✖️ Gebrauchsmusik: on the utility of music

And: Open sample library, Unlock music with your eyes; China cracks down on under-age performers; Spotify's video-based Discover tab; Dynamic ticket pricing backlash; Queer Music Agency launches

After the NFT money hype this past spring, we moved into a space that focused more on the utility an NFT can carry. Taking a cue from the world of gaming - with their skins and items - musicians began to experiment with digital collectibles. Not only does this idea of the collectible allow for good story-telling, it’s also a way to bring non-crypto minded fans into a Web3 environment. All of this seems beneficial to both artists, who can create connections with their fans, and Web3 enthusiasts, who see more people creating wallets and generally getting their feet wet in our blockchain ocean.

I’m personally also of the opinion that utility is an important factor in both the adoption of NFTs and in getting people to stop talking about NFTs and start talking about what the tech can do as a tool. That said, utility in music isn’t a new concept. So if we want to think about what the utility of music is, let’s talk about the framework those ideas sit in.

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TECH

⛓️ The World’s First On-Chain CC0 Sample Library (UtilityMaxi)

“As members of the broader web3 music ecosystem, we believe that we have a responsibility to build and share the tools that make the web3 music ecosystem accessible to all — and that’s why we’re creating a free-use CC0 sample library alongside the first free-to-mint on-chain music creation platform.”

😕 Execs seemed confused about the metaverse on Q3 earnings calls (Alex Sherman)

This is a great round-up of all the ways various execs spoke about the metaverse in their earnings calls over the past few weeks. It’s safe to say they don’t all share the same definition. Warner Music Group CEO Stephen Cooper had the following to say:

“I think within these large scale metaverses, Fortnite, Roblox and others, that we will begin to see an opportunity where providing content and distribution converges. And when you begin to look at the global reach, the number of people that spend meaningful amounts of time in these new worlds, I think it provides a universe of opportunity for Warner.”

👀 Unlock New Music from REZZ with your Eyes using Spiral Vision (Lee Martin)

“The predictions come through as an array of 3D coordinates that make up the construction of a user’s face (and iris.) You can reference the mesh map to focus on particular points.”

📽️ Spotify is testing out a video-based “Discover” tab, according to Reddit users (Crystal Koe)

“Reactions to the feature are polarised to say the least, with one camp of users supportive of the video snippet mode of song discovery and the other slamming it as a “tiktok copypaste”. Another video shared by a separate Reddit user named marsy90 seemed to show however, that the feature does not allow for endless scrolling.”

🛣️ Epic Games buys Harmonix to create 'musical journeys' in 'Fortnite' (Igor Bonifacic)

Epic Games has acquired Harmonix, the studio behind titles like Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Dance Central and more recently Fuser. Financial terms have not been disclosed. Epic’s vision for Harmonix involves the metaverse. In the immediate future, the two plan to create “musical journeys and gameplay for Fortnite.”

X

🔞 China celebrity crackdown: entertainment industry ordered to ensure all underage performers complete compulsory education (Mandy Zuo)

“The new Beijing directive has brought public attention to the regulation of minors as performers and fans, ordering the entertainment industry to attach more importance to academic study amid what the government considers a frenzy around idols by young people and an overzealous fan culture.”

🤷🏿 I Participated in a deadmau5 NFT Mint so You Didn’t Have To (Lee Martin)

“So, I waited patiently for the countdown to hit 0. Was I actually going to be able to mint one of 5555 collectables against deadmau5’s millions of fans? It reminded me of a sneaker drop. When the clock hit 0, I stated that I wanted to mint 1 collectable and clicked the “Approve wETH” button. I was then told that I was not on the whitelist for minting. OK. Apparently, head5 had set aside an hour of pre-minting for fans who had already minted previous deadmau5 tokens. I actually thought this was really cool and waited to see how many collectables were minted in this first hour… 6. Only 6 users took advantage of this pre-minting phase. That’s when I started to get a weird feeling but I was here for science.”

🏳️‍🌈 Queer Music Agency launches in Denmark

“Unfortunately, there are far too many minorities who feel oppressed in the music industry. This industry is very much dominated by cis-gendered white straight men and therefore we try to rally so we can hopefully stand stronger.”

Frederik Diness Ove, founder Queer Music Agency

💸 Morgan Wallen Faces Fan Backlash Over Dynamic Ticket Pricing (Ashley King)

Ticketmaster uses dynamic ticket pricing to boost the prices of seats in moments of high demand. But many fans feel as though the practice is pricing them out of a concert they otherwise would attend.”

I spoke to Angela Huang, from AEG, about this and other ticketing strategies earlier in the year.

✉️ Youth Music launches £1.7 million Recharge Fund for post-pandemic music recovery (Christian Eede)

“As part of the Youth Music Recharge Fund, successful applicants across England, Scotland and Wales will be elligible to up to £30,000 a year for three years. The one-off funding round will be shared equitably between 40 music organisations, Youth Music says.”

MUSIC

I’ve been listening to a lot more dubby music again recently. This album by G36 vs JK Flesh is a standout. It’s not unexpected, of course, if you put Justin Broadrick and The Bug together. It’s very rhythmic, quite noisy and sounds like the music wants to escape an anechoic chamber type construction and reverberate through the world.