Looking Back On 2021 In Music3 — And What To Expect In 2022
Wild, simply wild — there is no better way to describe 2021, especially when it comes to NFTs, music, and the imminent coming of Music3. Our beloved industry is en route to change on a foundational level.
With that in mind, we wanted to cap off the wild year by giving you a recap of everything that transpired in and around Music3 in 2021 while also offering a glimpse into what we believe the future has in store for 2022 and why we (alongside an array of NFT thought leaders) think it will be the year when music NFTs flip the script.
Let’s dive right in…
2021: The year of NFTs and a perfect storm for unlocking value
There is simply no denying it — 2021 was the year of NFTs. What started off with slow and steady growth throughout Q1 quickly turned into a full-fledged craze, leading to a bonanza of ETH flowing into jpegs, club memberships, short videos and everything in between.
NFTs made such waves in the past year that even Collins Dictionary, the premier English dictionary, took note of the ongoing revolution by crowning ‘NFT’ as 2021’s word of the year, as part of Collins’ annual awards rubric. This marked yet another milestone for the technology, making way for even more people to find out about NFTs.
Now, for the analytics addicts and aficionados among you, it’s time to also take a sneak peek at some graphs that further denote the year of NFTs. Below you can see some beautiful-looking stats showcasing the rise of NFTs, with numbers akin to 2020’s DeFi summer.
What happened in Music3 land?
JPEGs, gifs, membership passes and everything in between undoubtedly paved the way for the world to also explore other implementations of NFT tech, namely music. The various benefits NFTs offer, their design and most importantly, their backend, are the absolute perfect fit for our industry, well known to have been plagued by greedy middlemen for a long, long time.
For those of us building Music3, 2021 marked the beginning of change and a great deal of recognition. Many of the industry’s heavy hitters, including not only artists, but also the latter’s managers, labels and other adjacent parties, realized the potential of NFTs and began peeking under the hood, eventually starting to lay the groundwork for the imminent paradigm shift in music.
At the cusp of the year, a first-of–now-many took place, when Canadian electronic music artist Jacques Greene auctioned off the publishing rights to his brand new single ‘Promise’ via NFT marketplace Foundation. Credits for breaking the original news go to premier NFT-related news outlet NFT Now.
March was another pivotal moment for Music3, as Catalog, a still-in-beta audio NFT platform enabling artists to keep 100% of every sale, officially launched. The notorious Grimes, together with Steve Aoki, also made the news as the two went on and nabbed record-breaking (Grimes made almost $6 million in <20 minutes) NFT sales figures via Gemini-owned Nifty Gateway. Around the same time, Kings of Leon became the first band ever to release an LP as an NFT, while producer RAC started creative agency SixNFT.
In other news, 2021 saw the first piece of classical music being sold on the blockchain, while household unique art-collective PleasrDAO purchased an extremely rare 1/1 and unreleased Wu-Tang album from the U.S. Government. Previously owned by the now convicted Martin Shkreli, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin was in the making for FIVE years, between 2008 and 2013.
“We firmly believe there are ways to share this musical masterpiece with the world. A lot of things in life are temporary, fleeting, impermanent. But remember this — just like our blockchain, Wu Tang is forever.” — PleasrDAO
One of the frontrunners in Music3 is Audius, a blockchain-powered streaming platform that’s been in business for about three years now. As one of the projects that’s broken into the mainstream and enjoyed relative success, Audius has established itself as a challenger to the likes of Spotify by promising artists proper monetization and a fairer per stream distribution than its Web2 equivalents.
Just last year, Audius announced a rather star-studded lineup of backers taking part of its strategic $5 million raise. Next to participations from Katy Perry, Nas, Jason Derulo, Pusha T, Steve Aoki, Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda, and Disclosure, Audius has additionally attracted a number of seasoned music executives into the fray of Music3 changemakers. Shortly before the raise, Audius had also made the headlines by landing a partnership with TikTok, to allow creators a direct channel to upload their music onto the widely-popular video-sharing app.
Towards the end of the summer of 2021, DJ, producer and Music3 pioneer 3LAU announced the launch of Royal, an NFT music rights platform focused on overtaking incumbents and enabling artists to earn their fair share, while also introducing a revenue-sharing model for fans. Kicking off with a ‘measly’ 16 million seed round from Paradigm and Peter Thiel’s Founders fund, 3LAU’s Royal then bagged in a follow-up 55 million Series A. Most recently, Royal announced its first drop with Nas.
On our end, we released the highly-anticipated Music3 industry paper, authored by DAO member Dr. Jay Mogis, with additional contributions from Sean Gardner, Jaddan Comerford, Daniel Dewar, Joan Westenberg, Ash Kernen, Brett Farrell, Daniel Fowler, John Alexiou, and Daniel Tauhore.
The Music3 industry paper is an instrumental and foundational piece outlining the MODA DAO vision for a fair, inclusive and sustainable model for the whole music industry to run on for the future. Delving deeper into the role of each individual stakeholder within the ecosystem, the Music3 industry paper forms an all-around perspective on music, eventually leading up to the year 2030, when we expect music to be completely transformed from the ground up.
The piece further articulates the functioning of the MODA DAO and the underlying MODA Foundation, a non-profit entity specifically conceived to ensure DAO operations are compliant with real-life regulatory requirements.
Throughout the year, the DAO has experienced prodigious growth, becoming a home for many of music’s hopeful changemakers. We have gone from a tiny community to over 50,000 members across all social channels and managed to sell out four separate IDOs on four separate blockchains. Further, we were joined by some of the industry’s most respected names such as Richie Hawtin, Deadmau5, BLOND:ISH, Chris Lake. Non-artists, who also align with the Music3 vision, like Dean Wilson, Kevin Brown, Matt Brown, Harvey Tadman and Jaddan Comerford have gone on to become contributors looking to build the foundation of a music industry paradigm shift.
Where to next?
All in all, the trend is clear — music is increasingly moving on-chain and this trajectory will only continue to accelerate until our industry’s very own ‘flippening’ has fully taken place. And it is not solely music natives who are looking at 2022 being the prime time for music NFTs and Music3. Some of Web3’s cornerstone thought leaders and builders share the same outlook, expecting a booming flagship year for the space and an abundance of new opportunities for ecosystem participants.
We have a firm expectation that artists will also pay more attention to music NFTs and Music3. With the likes of RAC, 3LAU, deadmau5, Nas and Richie Hawtin trailblazing and providing a blueprint on how to get involved and thrive in this ongoing revolution, it would come as no surprise to see a whole new wave of artists dip their toes in decentralized waters and become entrenched in the space.
What does 2022 look like for MODA DAO? Well, we can’t quite share all of the DAO’s plans, though what we did do is provide a glimpse into the foreseeable future — The Next 100 Days, to be more precise. After the successful official launch of the $MODA token, The Next 100 Days gives an overview of what to expect from the DAO in Q1. We’ve also dropped our path to governance — which is a huge moment for us, sharing our vision for the future of the DAO itself and how we’ll become even more community-focused over the next 5 years:
MODA DAO: Our Path To Governance
Becoming A Fully Decentralized Part Of The Music Ecosystem
We have also listed a number of openings we are actively hiring to fulfill for those of you interested in shaping the future of music together with the industry’s most forward-looking, innovation-first changemakers. If you’d like to get involved, visit the careers page at our MODA DAO website and find a role that suits you. We look forward to hearing from passionate people wanting to make a positive impact.