(Hat tip to our friends at Arnall Golden Gregory LLP’s Entertainment and Sports Industry Team)
A new world is being uncovered by pioneers. Buoyed and rekt by waves of innovation, hype, imitation, disillusionment; they must navigate the rocks, whirlpools, and sirens luring them in. Many will be crushed or suffer irreparable damage from these well known dangers. But for every fallen vessel there are countless many following in their stead. Eventually the path through will become clear, it will just take some time.
This journey has been years in the making. Since the birth and growth of the digital music industry, the promise of a more equal playing field in which to create and live has become increasingly harder to picture. The incoming generation of builders, thinkers, and collaborators has seen banks saved through financial crisis while disparity between the elite and the rest only grows. Platform economics have underlined profit extraction by digital behemoths through the expansion of the internet. The result is a growing cohort of “crypto native” activists who will naturally look to bring a new way of assigning and distributing value to the worlds that they are passionate about. The marriage of Crypto and Music is inevitable.
However, we are early. We have had one wave of innovation (the “hodl years”, 2015-19), which fell short of the institutional change that was hoped. Despite this, lessons were learned and the infrastructure underpinning Crypto has progressed greatly since. We find ourselves now in a resurgence, albeit it’s impossible to say at which point in the arc until after the fact.
This second wave (the “wagmi year(s)”) is different to the first. Where we aimed to engage with legacy industry entities to build bridges to the old and new, innovators now are focussed more on experimentation with parties bought in to the overall vision from the start. The foundation on which to do this is more defined than it was before, but we are still just proving concepts. Product-market fit is the objective, or more accurately products-industry fit. But to get there we need validation.
Concepts need proof points. Proof points build confidence around an idea. Confidence drives engagement. Engagement provides validation. Validation delivers stepping stones towards a vision.
This piece presents a framework on which to analyse the emerging Crypto Music industry, leading to a suggestion around the most effective areas to place bets; of time, effort, or investment; on its success. It’s my attempt to try to position what is happening now in a longer term view, and while you may be skeptical around where it is all heading, and whether Crypto Music is a good idea at all, hopefully it will provide some useful guidelines on intent, direction, and progress. More here.