I’m 35,000 feet up in the air right now… a million things on my mind but only a few I can attend to.
What do I want?
Well that’s a tough question to answer. I’ve always been moved by innovation and I look at life through that lens. I’m constantly questioning how things are, imagining how things should be, and executing on plans to innovate the things around me.
I’m able to execute on my ideas through two mediums,
software development and music
On the software side I develop for mems and make websites under What a Damn Site. (a new age website development firm that I created).
Music is my other love.
I make music under the name zl!ster (pronounced zee-lister).
My music is a new-age alternative blend of rap and pop.
I’ve released three projects in my first year as a musician:
For Demonstration Purposes Only
Okay cool, I’ve explained who I am, now what am I here to do?
As the title says, i’m here to disrupt.
We are blessed to be at the bleeding edge of a new horizon that is forming called web3. Some know this phase to be the wild west.
In this climate, we’ve seen the rise and fall of concepts at an extremely quick pace. One concept that has stuck is that of NFTs. The concept makes sense. Let the people exchange value in an open and transparent way that doesn’t rely on a third party. As a developer and musician, I naturally gravitated towards music NFTs.
At first, I was super excited to begin releasing music and inserting myself as a name in the web3 music scene. However, the more I looked into the current model, the less it made sense. Let me put some things into perspective.
The ethereum network currently holds about 71 Million wallets. For the purpose of this example, let’s say there’s one wallet per person. The current capture size of the network would be ~.9% of the population. Let’s say half of those wallet holders were music NFT enthusiasts, meaning they streamed and purchased music NFTs. Cool, then the capture size becomes 35 Million potential listeners.
Spotify alone has 433 Million users.
With that said, here are some concepts that seem to drive the current music NFT space don’t make sense to me.
releasing one-of-ones and singles as NFTs: I’ve seen too much of it. Artists hesitate to drop because of market conditions. Also, let’s be honest. A lot of people buy NFTs just to flip them. For better or worse, most people buy for the investment rather than for the art. Maybe we ought to be honest with ourselves and realize that we have more investors than we have fans. Clearing that up internally may give us a better sense of what drives value to our holders and separate how we value our art from the floor price of our art.
offering royalties as the only perk to holders : Musicians don’t make money off of royalties, they make money off of shows, merchandising, partnerships, etc.
These days, the album isn’t the product, it’s the marketing.
Offering royalties to holders isn’t something that’s going to return any significant value to the holders. The value is in the image, in the brand created around the musician. The musician is the real product, and they can be whatever they want to be. Touching on my earlier point, musicians shouldn’t be afraid to release a project because of market conditions. Maybe we ought to start separating the music from the personal brand. Maybe people shouldn’t have to love the music to invest in you as a musician. If you’re an investor, the real return on investment is going to come from the musician that you invested in being picked up by a label and presented to the masses, not by exclusive pieces of art that only you own and have access to.
decentralized streaming services: Streaming music has become a free and simple process. The world is not going to take a step backwards into the individual purchasing of music, it just doesn’t make sense. The ease of access to music that was created by Spotify isn’t going anywhere. I’ll go down the rabbit hole in the months to come. Decentralized streaming services may be a thing one day, but we’re too far from it to bank on it at the moment.
Music NFTs and the web3 music space in general shouldn’t be looked at as an end all be all. The goal of a musician should be to leverage the platform and use it as a means of marketing to reach new audiences while being able to find financial freedom to continue creating.
Once again, i’m here to disrupt.
I love this space and believe in it’s potential. Let’s get there, together.
In the coming months I’ll be questioning the current landscape of music NFTs, offering ideas as to what direction the space should head in, and executing on my own ambitions as as musician.
I hope that you can join me on this journey. Keep up on twitter.
Cheers to exploration,