Cirkay talks web3: ‘Owning something is the first expression of fandom’


Startup Cirkay emerged this year with a ‘Fan Pass’ technology used by British band The Amazons to sell ‘digital box set NFTs’.

An offshoot from ecommerce firm Push Entertainment, the company is now working with more artists. Co-founder Simon Scott spoke at our Sandbox Summit Web3 Special conference yesterday, offering his take on ‘how did we arrive at web3?’

One of Scott’s key messages was that web3 isn’t an entirely new phenomenon, but rather that lessons can be carried over from the work in previous technological shifts: for example around community building.

“There’s people in this room, they were involved in building really large communities around artists. Not social, but really large communities on sites or mailing lists or events,” he said. “Remember, within your organisations there are people that have actually been there.”

Scott also talked about the past time-lags between new technologies emerging, and proving their worth for the music industry and artists.

“The MP3 wasn’t named until 1995, but didn’t really mean anything until 2001, when Apple and Sony got together and did the 99-cent MP3,” he said.

Scott added that while Facebook launched in 2004 “it wasn’t really until Katy Perry got to 100 million followers [on Twitter] in 2017 that the power of what artists could do on these social platforms was properly understood”.

Spotify launched in 2008, but it took eight years for streaming music revenues to overtake physical sales. His point: that NFTs and other web3 technologies are still in their early, experimental days.

Scott also talked about some of the key trends he sees as underpinning web3, including transparency and ownership.

“An NFT is a digital contract that means you can own something. Not that you can rent something, not that you can access it. That you own it. That’s fundamentally different, and owning something is the first expression of fandom,” he said.

“I’d encourage people to stop thinking about how to get people to listen to stuff, and to start thinking about how to get people to want to own stuff again.”

Scott also talked about other things that will have value for music superfans, including wondering how many people would pay $10 a year for one day’s early access to the social posts of an unnamed popular artist.

“The answer I got was about 200,000. Okay, that’s a $2m-a-year business, for content that’s already being made and sent out there.”

Cirkay isn’t doing that just yet, but it has launched a service called Fan Pass: essentially NFTs sold by artists that can include content and other rewards, while evolving over time.

The Amazons tested it out earlier this year with a ‘digital box set’ NFT. Scott said that key to all this is that, like e-commerce, artists have access to the data.

“We connect it all together with something that we call our nexus. It takes all that data, and flows it into your CRM system. All of these sales take place off your e-commerce site,” he said.

“That was our starting point, because that’s the revenue you know, and you control.”

Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit Web3 Special was held in association with Cirkay, Fanaply and Global Rockstar, and supported by Tuned Global. You can read all our coverage of the sessions here.

Written by: Stuart Dredge