✖️ Under the loop: tokenized music communities in Seed Club's 4th acceleration cohort 🕵️
We’re at a unique moment for innovation in music. This moment stands shoulder to shoulder with the Napster moment and the early web2 moment that gave rise to Music Hack Days, Spotify, SoundCloud and pushed into prominence music distributors as startups.
Themes of this moment include all things ‘metaverse’ (whatever that means nowadays), livestreaming and other virtual interaction models, and the realities of web3 creating community empowerment and opening new sources of revenue for artists which can knock a 0 off of the old 1,000 True Fans adage.
Today I will focus on the latter: web3, which should come as no surprise to regular readers. The web3 can be noisy, especially if you haven’t found your niche yet. Some of the smartest teams I’ve ever interacted with are operating in this space, whether that’s through NFT marketplaces like Catalog, Mint Songs or Sound.xyz, to communities like Water & Music, Songcamp and Friends With Benefits, to organisations that create infrastructure for a much wider space, like Zora and Mirror.
If you wanted to stay up to date with the latest ideas 10ish years ago, you’d follow blogs like Hypebot, MusicThinkTank and TechCrunch and learn about the latest music startups. You’d scroll through the wikis of Music Hack Day to see what developers had been creating by mashing together APIs - maybe even giving them a follow on Twitter.
Another great way is following what startup accelerators are picking for their batches. Specialized accelerators like Techstars Music make this especially easy. If you’re interested in web3, you have many accelerators to pick from, though there are few as approachable and easy-to-understand as Seed Club. Seed Club specializes in tokenised communities. Instead of investing in communities with money, it swaps its token for a % of an accelerated community — in exchange, communities learn about tooling, tokenomics, community building, incentivization structures, DeFi, and get network and visibility in the web3 space, plus are introduced to the club of alumni. It’s an interesting model and I’m fairly convinced we’ll see versions of this swap-model in many accelerators, since it aligns long-term incentives so well. Whatever emerges to be the YCombinator of this generation (maybe that’s Seed Club), will have some form of this model.
Before I continue a disclosure: through past participation in Seed Club’s community, I hold some of their tokens. I also hold a Zora Zorb, am in Mirror’s DAO, hold Friends With Benefits tokens, hold Water & Music’s tokens, hold Songcamp’s Elektra tokens, and have purchased a music NFT through Sound.xyz. I also wish to participate in some of the projects mentioned below. I hope this also illustrates how interconnected, supportive and community-driven the space is.
What should the music biz know about Seed Club’s cohort 04?
Seed Club just announced their latest cohort. It provides an excellent snapshot of this moment in time, so I would like to highlight the ones that I think are especially relevant to the music business, though I highly recommend browsing through them all. A project I’m spending the majority of my time on is also in there, which I’ll save until last.
You can find the full announcement here and tweet thread here.
Floppy is a web3 based decentralized audio workstation (DAW) and first person sampler (FPS). I don’t know how and when, but they arose out of the Songcamp community when I missed two or three calls when I was on holiday last year. You can read more about the project here.
🧬 GROW YOUR OWN CLOUD
GYOC wants to let artists launch their works in the data format of the future, DNA. Their mission is to transform data centres from carbon creators to carbon absorbers using DNA data storage technology.
IMPSSBL’s Proof of Story project develops characters with AI-written stories. Over the past years, world-building and narrative creation have become ever more important assets and skillsets for artist teams. Things like this can help, or perhaps even spawn AI-based virtual pop stars (also read: your own personal AI-music star).
“Metalabels are a new kind of label. Metalabels are groups of people working under a common identity for a common purpose with a focus on releases — distinct public works that reflect and manifest their views.”
Metalabel aims to provide the tools, resources, funding, community and support for culture labels that extend beyond music. Their founding team includes the founders of Kickstarter, Ampled and Etsy.
I’m excited about this community bringing classical, historical and roots music into the web3. There’s definitely a very loosely connected network of people from these domains of music active in the space, however this area of music, with centuries-old institutions, could definitely do with more concentrated collaboration and it looks like MuseDAO intends to carry that torch.
🎛 MUSIC OS
MusicOS aims to make use of the open nature of data, protocols tooling in web3 and build a dashboard for fans and musicians to use. At least, that’s how this reads. Phenomenal team, by the way. Stay tuned.
SongADAO, for now, is the story of Jonathan Mann, who’s been recording and posting one song per day since 2009. There’s a fascinating backstory to the DAO, which was crowdfunded by selling all the ‘Song A Days’ as NFTs, so I highly recommend you check out Jonathan on the Bankless podcast.
And yes, as said, I’m also building a community that’s going through Seed Club - read about it here and follow us on Twitter.
🗳 POLL: Artist/Music Industry Web3 Sentiment (Water & Music)
All hands on deck! Water & Music is conducting research into the music biz’ sentiment around web3. If you have strong feelings about this topic, you’ve probably already clicked the above link. If you’re on the fence, lukewarm, or just still kind of confused, that’s ok: please fill out the survey. It’s important your sentiment gets captured.
Aaaaand that’s it. We normally have 5 to 10 links here, but today I’d like to encourage you to look into the communities linked above. Community is the most approachable way to explore web3 and cut through the hype of overpriced animal avatar NFTs.
Been grooving to this 2013 Boiler Room set by Nightmares On Wax.