Web3 community-building meets music know-how at Wavelengths Summit 2023

Web3 has change into one of many hottest buzzwords within the music trade, with everybody from unbiased musicians to main label artists dropping nonfungible token (NFT) collections and throwing concerts in the metaverse. However for a lot of, the precise use instances and potential of those applied sciences stay shrouded in thriller and confusion.

On Could 6, Water & Music held its inaugural Wavelengths Summit, a one-day occasion bringing collectively musicians, trade executives, artist managers, researchers and technologists to discover the bleeding fringe of music know-how and democratize entry to info. On the agenda have been talks about blockchain-based communities, the growing influence of artificial intelligence on the music trade and the way forward for artist income streams.

Water & Music is a collaborative music know-how analysis community based in 2016 by author Cherie Hu as a free publication. It has since advanced to embody a paid membership construction, an intensive on-line collaboration community and in-person occasions. Its analysis typically touches upon Web3 and the way blockchain impacts the music trade.

“I feel the music trade, specifically, has suffered from info silos,” Hu informed Cointelegraph. “Should you’re attempting to determine how followers work together along with your music in a holistic means, it’s really an enormous problem.” Enter Water & Music, which seeks to empower its neighborhood with the data wanted to thrive within the digital period.


A central focus of each Water & Music as a company and its Wavelengths Summit was constructing a way of neighborhood. The occasion’s emphasis on the significance of community-building in music and Web3 was ever-present, from the matters chosen for dialogue — together with periods titled “Music Neighborhood Constructing and Decentralization: Classes from Historical past” and “URL to IRL: Uniting Music Communities On-line and Offline” — to the best way the occasion itself was hosted and arranged.

For example, Hu opened the summit by laying out 4 floor guidelines for constructive community-building: “Be sort and respectful,” “Keep vital, “No shilling,” and “Have enjoyable!” She additionally introduced that there could be no panels; as an alternative, specialists would facilitate conversations, with viewers members inspired to leap in at any level. Talks on the principle stage have been accompanied by a big display screen displaying stay feedback and questions from viewers members through an app referred to as Slido.

“I feel what we have been actually aiming for is recreating the magic of our Water & Music Discord,” Diana Gremore, Water & Music’s occasions director, informed Cointelegraph. “Now we have such a considerate, articulate, vital, passionate, curious neighborhood, so we wished to do our greatest to facilitate how that URL neighborhood interprets into an IRL expertise.”

Web3 neighborhood constructing for musicians

All through the day, lots of the conversations touched on how Web3 and blockchain applied sciences are being explored in the world of music. Throughout the “Music Neighborhood Constructing and Decentralization” session, contributors mentioned how on-line communities corresponding to decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) are the subsequent step in an extended historical past of decentralization.

As identified by Austin Robey, co-founder of Metalabel — which is constructing a blockchain-based platform for collaborative artist releases — on-chain voting and governance are digital variations of what real-world communities have at all times accomplished. Social areas are at all times ruled, and communities are at all times decision-making. And whereas DAOs could also be topic to “code,” real-world communities have at all times been topic to social “codes.”

The dialogue was moderated by Kaitlyn Davies, membership lead at Friends With Benefits — a social DAO for creatives — and head of curatorial partnerships at Refraction — a DAO for artists and creators with a selected give attention to stay music occasions. Davies informed Cointelegraph that the preexisting decentralization in music communities helps clarify why so many within the music world gravitate towards Web3.

“You see lots of people who’ve at all times been desirous about decentralized methods of organizing or type of left-of-center technique of organizing look to this know-how to maintain doing their work — not even to get larger or to forged an additional web however simply to allow what they have been already doing,” she stated, including:

“Cultivating a scene or a neighborhood, that’s actually necessary, and that’s what drives tradition. […] My hope nonetheless is that decentralized tech helps us try this higher and helps us try this in additional equitable methods.”

Throughout the “Web3: Balancing Area of interest and Mainstream on the Street to Adoption” session, contributors mentioned the significance of first understanding one’s neighborhood earlier than launching crypto music tasks. Melanie McClain, a Web3 advisor and founding father of Blurred Traces — a neighborhood of Web3 tastemakers supporting left-of-center Black music — stated that if followers need free exhibits, artists can experiment with NFTs that give collectors free entry to concert events. And if the artist blows up, that free-performance NFT will immediately change into far more precious.

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Talking to Cointelegraph, McClain stated that crypto-native and crypto-newbie artists alike may use blockchain tech to construct stronger communities, however every method should be tailor-made. “They must be self-aware,” she stated. If a musician’s neighborhood will not be native to Web3, “they won’t say phrases like NFTs or social tokens. They will lead the dialog in different methods whereas nonetheless utilizing the instruments within the again finish.”

Many facilitators and different attendees expressed that Web3 options provide significantly distinctive benefits for musicians, with Gremore telling Cointelegraph that “one of many largest strengths of [Web3] is the power to construct neighborhood and maintain neighborhood.”

Maybe a part of the rationale for that is that blockchains are typically designed for effectivity. Based on Hu, this permits artists and their groups to higher make the most of “sensible cash” — when a musician doesn’t have a lot cash to spend and subsequently should use their funds as effectively as attainable.

“In music and Web3, I’m noticing as an alternative of simply random artists dropping NFT tasks that occur to achieve some huge cash, there’s extra give attention to ‘what’s the precise use case?’” Hu informed Cointelegraph. “What’s blockchain really including to music in a means that makes issues simpler and never more durable from a technical standpoint?”

URL meets IRL

One factor that stood out on the Wavelengths Summit was what number of on-line pals have been assembly IRL — in actual life — for the primary time. Having many web pals will not be distinctive to crypto, however it’s significantly pronounced within the area, given its inherently decentralized nature. For most individuals, assembly a web based buddy in particular person is particular, and the summit was designed to facilitate these connections.

The web permits for a degree of neighborhood constructing beforehand not possible, particularly between musicians and their followers. However as Gremore informed Cointelegraph, “There’s a magic in IRL that simply can’t get replaced.” She added, “URL is the place so lots of the conversations begin taking place, after which IRL — it’s an opportunity to deepen these bonds.”

Summit attendees join and community throughout the “Web3 Comfortable Hour.” Supply: Jonathan DeYoung

For Hu, constructing in-person relationships is vital for the long-term success of Web3 communities. “IRL occasions make or break belief in a neighborhood,” she stated. When internet-based communities meet in particular person, that neighborhood’s rigorously curated on-line picture disappears, and folks see it for what it truly is — whether or not good or dangerous.

“Occasions are so necessary for on-line communities as a result of if the secret is long-term sustainability, that may make or break belief. If it succeeds, it could possibly be an enormous kickstarter to a complete new stage or a complete new degree for the neighborhood or for the model. However I’ve positively seen it go the opposite means round additionally.”

For these unable to take part in IRL experiences, on-line ones nonetheless provide alternatives, corresponding to permitting followers to connect virtually with their favorite music artists. “I feel utilizing digital issues, not essentially the metaverse however utilizing live-streaming platforms, issues like that — I feel you may simulate the identical factor,” McClain stated. “Everyone can take part irrespective of the place they’re.”

“I feel on-line areas are protected havens for lots of people, and I feel that that ought to by no means be discounted,” believes Davies. “However I feel the ability of assembly anyone in particular person and being like, oh, you’re like an actual human being, and now we have comparable ideas about this, and possibly a block on a sequence helped us discover one another — however actually what it’s about is us hanging out in particular person.”

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In the end, the principle takeaway of the Wavelengths Summit was that community-building is a vital part for fulfillment in each music and Web3, and Water & Music deliberately designed its inaugural summit to set an instance of the way it believes community-building ought to look.

To shut out the day, Gremore shared with the viewers that Water & Music wished attendees to depart empowered — that despite the fact that it could seem to be the music trade is damaged, there’s nonetheless mild on the finish of the tunnel. And because the summit revealed, a few of that hope might come within the type of DAOs, NFTs or different blockchain-based instruments that assist artists construct neighborhood immediately with their followers. Or, as Gremore informed the viewers:

“We’re fucked — however possibly we will do one thing about it.”