AlbumTradingCards: Defining Valu3 in Music

AlbumTradingCards (ATC) aspires to enable a new form of connection between artist and fan. By creating a trading card as the gateway to your favorite artist’s worlds, ATC hopes to chip away at the barrier between artist and fan to create value dynamics that preserve genuine collaboration and produce experiences that will be treasured for the long term.

Where did it start?

It’s been just over a year since we posted our first trading card. What started as a fan art curation project slowly developed into a small community of industry professionals, music fans, and trading card enthusiasts.

As we grew and began to clarify our mission, Web3 pollinated its ideals into practically every existing dynamic of the music industry. Projects focused on publishing, licensing, streaming, policy or a blend of the above, filled the space quicker than actual music. With the landscape being new and hype being a main driving force, many existing projects may not have long term viability.

ATC believes a massive value dynamic to properly reward and account for fandom still needs to be created. We think the spirit of preserving the physical as much as the digital collectible is critical for this solution and will create long term value and product usability.

Intuition is key. Just as the magic of music discovery and collecting allow us to feel a sense of community, ATC’s pathways for fan-support aim to create the same sentiment. We believe this is fundamental for long-term value and what will ultimately bring new fans to Web3.

Market Gap

Fandom is poorly accounted for. Artists are currently unable to successfully identify, mobilize, and reward the dedication from their top fans. For instance, platforms such as Spotify or Apple Music fail in enabling artists to identify their top listeners. Similarly, platforms like Patreon allow creators and artists to recognize their fans and monetize their engagement but fail to provide subscriber ownership.

We think a time-stamp embed (aka provenance) for early fans who pledged early support is important. Currently, fans who join an artist community early are offered no social accreditation, creative input, or incentives in any capacity. The longevity of support is rarely taken into account and further amplifies the lack of channels for the common fan to capitalize on their fandom.


ATC is a Web3 music ecosystem. Specifically, it is a collaborative merchandise venture that is designed to form the next domain of fan-artist interaction.


The ATC approach implements values of:

Protecting the bond between artist and fan: ATC’s system of tiered drops allows artists to identify, segment and mobilize their core fans (e.g. through consensus based mints and bounties) as well as reward them for their role in the community. As a fan forward project, 50% of all mints will be awarded 🎁 to superfans.

Preserving the physical while we build the digital: We aim to build the ideal medium for fan-artist interaction by interweaving both the physical and digital worlds.

  • Digital card to physical card → All “IRL minted” trading cards will be fitted with proximity tech allowing fans access to their favorite artists’ streams of consciousness/id.
  • Digital world to physical world → In the spirit of this value, ATC has chosen to plant six trees 🌳 for each transaction within the ATC ecosystem to offset the carbon footprint of transacting on the ETH blockchain.

Provenance: Beginning with Seed cardholders, collectors will gain access to artist threads within the ATC Discord server. We believe the trading card serves as the ideal substrate to prevent unintentional devaluing of early drops, accidental rug-pulls, and will ultimately create long-term value for holders.

Consensus & teamwork: Our mission is to plant and grow true fans in an artist’s community. There is a fine line between encroaching the artist’s creative process, demanding too much from fans, and fan disinterest. We see value in a core team of 100 early collectors to serve as a “fan advisory board”. Serving the purpose of voting for subsequent ATC mints or strategy within or outside of the scope of the ecosystem, these seed card holders are meant to work with artists in the best manner for everyone.

“[A]llow people to co-create and build with you … let them be more than spectators.” - Raihan Anwar

Fairly valued collectibles: One drawback of decentralization is the lack of a clear market signal on NFT pricing. This is even more of a problem when the liquidity and market size are modest (<1000). We developed the “True Artist Value” methodology to quantify value and cross platform engagement, where fans can access key artist metrics via a dynamic dashboard.

Our Process

Our goal is to help artists build their 100 fan plan.

Product Progression
Product Progression

These 100 owners (Seed cardholders) serve as an artist’s fan advisory board, supporting their development and strategy in the AlbumTradingCards ecosystem. ATC’s physical card is at the center of our universe. By being proximity tech-enabled, it serves as a literal gateway to an artist’s subconscious and deep thoughts as a world builder. It aims to consolidate information and opportunities while maximizing intuitive experiences with feelings of discovery.

The decision for future mints or “blooms” depends on consensus decisions from the existing artist community. In an effort to grow committed fanbases organically, committing to a bloom will come at different times for every artist.

“Across all the major music NFT platforms on Ethereum … sources tell us that there are only around 500 unique collectors, with a majority of their purchases focused on already-established artists.” - W&M 2021

Fans are simply not buying music NFTs. Citing onboarding costs, environmental impacts, or just general lack of resources, the true power of fandom is being overlooked and ultimately left out of the equation of Web3 music project value. This is a key issue and we aim to address it by pledging 50% of all card drops to fans specifically while planting trees for every transaction within the ATC ecosystem.

Additionally, ATC can be a bridge to older music entities struggling to effectively integrate Web3 manifestos. We believe declaring ‘Red Ocean’ competition with everything Web2 will abandon artists, fans, and professionals otherwise able to benefit from ATC. Particularly, a solution that retrofits means for discovery, coordination, and communication can be applied to music labels looking to launch purposeful fan-building initiatives for artists.

Looking Forward

ATC stands firm in its commitment to translating fanbases into organized artist communities. Going beyond mere Proof of Fandom, the ability to plant the seeds in the success of an artist and the development of their community is a game-changing development for both fans and musicians.

All it needs is the right soil.

With love - ATC Team (Matthew, Rohit, Sanjay, Rahul)

If you’d like to start contributing to the ATC community, please engage us on Twitter.

We want to build a comprehensive community that encourages fans and artists to create, communicate, and grow together. We learned so much from the trailblazers ahead of us: STOI, Water & Music, Catalog, FWB,, Audius, NBATopShot, ModaDAO, and Indify.

Lastly, we wouldn’t be here without the friends and artists who gave us feedback over the past few months. Special shoutouts to Matthew Reed, prettyboyshav, Anubhav Mehrotra, Barney Bones, Modi Oyewole, and many more.

**ATC will shortly debut its alpha marketplace with its first artist drop within the artist-community building silo. More details will be announced closer to the drop. **

Chavannes, Pierre Puvis de. The Sacred Grove. Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.

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