Tools :: web3 Sandbox Summit Tools special
Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit Web3 Special took place on 28th June in London – it was a great event that delivered new learnings and clarified some key questions in the web3 space. (You can read our news reporting and analysis of the various panels and talks here.)
One of the important things to keep in mind when thinking about web3 is the decentralised aspect: web3 platforms and – yes – tools operate differently.
The kind of platforms we normally profile here in Tools are usually considered to be Web 2.0 – a simple example being a social media platform, where user data, like information like email address and demographic data, or photos and text and so on are all held on the servers controlled by the social media platform.
So what’s the interesting part about the web3 alternative for Tools readers? Well, there are a couple of simple enticing things: firstly, web3 platforms offer the opportunity for artist teams to own the data on their fans without having to negotiate an intermediary platform (like on social media); and secondly, the “tools” can be tailored to suit each artist, meaning that fan-artists experiences can be bespoke.
It means that the concept of a web3 “tool” is both highly customisable and exciting – and it also means that it’s a bit more complex than setting up a new account on a Web 2.0 platform.
To help you dig in to this space and to understand it more, here’s some information from our web3 Sandbox coverage on two of what we think are web3’s best starting points for marketers and artist teams: NFTs (of course) and DAOs.
Force yourself past the hype: NFTs are about utility, not monkey gifs – that is: if a fan buys your artist NFT, what does it allow them to do? This could be, for instance, VIP status at future gigs, access to limited edition merch, secret Discord groups, one-on-one Zoom calls with the artist, or anything else that makes sense for your artist.
NFTs with this kind of utility are a good way of thinking about web3 tools: instead of the fan experience being dictated by the platform’s parameters, the artist team can decide how it can fit best with the artist.
Here are some of the web3 NFT platforms we heard from or about at the web3 Summit:
We’ve profiled Cirkay before in Tools – and founder Simon Scott spoke at the web3 Summit. He described NFTs like this: “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.”
There was a panel discussion on NFTs at the conference, and all the speakers agreed that the secret to future NFT success is giving fans the utility they want.
Scott also thinks that artists making innovative fan-focussed NFT products will make a big difference: “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.”
Cirkay has launched a service called Fan Pass: these are essentially NFTs sold by artists that can include content and other rewards, while evolving over time.
One form of utility is giving fans a slice of ownership of songs. Global Rockstar spoke about “fairness through fractionalising”, claiming that selling a share of artists’ music rights as NFTs means “it’s possible to give higher artist royalties” in comparison to streaming.
“We have more than 250 projects that we funded in this way in the last two years, and we distribute the royalties to all rightsholders… it’s about building sustainable careers.”
It’s important to note that owning a piece of a song shouldn’t be about making money: it should be something that fans would be doing to show (and later prove) their support for an artist, rather than with the expectation of making lots of money.
Fanaply founder Grant Dexter said that NFTs should be affordable and about proving individual fandom to other fans. “Our vision has never been about selling an NFT over a thousand dollars. Our NFTs have always been about proof of fandom. You can think about a Girl Guide sash, of all the things you have done online,” he said.
Dexter suggested that rather than going for quick cash grabs, artists would do well to think about how to get NFTs into the hands of their real fans as affordably as possible.
That includes giving them away for free – and then offering ways for those fans to upgrade their NFTs.
What is a DAO and why should you care? It’s a Decentralised Autonomous Organisation, and if that sounds intimidating, there are some easy ways into understanding what they can do. A simple example: imagine an artist fanclub, where fans buy a token to gain access to the club, and then that fanclub can offer lots of exciting new ways for fans and artists to digitally – or physically – interact.
But a DAO can be a lot more – it can offer voting rights to holders of the tokens, so members could, for instance, vote on and influence decisions related to the artist, like choosing which merch to make, or which artwork to choose.
HIFI Labs are an organisation that do many things in the web3 space, but notably they helped create RAC’s racDAO.
Our panel discussion on DAOs & music dug into the realistic ways a DAO can become a hub for fans. Realistically, it can be as simple as a closed Discord server, where fans who are members of the DAO can gather and chat. “Discord has become the de facto platform for DAOs,” said Water & Music’s Katherine Rodgers.
Getting people into the DAOs and helping them feel it has utility and value is thus highly important. Otterspace is onecompany that aims to help DAOs onboard their initial members.
Amplify was subject of a recent Tools piece and co-founder Ian Matthews was also part of the panel discussion. Amplify is holding a “proof-of-concept” showcase concert on 5 July in Bristol, which will be livestreamed with tickets distributed as free NFTs. The model uses decentralised finance (DeFi) technology to store ticket and digital merch sales (more NFTs) in a ‘micro-fund’ that generates a bank-interest-style ‘yield’ over time, which can be split by smart contract.
Water & Music has published a longform research report comparing various music DAOs, for example, which HI-FI Labs’ Jack Spallone recommended as a good place to start.