Musicians and Fans: a Relationship Reloaded

Galaxisxyz
10 min readApr 24, 2024

The music industry has always been at the forefront of new technologies, often transforming how music content can be created, distributed, and consumed. The expansion of digital technologies and the possibilities of the internet have explosively changed this process. Web3 is already redefining how music reaches listeners and how artists connect with their fans.

It’s worth starting with a bit of history, as most Web3 users today take for granted the dozens of opportunities to listen and watch their favorites on their mobile phones and computers, free of charge in most cases. This freedom has come a long way.

The advent of the Internet very quickly transformed the music industry. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, file-sharing networks like Napster shook up the industry, raising awareness of digital distribution’s potential and copyright challenges. Subsequently, music streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music came on the scene, offering subscription models that revolutionized music consumption and allowed users to access unlimited music anywhere, anytime.

Of course, even then, there were big-format visionaries who saw the future. For example, David Bowie launched BowieNet in 1996, which was not just a traditional artist website but a full-fledged online community where fans could access exclusive content and get Internet service, an e-mail address, and communicate directly with Bowie and each other.

“The absolute transformation of everything that we ever thought about music will take place within ten years, and nothing is going to be able to stop it … I’m fully confident that copyright, for instance, will no longer exist in 10 years, and authorship and intellectual property is in for such a bashing … Music itself is going to become like running water or electricity.”said in 2002 by the versatile artist.*

Mobile technology and the proliferation of smartphones have further increased the popularity of music streaming. Devices in people’s pockets have made it possible to access their favorite music on the go, and new apps have enabled people to buy concert tickets or watch live concerts online.

The many possibilities of web2 have created a desire in artists and fans to find new ways to build direct, unmediated relationships. Part of the reason was that the internet and streaming created virtually unsustainable music distribution models, leaving musicians vulnerable, caught between labels and online content providers. New models were needed in which to tip things back into equilibrium.

This was brought about by the wave of innovation in Web3, with the rapid development of blockchain and NFT technology.

source: NFT now**

From Web2 to Web3

Online distribution models and digitalization have completely changed how we relate to music and artists. Web3 now complements the golden age of any-time, anywhere access for fans. The days of indirect access for labels are over. The music world has entered an era of direct and limitless connections.

Experiences are complemented by metaversions and the experiences that can be lived in them. Technological innovations such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies are opening up new opportunities for musicians. It is possible to experience concerts in virtual reality, where users can be almost “present” at the event from anywhere in the world or even participate in interactive music videos. The musician has been the focus so far, but now the focus is increasingly on the fans. Initially, the internet made music consumption so free that fewer and fewer people paid money for newly released records and albums. Everybody wanted to listen to their favorites for free, and with labels built into the process, they felt less and less financial support from their fans. Now that artists perform their songs for us, fans are willing to pay for content again because of the “personal” connection.

Experimental artists are redefining this relationship, revaluing both its artistic content and ownership. Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) allow artists to create unique, collectible digital goods, while decentralized funding (DeFi) models offer new ways to fund projects and engage fan communities.

source: venturescale.to***

NFT-based publishers, new music communities

While major publishers have been less able to adapt to change, musicians have created more communities to market their content in new ways. A severe music ecosystem emerged around 2021, which has grown with substantial momentum thanks to the NFT fever.

This was when the first talent support sites, Web3 sites, and thematically organized collections appeared. The biggest NFT marketplaces also got in on the action, and Opensea and Rarible made huge revenues from the initial interest.

NFT-based specialized sites appeared in succession, and more and more artists realized that they could get on the cover of magazines just by launching a fan NFT collection. The huge interest did not last long, of course, and as the NFT fever subsided, many companies went bankrupt, and some of the collections lost a lot of value. But that does not mean this short period has not brought radical changes. The music ecosystem has changed, with new models integrated into everyday services.

From the very beginning, Galaxis.xyz has been looking for ways to shape new types of music communities, one of which was developed for an artist who has long been known to like experimenting.

“Artist, DJ, and NFT fan Steve Aoki, the well-known Ibiza DJ, is known to many as a big fan of NFTs. Fewer people know that he was among the first to release his NFTs. And since spring 2022, only holders of his NFTs have been allowed into his meta-museum, Aokiverze. Fans were quick to snatch up the digital passes with their unique features. “****

“A new ecosystem by Steve Aoki bridging the metaverse with the real world.” reads the sign at the entrance to Aokiverze, which is not guarded by security guards but by an NFT-based access system that acts as a passport or passport pass. Fans can pay for their experience inside the system with their cryptocurrency. The project provides exclusive access to certain DJ events, building a direct relationship with fans. The artist will sell his own NFT format creations and limited edition mixes through this system. Aoki 2022 was one of the first music solutions to put the artist in the spotlight, and through the news, many fans have taken notice of the Web3 music revolution.

Part of the Web3 revolution

In summary, the advance of decentralized technology not only opens up new possibilities for the distribution and consumption of music but also allows for direct interaction between artists and their audiences while increasing the independence and influence of musicians over their work.

Decentralized Music Platforms and Communities

Blockchain technology enables the creation of so-called “decentralized music platforms and communities” where musicians can sell their music directly without intermediaries. On such platforms, transactions are transparent, and royalty payments can be automated through smart contracts that guarantee a fair distribution of revenues.

Musicians can also sell their works in traditional or tokenized formats, organize auctions, or distribute them through marketplaces. They can give discounts to the rejuvenated, give them early access, or share digital rarities.

They can establish membership programs or provide access to exclusive, private events. Additionally, they can sell various merchandise related to their music or personal brand, including photographs, artifacts, and physical and digital items, leveraging phygital technology. They can also create private chat rooms and special fan groups, ensuring they maintain direct communication with fans who have secured access rights and possess the necessary digital ID to verify their status.

Integrating Web3 with virtual and augmented reality technologies will create a new type of music experience where fans can participate in virtual concerts, live or virtual events, and interactive music events anywhere in the world.

Tokenised Economies and fan engagement

One of Web3’s most innovative added value is issuing “fan tokens” or NFTs, which musicians can use to create their community economies. These tokens give their holders various rights and benefits, such as exclusive access to new songs, VIP concert tickets, or even the right to decide on specific music projects.

Through community tokens and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), fans can become active participants in the careers of their favorite artists, participate in decision-making processes, or provide direct financial support for projects.

Fans who own tokenized music or objects can proudly show off their digitally signed NFTs or real audio carriers alongside their acquired artifacts.

Transparency and Fairness

Web3 technology makes financial transactions and copyright settlements more transparent. With blockchain logging, all transactions can be tracked and audited so musicians can see how much revenue their work generates. This reduces the possibility of fraud and strengthens musicians’ rights.

Tokenization, one of the most effective digitalization copyright tools, can prove a composition’s ownership and even authenticity.

Global Access and Distribution

Through Web3-based platforms, musicians can reach audiences worldwide without relying on traditional music publishers or distribution channels. This can be particularly beneficial for those who create in lesser-known or experimental genres, as they can reach their target audiences directly without the constraints of traditional markets.

In turn, artists with a large fan base can gain additional fans, reaching out to people who may not have previously been interested in their art. A large fan base is an excellent opportunity for the artist to reward in some way those who have followed their activities, bought their albums, or attended their concerts. Digital connectivity also allows artists to activate their fan base towards a positive goal. They can organize campaigns and sponsorship auctions quickly and efficiently using Web3.

The power of community support

The idea of a fairer distribution is strongly present in Web3's objectives. Such a community can use its supportive spirit to promote the talents of young artists and performers. Community funding can be provided for events where emerging artists or performers from lesser-known genres can be showcased. New types of music communities can set social goals, raise funds, or support charity events.

New opportunities for all

Web3 offers musicians benefits they could never have dreamed of before. In particular, the most significant changes are visible in tokenized communities and fan relationships. This development creates new forms and structures for community interactions that can deepen the bond between artists and their followers. The process democratizes access to the international music community and provides opportunities for those who have not yet reached global fame.

We have compiled the benefits that can be achieved through such a tokenized community:

Global reach: blockchain-based platforms allow musicians to reach their global audience directly, bypassing traditional distribution channels.

Brand building: tokenized communities offer new branding and marketing tools, allowing musicians to build and strengthen their brands.

Innovative revenue models: Besides traditional album and ticket sales, stars can explore new revenue streams such as digital collectibles or direct fan support.

One of Galaxis’ Web3 communities opened its doors to Collie Budds fans early on. These unique collectibles offer multiple layers of utility redeemable for physical and digital assets. Each Digital Collectible doubles as a membership card to the Tree Frog community and grants access to a waterfall of ongoing members-only benefits. It was minted in varying degrees of rarity, featuring 134 individual traits! Each trait corresponds with different levels of associated utilities. The following collection is now physically available to fans.

Collie Buddz Twisted Tree Frog Massive, Galaxis.xyz

Challenges and opportunities

But there are challenges in the world of Web3. For example, technological hurdles, such as the complexity of using blockchain, and legal issues, such as copyright management in a digital environment, remain to be resolved. There is also the question of whether the promise of decentralization will be fulfilled or whether certain major players will continue to dominate this market. These can only be answered if these communities are born and can become operational and generalized.

Naturally, any novelty will provoke concern and sometimes even opposition from groups that, as in this case, are losing a certain exclusivity. However, new opportunities are opening for artists, and fans are becoming closer to their favorites. The aims and results of Web3 increasingly show that it is possible to build unmediated relationships between art and art fans through new channels without geographical or other boundaries.


Sources:

* The artist who predicted the future: David Bowie, is remembered with an NFT collection
https://galaxisxyz.medium.com/the-artist-who-predicted-the-future-david-bowie-is-remembered-with-an-nft-collection-50631b532999

** Web3 Music: A Guide to the Best NFT Streaming and Music Marketplaces
https://nftnow.com/guides/a-guide-to-web3-streaming-services-and-nft-music-marketplaces/

*** Web3 Music: Roles of NFTs, Creator Economy & Metaverse
https://whizzoe.notion.site/Web3-Music-Roles-of-NFTs-Creator-Economy-Metaverse-5b8c2f9a89794b3296832531db8d4bf8

**** NFT Use Case: Musicians
https://medium.com/galaxisxyz/nft-use-case-musicians-d39fad738951

***** Collie Buddz Twisted Tree Frog Massive
https://community.galaxis.xyz/#/projects/collie-buddz-twisted-tree-frog-massive

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