✖️ Six personal takeaways from building a community DAO with COLORS
And: Holly+ song auction goes live; 2021 music NFT market analysis; Coldplay's green touring app; Social DAW Endlesss makes web3 pivot; Pop culture's oligopoly
A more personal note today: I’d like to tell you about some of the things I’ve learned so far building a community (and a DAO) with COLORSxSTUDIOS. The journey also took us through Seed Club - an accelerator that specializes in community DAOs. Here are some of my personal takeaways.
Define. You want to bring definition to your community early on. “Who is it for?” may well be the most important question you can answer in your early phases. Do research. Interview people. Be deliberate about who you want to be part of your community to the extent that you can define it. It doesn’t have to be names of specific people, but it can be descriptors.
When the community grows bigger and you have to make hard choices about how to prioritize things (early joiners have different expectations from late joiners), having a clear definition of who you’re building for (and why you’re building for them) will make your life a lot easier.
Persist. Our community’s most important moment of the week is our Weekly Talk, every Wednesday at 5pm CET, 11am EST on our Discord. It allows us to reconnect with a set cadence with our community. Discuss all the goings-on, projects and introduce new members.
When we started it last year, our initial 1 or 2 sessions had a good handful of people, but sometimes only 1 or 2 people would show up. We persisted. Eventually people adjusted their schedules or stopped forgetting to tune in, because they heard the time of the weekly call repeated so many times. Now, our format has evolved and we regularly have 50 folks tuning in to hear from pioneering artists like LATASHÁ, Kilo Kish, Jesse Boykins III, Adria Kain and Haleek Maul. We persisted and repeated, providing predictability and stability to the community. These things often start to take off just as you’re thinking of giving up - keep going.
Welcome. The first 5 to 15 minutes of joining a new community are crucial to long-term engagement. If the first minutes of someone’s experience are confusing, overwhelming, uninteresting or alienating, then it’s unlikely that this person will return. In the early moments of people joining the server, make sure to welcome them and get them to introduce themselves, so that the community can connect with them. Help them to understand how things work around here and that they’re not alone in a mass of unfamiliar nicknames.
Direct. Your rules and guidelines serve as your core expectations from community members. You are not always going to have something to do for everyone. Your rules and values help to guide people’s behaviour (and allow you to point towards something when things go awry). Your guidelines help define what it is that you expect from organic, emergent behaviour. We’ve currently defined them as:
The community is currently in the midst of preparing an NFT project to add funds to our DAO treasury for grants, editorial, events and other activities that allow us to support and include our creative community according to these pillars, the community is already hard at work on this. People spread the word about each other’s art, collaborate on editorial for our community bulletin channel and translate to Spanish and Portuguese to build bridges, share relevant opportunities e.g. grants, talk best practices, and shine spotlights on each other through community calls and a community gallery.
Seed. The web3 paradigm for building communities is to create room for emergence. This means that, with clear guidance, the community should be able to organise new initiatives. This leverages the network effects of these communities and because of web3 tools like tokens, you can make sure the community is properly rewarded. The implication is that long-term, you might not really know what the community will become. Just know what seeds you’re planting and what kind of gardening you want to do.
I expect most of the larger communities we’re seeing will become communities governed by a DAO — those communities will then have DAOs inside them that can build out their own brands (potentially headless brands). In those cases:
The community is anyone who describes themselves as part of the shared identity denominated by the community’s name (and acknowledged by other members of the community).
The community’s DAO is the governance and contributor layer: everyone who is engaged in workgroups, governance, voting, etc.
Then smaller DAOs can emerge in the community, potentially funded by the community’s DAO, that can help execute on community goals and help drive revenue back into the community’s DAO.
There will be many other models, but this is what I see developing (or potentially developing) around communities I engage with, like Songcamp, FWB and Seed Club and indeed the COLORS community.
Tend. Don’t grow for growth’s sake. If your community needs revenue to execute, then consider: does that revenue need to come from the community itself? Or is it possible for the community to build an audience of its own? FWB, so far, is an example of a self-funded community (with help from investors like a16z) without a revenue model. In contrast, Songcamp is a community of mostly musicians who likely don’t have much to spend… the revenue they’ve generated has mostly come from collectors who are not part of the core camps, but are perhaps more like spectators.
We will have a reveal coming at the end of the week, stay tuned via @colorsxdao.
👩🏻🎤 Holly+ song auction goes live (Holly Herndon)
Ok lots to unpack for those that may not be familiar: musician Holly Herndon trained an AI to sing like her, kinda. The team then made the AI available to anyone, asking artists to submit music. This music was then filtered by a DAO and now featured on the Holly+ site. The works are up for sale as NFTs.
“Profits generated from those sales will be split 50% with the contributing artist, with 40% going to the Holly+ DAO Treasury to fund new tools, and 10% going to me for the use of my likeness.”
Future Tape (built by Hype Machine founder @fascinated) makes it easy to listen to all the songs in a playlist format: go go go.
🎹 Social DAW Endlesss pivots to web3 & makes app free (Endlesss)
I’ve followed the Endlesss journey from when it was just an app in beta mode on Tim Exile’s phone, one late evening on a terrace outside a conference. We penned a review a bit over a year ago when Endlesss launched its desktop app.
I’ve been aware of what was upcoming for a while now and am excited to see the news out. This makes so much sense for a social, iterative and collaborative music creation suite.
🌱 Coldplay launch tour app to help fans reduce carbon footprints while travelling to shows (Andy Malt)
“The app will allow the band to measure and offset the carbon emissions of fans as they travel to the venue, and offer merch discounts to those who choose to travel to any one show via low-carbon means. It also provides information for fans on how to travel in ways that are better for the planet.”
“You can use the app to figure out the cleanest and greenest ways to get to and from the concert”
📊 Pop Culture Has Become an Oligopoly (Adam Mastroianni)
“A smaller group of artists tops the charts, and they produce more of the chart-toppers. Music, too, has become an oligopoly.”
🍰 2021 MUSIC NFT SALES ANALYSIS (WATER & MUSIC)
“While major-label acts certainly drove a lot of attention to the market early on, indie/unsigned artists captured a majority of primary music NFT sales revenue — perhaps due to the absence of middlemen, along with the direct control of rights and direct access to communities.”
I’ve been a fan of the IC3PEAK for years. The Russian duo’s music is hard to lob in anywhere, it’s provocative and has blended influences from witch house & trap, with the new release incorporating a lot of punk & metal influences. Happy to see they’re able to tour internationally, despite loads of government harassment in the past. I somehow missed the ticket sale for their Berlin dates — if anyone can sort me out, give me a ping. 🖤