Medallion is a platform that uses web3 technology and where artists can create digital worlds – with the aim of fostering fan communities, drive engagement, provide actionable insights, and unlock new economic opportunities. Medallion says its mission is to “help artists better connect with fans by allowing them to build direct and personalised experiences.” Some of the artists the company works with include Greta Van Fleet, Jungle, ILLENIUM, Santigold, and Sigur Rós.
Medallion was built to provide an alternative to social media: the idea is that artists build “tailored creative experiences” based on their fans’ values, that also reflect artists’ individual visions and engage fans in new, immersive ways. At the moment, many artists are pitching these experimental spaces as fan-club-like areas, and they can feature competitions or personalised merchandise.
Medallion also bundles music creation, distribution, and monetisation into its platform, through its blockchain-based royalty system. By encouraging direct relationships between artists and fans, Medallion says it hopes to create a more equitable music industry that rewards creativity and innovation.
Features and how it works
Medallion helps artists launch online communities that allow fans to connect with artists on a deeper level, and also builds a CRM so that artists can have a better understanding of who their fans are. Teams can see who their artists’ biggest fans are – and then, for example, check their demographic and purchase data, email addresses, phone numbers, and event check-ins (via scanning a QR code to receive a digital collectible commemorating their attendance).
Signing up and NFTs
From a fan perspective, signing up to enter an artist community means connecting via a digital wallet or simply signing up with an email address – giving it the traditional feel of signing up to a fanclub or a mailing list. NFTs can be purchased by using credit cards or Apple/Google Pay. If fans sign up with an email, Medallion creates a digital wallet for the user in the background – accessible only by logging in with that email address. After signing up via the chosen way, fans are able to access the community and exclusive content – like music and creative assets.
Medallion offers an NFT music product called Digital Deluxe: artists can release traditional products on streaming services or as physical products – and Medallion takes those assets and builds up a “digital deluxe experience” where fans can purchase digital records bundled with a collecting experience. For example, after obtaining those digital collectibles, they gain access to stream music, download it in high resolution and they can also receive exclusive content.
Artist ILLENIUM worked with Medallion to release three editions (Fire, Ice, and Ash) of his record as a Digital Deluxe NFT. When fans purchased the NFT they were randomly given either the FIRE or the ICE edition. In order to claim the ASH edition (the special edition with exclusive unreleased tour edit and more exclusive content), fans had to find each other within community (or on Discord and on socials) to pair up with either a FIRE or ICE edition holder depending on which edition they have.
Ultimately, 30% percent of purchasers paired up to receive the ASH edition. Fans’ Medallion profiles also showcase which edition(s) they own so that they can show off and be proud of supporting the artist. Depending on which NFTs fans own, they also get access to exclusive content. Medallion enables this content to be really targeted towards artists’ fans. For example, ILLENIUM’s fans are a community of producers so having access to downloadable music content in high resolution after purchasing the album NFT was much more beneficial for them than just being able to access the album on traditional streaming services.
Fan passes and digital collectibles
Another product offered by Medallion called the Season Pass – a digital collectible available for artists’ top fans. It‘s usually released around an album or tour campaign. Purchasing this NFT allows fans to get access to exclusive digital content, a limited merchandise edition and get a fast pass to merchandise stands so that when fans go to the merch line at concerts, they can jump it, after showing that they own a Season Pass. Those fans are able to also request custom digital merchandise designs.
Producer Passes are digital collectibles that, once purchased, gives fans some input on the creation of the artist’s next music video: like decision-making on the script or the video style.
Artists decide pricing for their paid Producer Pass collections. The band Palaye Royale successfully raised over $10,000 for their music video, offering fans producer credit on the video and more. Buying higher tier passes gave fans more benefits.
Medallion also enables selling customised digital collectibles. Their prices range from $15 to $100 – the platform says that usually 20% of an artists’ community purchases them. If artists’ teams want to, those collectibles can also be turned into physical assets, and fans and artists can collaboration through the platform in creating those assets.
To encourage more user interaction and UGC creation, there is a Studio component in each community, which is a feed where fans can post and engage with each other. Each week, a new prompt is added to spark conversation. Prompts can be questions like ‘What’s your favourite song of the artist?’ or ‘ How did you discover them?’ and so on.
The platform is also exploring what it looks like for a fan community to have access to the artist’s IP. One idea is that fans could create digital collections in the artist community (for example merch designs) which artists can approve and sell. This would allow artists to split the revenue with fans involved in designing those pieces.
Selling music as NFTs is also possible via Medallion, and the platform can set up a royalty percentage that is honoured at third party marketplaces like OpenSea, so if an NFT is later resold, the creator will receive a percentage form that later sale as well.
The web3 component also creates opportunities for artists to organise interactive events like music competitions: Jungle released stems of one of their songs and organised a remix contest, then chose their favourite version, sharing royalties with the competition winner.
Setting up a Medallion community is free. For now, Medallion takes a percentage of all digital collectible sales – but the platform is exploring other models for the future. If artists are selling physical merchandise in the community, the platform does not take a percentage.
Medallion is selective in their artist onboarding process and works with artists who are interested in creatively using their web3 technology. Artists and their teams can apply on the platform’s website to be considered.
The startup is scaling and adding another 20 artists this year to their platform. The plans for the next year are to onboard artists on a bigger scale once Medallion becomes a self-served platform, rather than one run by the company in collaboration with artists’ teams.
Another tool that artists can use to build online communities is Discord. Discord is a Web 2.0 communication platform that allows users to create and join communities known as ‘servers’ where users can communicate with others via text, voice, and video. It was initially designed for gamers to chat while playing games, but has since expanded to include communities of all kinds, including artists.
Discord servers are organised into channels, which are essentially different chat rooms dedicated to specific topics. The platform also offers various features to enhance the user experience, such as the ability to share images, videos, and files, as well as the ability to use bots for various tasks like moderation or playing games. It’s free to use, however the service also offers a premium subscription called Discord Nitro which allows users to unlock perks such as higher-quality screen sharing, server boosting, and a Nitro badge on their profiles.
Just like on Medallion, artists can promote their new releases, merchandise and pre-sales and tour ticket sales, as well as provide fans with an inside view into their creative process. However, Medallion is more focused on generating economic opportunities for artists through selling NFTs.
HIFI Labs is another artist-owned creative incubator and community building tool. Fueled by web3 technology, the platform provides artists with building tools and digital experiences while exploring how blockchain technology can benefit musicians. (You can hear an interview with artist RAC and HIFI Labs on the Music Ally Podcast here.)
Another web3 community building tool used by artists is Otterspace. This platform builds an infrastructure for DAOs to use non-transferable NFTs called Badges.
Medallion aims to facilitate artists to build and cultivate web3 fanclubs based on genuine connections, intimacy, enthusiasm and credibility. With its use of blockchain technology, Medallion looks to add new ways in which artists interact with their audiences and build sustainable careers. We like how fans can interact on the platform even if they don’t have any understanding of the web3 technology using the simplified sign-up option via email, and the easier NFT purchase process via credit cards and Apple/Google Pay. We’ll be interested to watch how artists choose to use the platform and see how communities grow there.
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