written by Maurice Cardinal
In Part 1 we covered a few of the major issues artists currently have with NFT.
Part 2 here, is more about NFT SOLUTIONS for visual artists and musicians, and takes a look at why collaboration is so critical.
It’s great info for ART and MUSIC COLLECTORS too.
For context; Web3 is inherently designed to streamline the chain, basically, cut out the middleperson. The idea being that it returns power to the artist. This statement, based purely on deductive reasoning, specifically refers ONLY to major label artists. Why major labels only? It’s because usually, indie labels and artists are already rockin’ a communal feel–it’s their raison d’etre. Major label artists however will never have control over their art because the system is designed to give power to the labels in the same way that the house always has the advantage in a casino. It’s nearly impossible to win as an artist or musician when the chips are stacked against you.
In real life, musicians have had similar communal choices for a very long time. NFT however, puts a fine point on it, and automates a large and hard to manage part of the supply chain ecosystem.
If you are your own artist and you own your own indie label, if that’s your Nirvana, you made it. All you have to do is mint when you have something interesting to share, sell the mNFT (music NFT) and make a little money to buy more gear. If you’re happy playing OPEN MICS for the rest of your life, and many musicians are, you can do NFT alone, and it would be a LIT style, but mostly a side hustle and modern day garage band.
If you want to push your music career into overdrive though, to a live touring arena level, you have to collaborate, which means PARTNERING cross-platform, just like it has always happened. You have to either HIRE someone with skills you don’t possess, like a manager, an agent, or engineer for example, or become PARTNERS in Web3 style. It’s why NFT SPLITS are so critical, and why you need a water-tight custom contract to manage how each person is paid when the NFT sells, and how the funds are distributed.
Here’s a video example from Mintbase …
Not all platforms support SPLITS, so you have to do a little research against your personal checklist to see which ecosystem works best to support your vision. If you decide to build for an arena tour, or score for film, it means a new set of rules, and how you operate. It’s difficult to make recommendations, because by the time you’re ready to make your NFT move, the landscape would have changed. You have to do due diligence at the time you’re ready to put your plan into play. You can however, start to also look at places like Mintbase or manifold.xyz, but DYOR to see what else is currently available.
At arena speed, no one can do NFT on their own. You have to be brutally honest with yourself, and decide if your goal is to create fresh art, or spend time on Discord hustling sales, which btw, is a performance too–just a different kind that suits some artists better than others. A few visual artists have been in the Discord Hustle space for a while, so anyone watching already knows that it takes a lot of energy to keep momentum and stay fresh. You have to research and know your stuff–no guessing or you’re in for a wild and painful ride. The last thing you want is to waste time defending your credibility.
Killing it in both spaces would be the grail, and doing it NATIVE Web3 would burn the NFT house down. Envision “Live at the Gardens in NYC and simultaneously in virtual Decentraland”, plus active merch and music NFT sales connected through your ticket and wearables–the ideal goal. It’s a great dream and a perfect mNFT experience, but it takes a lot of people, a team to crank the roll. Keep in mind too that it is also now possible for everyone on the tour to get a split–the variations and possibilities are endless.
Who knows at this early stage, maybe we’ll also see that, private live shows for insane prices, will become a thing too–an NFT Living Room Tour at 3E a seat in a very intimate setting with twenty or so of your best friends? The live recording of the event would be pure NFT dope to sell, trade, or HODL.
Nothing virtual however, can match the crush of a stadium or festival.
A small city locked in on your stage is a rush for everyone.
What do YOU think, that Twitter and Discord are really about?
At the end of the day, someone has to pay for an artist to prosper, and as always it’s fans, the audience, except now we call fans, communities. Last year these fans were promised that when the artist prospered, the community audience would win too. Unfortunately, fans can sometimes be impatient. No one made it clear to loyal followers last year that it would take months, years, and maybe even decades to collect on unlockables or realize profit, if at all.
In their excitement, fans didn’t really ask WHEN it would happen. Sales pitches made it look like a rising tide lifts all boats. What followers are only now starting to realize is that PFP HUSTLERS are partying on YATCHS, while fans float on rafts and paddle boards.
That part right there, is a huge disconnect for NFT ART COLLECTORS / FANS.
In Part 1 we took a close look at INFLUENCERS, and saw how many of them sell influence for $300 a post on Twitter, TT, or IG, and many times considerably more. Now that you have more background on artists and fans in the 1/1 music ecosystem, ask yourself, what exactly are influencers doing with all their followers? In the PFP ecosystem where 10,000 objects are bought, sold, and traded, most followers/fans are being groomed, and held in a liquidity pool for a time when either the influencer has a project to pump, or for a time when NFT hits critical mass. The latter could take years, so don’t hold your breath.
According to a survey by Aspire, seventy-six percent of brands are planning to increase influencer marketing budgets in 2022, and seventy percent will work with nano and micro influencers–a very Web2 strategy because it’s not limited to only NFT marketing.
NFT influencers will also sell user data, which is YOU my friend, to old school e-comm redirect ecosystems, and that is definitely NOT Web3.
Why do you think these self-named INFLUENCERS are dumping so many empty syrupy aphorisms and flowery quotes about art and music into the Twitter stream? It takes a lot of energy and money to tweet continuously and properly maintain a large follower base. One guy with a six-figure buddy group sends out a stream of useless music tweets daily just to keep the Twitter algorithm fed. He contributes zero real knowledge or future insight into the NFT conversation, but makes it look like he’s got your back. The harsh truth is, he was busted a few months ago for being racist. He knows that in order to recover lost credibility, flooding his stream with anemic junk tweets distracts his followers. It hides past transgressions by pushing his racist personality into the deep background. It’s possible of course that many of his followers know, but they don’t care that he’s racist. My sense is that when he does start to have any real impact, someone will out him again and many of his followers will fall away. Some of course will stay. It takes all kinds to make a village before you even begin raising the child.
More influencers than you might imagine are doing the very obvious and being PAID to POST about NFT projects on Twitter, Tik Tok, IG and more. Here’s an investigative website by @ZachXBT to give you an idea of how pervasive it is. Click through the links Zach provides, and BUCKLE UP because Web3 and NFT are probably not what you think.
Here’s just one page from Zach’s site where he reports the dollar amounts that “INFLUENCERS” are paid to post on their social media sites. You probably thought they did this for free in the spirit of Web3–many do.
There are countless shady people in the NFT space building huge communities. Last year, artists endearingly referred to, and simped to them as WHALES, but the term now has such a negative connotation that whales today prefer to be called just plain old aw shucks influencers. Even that however, is causing ire. Before you fall under their spell you should at least know how influencers operate. To start, someone is paying to keep them afloat–DIRECT PROMO ADs as you can see above, covertly paid for by whom, maybe traditional art galleries, major record labels, or just billionaires looking to profit? No one knows exactly, but where there’s smoke. Influencers generate hype, but provide little if any usable information that a working artist or musician can use. Eventually, they will also secretly rent their entire audience to the highest bidder, maybe for re-directs, or use their audience to pump their own bags. Anyone with that much overhead requires a profit plan.
Here’s a note for context; Sina Estavi FOMO bought an NFT of Jack Dorsey’s first tweet for three million USD. Estavi recently put it up for auction at forty-eight million, comparing its potential value to da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. The highest bid a few days later stuck at a paltry eighteen thousand dollars. If Dorsey, the FOUNDER of Twitter doesn’t have value in his first historic tweet, where do you think you sit as an unknown artist?
If influencers were smart, to keep the NFT dream alive, they should be buying 1/1 ART in large volume from a very wide range of emerging artists. If they don’t, NFT will trough even lower and everyone will lose.
Snoop Dogg, AKA @CozomoMedici is doing his hardest to pump the hustle by paying a loud million for what he feels is a historic NFT animation, but even Cozomo can’t do it all alone. In 2021, @Twobadour from India was the revered bad boy of NFT when he bought BEEPLE for sixty-nine million, but now an American rapper is giving him game.
Snoop paid one million USD for this animation …
Never forget that art is culture and that western art, compared to the Asian sector, is the largest and most sought-after market by sophisticated global collectors. Yes, the Asian art market is now almost as large by sales volume as the western market, but the difference is that today, Asians mostly buy only Asian art. Cultures color mostly within their own lines, and it won’t change anytime soon, if ever. Culture is incredibly influential and powerful. However, here’s a caveat, if Asian art consumers decide tomorrow that they like western art, the power dynamic will change rapidly, which means all bets are off. In order for that to happen though, Asians would also have to shift their political and societal beliefs, and it is arguable as to whether it would even be possible in our era. Western art is about individualism, while Asian art is about the collective view–a very large philosophical difference and wide chasm.
I understand the frustration that new artists feel. Many thought that all this NFT hype was supposed to be about young artists and musicians getting a fair shake.
I’m curious, what do you now think about NFT, over a year in?
I mentioned the metaverse earlier because it goes hand in hand with Web3 and DAOs. Many so-called experts/influencers paint NFT with a single wide brush. NFT however, is much more complex. NFT is already, and will continue to grow simultaneously in a number of directions. A very large part of it will continue down the gaming road, but even then it will branch out.
NFT fractured art into a million pieces and interests, so to claim that one rule works for all instances is self-serving and manipulative. The metaverse, PFPs, and DAOs need each other to thrive, but the same does not apply to 1/1 art.
1/1 original art, analog or digital, is different. It can stand and thrive on its own because it is wholly an individual enterprise. Consequently, you can’t apply the rules that impact genesis and collective PFP projects, to one-up, 1/1s. At iADX365 we’ve always recognised and respected the gamification process with its inherent trading and gambling personality, but we also warned that it doesn’t support traditional artists, even if they create digital.
1/1 NFT is a completely different psychological space for the fine art artist and art collector.
The reality today is that for 1/1 visual artists, and also for bands and musicians, NFT is a new way to promote and distribute art. It delivers a better way to certify ownership, establish provenance, and generate revenue, and as importantly it’s also a great way to advertise and promote your creative vision.
1/1 is a game of CHECKERS more than it is multi-level VIRTUAL CHESS gamification.
Consequently, be careful when you hear advice coming from influencers, because in almost every single instance, they are covertly promoting a multi-level gamification process that they hope will evolve for the metaverse and DAOs. Think of it like comparing a JAZZ TRIO at a local club, to a SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, or, your neighborhood contemporary art gallery to an art museum like the Louvre–different rules for each venue.
Gamification NEEDS the metaverse and DOAs to survive. It is required, because without these virtual platforms, gamification styled NFTs have no where to hang their collective hats. Unlike IRL, PFPs have a real job to do in the metaverse. It’s a place where stylish avatars and svelte pseudo personalities rule, and a place where a PFP owner can buy luxury swag for their alter-ego character; things like expensive watches, clothes, and lambos. It’s a place to flex, whether real or fake. The metaverse is also a place to experience a concert in VR where everyone can see you dance, and flex.
1/1 art doesn’t need that type of personification.
1/1 NFT is about individual art, not the game.
1/1 art is about HODLING, not flipping for profit.
NFT influencers very rarely make this distinction, and instead they prefer to confuse you so you have to keep coming back to their cult for information, and for those wispy Twitter threads of hard-to-follow vaporware info. If you really want to educate someone, learn to blog. Twitter Spaces–where chaos and rants are the main draw, are mostly ego strokes and time wasters for artists who are trying to legitimately advance their careers.
Knowledge is still power–the easier and faster you can retrieve it, the more power it imparts. It’s more cost-effective to take fifteen minutes to read a blog, than it is to hang for two hours in space listening to someone with zero experience share their lack of knowledge like it were absolute gospel … and then they pump their bags! To attract pro artists, SPACES will have to book headliners and certified experts, and put them on the clock so it doesn’t eat hours out of a working-artist’s busy day. As a follower, I want to know when the main event happens so I can show up, listen, and contribute. As a busy artist I don’t have time to wade hip-deep through a pond of anonymous toxic positivity just to maybe discover one gem of free advice.
You get what you pay for is still a thing.
FREE rarely has value, but it always has a cost.
Web3 is great mostly because one of its main tenets is equality, but it only works if you make it work. Web3 is also about decentralization, but again, we’re in a transition between Web1, 2, and Web3.
Over the last year or so, because artists were very slickly groomed in a divide-and-conquer way to hate on each other, artists felt forced to choose a side. The reality though is that you still have to work both in Web2 and 3 to succeed. At this early stage it does you no good to virtuously signal that you’re the first native Web3 anything. You’re not, because the ecosystem is in transition and still mostly a dream. If you want Web3, you’ll have to build it. If you don’t do anything concrete to help build crypto, DAOs, or the metaverse, you have the cart before the horse, and essentially, you’re just here for the cash grab. Help build the footings too, not just the roof over your head.
Artists still need to onboard millions of users into crypto before NFT has any real power.
If artists don’t do it, who will … BANKS?
NFT is fire, but it ain’t gonna light its own WICK.
In order for a music act to become the FIRST certified Web3 NFT STAR, you’ll have to do it in a pureplay metaverse and DAO way. It’s pretty hard to do though considering that as soon as you use Web2 tools like centralized YouTube, or if a major art or music magazine promotes you in an article, you no longer qualify for native Web3.
Granted, some artists have aggressively pushed Web3 forward, but we are still far from naming anyone a NATIVE NFT music star, simply because we still don’t have an ecosystem to support it. Also keep in mind that artists and musicians who want to be recognised as NATIVE NFT, won’t be able to accept funding from a third party to back their promotion … because strictly speaking, it’s a centralised Web2 strategy. However, it is growth, and really smart as well as cool, and even though it’s not strictly native, take the money if it’s offered. Work with the tools you have at hand and quit being whipped by influencers who have hidden agendas.
Find an investor to support your Indie NFT roll, but don’t worry too much about the NFT Web3 thing for now. Unless you can afford to wait for what might be a very long time, don’t sacrifice your career for something that is promising, but currently not obtainable.
Influencers with large followings should be PAYING to support acts by buying HUGE VOLUMES of NFTs from a very wide variety of artists, and not herding creators like sheep to the slaughter. Unfortunately, simping is still a growing hazard for way too many new and prospective artists who also still give their art away for free in the name of exposure. Giving your art away has it’s place, but not in all circumstances, and not if the artist does not receive something tangible in return.
If you still think that other artists are going to buy enough of your NFTs so you can pay your rent and eat, you’re simply not paying attention. It’s a nice thought, but it’s not reality. You can’t even get people with oodles of excessive crypto to buy your art, so how is a struggling artist or musician going to bail you out? You need to slip out of virtual mode and into reality.
NFT community is truly great for hugs, and for emotional support, but I haven’t seen one artist yet say, “Hey stranger/artist whom I’ve never met, here’s enough to pay your rent this month. Hit me up when you can pay it back.” The best you’ll get is, “Aww, jeez, sorry. Is there anything I can do to help” and then, crickets. I’ve heard of art collectors bailing an artist out, but not another anon struggling artist who is probably also on a paddleboard drifting aimlessly out to sea.
In real life, and for a very long time, artists help other artists by partnering on projects, sharing gear, and promoting each other, not by paying out money they don’t have to someone in the same leaky boat. It didn’t work in visual NFT last year, and it’s not working in music mNFT today, so please be careful.
If influencers really want to help, buy NFT art for a fair price, and tell your friends, but mostly buy the art fren.
As an artist, you can hang and wait for NFT to mature into a gamification model, or you can change how you think, and instead develop a 1/1 strategy that works for your 1/1 art and your 1/1 lifestyle.
Whatever you do though, do something, and don’t mix apples with oranges.
1/1 art is not gamification complicated.
The rules for 1/1 NFT art are considerably simpler.
If a collector likes your 1/1 art, and they respect you, it’s all the follower juice you need.
Find a few hundred collectors like this and you’ll have the lifestyle you want.
Make sure you’re looking in the right places though, and please get professional marketing help. It’s counterproductive for an artist to waste all their time writing contract code, because if you’re coding, when do you find time to produce new art? It’s painful and tragic to see an artist who hasn’t had any appreciable success, NFT or IRL, give bad anecdotal advice to another artist who is also struggling.
Pretending you’re someone you’re not lowers the quality of your art and makes you look like an amateur. Real coders do better work than a visual artist or musician, and they do it faster. It would be like a visual artist learning to play a piano from scratch so they can create their own music behind an NFT, or a musician thinking they’re a fire vid editor or animator. Some are, and if you are, go for it, but it’s insanely rare. Unless you’re a genius artist like Matt Kane who codes his own brushes, your fastest way forward is to get help–collaborate and partner.
Even the very best coders make lethal mistakes that sink projects, like the AKU nightmare that recently unfolded. Because of one errant line in the contract code, the entire project failed and tied up $45 million USD indefinitely until the hostage taker decides to release the funds, if ever. One person killed the project and is holding the crypto on limbo, which means no one can access it, not even the hostage taker. If no one can access it, the entire project fails, which is too bad because AKU has incredible cultural merit respective of equality in true Web3 style–AKU depicts generative PFP versions of a BLACK KID as an ASTRONAUT in a spacesuit. The other tragedy is that the AKU project was conceived and built by Micah Johnson, an NFT artist who is well respected in the community, and who watched his hard work and dream implode almost as soon as it was launched. Pro coders warned everyone just before the project launched, but it fell on deaf ears.
Pros collaborate cross-platform for a reason. Quality.
Plus, and this is CRITICALLY IMPORTANT, today when you collaborate cross-platform in Web3 style, each artist/contributor receives a pre-negotiated piece of the pie. It’s a REAL PARTNERSHIP and very unlike anything you’d experience at a major label, an art gallery, or animation house.
Partnering … is how you really cut out the middleman.
Your niche has to find their niche, whether artist or collector.
It’s only after you bump niches, that all the magic happens.
Throw in electro-transhumanism and you might have something.
We help visual artists collaborate cross-platform with musicians every day. If you’re stuck spinning your NFT wheels and need some help please let us know.