It may seem like the whole world is talking about NFTs, and every day a new artist is partnering with a blockchain based startup, but one of the things that becomes apparent after spending time traversing around the world of Web3 music is how different it is to the usual experience we’ve come to expect from the existing music landscape.
This emerging technology is full of opportunity for independent artists who are faced with the alternative prospect of trying to build an audience in the existing Web2 marketplace – somewhere that’s extremely saturated, with so much noise that musicians are burning out from the amount of work required to try and break through the noise.
There’s a learning curve
Getting to grips with Web3 itself is a learning curve, and it’s clear that this curve creates enough friction to keep a lot of artists away for the time being.
But if history has shown us anything, it’s that new technology can be a massive advantage to musicians who adopt it early.
Those who can put the time in to learn early on and actively engage in the community will reap the rewards.
One of the best ways to get started is to take a look at some of the artists and influencers who are actively engaging with Web3 music and follow along with their journey.
In this article I’ve put together a list of some of the people I’ve come across in the space. A great way to get familiar with things is to look at the content they are sharing and creating, and the projects they are getting involved with.
It’s not an exhaustive list, and it’s representative of my experience so far. I’ll probably aim to add to this over time, or create an updated post in the future, so be sure to sign up to the newsletter to keep updated.
Water & Music
I first came across the Water & Music newsletter run by Cherie Hu a couple of years back when it was on Patreon and covered some of the new ways artists were promoting their music. This was actually where I first heard about NFT’s and it was way ahead of the curve when it comes to awareness of Web3. Since then the platform has developed over time, becoming a seed club alumni and transforming into a DAO focused on building valuable resources for the music industry.
The DAO is constantly putting out high quality content and is definitely one to follow.
Bas Grasmayer / Maarten Walraven
I’ve been a long time subscriber of the Music X newsletter that these guys put together (you can subscribe here), and it’s been one of the most insightful places I’ve found to learn about Music and Web3. Not only do Bas and Maarten do a great job of rounding up some of the most important changes in the field, they also put a lot of thought into their own writings, tackling interesting angles and obstacles that face the industry.
An early influencer in the Web3 music scene – I first came across Cooper when he was mentioned in Water & Music at the same time he joined the Audius team. His thoughts are well constructed and he understands the challenges that the landscape faces.
He’s also responsible for one of the most common visuals I see referenced across the web in regards to the music scene:
I only came across Kapar recently, but when I took a look at some of the content he has put together I’ve been impressed. The below thread in particular stood out to me. Definitely worth a follow and I look forward to seeing what else he puts out.
One of the OGs of the Web3 scene – in early 2021 he made headlines with an $11 million NFT drop and since then has been very active in the community. More recently he’s been working on Royal – an NFT marketplace designed to help fans invest in artists.
RAC is a grammy winning producer, I’d heard a couple of his tunes over the years but he surfaced in my inbox again when he became active on the Zora platform a couple of years back.
He’s very active on Twitter and shares his views on the progression of Web3. Definitely someone to follow.
He’s also responsible for one of the most cited tweets I see banded about in support for NFTs in the music space:
Gramatik is pretty active in the scene. He’s got multiple listings on Opensea for his own collections, plus he’s a cofounder of Synthopia which is in an interesting generative music project on the platform with checking out.
Richie Hawtin has been producing electronic music for a long time now, and is actively involved in the space. He’s got a couple of collections on Opensea and also discusses Web3 on Twitter.
Don Diablo is another electronic music artist whose work over the past couple of years has been branching more into the crypto space. His energy and enthusiasm for new technologies really helps him stand out as an artist and there’s a lot to be learned from following along with his latest projects.
You’ll have no doubt seen Snoop Dogg’s name attached to some of the more visible press around Web3 and the Metaverse recently. Whether it’s him selling over $44 million worth of Stash Boxes in 5 days, buying Death Row records and announcing plans to turn it into an NFT record label, or seeing other people pay a fortune to become his neighbor in The Sandbox.
Snoop obviously has the advantage of a massive audience which he can use to direct people to his projects, but it’s a safe bet to say that he’s being advised by leading experts in the field so it’s always worth keeping an eye on the direction he’s moving in.
I hadn’t heard of Kristoph before I started looking into music NFT’s, but his portfolio on Opensea keeps coming up whenever I navigate to music, and it brought him to my attention.
He’s active on Twitter talking about crypto, so I’d follow along to see what he’s doing in the space.
I randomly stumbled across these guys from various mentions on Twitter. They’re a music collective that focuses on LoFi / downtempo and they have an NFT collection which has had its ups and downs but the collection has had a lot of volume traded.
An interesting project to stay up to date with.
Violetta is another artist who’s got a collection up on Opensea and is also quite active in the NFT community and also contributes to the Water & Music community. She posts regularly about upcoming NFTs.
One of the more well known artists on this list. Deadmau5 has been involved with the Web3 community from an early stage, with releases across a variety of platforms including Nifty Gateway & Rarez.
While his whole focus isn’t on Web3, it’s interesting to see what someone with this size of an audience is doing to bring people over to the space.
Daniel is an example of an artist whose career has massively utilised Web3 as a platform to flourish on. With a high floor price on his Opensea releases and solid enthusiasm for the scene I’m looking forward to following his progress.
I noticed Oshi on Sound.xyz – he’s had a couple of sellout drops so far and he’s making decent tunes. I’ve also seen he’s been playing around with Arpeggi Labs so I look forward to seeing what he comes up with.
So that’s a roundup of just some of the people to follow and help you get a better understanding of the Web3 music scene. I’m obviously going to have missed a lot of people out – if there’s someone you think should be added to this list feel free to let me know.