Tell me something that’s true, that almost nobody agrees with you?
It’s inevitable that the music industry is going to be affected and changed by web3 and blockchain tech. That is unavoidable and not particularly controversial. However, what I believe to be true is that we’re nowhere near ready for mass adoption quite yet. The premier projects in this space require a working knowledge of web3 and blockchain, and that knowledge hasn’t been presented in a way that is incredibly digestible for the majority of musicians. We’re getting there, but we’re not ready. Usability will drive the exodus from legacy platforms.
How did you get interested in web3 and what you are currently working on?
Web3 has interested me since I saw CryptoKitties and the mess that the dapp caused on the ETH chain back in 2017. It wasn’t until around 2019 however, that I started taking everything seriously. NFTs were on the rise, crypto was coming out of its winter, and actual utility was something that people were talking about in real-world scenarios. Mango, the Community Manager from Charged Particles at the time, pulled my project Intro to Music Theory into the metaverse to perform for the launch of that platform, and the rest was history. Through interacting with that community utility for creators, and usability for users was finally on the table.
It was in this spirit that I started looking at my own experience in the music industry. How could we do better for musicians? What was an inefficiency in the market that we could solve? Through many brainstorming sessions, we settled on music distribution and saw that we could offer musicians a no-loss option by using the Charged Particles protocol. Unchained Music was born.
What problem does your project solve? What is your vision?
There are two ways that music distribution generally works in the legacy industry. Either you pay an upfront fee via a subscription or per release, or these distribution companies take a percentage of the artists' royalties. We do neither.
By capturing these royalties from artists and putting them in defi NFTs minted on the Charged Particles platform, we’re able to give artists 100% of their royalties without subscriptions or fees, while the platform makes money off the interest from the royalties. It’s magical.
Our vision is one of actual power back to artists in a very tangible way. Every musician uses distribution, and every musician has to pay for it in one way or another. Beyond this, we’re looking to be used as a stepping stone into the web3 music industry. How can we slowly introduce musicians to the space? How can we show immediate examples of how this technology benefits them? How can we build that out in our platform? These are all questions that we’re asking ourselves and if we can create a win-win system for artists, we’re going to actively explore building the technology.
What soft & hard skills have been most helpful in helping you succeed in web3?
As simple as this may seem, learning when to read into and when *not* to read into text on a screen has been hard. When communicating online, it’s really easy to get worked up by how you imagine someone has said something rather than the content of the message itself. Letting the ego go and focusing on what was actually said rather than how you interpreted a message has been a challenge.
What’s the best thing about your job? The most challenging?
The best thing about my job is leading a fantastic team of focused and incredibly talented individuals. Everyone believes in what we’re doing, and they work hard at making it a reality. Seeing a common purpose and the belief that what we’re building will make a tangible difference in the lives of artists has inspired me to try harder to support them.
The most challenging thing is taking downtime and not getting distracted. When you’re super passionate about what you’re building and you find the project fascinating, it’s sometimes easy to get caught up in the grind or a lot of ‘what ifs’. Taking time off and regularly refocusing is a necessity to the health of the team as well as the quality of the product.
Tell us about the greatest working day of your life. You're at home in the evening, sitting on your couch and thinking about what you accomplished. What made you so happy that day?
The greatest working day in my life was when we received our first committed investment. At the time, the project went from “this is a really good idea and we should pursue this” to “other people also see the vision and are putting real assets behind it”. It was a very cathartic validation of what we were building.
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What is your favorite web3 Project? Among the people you’ve worked/interacted with in web3, who do you admire most and why?
At the moment, there are so many projects that I admire that it’s hard to choose one. Get Protocol, Music Fund, Dao Records spring to mind initially, however, the Charged Particles protocol has not only made what we’re building possible, but they’ve also had a fantastically supportive community as well.
Favorite web3 thinker on social media?
Individually, Vandal from Dao Records has pushed me to consider what the music industry and record label could be. Everytime I have the chance to chat with him about the future of the space, I’m pushed to think further into the possibility that is web3 music, and reevaluate my place in it.
What is your vision for your niche? What do you expect to come in the next few years? What developments in the field do you find to be the most exciting?
My vision is to make web3 and blockchain immediately usable and valuable for musicians that are crypto-naive. In the next few years, we see a platform that is rewarding both musicians and fans, building upon our music distribution base, and being a place to learn and support each other. This co-mingling of fans and musicians in a space built to support both is what I’m most looking forward to.
How blockchain can support the music ecosystem?
There’s been a ton of thought in this vein regarding giving power back to artists, and I tend to agree with most of it. When we’re able to build industry structures that don’t require honesty on the part of a counterparty to a contract, others to truthfully report royalty splits, or inessential middlemen, we’ll be starting to realize the potential for the space.
How do you see NFTs affecting other industries?
It’s still too early to say what will be for certain, however, I see the increasing digitization of ownership through NFTs. We see this in real estate, are starting to see it in music, but who knows what’s next? Anything that needs vesting and escrow of tokens is currently possible through Charged Particles, and that opens up a plethora of use cases that are yet to be tapped.
What is the question that has not been asked here that you would have enjoyed reading the answer to from one of your peers? Answer it.
I enjoyed reading Christophe Lassuyt’s response to “What quote has actually stuck with you and changed your life?” in which he talked about the power of saying no. He’s right. There are a thousand opportunities in this space, and the only way you’ll get anything done is by saying ‘no’ to a thousand of them.
For me, I think the answer to that question would be a quote from Fight Club author and former Cacophony Society member Chuck Palahniuk.
Find joy in everything you choose to do. Every job, relationship, home... it's your responsibility to love it, or change it.
If I don’t love what I’m doing, if our team doesn’t love what we’re doing, we need to make a change. Sure, there are times when we have an off day or two, but the relationships among the team and the relationship of the team to the product need to be something we can find purpose and joy in, in some form or another. If that’s not happening, we need to reevaluate the ‘why’ of what we’re doing.