today is that everyone on that cap table also believes in that formula. They believe that Daniel should go and drop music NFTs in real time. They believe that Daniel should go and actually do these things that feel net new. And I think if you were to try and construct this round of people that were at record labels or traditional music industry execs that made their money off of catalogue, I think it would set him up in a very different position. So, I think that this round uniquely positions him to be very experimental and how he built his career from now and you know, someone that’s really invested in him, you know, I’m just excited to see where he takes it because he’s shown time and time again, that he’s willing to be innovative, and I think he’s gonna keep doing it moving forward.
The last thing I want to sort of leave all of us with and Daniel, this one’s directed at you typically when people raise money, they set milestones into place, right? I’m curious what your milestones look like. For the next few months if you’re willing and able to talk about them.
Daniel Allan: Totally. I want to play music festivals. That’s a very big part of my career and that I’ve, as I’ve been very vocal about. I want to drop; I want to do an album at some point. I know that a lot of the stuff that I’ve been doing has been branded as, you know like a project here and there and EP here and there, not entirely sure what an album looks like, right now. I mean, I know that, I’m pretty close to being done with like my next project after criteria. I think that my milestones in terms of the numbers, I want to keep pretty close to the team or I can, you know, me and Cooper may or may not have like a little like whiteboard, that talks about some of the numbers that we want to hit. But to me I of course have like metrics and numbers, but my biggest thing right now is, honestly just seeing what I can do with the resources that is gonna go towards the goals that I’ve always had. Right. And I think that a lot of those goals just fall into all those buckets, which is how can I have a record that goes crazy without giving away fucking 85% 90% of it? How can I play on some of the bigger stages in the world right, and then start to get my name across that way? How can I build brands and IP in a way that’s like that, that let gives me more leverage to do things that I’m really excited about. And I think, you know, more importantly, as we look into the future that Cooper and Brad have both kind of pointed out a little bit is like, how do I help bring other people on, you know, and start to get exposure to some of the things that they’re working on? Like the blueprint that I’m building publicly right now. So, yeah.
Look, I’m cheering you on. I’m really excited for this, to see where this in a year from now. We’ll have to do a check in literally in a year from now and see where we are in this process Daniel, Cooper, Brett, congratulations to the three of you. This is a lot to be proud of Daniel for yourself and the journey that you’ve come across and I’m honored that I’ve been able to document certain moments of it on the podcast, that we could always look back on and reflect on so more power to you guys, before we let you go, and we wrap up. Where can we find more about the project? Each of you, specifically Daniel, hit away.
Daniel Allan: yeah, I mean, by the time this is out, we’re gonna have a whole you know, whole thread documenting everything that we’ve talked about, and you can just find that on. I’m Daniel Allan on Twitter. You should also give invest in music and follow. You know, you should follow Cooper’s newsletter you should follow Brett. Yeah, pretty straight for it.
Where can we find palm tree crew?
Cooper Turley: Yeah, I’d say for me.
Let’s try this again. One sec. One sec. Cooper, where can we find, hold on, wait, wait. Cooper, where can we learn more about coop records and everything that you’re working on.
Cooper Turley: Best place to stay up to date would be on Twitter. Personally. I’m @Coopertroopa. Coop records @cooprecordsxyz and I very recently launched the podcast and rebrand a newsletter called invest in music. So, we’re gonna go deeper on all these topics and highly recommend it and just want to say very quickly thank you to Daniel for even allowing us to take this opportunity on. It’s something that’s extremely unconventional and took a lot of conversation to even have the reality in the first place. And to Brett who’s always been a huge supporter and always been a huge advocate here. We could not have done this without him. And I think that it’s really essential that he gets recognized as a key contributor to this journey because he does so much behind the scenes that people don’t see. And I don’t think this would be possible without him.
Brett, where can we find you man?
BlockchainBrett: Not sweet. Thanks. Good. Yeah, just I mean huge congrats to Daniel. I’m super stoked to be a part of it. And you know, Cooper also is just absolutely crushing it in the weeds, high level all over the place. For me, BlockchainBrett, for the fun, palm tree crypto and then also we launched a newsletter called creator’s GMI, where we’re talking about the crypto in more detail. So, follow.
Let’s go guys. Thank you so much, until next time.
Mint Season 7 Episode 20 welcomes Matt Medved and Sam Hysell, the Co-Founders of nftnow, an award-winning web3 media platform on a mission to empower creators and bring NFTs from niche to mainstream. In this episode, we explore their revamped vision of building a web3 media outlet centered around tokenized media, the future of digital advertising, the potential of NFTs to revolutionize the media industry, their journey since our last episode in November 2021 and so much more.
I hope you enjoy our conversation.
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With me today, I got two thirds of the nftnow crew, Sam and Matt, welcome back to mint. Thank you for being on again. How’s it going?
Matt Medved: Thank you for having us. It’s great to be back. It’s going so well man, like wow, what a ride like since our last conversation?
Sam: Yeah, honored to be back here, definitely has been, I think it was November of 2021. How much has changed since then, pretty much everything. So, ready to dive in.
New cycles, new nftnow, new me, new year, all the above. It was November 9, 2021, specifically, and you’re right, a lot has gone down, especially the market. The market is down, and we are in a bear market. Talking about all things nftnow and more specifically tokenized media, you guys have been pretty vocal about those two words join together for a minute now. I feel like we’re all on this boat figuring out what the next phase of media looks like in its conjunction with web three. So, I’m excited to hear what your takes are, especially as you introduce the now pass, the nftnow pass to the world. So, guys really quick, give us a quick brief on yourselves individually, 30 seconds and what nftnow is for those who don’t know, and we’ll kick it off.
Matt Medved: Sure, so I’m Matt Medved, co-founder, CEO and editor in chief of nftnow, come from 15 years in music and media, previously founded billboard dance, billboards dance electronic music brand, ran Spin Magazine as editor in chief, and ran content at modern luxury lifestyle publisher before co-founding nftnow in January 2021. And nftnow is on a mission to empower the creators of culture and to bring web three technology from niche to mainstream.
Sam: Yep, and my name is Sam Hysell. I’m also one of the co-founders and the Chief Strategy Officer of nftow, prior nftnow helped Gary Vee stand up Vayner talent, which was kind of replicating what Gary had done with his own brand for other talent before leaving to start my own agency called Knox media, that worked with a range of different leading record labels, musicians, to help them create and distribute content, grow and convert communities online. And it was actually, it was having a conversation as to how NFTs and web three could change and impact the music industry. And that sent me deep down the rabbit hole. Matt and I had crossed paths by were both working in music and saw a lot of problems, that were prevalent that industry that were being addressed by this technology. So it’s great to become, to co-found this business together and really be united around our mission of empowering the creators of culture.
When I think about nfttnow, I think about kick ass events, awesome editorial, creators of culture, like these are the few first few things that pop into my head, and soon to be tokenized media. And a lot has happened since the last time we were on the podcast, November 9th, 2021, to be exact. Matt, give me the rundown, what has happened since November 9th, 2021, and nftnow?
Matt Medved: Oh my god, what hasn’t happened. Well, look, we have grown as a team we have grown as executives and the space has just grown in general as well, even despite the current downturn. Super exciting. So, since we last spoke in 2021, we did our first edition of the gateway, which is our leading flagship event franchise, took over a bank building in in downtown Miami and turn to a massive audio-visual gallery. After that in calendar year 2022, we grew in every facet of the business. We also launched the NFT 100, which is our leading editorial franchise recognizing the 100 top creators and community leaders in the space. And in addition to growing the team and really starting to level up different franchises, like next up which focuses on rising artist, runway, which focuses on digital fashion. We got some exciting things coming in the works on the AI and gaming front as well. We also brought back the gateway, a web three metropolis. In December of 2022, five-day web three Arts and Culture Festival took over two city blocks, 12 buildings and brought the web three community together for a really, really special event, that was also free to the registered public. It was really important for us to make that inclusive. And now we’re starting off 2023 hitting the ground running, super strong. Getting ready to, you know, we just got gaming fresh off of the announcement of the now pass at NFT Paris and really looking forward to its launch this month.
That was like boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, one thing after the next. Sam, did Matt miss anything?
Sam: And there’s a lot we didn’t even mention it but I did keep it to the highlights, you know.
Wait, Sam those are like Matt’s highlights. How would you explain the last, since the last time we hopped on the pod?
Sam: Yeah, I mean, I think it’s been interesting. I think as the undoubtedly has been a little bit kind of gone into this bear market phase. I think we’ve definitely seen it shift towards builders and artists and creators, that are much more committed to sustainable long-term models, definitely flushed out a lot of the bad actors, some of the people that were more kind of looking for the quick cash grab. So, I think that’s created a very productive force within this space by way of really focusing on sustainable business models, sustainable companies, I mean, even seeing some of the stuff in tech you’ve been building has been great to see. So, that’s been great. On our side, it’s always kind of trying to be the signal and the noise, finding the stories worth telling, like I think we have a, we built a powerful platform and a spotlight really able to showcase that the people, the projects, the builders, that we believe are creating the positive precedents that can really unleash the potential of this technology. So, day in, day out, it’s amazing that we’re able to really empower and showcase and uplift these different people.
You guys have had quite a journey. And I mentioned a few of the keywords that come to mind when you think of nftnow and you guys are now transitioning into this new era of positioning nftnow, like this tokenized media movement, that’s like a good way to sort of frame it. How would you explain that? How would you describe this next phase of nftnow?
Matt Medved: Yeah, it’s a really good question. And Adam, I think like to really understand the next phase, you also have to understand where we’ve been and what’s broken about the current web two media model. You know, I think it’s really important to recognize that, from the very beginning, we wanted to do things differently with nftnow. So even in our early phase, if you go to nftnow.com. right now, what you won’t find on the site are programmatic advertisements. We don’t believe that that’s a viable business model, we believe in misaligned incentives. And I’ll elaborate a little bit about that. But we also want to leave that shit in web two. And they also won’t find any pixels or cookies, we don’t track our users, we believe privacy is a fundamental human right and consent is important. And so, from the very beginning, we have had these principles, and we always knew that the last thing we wanted nftnow to be was just a traditional web two media company covering web three, that would be a huge missed opportunity. And we all coming from various facets of traditional media, myself from the legacy media world, with billboard and spin and modern luxury. Alejandro with that on the business side of media, with Elite Daily and Verizon acquisition side and Sam with Vayner talent, and Knox, you know, we’ve seen firsthand just how broken web two media is. And what do I mean by that? Like, I think like a lot of things, that these kinds of things that people say will resonate with people, like, you know, like this is getting a lot of clicks, like being paid in exposure, like needing more reach all the time, just like endless, like drive to continue to like grow top line growth. Where did that come from? Right, like it’s almost we’ve internalized it almost because it’s just been such an, like a integral part of like the media game for lack of a better word, over the past, you know, few decades. And so, but it really, it really came to the fore with the rise of like digital media and social media, when social media opened up the traffic floodgates to all of these different media sites, all of a sudden, media companies saw this opportunity, this explosion in traffic, this opportunity via programmatic advertisements to capitalize on that. The rise of ad tech and the like, you know, for those who don’t know what programmatic ads are, those are those like annoying banner ads, which is like most, many of you may have them blocked with an ad blocker. But like, you know, they’re all over, like the sites that you go to every day, everything from like New York Times to YouTube, to most media sites that are not nftnow, and the thing is, the way that works is like the more people visit your website, the more impressions the ads get, and the more that that platform gets paid. And so, all of a sudden, media companies became incentivized to increase the number of clicks pageviews eyeballs at all costs. And what it did was, it turned that, it created this, what I like to call a clickbait race to the bottom, as algorithms like rewarded more sensationalist headlines, quicker trigger fingers, and repetitive kind of like, you know, repetitive coverage. A lot of media companies became indistinguishable from each other, the quality of coverage declined, public trust in media eroded as well. And so, as people chased, you know, this algorithmic traffic and web two media companies became reliant on platforms like Facebook, to really maintain their traffic goals. And so, they found out the hard way, when in 2015, Facebook changed their algorithm. And it decimated the traffic sources of the hundreds of media companies. It led to declining revenue, it led to layoffs and like I saw this all happen during my time. And why does that happen? It’s because in web two digital media, you are the product, like people are the product, they are monetizing your eyeballs, they are selling them. And the thing is that what’s really flawed about that is that in web to media, it’s all about audience scale, rather than audience quality. It’s quantity over quality. It’s all about audience scale versus audience depth. It doesn’t matter who you are, your eyeballs are treated the same. And that’s actually like a really short-sighted way of thinking about how it, like the role of a media brand in 2023. I think what’s also really important to say is that, what because we were all kind of like boiled down to the single metric of traffic. You know, literally like the brightest minds in Silicon Valley began like building ad tech and like optimizing to capture your attention, we became this constant attention economy. And as a result, publishers actually began prioritizing their advertisers over their audiences. Finally, like this all led, as led to attacks on privacy. Platforms began tracking users all across the web, without explicit consent, in order to sell more ads, this all fed into that machine. And this reached the point where, you know, a really unsustainable point where public trust in media has eroded, where now consumers are loyal to the headline and not the brand, because media companies tend to be interchangeable. And it’s become this like, really like surface level shallow, one way street transactional relationship between audiences and media brands. And we just know that there’s a better way. If there’s one thing that we’ve seen with web three is that, you know, the web two model was all about audience and building audience. Like I said, it’s like an audience’s aware that you exist, whereas web three is predicated on the idea of community. It’s a buzzword that gets thrown around a lot, but it actually is also, like undergirds this entire space. So, community wants to see you when, in fact committee wants to win together. And actually, in web three, they actually have a stake in doing so. So, what we’re looking to do with nftnow, and the now network, for which they now pass is your access key is to pioneer a community centric media model, in which our community is empowered within this ecosystem, not only to, you know, have sovereignty around how they interact with us and consume content, but also to have a say in what gets covered and community curated content series, to have, to actually be able to share in the value that they’re creating, and earn rewards by participating, engaging, sharing, contributing to nftow. And so, there’s a lot to unpack there, there’s a lot to get into, but what we really see is that this web two media model is irrevocably broken. It is not, it is unfixable. And the only way that we are going to move forward and create the deeper relationships that we care about is by embracing and utilizing web three technology to really create communities with aligned incentives.
There’s a lot to unpack in that statement, the first thing that I want to touch upon is there’s nothing worse than getting to a website. And the first thing you see is your entire page, just covered with ads, like you can’t even scroll through the article. There’s like, there’s one that hits you from the top, there’s one that hits you from the bottom, and there’s like a pop up from the right and a pop up from the left. And they’re like wait, I came to read this current event and like, what do you want me to do? You know, it’s like what do I do? It’s like, a lot of also like, there’s a few like crypto native media outlets that are at fault for this too. And I don’t want to name names. But if you’re active reading the web, and the crypto news, you’ll see a bunch of them kind of like targeted with this model. So, that’s number one. There’s nothing worse than that and I completely agree with you, Matt Medved. And the next thing that you sort of said is it’s hard to create depth in web two media. And that I guess you’re arguing that web three is an opportunity to enable depth and NFTs are sort of the premise to kind of unlock that. Talk about that from it. Like why do you guys think and Sam, you as well, like why do you think NFTs are that medium to enable the depth that we just, we kind of took advantage of and we lost in web two?
Sam: Yeah, I think it’s a couple key points, I’d say for starters. And we’ve seen this across different verticals within the broader web three landscape, which is that web three and NFTs give birth to a more valid and sustainable model for the promise of 1000 true fans, you’re able to have more viable economics off of smaller communities and smaller fan bases. You see this very clearly within the kind of web three music landscape, where people are able to generate the equivalent revenue of millions of streams off of 100 collectors. So, right there, it’s kind of flipping the script. Instead of optimizing solely for reach, we really are able to have a better economic model to optimize for depth amongst a tighter knit community. I think the other component too, is that I think in a lot of ways, web three tools and NFTs are just incentive alignment machines, they create deeper levels of participation, deeper levels of loyalty, people are able to access different levels of rewards and status within communities, by way of their journey as a collector. So, I think on our side too, it’s like we kind of have said numerous times that we feel we should serve people opportunities, not ads. So, by having these mechanics where we can really reward participation, drive deeper connection, drive more value, it really starts to create a more positive flywheel that revolves around delivering value to our community, rather than trying to build as big of an audience as we can, just so we can sell ads against their, like their eyeballs.
There’s something to be said, though, that I think web three unlocks a new form of quote, unquote, advertising. Because the global and I’m reading this on Google right now, the global digital advertising market in 2023, is valued to be $681.39 billion, like there’s no way that’s just gonna evaporate, sort of over the next few years, I find that hard to believe. But I feel like there’s an opportunity to create more depth, as you said, Matt and Sam, as you guys argued, but also do in a way where it’s more custom and tailored to the individual that sort of surfacing content. And when you look at on chain data, you can sort of surface and deliver things that are unique to that individual, that they’ll actually may even appreciate and say thank you to. I don’t know if you guys have any thoughts around like what the future of digital advertising even looks like. Or if you guys are on the boat that it’s going to completely disappear.
Matt Medved: Oh, it definitely won’t completely disappear, it’s going to be revolutionized as well. And I think like you said, with one amazing thing about web three is that, like there’s on chain data allows a deeper level of understanding and also connection with people. And so, I think that what we’re going to see is a much smarter form of advertisement, a much more genuine and authentic form of advertisement, that could actually be channeled into the places where it will be most impactful. I mean, like when you think about it this way, like the web three media, tokenized media is all about super serving communities, it’s all about understanding that not everybody needs the same things. And we’re not under no assumptions that, for example, our community or nftnow are all going to need the same thing. So, like we have, for example, we know that we have a lot of creators in our community, artists who are quite successful also artists were or photographers or the like, or poets, you know, there’s so many different creative elements now, who are looking to get into web three and looking to succeed, you know, they’re going to be looking for different things than, for example, builders in the space people who have projects, people who are launching protocols, etc. Then you’ve also got the collectors in the space, the people who are trading or you know, moving it more from like an art side of investment and collecting. And then we’ve also got the brands who are looking to enter the space too. And all of these different segments have different creative and consumer priorities. And that’s actually a good thing. That’s actually a thing that I think will help tokenize media platforms, differentiate between these audiences and help create opportunities for each of these audiences. And these different communities, rather than painting everybody with the same broad brushstroke of web two, I think, like that’s what we see time so objectionable about web two media and programmatic advertisement, is that it makes no distinction between audiences. So, like, you know, let’s be real, a bot in Vietnam that happened to like, you know, come across your page is treated the same, as you know, the CEO of a leading NFT marketplace. And these are two very different value propositions that play. And that’s why like, if you think about it, there’s actually a ton of value, like Sam said, in sometimes smaller, more niche audiences and communities that contain really high value users, for whatever that media platform is looking for. And potentially advertisers that can go along with that. So, it’s not necessarily that like advertisement is the enemy. Advertisement is a natural part of just of, you know, human marketplaces in commerce. It’s been going on for centuries, what I think was really objectionable is the algorithmic game that specifically programmatic advertisement created, which was entirely indiscriminate, boiled everyone down to one metric traffic, and created perverse incentives for media companies to actually throw all other concerns and all other priorities to the to the wayside in order to prioritize that. And that’s why we found ourselves in the place where we are, where, you know, where people have lost trust in media because of clickbait headlines, where people are creating content simply to surface on the Google algorithm, to get the clicks to satisfy the advertisers versus actually thinking, how can this piece of content actually create value for the community at play? And I’ll even give an example. Adam, we, you know, at nftnow we’ve done some partnered content, and we hold it to an incredibly high standard. We said no to almost everyone during our first year, the first people we said yes to were Coinbase and United Masters, and we did a partner content campaign with them around the top music NFT moments of the year. Now that piece is of old time. And what was really critical there was we knew that we could, that we had so many people in the music NFT ecosystem that were coming to our site, that were coming through our funnel, and we did an incredibly credible piece of content, that we would have already wanted to cover no matter what, like we would have done, we would have wanted to do music NFT moments anyway. And we did not in any way like compromise editorial credibility around that. And it was such a great piece of content that Coinbase, United masters wanted to put their name on it. And that was a win, win for everyone. Because not only did it drive revenue for us, it drove awareness for them. And it did so in a really credible way, where it was actually really targeted towards users, that would actually care. And that would actually make an impact. And so, it’s just one example but I just want to give an example and make it clear that like, I’m not saying that all advertisement is going to go out the window, right. Like the contrary, I just think it’s going to be able to be done in a much more empathetic, smart and unchained way.
I completely agree. The way I think about ads at the podcast is, I give out free NFTs to my listeners, people collect them every single season. And then from there in turn, I know who my audience is. And I could surface them better content, and better forms of monetization that are interest aligned. An example is noticing that a lot of my community is native to Zora, bringing people from Zora onto the podcast, surfacing content that they already enjoy, and seeing an increase in downloads accordingly. Noticing that a lot of my community creates like lens derivatives or nouns derivatives, trying to bring people as sponsors from those communities onto the podcast, offering deals and services that pertain to those communities and those brands. And everybody wins because you know who these people are from a high-level perspective in their activity on chain. And you can derive really cool insights and deliver more thoughtful actions accordingly. So, I completely agree with that. One thing that you said Matt, that was super interesting is, being able to understand who reads the content because you compared a bot in Indonesia, to an executive at like prominent company in, they hold two different weights. Now what, you know what that got me thinking and I’m going to shoot the shit right now, maybe a completely new idea over here, okay. But it really, it seriously opens up a rabbit holes, like a meritocracy. The wall is the gate, is your gateway into web three. And if you could tell based off the layers of somebody’s wallet, what content they’re also reading and be able to service those insights to people. So, if you could basically curate content based off like the topmost, the top 10% of Ethereum active users and track what they’re watching and surface that to other people. There’s something interesting over there. Is that what you’re implying to with being able to value one reader from another reader? Like determining the things that they’re consuming and being able to create more interesting content around that, or how are you guys thinking about it? Or is my head just like, I have a completely different rabbit hole right now?
Matt Medved: No, no, like I think you’re bringing up some great points, I think we are headed is that is more about empowering the users themselves to make it clear, like where they stand and to make it clear what they’re interested in and to have their voices heard. And so like, that’s why one of the like key parts of the now network, our community curated content series. So, for example, you know, I love to give this example. So, this one is really close to my heart, we launched the next up franchise and nftnow to support rising artists. And so, we actually spoke to our community. We did some tweets and discord posters, like hey, like what could we be doing more of? And people were like, like you guys do a really great job of supporting established artists. But like we want to see more coverage of rising artists. And we were like, say less like, we love to support rising artists, is about empowering creators. And so, we launched next up, and it’s been really special. Like if you go to the first next up that we did in January 2022, it was like, you’ll be like, these aren’t rising artists. But they were back then, you know, it’s like Alpha Centauri kid, Drift, Diana Sinclair, like before they’d really popped and like, you know, they’re like, no misses on that. And so, it’s been really special to create that, like that franchise. But the thing is, at the end of the day, I still, like I don’t want to be a gatekeeper. Like we didn’t get into web three just to become the new gatekeepers. Like that’s not what this is about. Like that, like gatekeeping is all web two. And so even still, when we do next up, like right now, in our current form, it’s like I get together with the editorial team, we all talk about artists we think are doing great, we like you know, check metrics, we do our due diligence, our research, and then we select editorially five artists, but like it’s still us, you know, making the decision there. And what I’m excited about is being able to open that up to the community. So, what we’re going to do is we’re going to, like next up, for example, we’re going to open it up, turn it into a community curated token curated registry, a TCR, where there will be unchained voting, where community members are empowered to not only vote on them, but also put forward nominations and obviously now pass holders will be empowered in that regard, to be able to put down, to put through like the you know, to put artists forward and vote and the like and actually have a say in in series like this. And we’re going to be, like next up is just the beginning. There’s a lot of plans for that but like, so it’s less about finding more, it’s less about using on chain ways to like track people and more about giving them a direct voice in that as well, Sam, I’m not sure if there’s anything you want to add to that but feel free.
Sam: Yeah, I mean, I think some, there’s ways in which we can create contextual experiences for different users. So, I think we’re not necessarily approaching this from a one size fits all capacity either, like we’ve done a lot of research, kind of paid attention to who are the members of our community, actually kind of developing the now pass and the now network. Did a series of different customer development research interviews, where we spoke with a very broad range of different people in the space and really started to see problem sets and challenges now between this emerge across what we’ve kind of defined as four core segments of our community, being creators, collectors, brands and builders. So, I think for each of them, the goals and pains and challenges of each segment are different. So, it’s similar to what Matt was alluding to. It’s how we go about creating opportunities, creating value for those people will also differ as well. So, there’s a lot of interesting and exciting mechanics as to how we want to deliver value, reward participation amongst our community. And that’s a couple different examples.
Yeah, the theme of season seven, which you guys are a part of now is create content worth collecting and tokenize media falls in line with that tagline. What do you guys think of that tagline of creating content that’s worth collecting and trying to understand how that fits into the overall vision of tokenized media? Where do you see the two-playing tack? Like Sam, any anything come to mind with that?
Sam: Yeah, try some stuff and sure Matt will dive in as well. I think it’s twofold but it’s content worth collecting. Because I think on one side, it’s just that the value and think about how people would have these cover stories of iconic magazines throughout the years, right, where there’s just these iconic moments in times where people want to collect. So, I think that’s one side of the equation where there’s just such a deep level of emotional resonance, that drives this desire to have a deeper level of ownership and collectability. I think the other side too, is very much the, it’s not necessarily the content on its own, although that’s a big piece. But it’s also what you’re able to get as a result of having this collectible, and of being able to access other opportunities or access other rewards by way of actually collecting it. Whereas the collectability of the content is really just a kind of a validation that this person is down for the cause, that they do want to participate, that they do want to be able to reap some of the other rewards that we’ll be providing to people within the now network. But love to hear your take too, Matt.
Matt Medved: Yeah, no, I think that nailed it. It’s like, you know, I remember so you know, I come from legacy media, I remember, you know, the collectability around magazine covers, and obviously, we saw that as a proven model with everything that time did into the space with like that legacy that history, but we can take it a lot further than that. Like I remember, you know, at billboard, we released a box set around the BTS covers, right? Like the cards sold out immediately. This is very web two, you know, this dealer literally physical magazines, but sold out immediately, seven figures in revenue immediately. That’s the power of fandom. But imagine this, those BTS covers, you know, they’re cool, I’m sure the fans hung them on the walls and like love them. But imagine that they got them backstage at the show. Imagine that they got them entered into a raffle for the next, for sign CDs at the next, although not the next CDs. But you know what I mean, like sign merchandise at the next release exactly. Like there’s also ways that these tokens, this tokenized media and its equivalents can actually serve as opportunities to reward most loyal fans. So, like, even if you think about a podcast or podcast, we’re on right now, you know, that this gets tokenized maybe in the future, someone who owns this, who’s a fan of us and is a fan of what we’re doing and is like you know what? I’m here for nftnow, I’m here for Adam, I’m here for mint. Maybe they get entered into an allow list for upcoming dropping NFT now or something that mint is doing. And so, like what’s amazing is that, you know, by tokenizing media and allowing people who are in the moment, who feel the resonance, who also understand, you know what? I may not know exactly what Matt, Sam and Alejandra are doing with nftnow but I really believe in the vision and I understand and I want to take this journey with them or like I really believe what Adam is doing with mint, I’ve been following him for seven seasons and I think like I just see their trajectory. They’re able to share in that ride, they’re able to become go from just being fans to also being on some sense shareholders and that’s the power of tokenized media, is giving people an ownership in storytelling, giving them ownership in, you know, taking, like having a say and also a share in the future trajectory of their favorite media brands. And I think like what’s also really critical and really interesting to think about is like, do you think about the trajectory of like, like technology has always driven media forward, from literally like the Gutenberg Printing Press right? To like that enabled print media to web one, you know, and the first like digital media websites to, you know going into the, you know, the social media era, and then the mobile era, remember like, remember when everyone’s websites were designed for desktop, and then they were like, oh, shit, like now everyone’s on mobile, they had to adapt from mobile too Tokenize media is the next phase, it’s the next phase. And the sooner that publishers understand this, the more of a head start they’re gonna be able to get here. And that’s really critical. Because if you look back historically, it was the publications that were early to embrace digital, and the ones that were early to embrace mobile, who thrived on those platforms, and maintain their relevance till today. You know, I know this very, very well, because I started my career at billboard, billboards been around since the 1890s. But billboard notably was very early to embrace digital at a time that it wasn’t that popular. And that’s one of the reasons why billboard has the huge digital footprint that it has, and maintains its relevance till today, it’s like this is just the next natural phase of technological progression driving media forward. But what’s really critical is this time, it actually, like it has an opportunity to actually create and change the models and create more fairer models that literally benefit everyone and allow communities to take ownership in a way that just previously wasn’t possible.
I love that. I think it’s very spot on. I think what you guys are building towards is very interesting and the ability to tokenize content and to create experiences around that and to align incentives with your readers and your listeners and everyone in between is definitely the way forward. I’m curious if you guys have experienced or it can imagine any challenges that come with building a web three native media outlet and focusing around tokenized media as a core primitive of what you’re doing. Any challenges sort of like that you faced already or that you think have yet to come?
Matt Medved: One thing I’ll speak to, I’m sure Sam has too is like old habits die hard, right? Like we’ve been, we have this web two media model like pretty much like pounded into our heads from, for the past, you know, two decades, right? It’s all about like getting the most eyeballs, getting the most followers, getting the most audience, like it’s all about that top line growth. And it’s hard to break both as an individual and as an organization, those habits and those, like it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s easy to fall back on that, right. But what you actually realize is that, that is what led us to where we are, this clickbait race to the bottom, this era of like indiscriminate media companies and lack of pervasive lack of trust, right. And so, like what we need to remember is that there is a better way now, however, like it’s not only cutting edge, like we are the ones cutting the edge, like you know, we actually went out, we’re like yo like, you know, like who’s, building tokenized media like that and just wasn’t being done in the way that that we saw fit. And we’re like, you know what, this is the, it’s the pioneers you know, it’s the pioneers you know, path which is you gotta go create what you know, is going to drive the space forward. And so, you know, I think that breaking old habits is really key. I think also helping legacy players understand what’s happening, and why they need to be a part of this revolution. I mean, we saw this with digital, you know, I think about all the print dinosaurs that took so long to embrace digital, many of them never recovered. Many of them, many of them were lost along the way, you know, and so, there’s a similar thing here, especially because the learning curve is arguably even more difficult. You know, I always say I went through the crypto learning curve in 2013 with Bitcoin, I still had to go through the NFT learning curve in 2020. And, you know, that was still challenging. There are a lot of people going through both concurrently. And that’s really difficult with the current UX and usability and the like. And so I think it there’s both internal challenges around like ensuring that like you level up your mindset and unlearn the things that have become so ingrained that it’s like so natural after so many years in media, and then also figuring out how to credibly advocate for what you know is the future to a market that you also need to meet where they are.
That makes sense. So, from your perspective, from like an operational perspective, what are some of the challenges that you think you’ll face or that you’ve already faced was trying to build out this new and improved arm of nftnow?
Sam: Yeah, I mean, I think it’s a couple of things. I mean, there’s two points, one’s a little more operational. One’s just more broad macro perspective. On the operational side, I think some scaling community, right, like we’re speaking around the notion of a thousand true fans and super serving our core audience. I think that is the most important thing for us, for the now network is having an incredible experience for the people that are participating, giving them opportunities to elevate within their career, access to various rewards by way of different participation, exclusive access to different events. I think over time is striking that balance as the scaling community, without having a kind of adverse effect towards the value that you’re providing to every single community member. I think the other component, and this is on the more macro side when it just comes to challenges, and I think this is a challenge but also an opportunity is, Matt kind of spoke to the fact that trust in media at a macro level is kind of waning. I think we’ve also concurrently just seen the rise of this creator economy and just seeing all these different creators, who have really started to eat into that kind of pie of attention. So, we’re just generally seeing this big rise of creators, I think, even with nftnow, I’m not sure if you’ve seen K money has come in and replaced Matt as our CEO. K money is the Director of Social Video and nftnow. So, I think on our side to the extent that we’re, not that we’re finding really innovative ways to partner with creators, in the same way we want to bring power to our community, to contribute to things like next up and involve our community and the curation that we’re doing. We’re also bringing that same spirit of innovation towards how can we better involve and participate with different creators within the broader landscape as well. So, it’s not just like us speaking to our audience, but our community of creators, of participants, are all able to collectively participate and be rewarded for their participation within their own success.
Matt Medved: Yeah, it’s about getting out of this mentality that like media is a one-way street, right? Like if you look at these two legacies beat the brand or just literally just like, because there’s so incentivized to drive people to their website at all costs, to get their eyeballs to monetize and then discard for these programmatic ads. They are not like that’s the only conversation they’re having, is a one-way street to your eyeballs, and it’s not sustainable. It’s not empathetic. It’s not credible. It’s not authentic. And like what’s really important is like Sam said, understanding that tokenized media is a two-way street. It’s actually more than a two-way street because you’re creating an ecosystem, where people can connect and create value together in a community centric model, and do it all within this framework. You know, it’s really like it’s, it’s almost like a salve to like the, to the web two mediums like long standing wounds.
What do you think publishing looks like in the context of tokenized media?
Matt Medved: Yeah, great question. Look, I think at a certain level, like all media will live on chain in some form. That doesn’t mean that all media will be, you know, traded, you know, in terms of like having speculative value or are having like, you know, collectible value or the like, but I think that the blockchain is absolutely incredibly powerful in terms of documenting in an immutable way. You know, what is it the discourse and the conversations that we’re having, like think about how many websites have been lost and all of their content, gone. Because the website went out of business because of a broken flawed business model. And you know, the servers, they couldn’t afford to keep the servers and it’s a real thing, people worry about, it’s like, what’s going to happen to the archives of these publications. And so, I think we’re gonna see a scenario in which all media, all published media will live on chained in some form. That doesn’t mean that all of it will be collectible, but I do think that there will be the archival element of that, then I think what you’re also going to see is really critical collectible media, around really major moments, around really major releases, around like things that people have that emotional resonance with, about like I was there, or I believe, or I want to be a part of this, you know, those forces. Because at the end of the day, human behavior and human psychology doesn’t change, just the technology finds new ways to empower enable and cater to it, right? And so, all of those things that we are feeling, you know, like when we see for example, if you see your favorite musician on the cover of a publication, you’re like, damn, I love that like, I want to be a part of that. Whether that’s in a traditional model that was like, you know what, I’m gonna buy that magazine, I will put it on my wall, right. In this context, it will be like, you know what, I’m gonna mint that and I’m gonna hold that, you know, like those moments are going to become largely on chain and that’s going to be a really powerful thing. As we think about harnessing that and this is going to go beyond just articles, this is going to be editorial, this is going to be socialist, is going to be audio, this is going to be video. This is going to be like a holistic and an all-encompassing ecosystem for tokenized media. We’re obviously in the early innings. And one thing I think that’s really critical as we think about the now pass, and we think about the now network, the now network is really the foundation for all of the initiatives that we have underway to build the future of tokenized media. So, we’re not going to go from, you know, from that, like it’s not gonna happen overnight. Right. It’s gonna be built over time. And I think that that’s really critical. Just like we’ve seen the adoption of this technology, take time within these market cycles of awareness and the light between the bulls and the bears, like, you know, we’re it’s gonna be a long haul for the future of tokenized media, but I also think things are going to move quicker than people think, you know, we’ve already seen for example, just the flood of big brands into web three, we’ve seen things that would have been unimaginable. You know, two years but unimaginable when we last spoke, November 2021. Like if you had told me some of these things will be happening. You know, like I would have been like, nah dude, that’s like five years out, you know what I mean? And so, it happens, it’s like slowly but then like all at once, and so we clearly see where the puck is going. We recognize that this is the next evolution of the Internet and it’s the next evolution of storytelling. And ownership is the critical component to that. Never bet against that. Never bet against the power of storytelling and never bet against technology.
As you’re speaking another thought comes to mind and you try to think of the phases and stages of tokenized media, where we’re at the inner cusp of trying to understand what tokenized media even means. And this next thing that I’m going to try to like to illustrate is something that I thought that I’m formulating as we speak. Okay, so the way Matt looks at it, the way nftnow looks at it, a couple other people look at it, it’s basically taking pieces of content, tokenizing that content, either doing a membership pass around your community to try to get them into the ecosystem from like a top-level funnel, curate experiences through that accordingly. So, it’s either publishing content and minting content and tokenizing content that’s then collected, either issuing a membership pass that then gets into this community of more tokenized content. I think that’s phase one. I think phase two is if we go back to what we were talking about earlier, and we say that the creator and the creator is either the writer, the graphic designer, whatever branch it extends from, actually ends up being the platform, then media companies will probably act as aggregators, because if I’m the platform, then when I publish content, I can mint that piece as an NFT. And if nftnow is sort of situated in the right proper structure, you can then aggregate that creator’s content and surface it through editorial, right? So instead of actually publishing content from a traditional website, you guys will act as aggregators, empowering writers to submit their articles, and then surfacing that content through nftnow for the reader, so you guys would focus on distribution, driving traffic, right and getting eyeballs on content, while at the same time recruiting these really talented writers, reporters, and you Matt, acting as head of editorial, surfacing that content to the surface because what that will actually do, it will create equitable playground, right?
Mat Medved: That’s right.
And if the creator is not necessarily like publishing on WordPress, that’s via nftnow’s database, right? It’s actually publishing content on chain that on chain content then gets surfaced across these news aggregators. Like that’s like the next step that I see, like a really like extreme farfetched tokenize media company, publishes content as NFTs and then we have the right proper things in place to actually read and consume that tokenized media, but I don’t think we’re there yet.
Matt Medved: Yeah, look, I don’t think it’s that farfetched. You know, I think that, like I think that, you know, we have a long way to go in terms of the evolution of tokenized media, but I think that that’s right. And I think that in many ways, we will see that model and we also like, you know, in a sense, it speaks to what we are really thinking through in stages, which is progressive decentralization. Right? Like you think about that model where you have a decentralized network of contributors, who you know, are all kind of are like feeding into that but really have their own autonomy, have their own, you know, have their own, their own IP, their own licensing, their own everything, but being able to kind of like aggregate that through, it’s like it’s a descendant of more decentralized model. And so, we’re thinking through just progressive decentralization for nftow, like what did those first steps look like? A lot of that is these more, like this content, you know, the community curated content series. Sam could speak a bit to lists like creator network as well, that you know, we’re kind of like outlining broad brushstrokes for and you know, I think that at the end of the day is really about incentivizing participation and increasing the, you know, the town, the town square, so that it’s not just, you know, it’s not just the big centralized media publications that have, like they have access to the narrative but really being able to bring many more voices to the fault. Sam, do you wanna speak maybe to the creator side at the high level?
Sam: Yeah, good to speak to the high level as far as when I can and can’t share. I do think but no, I fully aligned. I think what you said is brilliant, I think aligns with a lot of the ways that we’re thinking, which is that when you think about the different kind of stakeholders involved in this broader landscape of like, media attention, a lot of it is creators, and I think media publications that will win are the ones that are able to create the best models, to partner with different creators. So, I think the incentivization mechanics don’t solely rely on between like media publisher, in house staff, and audience and community, but a big subset of that community is actual creators. So, going back to the notion that kind of for us web three, and a lot of this NFT tooling is really incentive alignment machines. We definitely are spending a lot of time thinking and working to ensure that we can have quick alignment and incentive alignment with creators in our community.
That makes a lot of sense. I want to understand how you guys are thinking about sort of the future of tokenized media as it pertains to the now pass and the now network. Like where’s your head at and where you want to take this beast?
Matt Medved: Yeah, so look, the now pass, just to make it clear. The now pass is like your access pass to the now network. And we think about like, everything that, like that it’s all for that we’re offering, it’s all through the now network. You know, I think it’s really critical to understand that this is all very much a first step. You know, this is, we’re not gonna figure this out overnight. We’re being really intentional and like taking our time to create something sustainable. This is as I said, the foundation for all of our initiatives and building the future of tokenized media. And so, experimentation is a critical part of being a pioneer. And so, you know, our commitment is long term. And if I were to say to you that like yo, we got everything figured out the next five years, boom, boom, that would be disingenuous, because it would also be really, it would also be really short sighted because things change so fast. The people who succeed in web three and beyond are people who are nimble and able to understand that the technologies are changing every day, you’re able to embrace that, hey, what made sense there before this protocol was created, may not make sense after that. But I can tell you that we have a very clear North star in terms of how we envision this process, really being able to super serve our community with exclusive content and access, being able to increase retention. I think that’s a really critical part. So much of traditional media is focused on engagement and the short term like spikes and the like we’re looking at retention. How do we keep people coming back? How do we reach our most valuable users, the most valuable community members and super served them and reward them for participating, creating deeper, more authentic connections and a greater sense of loyalty? And then also, as I said, decentralizing that content creation and curation. And so, you know, there’s a lot, we have, there’s so much that, like we can’t speak to right now. But we have our incredible CTO and creative director, Aaron Baker, who by the way also designed the now pass artwork, which is fucking amazing, by the way, like I gotta say, like I love it. It’s like fully generative, original generative artwork that he created, based on this idea of this concept of being the signal in the noise. And that’s kind of what been one of our mantras as we build the nftow over the past two years, is about like create, being this big building credibility and trust and being that trusted signal in the noise because let’s be real during the Bull Run, there was a lot of noise and there’s still a lot of noise, you know, but it’s like, alright, what matters? Why does it matter? Make sure it’s the good actors who get covered and all that, make sure it’s a real-life innovators and the like, and so like build, so that that signal to noise concept was really critical for us. And so Aaron, created this incredible generative artwork based on that concept, which like, has all these nuances and it’s got like, you know, rarity trades, exclusive attributes, things like that, which will all you know, they’ll all have significance so he can’t, you know, can’t speak to everything yet, but like, you know, it’s really, really special. And he is also the one building out the product offerings of the now. He’s the, you know, he’s one of those like crazy multithread, seasoned coder, he’s an artist, he’s everything, you know. And what’s crazy is so like, what he has, he has some incredible like dynamics and mechanics in the works, that he can’t speak to yet but really being able to build, like build this like specialized suite of products, so that if you own an now pass and you access the now network, you can then kind of choose your own adventure, with like different offerings that really speak to you and what you, like what success in web three and beyond means to you, Sam, anything you want to add there.
Sam: Nailed it.
I love it. Your energy, both of your energy. Yeah, shout out Aaron, both of your energies are quite infectious. I’m excited to see where you guys take your vision of tokenized media, the now network and the success of the now pass. Guys before we wrap up, where can we learn more? Where can we stay in touch show it away?
Matt Medved: Yeah, well 100%. So look to learn more about the now pass specifically, go to nowpass.xyz. You can also follow the now pass like dedicated Twitter at @thenowpass on Twitter. To learn more about the now network and everything that the now pass on locks. If you go to nftnow.com right now, you will see pinned to the top there is an op ed, authored by myself and Alejandro called web two media is broken, the future of media is tokenized, which really maps out our vision for why web two media is broken and why tokenized media is the future and also speak to those first steps for the now network. And so, I think that’s going to be really critical. My camera just cut out.
Yeah, it looks like it did. Okay to pick up where he left off. By the way, wait, I might want to get him to say that again because he was like middle of it, and I want to make sure I get the video.
Matt Medved: Do you want me to access, I can’t change, I have another webcam.
Sam: Is your back is turning on the camera display Matt, is the camera dead?
Cameras that run on batteries webcams, really.
Sam: We are using, we have like DSLR rigs.
Oh, got it. It’s all good guys. No, not a problem. I can always ask the question again, Sam, you can take it over.
Matt Medved: Let me try turning it off and on again.
Let’s take it from the beginning. Okay, let’s take it from the beginning.
Matt Medved: I think I could take it from because I did the pass stuff. I could just take it from the nftnow side.
Sam: That’s to learn more about the now network. Okay, perfect. Cool.
Matt Medved: So, look, to learn more about the now network and everything we’re building for the future of tokenized media, go to nftnow.com. You’ll see an op ed pinned to the top there, authored by myself and Alejandro on web two media is broken, the future of media is tokenized, where we talk about why web two media is broken and why the future of media is tokenized and what will be offered for the now network in its first step. And then you can always follow along with nftnow at on Twitter at nftnow.
I love it. Sam any last words?
Sam: Grateful for everything that you’re building, grateful for you having us on the show today. Grateful for everybody that’s tuned in and listening and ultimately just very grateful that we have an opportunity to uplift and showcase and empower the different creators of culture and different people that are really at the forefront of this kind of technological movement. So it’s not us, it’s our community.
I love it. You guys are killing it, excited to see what happens. And we’ll have to do this again soon. But until then, appreciate you guys for being on.
Matt Medved: Thank you, Adam.
Sam: Cheers, Adam. Keep up the great work, man.