written by Maurice Cardinal… Part 1 of 3 …
MUSIC NFT is begging to MOON. The music industry, watching from the wings, has patiently waited its NFT turn. VISUAL NFT frenzy acted as a training ground in 2021 showing the world what, and what not to do. If you’ve been in the VISUAL NFT space you know the score. If you just showed up you have a lot to learn. Not to worry though because most musoids are only now jumping onboard the NFT MUSIC train. We can ride and learn together.
Most people today only know me as the co-owner and curator of iADX365, and a book author who wrote the trade bible, Leverage Olympic Momentum.
Most don’t know my touring background.
Some however also recognize me as a researcher and tech writer for FinTech/DeFi projects, and others as a business development director for crypto exchanges and blockchain projects that raised multi-millions through ICOs for gaming and cloud computing enterprises.
On a more personal note, I’m also a high-visibility OG activist who creates campaigns to protect oceans and sea life. I also have a long history of changing how governments and companies do business.
Protest is buried deep in my 70s MUSIC GENES 😉
I’ve lived and worked all over the world and toured more than I care to recall.
Over the last few years I focused on developing strategies as an NFT specialist in VISUAL ART. Throughout all of my careers though I’ve always been an active musician and fine art photographer. For twenty years I shot large format 8×10 FILM on a Deardorff field camera. I was a commercial shooter for even longer and have a film and digital portfolio of a quarter million A images that include fashion as well as street and industrial work.
When I was young though, music was my all-and-everything. I formed my first power rock trio ala Cream when I was thirteen, opened for April Wine at my high school when I was seventeen, and then toured the incredibly exciting bar scene for a few years before I hit the BIG Roll arena circuit. I still write and play regularly in my home studio.
Here’s my now defunct studio Jam Band, the Voo Doo Poodles, playing the soundtrack on this clip for an iAD art event I co-produced and shot in 2016.
When I began raising a family in my early-twenties, I temporarily hung up my ax and mic, and shifted gears to co-MANAGE an emerging superstar crossover act. Through industry association I also worked high-visibility projects with some of the most recognized names in the music industry, like Kris Kristofferson, kd lang, and Willie Nelson among dozens of others on the arena and Vegas circuits. Managing music offered a more stable family lifestyle than playing.
For twenty years I executive-produced and managed gigs at venues like the historic Bottom Line in NYC, the original Warehouse in San Francisco, and The Roxy and The Greek in LA, plus sold out shows at Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, Royal Albert Hall in London, and also stadiums like the 65,000 seat Houston Astrodome. I co-produced and managed thousands of gigs in every major venue and whistle-stop in between for over two decades. Music acts I co-managed have sold more than 50 million albums and over 3 million concert tickets. I settled/managed production and promotion finances for each live show.
At times I’d walk around with a Haliburton briefcase stuffed with tens of thousands in cash in an era when payola was as common as NFT manipulation is in 2021. Musoids loved cash then like they do cryptocurrency today, and for some of the same reasons. Today’s geeks pretend they invented this concept. They didn’t. NFT did however streamline the underground movement of currency considerably. It’s why NFT is such a powerful activism tool. Just using crypto makes governments nervous.
Crypto for musicians is as much a statement against the government as it is a business model for art. It’s too bad more artists, visual or music, don’t take the activism part more seriously, and only flex it when it benefits them personally.
Along the way I’ve also eased suicidal artists off of eight-story perches at four in the morning, and helped more artists than I can remember who had serious depression, alcohol, drug, and sex addictions. Art often takes tremendous emotional toll on everyone, even and especially when you are successful. Money and fame don’t necessarily make life easier. I’ve also worked high-visibility projects with three U.S. presidents, one for several years–not bad work when you can get it, especially for a Canadian.
For over twenty-five years I also owned a very successful media communications company, and during this time wrote business newsletters read by tens of thousands of C-Suite executives, high ranking politicians, and MBA students at Harvard Law School. I learned a lot about managing news media and how to influence journalists to tell your story your way–it’s harder than you might think.
So here I am today, fully ensconced in NFT at both a visual and music level, and I couldn’t be happier.
I’ve developed large cryptocurrency and blockchain projects since 2014, and CryptoArt projects since 2017. My personal CryptoArt ROI reached 5,000+ percent last year.
As co-owner of iADX365–the home of International Artist Day, I helped a number of visual artists promote and sort out NFT complexities.
Back in the day I developed a propensity for picking Chart Toppers when Billboard charts actually meant something, and I still use these skills in NFT.
In early 2021, and just before his star mooned, I did the first MAJOR interview featuring now legendary NFT photographer Justin Aversano.
I’ve also helped countless artists who were struggling through pandemic lockdown find financial support and funding when Covid hit. I’ve grown International Artist Day from a one-day-a-year event every October 25 since 2004, into a 365-day art conversation heard around the world in numbers so great that it’s sometimes hard for us to keep up. We do it all as a non-registered non-profit with volunteers who share our OG community vision. Hit me up if you want to learn and are interested in helping out at iAD365.com
I’ve come full circle
back to music
I’m in the groove for two main reasons;
One, is that I empathize with visual artists and don’t want to see musicians suffer the same frustrations and indignities when they move to NFT–a migration already happening at an incredible rate. Visual and music artists need each other more than ever. It’s hard to see though amid all the NFT chaos and frenzy.
Secondly, I also think that in general, VISUAL NFT was a training ground for MUSIC NFT, and that when music artists get fully onboard, they’ll take NFT and crypto to the level it deserves. If visual artists are truly progressive, they’ll buckle up and help steer while musicians work the gas and brakes. Everyone can win if we work together with a common goal. Visual artists have almost a year jump on NFT, and during this period some artists have amassed huge followings who also buy music. When a musician collaborates with the right visual artist it can go into overdrive immediately with each artist pulling the other along.
Dreamverse, produced by Metapurse, the largest NFT fund in the world, in partnership with TIME are rocking it out with the first and largest MUSIC & ART event in history. MUSIC gets top NFT billing for a reason.
Community is everything in VISUAL NFT and it will be in MUSIC NFT too.
Unfortunately, visual art is still considered little more than a supplemental add-on for a recording. Thankfully though, that outdated attitude is changing fast.
Over the next couple of years thousands and thousands of VISUAL artists will collaborate with musicians to create an art and music experience that no one in entertainment has ever seen or heard. NFT will take visual art and music into a brand-new space, and into a metaverse that will become a catalyst for new ways to create, distribute, and access all kinds of art.
Way back in the day, the image on an album cover could make or break a release. Fold-outs and liner notes were consumed ravenously over and over by fans as the grooves wore down. Sometimes all we had left was the Frank Zappa, Over-Nite Sensation album cover tacked to our bedroom walls.
A&R executives knew that statistically, a NEW music act would be spontaneously picked off the retail rack at an exponentially higher rate if the face of the artist or of the band graced the album cover. Nothing has changed psychologically in this respect. We have however, ignored the importance of our faces. An overwhelming number of artists in VISUAL NFT WORLD adopted anonymity to align with Tech Sales Geeks covertly doing a Three Card Monte shuffle designed to confuse artists and collectors. When no one knows your face and name you can hide in plain site and get away with murder. It’s not a good look for music.
The reality is that your face is still your best and most recognizable attribute.
I’ve written many times that musicians are natural promoters compared to visual artists, and it’s for a simple reason; Musicians stand on stages every day talking to their audience. Visual artists on the other hand historically sequester themselves in studios, and quite literally in many cases, avoid human connection. It shows when you A/B individual public conversations of the two groups. Thankfully, visual artists are learning to improve communication and promotion skills, but it’s not easy and takes considerable time. If you want to see the differences for yourself, sit in on a Twitter SPACES event for visual artists and then check out a SPACES event for musicians. All other things being equal, the contrast is surprising.
I love all types of artists, whether visual or music, and I want to help both adopt NFT strategies. If there were ever a time for collaboration between visual and music artists, NFT is it.
Musicians no longer have to choose only one or two cuts on an album for videos. Today every tune you produce needs visual imagery that is as stunning as the music. The symbiosis has to be balanced, with the visual as strong as the track. Audiences have a lot of choice today, plus, they are more sophisticated and harder to please. Fans want it all.
Carefully think for a moment how a potential fan will find you when you’re listed on a screen along with thousands of other musicians. If they don’t yet know you or your music, the ONLY hook is the visual image you project. Underestimate the visual and your potential fan will click on the great image that sits next to your less-then-stellar graphic attempt.
MUSIC NFT isn’t a Slam Dunk
NFT is complicated, and harder than it looks, especially when thousands of other musicians are vying for the centerstage spotlight
Production companies in the MUSIC NFT game are popping up fast. To date, companies like OneOf, backed by Quincy Jones, plus CatalogWorks, NoizD SongCamp, MintSongs, Royal, Sturdy Exchange, and a fast-growing list of others are pioneers developing historic new ways to create and connect music with audiences.
Artists like Snoop Dogg AKA Cozomo de’ Medici, and DJs like 3lau are already killing it in MUSIC NFT. There are literally hundreds more already in the NFT pipe lighting it up hotter than sticky bud.
It’s naïve however to think you’re just going to show up and score. Most musicians will be disappointed just like tens of thousands of VISUAL artists are now as they watch more experienced artists with a “marketing and promotion roadmap” sell their NFT art for millions. The reality is that most VISUAL artists still can’t figure out the formula to sell even one piece at a break-even price. It’s frustrating for most artists to see their peers do so well while they struggle.
Just like back in the day, you need a plan, and a team.
NFT isn’t hard when you know what to do.
NFT is frustrating though, when you don’t.
The challenge is that the first MUSIC NFT WAVE is approaching fast, and just like VISUAL NFT it’ll hit the beach like a tsunami. If you’re not already in the mix you’ll have a difficult time catching a wave. The longer you wait, the more expensive it gets and the harder it is to grab market share.
Here’s one more bit of FREE NFT insight; If you think your NFT is going to rule the world, you’re delusional. Mass adoption no longer works the same way it did when you were a kid. Even the biggest, badass NFT visual artists only corner a very small part of the overall art market. Think of these NFT Rock Stars like Jazz Musicians with niche followings of very loyal and wealthy fans. The size of an NFT audience isn’t usually massive by global standards. Their intensity however, more than makes up for it. Like life, size doesn’t matter. It’s more about how you leverage your position within your community.
Everything today, except for huge superstars, who btw are very rare exceptions, is grouped into NICHE ART followings. There are simply too many artists producing too much great music for anyone anymore to have a SMASH HIT that automatically blankets the world. It’s why it’s so important to properly brand and manage your metaverse. If you treat fans respectfully, your audience will keep coming back as long as you deliver.
LA, NYC, Nashville, and London are being challenged as the historic epicenters of music, or any art for that matter. These cities are still pretty awesome, but each time artists choose NFT decentralization over control by large corporations and cities, these old standbys lose their patriarchal relevance.
Musicians no longer need to crack old school TOP 10, or even 100! As long as you bump NFT niches and collaborate, the TOP 10,000 is all that musicians now need to be famous and financially successful.
NFT is your world, seen through the viewfinder of your metaverse.
Party On Wayne …