✖️ Layering experiences into a modular NFT contract template
And: Stop using vague stats; The principle of generative pluralism; The intersection of crypto & the creator economy; MetaMusic; Onboarding strategies in music Web3 platforms
One of my more recent considerations when it comes to the Web3 more generally, but also specifically in relation to music, is that so much is still just concepts and conceptualizing. There’s very little that’s ‘real’ and this is exemplified by the way we look to those people active in and around Web3 who build some of the things lots of others only muse about. This idea started forming in my head around the time I was doing interviews for the Water & Music collaborative research chapter on NFT ownership. Speaking to various lawyers and business affairs people what became clear is that in order for the law to catch up to all the possibilities afforded by new Web3 technologies there’s a need for litigation. That is, simply put, how the law undergoes change. However, this has created a historical lag between, for example, copyright structures and evolving technologies for the production and distribution of music. Now, we can file this as a known quantity - something we need to live with. But what this interaction between copyright law and technology exemplifies is that it slowly builds out one item onto the next. In other words, it’s a basic layering of experiences. And it’s this layering of experiences that I see happening all around the Web3.
What happens when you layer experiences is that you start to look differently at things. On the one hand, you see the blockages and challenges that come with taking a new step. On the other hand, you start to see everything mapped out in front of you. That includes the things that don’t work, but also includes the things that do work. How this works in practice became clear in the work that we did as a follow-up or build-out of the Season 1 report. Jonathan Larr suggested that we take the knowledge set out in the chapter on NFT ownership and shape a contract template. We subsequently brought together all the lawyers and royalty experts within the Water & Music community and got to work. The layering of experiences helped shape the idea into a modular contract template, a web-based tool to fill out the template - which then populates depending on the answers provided in the tool - an article, and a bunch of education points.
Every time we hit a dead end, we didn’t treat it as a place to stop but as a starting point to a learning. This, I think, is one of the ways that the Web3 inherently changes the way we work, operate and distribute. With the focus on interoperability our mindset changes. Instead of fighting the things that came before we open ourselves up to them and build them out. In a more interoperable world, for example, we would no longer have a mechanical license, but we would have had a digital license by now - I jest, but the point is that with layering experiences we don’t just tack on new tech onto existing structures, but reshape those structures from within.
With that, I invite you to:
🏫 learn from the education points: Appendix: Education Points
▶️ play around with the contract template tool: Water & Music NFT contract builder
“The 12 music NFT platforms we selected for study take a wide range of approaches to the types of Web3-related products they offer, as well as many other operational characteristics, as is made clear from our platform comparison table below”
👀 MetaMusic – Web3 and the future of the music industry (Clovis McEvoy)
“With that reclamation of power comes new levels of responsibility; independent artists now need to stay on top of a complex array of business, legal, and marketing responsibilities (oh, and writing music too). Digital burnout is an increasingly important issue for ‘plugged-in’ artists and, in the Web3 space, the need to interact with your online community takes on new dimensions. These are no longer just a musician’s fan club, but now their investors and stakeholders too.”
🧜 The Principle of Generative Pluralism (Venkatesh Rao)
I recently discovered this set of essays connected to a course from 2015 called Breaking Smart - Serendipity through technology, and there’s a lot of great stuff in there that still very much applies today.
“We call this the principle of generative pluralism. Generative pluralism is what allows the virtuous cycle of surplus and spillover to operate. Ephemeralization — the ability to gradually do more with less — creates room for the pluralistic expansion of lifestyle possibilities and individual values, without constraining the future to a specific path.”
Talking about layering experiences…
“It's important to note that each phase of the creator economy is additive to the previous. Each phase gives creators new options - with new sources of income, new ways of doing business and new ways of connecting with fans. Creators have the flexibility to mix and match these options to suit their needs.”
♾️ Why music companies should stop using vague stats (Eamonn Forde)
“It is there in reference to upticks in streams after a TV performance, a festival appearance or (in a darker twist) the death of an artist. Streams, we hear, went up 350% in the past week. That sounds impressive, but its only triumph is its deception. A 350% increase from what? No one is saying because, by pinning an exact number on it, the whole charade collapses in around their ears
I love Hania Rani’s music and this video of her recording and playing in the Studio S2 in Warsaw is a great interplay between the visual and the sonic.