What is Web 3.0?
It's probably easier for us to start on Web 1.0 and work our way up.
Internet in the 1990s was Web 1.0. The web was seen as a way to make information accessible to everyone. However, there weren't effective ways of navigating it. It was pretty disorganised, and ultimately, not that accessible.
In the mid-2000s, Web 2.0 was born. Platforms like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter emerged to bring order to the Internet by making it easy to connect, centralise information and make online transactions. However, these companies quickly became giants and some critics would say they've amassed far too much power.
Web 3.0 is a vision of the future of the Internet in which people operate on decentralised platforms, rather than depend on tech giants like Google, Facebook and Twitter. Web 3 is about people taking some of the power back by cutting out the middle men. Web 3.0 enthusiasts want to build a community owned internet where the dream is to create new social networks, search engines and marketplaces that have no company overlords. An internet where people are in control of their own data. The end goal is for Web 3 technology to operate alongside Web 2.0, not fully replace it.
Web 3 is built upon a system known as the blockchain, a system in which a record of transactions made in Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency are maintained across several computers that are linked in a peer-to-peer network. To 99% of the population, this may seem confusing and overwhelming, but like electricity, you don't need to know how it works to understand the benefits.
How Can Web 3.0 Benefit Musicians?
It's no secret that musicians aren't earning much from major streaming platforms like Spotify.
One million streams is a lot of listening time, but that will barely earn a month's rent. Now, think of emerging artists with only a few thousand streams. They have no control over how much they earn, or when they get paid. It isn't sustainable.
But what if there was a system that allowed artists to thrive in a digital world? A system that empowered artists and ensured they were fairly compensated for their content, that cut out the middle men and put the power back in the artist's hands, both creatively and financially.
Our team at Kapsule believe Web 3 can do this. The technologies available can truly put the ball back into the creators court and heighten their career and earning potential beyond anything possible today.
Introducing The Artist's Economy
There's a theory that an artist can survive off just 100 'true fans' - fans who purchase and engage in every piece of content the artist releases.
Throughout 2021, a special class of musician took the idea of 'true fans' to the extreme.
It’s the emergence of the Artist's Economy: a growing trend for creatives to form deep relationships with their fans and offer them a much more personal insight into their life, and the opportunity to play an active role in their growth as an artist. This is exactly what Web 3 is here to do. It’s time to empower musicians to take control and create a community around themselves, rather than the platforms they use.
At the foundation of all artist projects is their music. It’s the content they create.
But who’s to say that every piece of recorded music should cost the same price, or even cost anything at all?
No two pieces of content are the same. This is especially true for music. And this decision for creators to have deeper control over how they choose to monetise their content is exactly where smart contract systems come into play. Smart contracts allow artists to set prices for their content and establish ongoing royalty payments, which entitles them to a passive income for their work.
With Web 3 platforms, artists will be able value their work fairly, or even have their fans decide! This means artists can choose exactly how much they want to charge for any piece of content.
Content can come in the form of an unreleased track, a piece of art or access to a one-on-one Facetime with the artist. The possibilities are endless! It's all about offering fans exclusive content. And speaking of exclusive content, you may have heard of these things called NFTs.
Web 3 technologies have offered us the ability to give content scarcity. This has made it possible to make digital assets collectible. Much like the era of record collecting, only the records are now be digital assets that can be owned, bought and sold using blockchain technology. You can read more about making music collectible.
The most prominent example of music collectibles is RAC's Elephant Dreams AudioNFTs. These are audio-visual digital collectibles sold in scarce quantities on NFT marketplace, SuperRare. RAC broke SuperRare’s primary sale record earlier this year through the sale of Elephant Dreams, selling for a staggering 70 ETH to renowned NFT collector Max Stealth.
In the world of Web 3, music doesn't just have to be audio. It can be audio-visual, and the key is to create an emotional attachment between the collection and the collectors. This comes down to one thing. Community.
Discord, Twitch, Patreon. These are a few of the platforms musicians are having to adjust to in the increasingly digital world. They’re spending 50% of the time building the foundations of their community, all with the intention to better connect their fans to one another around the artist’s brand and content. Livestreams, merchandise giveaways, podcasts, Instagram Stories and TikTok - these are all examples of community, and it's these platforms fused with Web 3 technologies that can assist in an artist levelling up.
We know that fans love to share and consume content, and we now know that fans love to collect digital merchandise. Community is what connects fans to every single piece of content an artist creates. In order for the Artist's Economy to work, fans need a home to share and engage with their peers in a trusted, safe environment.
Our mission at Kapsule is building a better future for music using Web 3. The conversations are happening, and they're quickly seeping into every conversation among managers, labels and artists alike.
To those who are here this early, well done for trusting your curiosity.
It’s about time that artists had a system in which they are valued fairly.
Until then, stay curious, keep researching and learning and remember that the best time to start your very own artist economy is today.