✘ Interdependent musician ecosystems as media networks
And: Music fandom's problem is TV's opportunity; Scarcity and niches as Web3's differentiator; NFT tickets solve issues; BLACKPINK mobile game; The shuffle button's impact on media consumption
Ever since bands started touring and support acts started featuring on the bills, music has been a great example of how collaboration can help bring out new audiences discover artists. This isn’t unique to music, of course. Comedy, for example, also has strong tendencies towards this kind of sharing of audiences. Even in our creator economy, this tendency exists. Want to know the best way to promote your podcast? Get on someone else’s podcast who already has an audience. That, however, feels more like featuring on someone’s song, than sharing a line-up together. Any notion of rivalry dissipates as you share an audience. What’s more, if you go one step further collaboration of this kind can lead into establishing collectives.
Cutting across silos
One of the benefits of operating in collectives is that it helps one move beyond one’s own audience and into a broader ecology. One way of looking at this is through the lens of the curated feed. Basically, if you’re a musician your music is a curated feed of songs that you want people to listen to. Of course, this gets refracted through various media, but especially an EP or an album has this function of curation. By adding the music of others, you not only expand your own reach, you also bring together different audiences into one feed.
There’s a lack of critical engagement with collectives as groups who self-select their audience. At the same time, it’s easy to connect through a shared love for a specific style of music. From this connection, both artists and listeners can come together to build a community that cuts across silos and strengthens the overall ecosystem (of a genre, place, or style). These kinds of collective efforts amplifies the efforts of single artists or bands.
Dynamic and connected ecologies and economies
The main reason to build a collective, however, goes beyond expanding audiences. It’s about nurturing an ecology that remains within the control of those who operate within it. From there, it’s possible to imagine a new economy to thrive. To make that happen, it’s important for a collective to have power over a distribution channel. The music, or perhaps media is a better word here, requires a feed to filter through to those wanting to engage with it. This requires an intentional design around the ecosystem that takes into account the methods of interaction, how curation happens, and how distribution and consumption feed into each other. That, in turn, allows value to be attributed in such a way that the whole ecology benefits.
Towards artist-audience driven media networks
Basically, what this would lead to is the establishment of music and musician-driven media networks. Within these networks the artists and their audiences exist together in a dynamic ecology and economy that benefits the whole collective. The health of this ecosystem is determined by the equilibrium between the give and take of each participant to the broader network. Control sits with those who operate within the network.
📺 Music fandom’s problem is TV’s opportunity (Mark Mulligan)
“The heart of problem Is that streaming is about consumption, not artist-fan engagement. While Spotify’s recent vertical feed launch is a step in the right direction, it is just one (as of yet unproven) move by one music streaming service. Artist storytelling must happen elsewhere. TikTok may be the industry’s go-to, but its role is far from perfect. 64% of TikTok users rarely know what the music is in a video they are watching and just 19% go elsewhere to listen to music they discover on the app.”
✘ I support everything Mark says in this article. Yes, fandom isn’t a priority in the streaming economy. And yes, TV is still a super important discovery tool for music. More on my thoughts on the opportunities TV offers for music here.
🧣 The web3 differentiator: scarcity and niches (Vickie Nauman)
“We should all prepare for even broader and more diversified revenue streams, and a wide mix of business models, some on chain and some traditional. Volume alone doesn’t express fandom.”
✘ The next phase of Web3 is all about integrating it into a broader strategy for music releases.
🎫 Taking Back Control: Eliminate Ticket Scalping & Capture Secondary Market Revenue The Right Way (Get Protocol)
“In today's world of increasing fan connection, the ability to engage with attendees and understand who they truly are is becoming increasingly important and the secondary ticket market represents a significant portion of this event activity.”
✘ Ticketing is by far the best use case for NFTs and this example shows it again. Who wouldn’t want to take control of their own secondary market? No more scalping and all secondary sales can be limited and contained.
📱 Here’s your first look at the upcoming BLACKPINK mobile game (Puah Ziwei)
“BLACKPINK The Game will feature puzzle quests, a management-syle element which seems to be in the vein of Tiny Tower, in-game photocards and various other mini-games.”
✘ I’ll be keeping an eye out for this. The intersection of music and gaming keeps becoming more and more enmeshed and I just feel that fans are eager to explore it further. A group with the popularity of BLACKPINK can definitely tap into it like few others.
🔀 All Mixed Up - How the shuffle button came to define modern-day media consumption (Natalie Weiner)
“The introduction of the idea that media consumption could be both personal and passive had massive ripple effects. In the wake of the Napster era and its promises of a massive, totally unique music library, Pandora effectively invented the idea of individualized radio, promising the ultimate “shuffle” experience with technology that has since been used to great effect by streaming services intent on keeping people listening. Spotify, Apple Music, and their ilk offer both the promise of that Napster-scale range with Pandora’s ease. You could find anything, they suggest, but why not click this button and we’ll find it for you?”
✘ Small things have big effects, but our desire for the shuffle has existed for longer than the shuffle button. What Natalie does in this piece is to argue how our recent struggles with the shuffle button reflects a desire to wrest some control back from the platforms who control our listening experiences.
I’m always interested when artists bring together different sonic worlds. Here, simmerdown pulls from the sampling culture of hip hop and the beat culture of house. It creates a flowing track that crackles with energy.
I’ve been building an article called ‘Ecosystem > Scene’ so your point about connected ecologies and economies really intrigued me because I believe that the future of the music industry will largely be based around DAO like collective ecosystems that use web-3 tools and platforms in conjunction with web-2 distribution platforms (social media & DSP’s) & IRL activations all as a means of creating their own contexts/sub-cultures that an audience can commune in. I wanted to ask if you’ve got any examples of connected ecologies and economies in action currently that you’ve observed?