Carving out a sustainable career as an independent musician is no easy feat. The competition is fierce, support can be hard to find, and earning a living without the financial help of a major record label is an uphill battle. Yet, for those who are able to build a loyal fanbase, the freedom of complete creative control can be liberating.
Technology has long proven to be a potential friend to those musicians willing to embrace it, and nonfungible tokens are the latest innovation that many tech-savvy artists have begun incorporating into their careers. But NFTs remain both controversial and experimental, especially among the mainstream, and music NFTs are still relatively niche.
One artist who has cracked the code to maintaining a successful career as an independent musician is American singer Vérité, who has racked up hundreds of millions of streams without the support of a record label since releasing her first single, “Strange Enough,” in 2014.
After finding success and touring internationally, Vérité became one of the earliest musicians to experiment with NFTs in February 2021. Since then, she has built a strong Web3 community and had several successful high-profile drops, including releasing 1/1 NFTs, selling the master rights to her music, fractionalizing song royalties on the blockchain and giving NFTs to concert attendees. She has done all this while still retaining her dedicated non-Web3 fans, many of whom have little to no interest in crypto.
How does one walk this fine line and successfully integrate Web3 into their career without alienating their existing, perhaps skeptical, fans? Magazine sits down with Vérité to find out.
Don’t over-rely on Web3
For many musicians, Web3 is an exciting frontier filled with new possibilities for fan engagement and revenue generation. However, Vérité believes it is important that artists have diversified revenue streams and marketing strategies and don’t fall into the trap of assuming that the hype surrounding anything, especially NFTs, will last forever.
Building a music career in Web3 is “a bit of a double-edged sword,” Vérité tells Magazine. While it can help bring people together, “it becomes a negative when maybe artists limit themselves to only utilizing those tools and only existing within those communities, not really having the foresight that there was a hype cycle that then broke and these paths to monetization closed.”
“My focus is ‘How do I build a career that can withstand trend cycles, that can refocus on the foundation of my career while trying to push forward to build better?’ because we recognize that a lot of these systems are extremely broken.”
Protect and respect fans
Not every fan wants to join their favorite artist on their Web3 journey, and that’s fine, according to Vérité. When she first started releasing NFTs, she heavily emphasized that she was simply experimenting with the technology. “I was very, very clear that I don’t care if you come with me on this experiment — this is an experiment for me,” she states.
Vérité actually took it one step further, actively encouraging fans not to join her. “A lot of my communication with them was, ‘Don’t buy this. Don’t participate unless you are fully educated and willing to fully educate yourself and take on the risks.’” Even now, she still tells her fans that they should never feel pressured to participate in anything Web3-related.
“More than monetizing, it’s really protecting the people who have supported my career for the last eight years,” Vérité emphasizes.
It’s clear that not everyone is sold on the power and potential of blockchain. The bear market certainly hasn’t helped the space’s reputation either, with the collapse of crypto exchange FTX making mainstream media headlines and the prices of even blue-chip NFTs crashing 95% from their bull market peaks.
“If you go on my Discord — and I do tag everyone and say, ‘What do you think about crypto and NFTs?’ — people are not jazzed. Most of them, honestly. It’s just general disinterest,” Vérité explains. But it’s not necessarily that her fans actively hate crypto. “I’m finding that people don’t have a desire to do something new because they don’t see a problem, right?”
According to the singer, “NFTs, Web3, how it’s been marketed out to the masses is also wholly unpalatable really to non-tech-native fans.” Instead, she offers the following advice:
“I would more so recommend people to frame it as utilizing tools because it’s a weird market, and it’s hard to justify some of the scams and the negative aspects that can cause real harm to someone who isn’t knowledgeable or educated on those things.”
Offer an option, not a requirement
Instead of forcing fans to join her on-chain, Vérité instead focuses on building experiences with a Web3 element that is present but optional. She describes her approach as offering a “door” for fans to enter, one where blockchain functionalities can be unlocked to further enhance the fan experience — but where fans will still enjoy the experience regardless of whether they open the door:
“Do you need to jump the technological hurdle in order to have the experience, right? Or is it just a door? If it’s a door, you can talk about it because it’s not a burden.”
“For me, it’s really trying to consider, ‘What is the experience that we’re offering, what are the actual viable use cases of blockchain technology that we can tack on that aren’t burdensome?’” she says.
One example is “The Vérité Crewneck,” a tech-enabled sweatshirt the singer dropped in late 2022 in collaboration with IYK, a company working with brands, artists and creators to develop phygital experiences. The sweatshirt has a near-field communication, or NFC, chip embedded in the sleeve, which can be scanned to access exclusive content and unlock an NFT representing a certificate of authenticity.
Vérité explains that fans who bought the sweatshirt received “premier access to the next era of my records.” Buyers could scan the chip with their phones and get early access to music and perks such as behind-the-scenes content. “That was the main value proposition — not a Web3 activation, right?”
But the landing page also features an option to verify the garment, through which curious fans can receive their NFT.
Fans are at the center of it all
Between straight-up telling fans not to purchase her NFTs to offering them experiences where the Web3 option is an added bonus, Vérité’s fan-centric approach has undoubtedly played a significant role in her ability to push boundaries — and see success — in Web3 while still maintaining a loyal non-Web3 fanbase. Or, in her words, “My fans come first, and I don’t have fans just so that I can sell them shit all the time.”
Regarding her long-term hope for the future of blockchain and music, Vérité says her vision is that “we can demystify the black box of data that exists between artists and their fans, that is held by social platforms, ticketing companies, etc., and that blockchain actually does have the ability to make that information transparent so that artists can communicate directly to the people who support them and reward them in long-term scenarios.”
If the hype is to be believed, this dream may one day come true. But based on Vérité’s experience at the forefront of it all, it seems the only way the music-Web3 revolution will be truly successful is if fans are placed at the center of it.
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BTC price holds 6% gains as Bitcoin battles for ‘crucial’ $28K support
Bitcoin (BTC) passing $28,000 hints at bullish sentiment, but reclaiming it for good is essential, analysis says.
In an X (formerly Twitter) post on Oct. 17, Yann Allemann and Jan Happel, co-founders of on-chain analytics firm Glassnode, described the $28,000 mark as a “critical milestone” for the BTC price.
Glassnode: “Keep an eye out” for $28,000
After snap volatility, which caused Bitcoin to hit $30,000 for the first time since August, the largest cryptocurrency has managed to preserve some of its gains.
For Allemann and Happel, the pair is now at a defining crossroads.
“The crypto market is hinged on BTC’s ability to breach and consistently maintain a value north of $28k,” part of their commentary stated.
$28,000 has formed a battleground ever since Bitcoin first crossed it in early 2021, and liquidity has traditionally surrounded it as bulls and bears fight to secure control over long-term trajectory.
Data from the trading suite DecenTrader, among others, confirms that the status quo remains despite recent BTC price moves, with $28,000 lying in a zone between major longs and shorts of varying leverage.
“While this pivotal milestone was momentarily attained on futures, the spot market price peaked at $27.98k earlier today. It’s evident just how crucial this price point is in the larger scheme,” Allemann and Happel added.
“The rapid movements and these price thresholds aren’t just numbers. They signify investor sentiment, market dynamics. Keep an eye out for the 28k level.”
Road to Bitcoin halving contested
As Cointelegraph reported, predictions over what the future will bring for Bitcoin both before and after its next block subsidy halving in April 2024 differ considerably.
In an interview last month, DecenTrader co-founder Filbfilb eyed BTC price galvanizing itself for upside during Q4, possibly reaching $46,000 by the halving.
Some well-known market participants, however, remain risk-averse. Among them, popular trader Crypto Tony and others are betting on a pre-halving return to $20,000 for a final local bottom.
“Many can scream they are long right now and caught that move, but if your not taking profit here at resistance your doing something wrong,” he told X subscribers about the recent surge.
“I personally will not be long unless we flip that $28,500 level into support.”
This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.
Ripple job posting hints at possible IPO, XRP community says
Fintech payments company Ripple released a new job posting on Oct. 16 for a shareholder communications senior manager across multiple locations in and outside the United States. The job posting prompted many crypto enthusiasts to label it as an official hint about the company’s plans to go public.
The job posting outlines that the role will require direct communication with shareholders — a concept generally associated with publicly traded companies. The chosen candidate would be responsible for developing and implementing communication and relationship management strategies for “existing and prospective investors, current shareholders, and financial analysts.”
The job description emphasizes the candidate’s need to create strategic plans specifically suited for situations like “M&A [mergers and acquisitions], investments, liquidity events, and other high-impact moments.“
The role includes creating investor-focused materials like “presentations, fact sheets, case studies, and analyses“ to inform and educate potential investors about the company’s prospects and performance — a necessary component of the initial public offering (IPO) preparation process. The responsibilities of the post also include maintaining a shareholder database and managing routine communications like quarterly updates.
Many XRP (XRP) proponents and the pro-Ripple community on X (formerly Twitter) are referring to the job posting as a hint that there may be an IPO. Some key executives from the company have also alluded to the possibility that Ripple might go public but haven’t given any indication of timing.
Anyone notice the recent job openings at #Ripple?
The only reason you need a Shareholders Communication Manager.. is for an IPO.
— Chad Steingraber (@ChadSteingraber) October 16, 2023
The crypto-focused payments company has recently been in the limelight due to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) lawsuit alleging XRP is a security. Ripple scored a major win in the lawsuit in July when a judge ruled that XRP is not a security in terms of sale on digital asset exchanges.
Key Ripple executives have claimed that even though the SEC lawsuit has cost them many business opportunities in the U.S., most of its remittance business lies outside America.
Banks’ crypto exposure must be disclosed — BIS’ Basel Committee
The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) released a consultation paper on Oct. 17, proposing to make it compulsory for banks to disclose their crypto exposure.
The Basel Committee comprises central banks and financial authorities from 28 jurisdictions and is a forum for regulatory cooperation on banking supervisory matters. The latest consultation paper is based on the disclosure guidelines in the final prudential standard on how banks should handle their exposure to crypto assets released in December 2022.
The consultation paper aims to set a standardized “disclosure table and set of templates for banks’ crypto-asset exposures,” with a proposed implementation date of Jan. 1, 2025. The Basel Committee has opened the proposal for public comment until Jan. 31, 2024, after which the results will be published on its website.
Under the new proposed regulations, banks would be required to provide quantitative data on exposures to crypto assets and the corresponding capital and liquidity requirements. Banks would also be required to offer qualitative data on their activities linked to cryptocurrencies.
Additionally, banks would be required to offer information on the accounting classifications of their exposure to crypto assets and liabilities. In its proposal, the committee claimed that using a uniform disclosure format will encourage the application of market discipline and lessen information asymmetry between banks and market participants.
The committee also reviewed crypto assets and bank exposure in June. At the time, the committee didn’t delve deeply into the topic, mentioning only that it was focusing on permissionless blockchains and the eligibility criteria for “Group 1” stablecoins.
The BIS has been actively involved in crypto consultations and examining the regulatory aspect of decentralized technology. Recently, the BIS and a handful of European central banks published details of a concept to develop a system to track international flows of cryptocurrencies.
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