Web3 is not obvious

PLUS: Ticketmaster NFT pre-sales, Spotify Payola, & AI Design Tools for Music,

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Each week, we cover new tools, context & strategies to form better connected audiences. Today we tackle the road to web3’s full value in music.

Inside Issue #4:
💡 Context: Web3 isn’t obvious
🦁 In the Wild: Ticketmaster token pre-sales
⚒️ Toolbox: AI design tools for music
📊 In Numbers: Spotify democratizes payola

Web3 is non-obvious

AI’s value is clear. New tools come online every day that help us do things better & faster. It’s immediate. It’s obvious.

Web3 is non-obvious. It’s still mostly theoretical. You need to use your imagination. “Trust me, it will create a better future for creators & users, but it’s not entirely demonstrable yet.”

But…that imagined web3 music future? It’s really powerful.

It may represent our best chance for a truly transformative change in music’s broken infrastructure into something more sustainable.

The Question Is:

Can web3 music go from non-obvious to obvious without losing the essence of what makes it vital in the first place?

We’ve already seen that happen with creator royalties* & there will be temptations for more trade-offs along the way, in the name of reducing friction & scaling adoption. These trade-offs are understandable, especially when each is taken on its own. Some may be necessary.

Go too far…and what’s the point?

You see, there is a paradox in the web3 music value proposition..

Web3 Music Adoption Paradox
  1. It requires wide adoption to show full value

  2. Adoption is difficult because value is non-obvious

A foundational value of web3 is ownership of your digital things, which you can take with you from experience to experience.

Portable identity. Portable objects. Portable data.

For this to be effective, you need plenty of good places to port these things. Places where once you plug in your objects, new & better experiences unfold.

Until then, each tokenized item only shows a glimpse of what it can do. Its full capabilities are waiting to be unlocked by future, theoretical places.

Its full value is non-obvious.

Web3’s Future in Music

I remain hopeful for web3’s impact on music, even with a long & uncertain path ahead in achieving the best version of it.

Clearly, we need demonstrably fun or value-packed uses along the way. Glimmers of what’s possible. I hope to show some of that here.

And this may need to be built from the bottom up.


*Royalties paid to creators for secondary sales of their NFTs have recently been made optional by the top marketplaces.


Tokenizing Pre-sales

Good places to port?

Well, Ticketmaster just launched NFT-gated pre-sales. This is a big one for its easy-to-grasp value, showing how interactions in 1 area with an artist can open up doors in others.

Avenged Sevenfold kicked off the test with shows at NYC’s Madison Square Garden & LA’s Forum. Lead singer M.Shadows was instrumental in setting up the integration & the band is pioneering new ways to engage with their fans.

10k members of their Deathbats Club received early access to tickets. 1k purchased - an incredible conversion for fans scattered all over the world.

They are now rolling out 13 more dates.

Why do we care? Interoperability.

  • It gives artists control over the pre-sale gating mechanism.

  • 1 token works across shows at Ticketmaster, AEG, Dice or any ticketing agency that enables the tech.

  • Beyond pre-sale, tokens can unlock more on-site experiences: lounges, discounts, after-shows & meetups.

Big Picture: For once, the value is obvious. Ticketmaster won’t decentralize their data anytime soon, but if they act as another port of value for artist tokens, it will encourage others to do so & may lead to the “aha” moment for many.

Pressure's on for other ticketing agencies to add web3 tooling.


AI Design for Music

Adobe Firefly

Adobe opened up waitlist for Firefly, a compelling suite of AI design tools.

Create images from text, replace sections of an image, edit video by text & more.

How can music artists use these tools?

  • Marketing Content: Upload a mood board to generate original & customizable posters, banners, social posts.

  • Album Art: Upload draft artwork, then tell Adobe’s Firefly what you want to add or change. “Add a magical forest here”.

  • Canvas & Social Video: Change mood, atmosphere or weather. Video & color editing in seconds via text prompts. “More vibes, please”.

Artists need more visual art, but have less resources for it. AI design tools can increase efficiency & open up new lanes of creativity.

Rest Easy: Unlike other AI art models like DALL-E & Stable Diffusion, Firefly has been trained solely on licensed or public domain content.

3 more AI design tools

  • Canva’s Magic Design generates design templates based on your content uploads.

  • Midjourney uses text to generate images of anything you can imagine (but you need to do it inside Discord).

  • Runway AI Magic has dozens of creative tools to edit & generate images & video.

Spotify Democratized Payola

Discovery Mode Data

Spotify’s Discovery Mode certainly impacts song performance. But is it ethical?

Discovery Mode is a trade of reducing royalties in exchange for increased algorithmic exposure. And it works, with increases in saves, adds & follows.

But streaming is a zero sum game.

FOR MONEY→ You get a play, my payout is reduced.
FOR ATTENTION→ You get more algorithmic priority, mine shrinks.

For each opted-in song that gets MORE, there is an opted-out song that gets LESS. And there will always be the next artist willing to take less, or free, to gain exposure. So, how can any artist not tap in?

Artists often face these impossible choices: take part in something you know leads to negative long-term outcomes for the entire group, but where you lose individually by opting out.

In fact, I would encourage artists to partake in Discovery Mode for their own good. That’s the trouble.

Why Spotify would install Discovery Mode is obvious. Their margins are razor thin & they have few ways of growing them - as they must pay 70% of subscription revenues to rights-holders..

Unless some of those rights-holders reduce their share.


Headline Tours

I’ll leave you with..

See you next week. In the meantime, catch you on twitter: @abelowrob.

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