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MusicFund: A Community to Connect NFTs & the Music Business

MusicFund is billed as the NFT community for music discovery, funding, and curation.

Designed to connect music and crypto into a robust platform, the driving force behind MusicFund has been to develop the best web3 community for music, including a sustainable community fund that empowers a new generation of artists to create without the constraints of traditional funding models.

We were lucky to catch up with Andrew Basile, Head of Business Development for MusicFund, for a lively discussion about NFTs, publishing royalties, the music streaming business, and the future of the MusicFund community.

P&S: What was the jumping-off point to start MusicFund?

Andrew Basile: It was a combination of a lot, but ultimately it boils down to two things — firstly, we want to make the space where the web3 music community lives. From artists, to A&Rs, and general music fanatics, we want MusicFund to be the answer for when someone says “hey I’m into music and I want to get into this web3 stuff, where do I go?”

Secondly, we wanted to use NFTs to empower the new generation of artists to create without the constraints of traditional funding models. We’re very optimistic about how much NFTs are going to be able to help creatives of all mediums support themselves, and we’re hoping to be a small drop in that big bucket.

P&S: What has been the experience like building and developing the business? Any specific roadblocks along the way? Surprises (good or bad)?

Andrew Basile: There’s been so much to learn from — we’ve absolutely made mistakes and have luckily had successes in just about every aspect of building MusicFund so far.

Specifically, I’d say it’s been a challenge trying to navigate the NFT market in general. In a span of 2 months, we’ve gone from full blown PFP mania to the point where people are sick of getting discord messages, even from the projects that they own NFTs of. Combine that with “the great gas dilemma of 2021” as I’m lovingly calling it, it makes the “right” moves a little unclear. Ultimately though, these things have helped us commit to a stance of consistently trying to deliver utility to our community, which we’re confident will be beneficial in the long-term, so even the challenges have proven helpful.

As far as good surprises go, we set out with this idea of wanting to build a music/web3 space, and in turn found that there already is such a vibrant community here.

There’s already artists, producers, managers, developers, and so many others that are incredibly supportive and are actively coming together to make the music industry we’re dreaming of.

We’re joining Twitter spaces and hearing stories of how artists have been able to fund themselves through NFTs with enough support to last them for years and it’s so exciting!

AND THEN, they turn right around to teach other artists how they can do the same.

That’s just one example, but there are a million other stories just like that already, so if it’s any indication of where we’re headed, we can’t wait for what’s to come for the web3 music community.

P&S: The link between music and NFTs appears to be a great fit. And there’s so much happening in the space now — why do you think music and NFTs work so well together, especially where you are focused on music discovery.

Andrew Basile: I think musicians have always been at the forefront of innovation. They’re creative, resourceful, and as adaptable as it gets. Amongst countless other reasons, it makes perfect sense that they would be the first to find great use cases for NFTs. If you look even closer, it’s the Hip Hop and EDM communities that have taken the lead on adopting NFTs, both of which have rich histories

of innovating and shaping culture. They’ve never been afraid to implement new technology and have been good at making that process pretty damn cool at the same time, so again, I don’t have a super unique take, but if anyone were going to be pioneers with NFTs, it makes a lot of sense that it would come from these communities.

The other thing I will say though is that NFTs and blockchain technology seem to be an obvious solution for the canonical issues of the music industry. From my experience, one of the biggest challenges the industry faces is verifying ownership. Recording and publishing royalty payouts can take forever simply because of the effort it takes to track music and get it back to an artist, sample clearance nightmares happen all the time, and whoever can solve the metadata issue deserves a Nobel Prize because that’s such a mess it just gets avoided altogether.

But, and although it’s much easier said than done, we know that NFTs can help tackle some of these problems. It will start slowly, but ultimately I think the widespread adoption of NFTs and the blockchain, just as technical tools, will put the music industry well on its way.

P&S: What are your thoughts on the overall business of ‘music streaming?’

Andrew Basile: Streaming has its issues, but my personal opinion is that it is a net positive for the music industry, including musicians, and I would probably point to the amount of time we spend streaming music as noted by Spotify Wrapped every year as my defense for that. That being said, I’m hopeful for a future in which there’s a better balance between how much streaming is valued in terms of public consumption and how much artists, writers, and producers receive from that.

P&S: What’s your long-term view of the music + NFT business? It feels like we are set to take-off for a lot of growth. How do you see things possibly progressing?

Andrew Basile: I really do see NFTs becoming an integral part of a musician’s career if they want them to be, and I’d love to see NFTs result in better engagement with fans through the shared value of the NFT.

In practice, I think it’d be absolutely incredible to see someone buy the NFT for an undiscovered artist that they love, then support that artist wholeheartedly for the next 5 years and have their NFT value skyrocket when the artist eventually explodes.

Other than that, I’m super excited to see how NFTs continue to solve the infrastructure issues of the music industry. From royalties, to ownership, and everything in between, the work that’s already being done is so impressive and I think it’ll only get better in the coming years.

P&S: What’s next for MusicFund? Where is the business this time next year?

Andrew Basile: In terms of the community fund, I hope we’ve gotten it to a place where it really means something significant to be a part of a lineup. From the financial support to what the MusicFund community can do to help popularize these artists, it’d be really incredible to make getting on a lineup feel what I’d imagine signing a big record deal feels like.

That being said, we don’t get to that point without delivering an incredible experience for our community members, which is what we plan on executing in the meantime. From exclusive concerts, to more NFT utility and music industry events, we’ve got a lot on the roadmap that we’re very excited to bring to life in the next year.

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