GAINS Associates
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GAINS Associates

STAGE — Telegram AMA — March 22

On Tuesday, March 22, we had the pleasure to welcome to our Telegram chat:

Francisco, Geofrey, and Andre from STAGE

We asked them questions about the development of STAGE.

Some sentences have been slightly edited for readability but the meaning has been conserved.

Introduction

Q — Ayeley from GAINS: Please introduce yourself. What did you do before crypto and did you have any other previous venture in crypto?

A — Francisco from STAGE: I’m Francisco, STAGE’s co-founder & CEO. I have done a Ph.D. in Mathematics (Computer Science) and was generally on the more technical side of the industry for some years, first in sports betting and then in crypto. I always saw technical knowledge as a tool though.

When I moved from the sports betting industry to crypto in 2018, I felt like I was finally doing something for a bigger cause, since crypto will take the world to the next level, and I have been really proud to be part of it since.

After being a trader for over 3 years at blockchain.com, where I was managing a team with $100M+ under management, I felt like I wanted to take the next step, not just in terms of responsibility and building a legacy through my own project, but also in terms of doing it in a field that is really close to my heart. Music has helped me with expressing/facing my emotions over the years, and that is something that this society needs more and more — ways to push our human side to come out. That is what we are here for! Artists deserve to live from their talent given the big impact they have on the lives of people all over the world, while the community should be allowed to pick the artists they want to listen to!

That is me!

A — Geoffrey from STAGE: I’m Geoffrey, STAGE’s co-founder & CTO. Before STAGE I founded and ran a boutique AI research firm for about 10 years. With my data science team, we were researching and deploying at scale tailor-made state-of-the-art machine learning solutions for fortune 500 companies and governments. We worked in particular on deep neural networks able to read crypto news and predict market sentiment with accuracy which really bootstrapped my Crypto journey while investing on a personal level.

While I’m an avid music listener and love finding hidden gems before anyone knows them, my personal motivation behind founding STAGE is to leave a dent in the universe by enabling millions of people to be closer to their artists and cut intermediaries in the process.

A — Andre from STAGE: My name is Andre and I’m the CMO at Stage. I’ve been in the music industry for the past 15 years and I actually was part of the talent show Idols. Since then I’ve toured around the world and got my headliner show for the biggest cruise lines you might know of.

Around 4 years ago, whilst I wasn’t performing, I got to start my eCommerce journey and I was able to build 3 online stores that rapidly became massively popular.

I successfully exited one of my businesses last year and that gave me the economic stability and freedom to put all my effort into STAGE.

I first got into the crypto industry in early 2016 as an investor and now I feel like I have the opportunity to be building something that merges my 2 biggest passions: Crypto & Music.

I have known Francisco for 10 years and we’ve always wanted to create a business together. Luckily we found Geoffrey and the 3 of us started building STAGE.

In the beginning, it was just the 3 of us. But the team is growing on a daily basis!

About STAGE

Q — Ayeley from GAINS: What is the STAGE project about in a few simple sentences?

A — Francisco from STAGE: STAGE is the next evolution in music, a revolution of amplitude beyond the one created by streaming’s disruption about 20 years ago. It’s a social network and distributed music label enabling fans to not only choose their stars but also secure a stake in their future fame without middlemen.

At its core STAGE revolves around hundreds of music competitions: a fun gamified environment enabling raw talent to be recognized early on in a similar fashion to TheVoice, with the audience having an interest in the future of their supported artists.

Most small/mid artists still need to work 9–5 jobs, some going as far as giving private music lessons to be able to support their career.

There is no reason for fresh music talent not to join the platform as artists take home 60% of fan votes from the competition and earn forever on NFT resale royalties — it’s an unprecedented & seamless way for artists to monetize their fanbase. Speaking with numerous artists it is clear that a change needs to happen: artists must be supported by fans directly, a new paradigm must be created.

Q — Telegram User Topind: What do you think about building an ecosystem of professionals and people who will give their all and support this project in a long term?

A — Andre from STAGE: That is very interesting and exactly what we’re doing. We’re partnering with the absolute best IN BOTH THE crypto and music world!

Q — Telegram User Memo: I read on your website that we can choose between diamond, platinum, and gold, but really what meaning and utility will each of these choices have? will be the different types of tournaments that will be held in Stage? If so, will each one represent the musical level?

A — Andre from STAGE: So We have a ranked system that defines cards as Diamond, Platinum, Gold, or simply numbered.

With that said, every single one of the cards will be tied to perks. Artists will be able to define what those perks are. Some examples: face to face coffees, Zoom calls, VIP concert tickets… you name it

Q — Telegram User Shandy: I see #STAGE is the only project that brings gamification on the blockchain connected to music and audiences. What is your main target right now? And what about teenage music fans?

A — Francisco from STAGE: The teenagers will be more than excited with this new concept as besides the play-to-invest, we will also have the TikTok-like simple experience for them to be able to swipe through different artists and vote. Most people love music, but teenagers watch The Voice and show like that less and less as they prefer apps where they can just live at high speed, and keep moving forward, and we will allow that while keeping the competition exciting.

Q — Telegram User Crownos: So far, are there any artists who have committed to joining the STAGE project?

A — Andre from STAGE: That is one of our biggest surprises. We’re signing new artists on a daily basis.

I can tell you that we already have massive ones onboard. Wait until we announce them.

Q — Telegram User Patrick: Stage presents an unprecedented concept of “Play to win” in the music industry so I would like to know more information about this new concept of play to win? How can music be related to a play-to-earn model?

A — Francisco from STAGE: It is more of a play-to-invest, meaning that you will get NFTs when you vote for artists, and you can then sell them later in the marketplace once the artist becomes famous and make some money with that. Later, with the artist token, this is even clearer, as if you own the artist token and that artist is earning from Spotify, etc, you will get a dividend from this.

Q — Telegram User SuperHero: Many Crypto Projects in the music industry don’t get adoption? As Stage is also solving the same issue, why do You think Stage Will be able to achieve Adoption?

A — Andre from STAGE: Our point of view on this subject is very straightforward. We see a lot of great projects out there however we feel they’re NOT targeting from the right angle. How can you introduce the concept of buying music royalties (for example) with a token when the majority of die-hard fans don’t know how to use crypto yet?

We need to understand that not everyone knows about crypto yet. As of this moment, there are way more fans/TikTok users than Metamask wallets’ owners. We will then introduce our gamification concept and build a community around it. Once fans/artists see the value behind it, the migration to the crypto world will be much smoother

Q — Telegram User 💐🌷Crypto Flower🌷💐: STAGE will be simply an application for artistic compositions, or will it also be a social network where we can enjoy all the content uploaded by our artists?

A — Francisco from STAGE: Absolutely, and from a fan perspective, the similarity to TikTok extends to this, where people can easily share content, and also any NFT they may have collected, adding to the social side of things too.

Q — Telegram User Anitax: Royalties are a very important topic in the music industry and NFTs so could you tell me how your royalty system will work? How beneficial will it be for an independent or well-known artist to release a collection of songs or NFTs on your platform?

A — Francisco from STAGE: We will give the artist a big percentage of the money that is generated from people voting in them, and more specifically to NFTs, any future resale of those NFTs will pay a commission to the artist forever. They may not be active anymore and still be earning.

Q — Telegram User Atharv: There are vast numbers of music lovers in the world. Why do you think that they should switch from the traditional platform to the Stage platform? How will you compare the fee & Quality of the content?

A — Andre from STAGE: You’re totally correct however, the majority of artists nowadays can’t succeed. It became a monopoly controlled by the big players. With that said, by switching to our platform, everyone will be given a fair STAGE to showcase their talent and, on top of that, we remove middlemen by giving the opportunity for the Artist to monetize his talent

Q — Telegram User Shandukani: It’s quite unfortunate that the Talent Economy is broken. The vast majority of artists get themselves involved in 9–5 jobs, some even do illegal things just to make ends meet because middlemen often rub them off of their profits. How would Stage give power back to the artist with its solution? How will you help artists earn financial freedom?

A — Andre from STAGE: This is a really important one. Thanks for the question. Artists will get 60% of any vote cast by their fans, winning the competition or not, which means they will be able to immediately monetize on their fanbase. This is really an incredible point, and it is making a lot of small artists want to join us right from the start. If you have 1M followers on a platform, you will be able to immediately make money as soon as they start voting on you.

Q — Telegram User The Curious 👀: How will you prevent a very talented artist from winning all the competitions launched within STAGE? How will you ensure that everyone has an equal chance?

A — Francisco from STAGE: That is a great question; we will have different competitions that are based not only on the type of music but also the fame status of someone. Let’s say you have artists with 10M followers, they will not be allowed to compete in the same ones as people who are not known at all — we did think about this

Token

Q — Ayeley from GAINS: What role will the token play in the STAGE ecosystem?

A — Geoffrey from STAGE: STAGE token is the foundation of our entire ecosystem. It’s the currency used on the platform for:

- fans to vote for their favorite artists in competition (and thus mint the “RareStageCard” NFT)
- tokens received by artists (including the NFT resale royalties)
- sales on our NFT marketplace (in v2)
- purchase and royalties of Artist Tokens (in v3)
- staking

Q — Telegram User sheby: While Reading, I Saw that You Have Introduced the 4 TOKENS Which are $STAGE TOKEN, RARE STAGE CARDS, ARTIST UNIQUE CONTENT, ARTIST TOKEN. Can you please tell me about the 4 Tokens 1 Universe Model of the STAGE Platform?

A — Geoffrey from STAGE:

1. $STAGE TOKEN is the “currency” of the platform (so fungible token) as explained earlier during the Gains questions to STAGE, it’s used for fan votes, as artist incentive, minting of RareStageCards (=competition NFTs), …

2. RARE STAGE CARDS are the collection of digital cards (NFTs) earned by fans voting for artists in competitions which aren’t only proof of support but also embed real-life utility (such as yearly backstage access, yearly 10min zoom call, …)

3. ARTIST UNIQUE CONTENT, these are simply NFTs sold on the NFT Marketplace (from v2) such as songs, BTS videos, and other merchandise or embeddable content

4. ARTIST TOKEN is a fungible token unique to each famous artist on our platform (from v3). As a fan, you may buy an artist’s token and you’ll get the streaming service revenues of the songs published by that artist

Q — Telegram User Anil: Where can I buy your tokens now? What is your current contract and how can I buy it? Do you have any other Defi features in the future like Stacking, Yield Farm, or NFT?

A — Francisco from STAGE: The IDO is coming in about 1.5–2 months, and then you will be able to buy the tokens. We will be aiming to start with decentralized exchanges and then also move to a list of centralized ones.

We will be providing forms of stacking, but the first feature will be the NFTs generated every time you vote for an artist.

Funding

Q — Ayeley from GAINS: Let’s talk about funding. Did you raise funds so far? If so, how did you handle them? Are you planning to do any future raises?

A — Andre from STAGE: We closed both pre-seed and private sale 1, in which we raised $250k and $1.35M respectively. With that said, we are currently in Private Sale 2.

We were raising $1.35M for the first one, at a $30M fully diluted valuation, and were positively impressed by how fast this happened over the last weeks, mainly after we started bootstrapping our community.

We are currently on Private Sale 2, in each we are aiming to raise about $4M, but the current amount we already have will allow us to follow the plan until EOY of building the IOS app (which should take 8 more months).

We are mainly looking for strategic partners who add something to the table, therefore, we’re being quite strict on taking investment currently for this reason.

Above money, we want to be sure we’re partnering with the best in the industry in all different vectors: marketing, KOLs, market makers, launchpads, VCs… We’re building an ecosystem of people/professionals who believe and support the project in their long-term vision.

Q — Ayeley from GAINS: How can prospective partners join. And for those who are not in a position to join the private sale 2, when can we expect the public round

A — Andre from STAGE: So, as previously said, we’re looking to close more strategic partnerships. If we believe they can bring something great to what we’re building, they’re more than welcome to join us!

A — Geoffrey from STAGE: Yes typically anyone with deep ties to the music industry, artists, KOLs, … We can expect the public round (IDO) to happen in about 1.5 months from now, the exact date will soon be announced.

Competitive Advantage

Q — Ayeley from GAINS: Are there other projects that are working with music, and what makes STAGE special as compared to them?

A — Geoffrey from STAGE: STAGE is the only project bringing gamification on blockchain linked to music and our target audience is 15–30y old fans without a crypto wallet.

Q — Telegram User Emmy 🔮: What is the advantage of STAGE over other projects? What would you say about security and transparency? Will STAGE remain a decentralized project?

A — Francisco from STAGE: That is part of our core mission. We will want full transparency and to remain decentralized, indeed. That is part of the beauty of crypto and we want to make sure we keep it. In current competitions, like The Voice etc, it is hard to get such a sense of transparency.

To be clear, initially we will need to be centralized, and there is no other way; but that is the long-term vision.

Q — Twitter User: There are already 3.0 music platforms in the market so what is the main differentiator of STAGE with the competition? What added value does your project have that others do not have implemented? How global will your music platform be?

A — Francisco from STAGE: The main differentiator is that we will have hundreds of competitions between artists happening at any time (24/7), so there is always activity, while the framework of artists competing against each other will generally make it exciting and new.

And as mentioned, you are right, we touched on it already, we will target the masses and not just crypto fans. This makes a huge difference. It will allow us to be seen as a global platform.

A — Geoffrey from STAGE: No other project is currently targeting a mass audience (regardless of crypto knowledge) and building a vibrant community around music.

Such a community is required to have a healthy NFT marketplace / Artist Token platform.

Business Development

Q — Ayeley from GAINS: How far along are you with your roadmap and what should we expect in the next weeks and months?

A — Geoffrey from STAGE: The main mobile app (our core product targeting mainstream audiences without crypto wallets) will be ready in the fall of this year. Since we are getting a huge engagement from the community in the meantime, we decided to do a web3 app acting as a light version of what the final app will entail. It will allow users to get used to the concept of voting and receiving prizes for it — it’s called STAGE Debuts. This will be released 2 weeks after the IDO.

So in a nutshell:

- web3 lite version of STAGE aimed at artist’s die-hard fans released right after IDO
- beta mobile version this summer (for all those who pre-voted on web3)
- end of year release of the v1 mobile app
- Q1 next year the v2 releasing the NFT marketplace once we have million+ fans onboard playing on STAGE
- in two to 3 years from now the v3 with Artist Tokens

Q — Telegram User jojo: Watching a clip of your project, I found it interesting, but I wonder if your project can be dubbed or have subtitles in other languages ​​in the future? Especially in the Southeast Asia region

A — Geoffrey from STAGE: Our mobile app will be translated in all major languages. It’s crucial for us to represent all types of music genres also so you’ll be able to quickly see lots of competitions happening around niche music styles in parallel to the famous ones (like K-pop or HipHop)

Q — Twitter User: “STAGE is an application with great potential for growth, however blockchain technology will certainly be a major barrier to entry. How will you deal with this? What strategies have you planned to motivate non-cryptographic users to learn everything they need to know?”

A — Geoffrey from STAGE: We are building STAGE with mass adoption in mind. In fact most users will not realise they are using a blockchain based platform until their competition NFTs increase in value as their supported artists become more famous. Fans may vote for any artist using in-app payments which enable them to buy virtual in-app tokens like in any game on the app store. In that case STAGE mints the NFTs on their behalf and they may collect them as soon as they connect an external wallet (MetaMask, …)

Andre, Francisco and Geoffrey thanks for coming into our community, and taking the time to answer our questions. Do you have any final words for us? Where can we follow you to stay updated? — Ayeley Commodore-Mensah from GAINS

Thank you so much for all the love guys. Please follow our socials if you enjoy our project.

WebsiteDiscordTelegramTwitter 📜┃Litepaper. Let’s build!

— Andre from STAGE:

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