When we built Sound, the vision and mission was to create a world where any artist has complete creative control of their art and career without compromising the ability to own the relationship with their audience. In order to do right by artists and their communities, we had to make careful product decisions that allowed us to test our hypotheses about the future of music in a way that would allow us to generate real insights without sacrificing the trust of musicians, listeners, and collectors. We’ve learned a massive amount in a relatively short period of time.
In less than a year, we’ve onboarded 165 artists who have collectively released 270 Sounds. Artists on Sound have earned over $3.4 million across primary sales and secondary royalties, and each dollar earned was paid out accurately, transparently, and instantly. In the traditional music industry, that equates to over a billion streams and most of the payouts would not yet have even occurred.
A new music industry that values music is upon us. As we like to say, we’re just getting started, but we remain deeply convicted that music NFTs are here to stay for the following four reasons
Today, we’re launching new Collector and Artist Profiles on Sound!
Since December, Sound has held a total of 238 listening parties and sold over 11,500 NFTs. We’ve onboarded 153 artists and grown to over 3,700 collectors, but profiles have remained largely unchanged.
Profiles on Sound have remained largely unchanged, but we often receive feedback from collectors looking to customize their collection and from artists wanting to highlight their collectors.
We’re excited to announce that all Sound artists can now freely self-upload and schedule listening parties.
This is the first step on the road to opening up Sound to all artists, but it only felt right to start with the incredible artists that have shaped the community to be what it is today.
We’ve completely redesigned our landing page to improve discovery as we continue to expand our catalog of music.
Our vision remains unchanged: we’re committed to building an ecosystem that unlocks creative freedom for the millions of diverse artists around the world, and we look forward to sharing more about our plan to move towards that over the coming months.
We’re excited to announce a new drop format: Range Editions.
Over the course of 156 drops, artists felt pressure to pick the perfect number of editions for their drops. Selecting too low of a quantity meant that some collectors wouldn’t be able to support, therefore leaving demand on the table. Selecting too high of a quantity meant the drop wouldn’t sell out right away, leading to undue disappointment.
Range Editions reduce the pressure on the artist to predict the perfect quantity by allowing more collectors to support their favorite artists while maintaining scarcity.
Here’s what you need to know.
Sound has onboarded a total of 68 incredible artists.
We initially set out to unravel the existing music paradigm that rewards the few at the expense of the many – and in its place, build an ecosystem that values artists and their music for what it’s worth (a lot more than $0.0033 per stream) while connecting fans more closely to the music they love.
In three months, the Sound community has generated over $1.6 million in proceeds paid directly to those 68 artists - equivalent to roughly 500 million streams on DSPs like Spotify and Apple Music.
Gm. We’ve onboarded 20 brilliant artists to Sound as genesis artists over the past month.
So far after 20 sellout drops, Sound has generated $200,000 as a community for 20 independent artists, equivalent to 60 million streams.
We launched with a simple hypothesis: that there is an unmet demand for listeners to support the artists they love. Our initial drops have demonstrated that our vision is possible: all twenty drops sold out in under one minute.
This is early validation of one of our foundational beliefs: artists should be able to make a full-time living off their music alone. Tees, tours, and fan clubs can offer incremental revenue for artists, but shouldn’t come at the expense of valuing music. The music itself is what’s valuable. Music NFTs are the first opportunity to value a song beyond the current system.
Sound recently launched with its first round of artists. The reception has wildly exceeded our expectations and we couldn't be more happy with the outpouring of support for artists exploring web3 music.
Now that we've introduced the protocol to the world, we want to provide insights into how it’s designed and the thought process behind those decisions. This post will be an aerial-perspective, lightly technical, and mainly focused on the smart contract design. Future posts will drill down into more intricate application details that developers might be interested in.
We started with two main objectives:
NFTs enable users to own digital objects for the first time through a set of blockchain standards that are interoperable, re-mixable, and secure. Music NFTs showcase the disruptive power that ownership can bring to the relationship between artists and their fans, enabling artists to break free from the broken economic model of music streaming platforms, which fix the price of music and prohibit the vast majority of artists from making a living.
We launched with a simple hypothesis: that there is an unmet demand for listeners to support the artists they love. Our initial drops have demonstrated that our vision is possible: all seven drops sold out in under one minute. This is early validation of one of our foundational beliefs: digital ownership, via NFTs, allows artists to make a living off their music with 100 true fans, not millions of listeners.
To put this into perspective: Sound generated 21 million streams’ worth of revenue for seven independent artists, in under seven minutes. The economic model for streaming isn’t just broken, it is failing to unlock the full value of music and facilitate listeners’ desire to directly support artists and discover music as a community. Artists and their communities should determine the value of music, not platforms and labels.
Following the success of our initial drops, we’re more excited than ever to work towards our vision of a future where a million artists can make a living from their art. To turn our vision into reality, we’ve raised a $5M Seed round led by a16z with participation from Variant Fund, Palm Tree Crew, Weekend Fund (Ryan Hoover), Atelier Ventures (Li Jin), Scalar Capital (Linda Xie), Packy McCormick, Flamingo, The LAO and angels including Trevor Mcfedries, Cooper Turley, Jacob Horne, Jing Wang, Sina Habibian, Breck Stodghill, Steve Klebanoff, John Palmer, Marc Weinstein, Holly Herndon & Mat Dryhurst, Jess Sloss, 21 Savage, DJ Drama, Tunde Balogun (LVRN), Stevo Dingle, Trevor Patterson, Conor Ambrose, Jesse Coren, and Charlie Christie. We are grateful to have their support on our journey.
The technology for consuming music has never been better. Streaming platforms offer a nearly limitless catalog of music for a low, fixed monthly price, an incredible deal for music lovers.
But the economics of how we value music are broken, with only 0.1% of artists making a living wage off their music.
There are two major problems in music today: