Over the past few years, the music streaming landscape has continued to shift drastically. With the proliferation of Web3 music bringing new interest to the potential of blockchain technology, Web3 services and platforms have found it necessary to evolve — and fast. Still, none seem to have gone as above and beyond to communicate the promise of tokenized music to both artists and fans than Sound.
Having existed primarily as a closed, curated platform since launching in 2022 (generating $5.5 million in revenue for a select group of creators), Sound (often called Sound.xyz) is now transforming to make Web3 music more interactive and accessible. On July 12, the platform announced that it will be opening up to the public, with its unique roster of tools that empower artists to sell their music directly to fans now available to all.
Sound for all
With this latest move, Sound’s fundamental premise to realign the power dynamics within the music industry and hand control back to artists has been put on full display. Reportedly inspired by the gaming industry’s success, Sound’s desire to replicate a user-centric model, allowing musicians to set their prices and maximize revenue per fan, comes in service to the platform’s mission to help artists circumnavigate traditional revenue models dictated by platforms and labels.
“Sound was built for artists, and we’ve designed every part of the platform to reflect that,” Sound Co-Founder and CEO David Greenstein said in an interview with nft now. “Releasing on Sound is a complementary distribution strategy, and many artists have also uploaded on other DSPs. Artists can easily upload and put their music on-chain, and their fans can support with no Web3 experience using just their email and credit card.”
Notably, Sound’s unique NFT-centric approach has already allowed its artists to accrue revenue equivalent to 1.6 billion streams — a feat that less than 100 songs have ever achieved on Spotify and one that has never been reached on Apple Music. Yet, the company’s mission extends beyond monetizing music; the platform aspires to become the internet’s go-to destination for music discovery.
To facilitate this, Sound has secured $20 million in a Series A round led by a16z crypto, featuring participation from a host of prominent contributors such as Snoop Dogg, Ryan Tedder, and Tay Keith.
With the traditional streaming economy conspicuously failing most artists, Sound promises a system where artists receive 100 percent of earnings and retain 100 percent of master and publishing rights. Revenue is transferred directly into an artist’s wallet instantly and transparently, providing a stark departure from the traditional music industry, where royalties can often take years to reach an artist’s account.
Champions of the platform thus far include Daniel Allan, San Holo, and Reo Cragun, who managed to generate over $300,000 and cultivate a community of over 500 devoted collectors within a year. Now, as the Sound platform enters an era of enhanced democratization, its tools — once limited to a small number of artists — are available to all, with the promise of a simple and code-free process to release music NFTs.
“Sound was always intended to be accessible by all artists, but we launched with a curated approach so that we could individually onboard each artist and rapidly experiment within a controlled environment,” said Greenstein. “Now, any artist can join and release their music on Sound. Music fans will have access to a larger catalog and play a far more active role in music discovery.”
In the era of crypto and blockchain technology, Sound’s approach represents a future for the music industry that is most equitable for artists. By giving artists the agency to monetize their art, understand their fanbase, and retain control of their creative output, Sound continues to make major strides toward taking Web3 music mainstream.
Editor’s note: This article was written by an nft now staff member in collaboration with OpenAI’s GPT-4.
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