✖️ The attention recession: blessing or curse for the cultural web3 space?
With attention volume down to pre-pandemic levels, here's how web3 projects can weather inflation, bear markets and an attention recession
We have entered an attention recession. During the pandemic we saw an extension of the ‘peak attention’ achieved in 2019. Now, with people gradually returning to lives more akin to the ones we lived pre-pandemic, attention levels are receding according to industry analyst Mark Mulligan. This means people will spend less time on media and will subsequently decide to cancel subscriptions they barely use.
In a recent explainer in response to Netflix’ falling subscription numbers Mulligan explains:
“The arithmetic is simple: total attention hours are falling, social is growing hours, therefore, the remainder of the attention economy collectively experiences a double whammy of decline of time and money.”
“This might also be the moment for the next generation of emerging tech majors like Byte Dance and Tencent whose businesses have a strong focus on ad supported and monetizing fandom rather than the commodified model of monetizing consumption.”
One thing that the piece does not pick up on is web3.
First the bad news, web3 or not: we’re all going to have to work harder to get people’s attention. Artists often concern themselves with how to gain attention for new projects & reach new listeners… now, more than ever, it’s important to give priority to the question: “I’ve reached someone new once - how do I catch their attention again?”
More bad news: high inflation will lead to people cutting discretionary spending. This may make it even harder to onboard new fans to NFTs (e.g. collectibles, membership passes, access tickets, digital art objects, etc.), unless people perceive them as very high value for money and they’re within price ranges they can easily afford.
The good news for web3 is that it is inherently social and some of the more popular blockchains function, in part, as decentralized social media. I’m not saying blockchains or even DeFi is social by default - transactions can be the result of algorithms and scripts - but the term Web3 has social meaning and describes a vision where people can exchange and own digital objects and currencies without needing to trust intermediaries. Keyword: exchange - a social action.
The best way to gauge whether a project will be successful is to take a look at the power of its team and community. Communities are a great way to create meaning away from the noisy feeds and algorithms. Communities can create products, services and experiences that uniquely cater to the needs of those represented by the community, meaning monetization may be less of an obstacle, since people are co-creating that which they may (or may not) spend their money on.
In short the attention recession for web3 means:
Increased competition for people’s attention will create the need for new strategies to cut through the noise
Web3 players will increasingly lean on social strategies and word of mouth to garner attention
More emphasis will be placed on retaining attention, since it will cost more energy and money to acquire a new person’s attention
Communities will have to work harder to find strategies to keep members in the loop
DAOs with low enthusiasm levels will fizzle out faster
A piece of advice for community builders: focus on the first minutes of new members’ experience. These moments are decisive in getting people to come back to you again and again. Free example:
If you’re new to the newsletter: hi, welcome - hope you’ve enjoyed reading your first article! We send out MUSIC x (almost) every Tuesday and Thursday. Usually around midday CET. Watch out for the little ✖️ at the start of the subject line.
“Now known as Dunbar's number, the finding was that, based on the limitations of our neocortex, there’s a maximum size of group (circa 150 members) in which we maintain stable relationships…
Fusing diverse views, experiences, perspectives and talent from the realms of art; music; strategy; engineering; & economics into a “headless band” seeking to serve as a beacon in breaking the boundaries of digital collaboration with music at its centre.”
3️⃣ Warner Recorded Music appoints Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda to Web3 advisory role (Murray Stassen)
“Shinoda will work closely with Warner Music’s leadership and business development teams to help shape the company’s artist-centric approach to Web3.”
Please credit Slf Svrgn when sharing.
🎛 Teenage Engineering’s mixer – FX – audio interface – instrument is provocatively tiny (Peter Kirn)
“The TX-6 does sort of everything you could ever want. It’s a desktop and mobile audio interface (with wireless), it has multi-effects, there’s a synthesizer and sequencer, and it functions as a mixer (and a DJ mixer if you put it on your side).”
🚞 A Gen Z Perspective On Sustainable Touring (Eleanor Anderson)
“As more zoomers start to attend concerts and take center stage, there will be a call for sustainable touring practices. Soon musicians and fans alike will demand more from our sustainability practices, and sustainable tours (e.g., Coldplay, Jack Johnson) will become the norm, not the exception.”
Thanks Michail (aka Opium Hum) for recommending this Speed Dembow EP by Siu Mata & Amor Satyr which is slightly reminiscent of the 90s bubbling genre emerging from The Netherlands & Dutch Caribbean, but this EP also borrows loosely from other genres beyond dembow and dancehall. As one reviewer puts it: “repeats like techno, rolls like dembow.”
And I leave you with this thought: