Who We Are
Nvak Collective is a next-generation record label and artist advocacy collective that fully embraces web3 to uplift creators. We believe that the operating system of the music industry is broken, and our mission is to make the music industry more equitable, profitable, and diverse. Our small team has already discovered talent from remote regions around the globe and launched them to millions of streams and thousands of fans, all while providing artist-friendly deals and artist care.
As the music industry continues to evolve and adapt to new technologies, it's becoming increasingly important for artists to have a solid understanding of web3 and how it can benefit their art and their careers. Web3, also known as the decentralized web, is powered by blockchain technology and allows for greater transparency, security, and control in the distribution and monetization of music. Collectively, these technologies are solving major issues in the modern music industry - from transforming debt-based label and artist relationships to increasing fan engagement.
If you're a music artist aiming to enter the world of web3, it's essential to have a clear strategy in place to ensure success and avoid burnout. In this post, we'll outline a few key steps you can take to set yourself up for long-term success in the ‘web3 music industry.’
How to Succeed as a Music Artist in Web3
In November 2022, we wrote a blog post as part of Adam Levy’s Vault outlining our strategy for breaking music artist Annika Rose in web3 (see post here). While the content included is a great reference point, we’ve since broken down each step in the process to offer even more insight and direction for artists hoping to succeed in the space. Please note there is no one-size-fits-all approach to “success” in web3, and every artist should take an approach that fits their own unique goals and fanbase.
Over the last year working with artist Annika Rose, we’ve developed an artist web3 strategy that we see as both dynamic to fit the needs of other artists and scalable for growing projects. The process is as follows:
Below we’ll dive deeper into each step of this process and how you can apply these concepts to your own artist project.
Before you begin to plan your first NFT drop, it’s crucial to take some time to understand the current landscape. Without a base knowledge of the different protocols, platforms, and communities that are operating, you may miss out on the full potential of NFTs and blockchain technology in your artist project. Putting in this work as a first step will also position you for long-term success as NFTs and blockchain technology continue to rapidly evolve.
Join Twitter and Discord. Twitter and Discord have become the two biggest social platforms fully embracing the world of web3. You’ll find thousands of people discussing the decentralized web, its latest innovations, and announcing their projects daily.
Follow Key Players. Once you’ve set up Twitter and Discord, follow the thought leaders and heavy hitters. For web3 music, we recommend getting started with accounts such as Water & Music, Cherie Hu, MusicBen.Eth, Cooper Turley, Hume Collective, WVRPs, sound.xyz, glass.xyz, and individual artists (Iman Europe, Jagwar Twin, TAROT, Rhea Raj, Reo Cragun, Daniel Allan, Alec King…) to name a few.
Join Twitter Spaces. Twitter Spaces are essentially live podcasts running 24 hours a day on the platform. Tune in to two to three per day as a starting point to learn more about the goings on of web3 and build from there.
Learn the jargon. Non-fungible token? ETH? Mint? Why does everyone have an apathetic monkey as their profile picture? Continue joining Twitter Spaces, making notes of key terms, and soon you’ll get the hang of the jargon.
Once you’re able to create a metaphor or two, and move from thinking you know it all, to understanding you really know nothing, you’re ready to engage. Be humble, ask questions, stay focused on your lane in the space and how web3 specifically disrupts what you know.
The quickest way to learn is to do. Jump in with both feet. Collect NFTs, introduce yourself on Discord, show up to events in your area, ask questions, speak on Twitter Spaces, TWEET. You’ll quickly learn that most users in web3 are excited to educate and welcome newcomers.
Within this second step of engaging, begin to figure out your why:
Find projects that you resonate with. Every project, and every community, is different. Learn who you enjoy engaging with the most and you’ll be more likely to avoid burnout, in addition to informing what to bring to your own project.
Figure out your why. What’s more important than what you’re doing in the space is why you’re doing it. Do you want to build a project for the community relationships? To reward your superfans? To develop greater extensions of your art? To make a quick buck? Knowing your why will inform your entire project strategy.
You’ve explored, you’ve engaged, you understand the landscape, and you know your why. Now it’s time to begin building your own project and community base. Remember, strong communities are built member by member. You may have 300,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, but zero engaged fans. Lasting community relies on steady engagement.
There are a variety of tools at your disposal for community building and fan engagement. We recommend using a mixed model for your community building efforts:
POAPs - POAP stands for proof of attendance protocol. They’re essentially digital collectibles that are simple to create, collect, and distribute, and are free to claim; serving as a great starting point for those who are new to the space and may not have crypto to collect NFTs. For more information on POAPs, check out the poap.xyz platform here.
Discord - Discord is a social platform that allows users to chat over voice, video, and text. Create your own Discord server for fans to join, and customize the channels to fit your unique brand and fanbase. Once the server is set up, be sure to chat daily and plan regular events such as performances or live Q&As to keep the community engaged.
Telegram - Telegram is an encrypted, cloud-based messaging platform. It allows for more streamlined, direct messaging with your community. Set up a telegram group to discuss and share major updates with your community members.
Twitter Spaces - Twitter Spaces are not only a great way to get your message out into the world, but also serve as a tool to connect with a wider audience and collaborate with other projects. Speak up in other Twitter Spaces or begin hosting your own. Ask other web3 music thought leaders or projects to join the conversation.
IRL Events - While online engagement and communication are crucial for the web3 community, it's also important to make an effort to attend in-person events and meetups. These events provide an opportunity to network and connect with like-minded individuals, and they also allow for a deeper level of discussion and collaboration that may not be possible through online interactions alone.
Working with different artists, projects, DAOs, and communities that you resonate with opens up doors for both audiences to engage with one another. Cross-pollinating communities not only builds awareness around what you’re building, but can also serve as a way for you to add value back to the communities that you are connecting with the most.
Are you a music artist? See if you can perform for your favorite community Discord.
Hosting Twitter Spaces? Invite your favorite project to come on and speak.
Planning a giveaway? Open it up to projects you’re involved in.
In addition to collaboration with other projects, collaborate with different creators. Web3 has expanded the idea of what a typical artist partnership may be. Think outside of the box when it comes to building your project and who you want on your team, from visual artists to game designers to digital fashion companies. The best part: thanks to blockchain technology and smart contracts, creative collaborators on your project can earn royalties in real time at point of sale. Everybody wins.
You’ve now built a community of engaged fans. Treat them as such, and not just as a customer base. If you try to sell a product to your community too early, and at too high of a price, you aren’t setting yourself up for growth.
Before selling your first NFT, begin by giving away or gifting content to your community base. POAPs, free NFT airdrops, free show tickets, etc. can be great places to start. Once you feel you have a strong enough community base that has been receiving value over time, then begin selling content. Start small - ex: 25 music NFTs over 100 - and grow to bigger, pricier collections as each drop does well.
In the words of Adam Levy, right now “0.05 is the 0.1”. Pay attention to how other artists in the space are planning their drops based on market conditions at that specific point in time. Are they dropping at a high quantity and lower price point? Are they dropping at a lower quantity and higher price point? How many drops have they done before reaching that quantity and price point? Are they selling out quickly, or is it taking days for the collection to sell out? While there is no perfect plan for a drop, set yourself up for success by doing your research on the current market conditions.
Congrats! You’ve grown a community and have a successful drop under your belt. Now don’t forget about your collectors. Continue to reward them, and avoid constantly trying to sell. Offer your community perks where possible to express your appreciation and gratitude for them engaging with you. Ideate on ways to give back to them regularly, such as private discord events, allowlist spots, discounts, and more. We understand that not every release or drop must have a form of utility or perk attached, but utility can be a meaningful way to create a new relationship between fan and artist.
Use this structure, evaluate its impact, and readjust where necessary to fit the unique needs of the artist and the project.