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Breakpoint 2023: Web3 Music

A panel discussion on the future and current state of Web3 music with industry pioneers and an independent artist.

The notes below are AI generated and may not be 100% accurate. Watch the video to be sure!


In a thought-provoking panel discussion recorded at Breakpoint 2023, various leaders in the Web3 music space discuss the transformative impact that Web3 technology is having on the music industry. The panel, comprised of Ecosystem Engineer Banana from Solana, Roneil Rumburg, the co-founder and CEO of Audius, Josh Savage, an independent artist, and Matthew Zemora from Boombox Labs, explored how Web3 tools are redefining artist-fan relationships and are enabling new avenues for creators to distribute and monetize their art. They also tackled challenges such as user experience and the learning curve for NFTs, while projecting a vision for a future where direct connections between artists and fans could potentially invalidate traditional models of music consumption and distribution.

Key Points:

Web3 Music's Advantages and Disadvantages

The panel discussed how Web3 is already offering a wealth of powerful tools for artists but recognized the gap in user experience for consumers. They unanimously agreed that while tooling for creators is advancing, distribution methods and usability for fans need to catch up. A key advantage pointed out by several panelists is the direct connection that Web3 enables between artists and their fans. However, the jargon associated with NFTs and a steep learning curve are major barriers for the uninitiated.

Monetization and Artist Independence

A significant focus of the conversation was on how Web3 enables artists to monetize their work through direct engagements with their audience, effectively sidestepping traditional middlemen and gatekeepers in the music industry. Josh Savage spoke passionately about this, sharing his personal experiences about how his Web3-based efforts have been life-changing, allowing him to garner support directly from his fanbase.

Technological Innovations in Web3 Music

The panel touched on the recent technological advancements in Web3, such as compressed NFTs, which enable artists to mint many NFTs at a minimal cost. This allows for experiments in how music is packaged and sold – for example, as collectible packs. Roneil Rumburg from Audius emphasized the importance of interoperability and the potential to reach and monetize a massive audience in ways that align with Web3 principles.

Facts + Figures

  • The panel featured Banana from Solana, Roneil Rumburg from Audius, and artist Josh Savage.
  • Web3 is seen to provide valuable tools for artists and direct artist-fan engagement.
  • Usability and understanding of NFTs remain a challenge that needs addressing.
  • Josh Savage highlighted the potential of Web3 for artists' monetary and creative independence.
  • Web3 could change the music industry by cutting out traditional middlemen.
  • Technological advancements like compressed NFTs are expected to lower costs and open up new creative monetization models.
  • Audius serves about 5 million monthly users and has over 200,000 artists sharing content.

Top quotes

  • "Web3 music is doing really well right now is creating and fostering a level of directness in that artist/fan relationship that's never been possible before." - Roneil Rumburg
  • "It's our job as the folks building these things to make it so you shouldn't have to learn all this new stuff to be able to get value out of these tools." - Roneil Rumburg
  • "If you talk to most artists they say [the all-you-can-eat streaming model from major DSPs] is not the best way to value your music or engagement with your fans." - Roneil Rumburg
  • "The biggest challenge we have is that music is taken for granted right now and is seen as worthless when in fact it's actually priceless." - Josh Savage

Questions Answered

How has Web3 technology impacted artists?

Web3 has enabled a significant shift in the music industry, giving artists the tools to connect with fans directly, monetize their art more effectively, and gain a level of independence that was previously unachievable. Independent artist Josh Savage shared that Web3 has completely transformed his career by providing him with a global family of supporters and the ability to continue his art even during the pandemic when traditional revenue streams were cut off.

What is one major challenge facing Web3 music?

A significant challenge in the Web3 music space is the learning curve associated with NFTs and blockchain. The jargon and complex technology can be intimidating for new users. As Roneil Rumburg of Audius pointed out, it is the responsibility of developers to simplify and enhance the user experience to encourage broader adoption.

Why is streaming not the best way for artists to value their engagement with fans?

Streaming services often offer an all-you-can-eat model which may not accurately reflect the value of an artist's work or their engagement with fans. Web3 offers an alternative by potentially enabling direct artist-to-fan sales and interactions, possibly providing artists with fairer compensation and a more meaningful connection with their audience.

What technological advances in Web3 might influence the future of music?

Recent advances such as compressed NFTs have paved the way for artists to create and distribute music at much lower costs, potentially transforming the music industry by allowing for large-scale minting and more creative distribution models like collectible packs or albums.

Can artists truly rely on a small number of super fans?

Yes, Web3 fosters unique opportunities for artists to establish strong, profitable relationships with a small number of dedicated fans. Instead of relying on mass streaming numbers, an artist can potentially find financial support and engagement through a tighter-knit community of super fans who are deeply connected to their work.