Avenged Sevenfold’s M. Shadows: Why the Future of Music Is Web3 (Guest Column)
I’ve had many conversations with bands, managers, and labels looking for NFTs . over the past year. Many people are missing the point about Web3 .. FOMO and hype are just jpegs. They can be used to create a new level of engagement and transparency for artists as well as communities. We are now at the crossroads between an old business model, and a burgeoning technological innovation ..
Building the future is exciting but will also bring a struggle for power between the old guard, musicians, artists and creators who are shaping the Web3 music industry. The new world will bring artists closer than ever and give them true ownership over assets, relationships, and other resources that they once considered impossible.
NFTs are incredibly useful touchpoints to the many endeavors and tentacles that will define music in the era Web3 .. This future is being created in real-time. It’s crucial for artists to be able to see the possibilities if they are interested in learning more about these new tools in music.
Tokens for Community Access Points
Think about NFTs as access tokens for the Web3 universe. They are immutable, digital membership cards stored on a blockchain. Each token is unique and can only one person own it. All benefits will be transferred if the token is sold or traded.
With the Deathbats Club, these NFTs are the center of our Web3 community. We can see who has an authenticated Deathbat in a wallet so we can reward our most loyal fans without any personal data. We recently dropped a limited edition NFT by PopWonder. Tokenholders have a choice: Keep the custom artwork or redeem it for two Avenged Sevenfold tickets.
There are also giveaways, members-only Discord access, a community-driven podcast, limited edition merch, DBC avatars, as well as presale access to other blue-chip NFT projects and Avenged concert tickets. Through our exclusive Web3 site, tokenholders can access new music and create scavenger huntings. Deathbats holders will be able to have their own line, merch booth, and bespoke POAPs at future Avenged Sevenfold concerts. These are collectible NFTs that can be used as Proofs of Attendance.
We also gave up IP rights to all tokens. This encourages our fans make their own merchandise and start bands. It’s a completely new ecosystem, built with creativity from the Deathbats community. Our fans love it because they can sell their membership when they no longer want to be a part of this club. The most dedicated fans are the ones who “put in the effort” to build this community with us. They should be rewarded with the upside.
Giving ownership to the community and allowing them to create it as they wish is extremely rewarding for both us and the holders. We have learned more about our fans in the last six months than the last 20 years by watching them create art, produce events and socialize. You may be surprised at what people will do if you allow them to be creative.
Into the Metaverse
We’re all spending more time online, and the metaverse will play a greater role in how we consume music and interact directly with artists. Already, we see artists livestream concerts and bands hosting community events. We even have the opportunity to create game experiences in places such as The Sandbox.
The metaverse is a perfect fit for the way music lovers organize themselves into tribes. Whether you’re rocking a tour shirt to represent your favorite band, or purchasing the latest Yeezy drops, flexing these assets signals membership in a particular tribe.
These cultural touchpoints are easily translated into the metaverse. The fans of one artist will form alliances with their fellow fans, allowing them to have greater access to the worlds of each other. Digital cachet will be a key component of this social ecosystem. Digital cachet will be the same as buying Supreme shirts, Air Jordans, and Mercedes Benzes in physical reality. We will also be purchasing concert tickets, fashion, collectibles, and other items in digital reality.
But there’s a big difference: These items will not be rented like we have grown accustomed to in Web2 (like skins from Fortnite). These NFTs can be traded and sold amongst one another. These NFTs can be traded among themselves.
Transparent Streaming and Real-Time Royalties
The music industry is complex and multifaceted. We need transparent and easy-to-access accounting to grow economies. This will allow us to reduce friction and increase transparency and speed up the blockchain.
By increasing accountability and transparency we unlock innovations which will fundamentally change the music industry:
- Near-real-time payouts. Thanks to smart contracts, streaming revenues will eventually be calculated and distributed via the blockchain in near real time. Artists won’t have to wait for months to be paid. They will no longer need to go through endless audits or pay expensive lawyers. Within 24 hours, artists could collect their royalties into a digital wallet – and put that money to better use.
- Less expenses. Smart contracts will be written to pay all costs and create a streamlined, autonomous process. Record labels will also benefit from smart contracts. They can save a lot of time, money, and overhead. This new paradigm will be adopted by new artists who will demand transparency in the signing of contracts.
- Direct to fans. When the artist keeps more profit, a lot of interesting possibilities arise: An artist could fractionalize a portion of their royalties to their tokenholders; they could stream directly to fans and keep the lion’s share of streaming revenue; they could sell their publishing to fans via smart contract.
Streaming on the blockchain and accounting on it will be the foundation of innovation. It will help our business navigate an ever-changing multi-channel, multiverse world.
What’s Next in Web3 Music
In the future, many record labels are DAOs. This means that the label’s owners will be the people who work there. They would be able to vote and have governance rights based on how long they have held the tokens. This aligns incentives and ensures everyone gets a share of the success.
I can see a world in which new artists use NFTs for crowdfunding albums and music videos. They buy digital tokens, which represent fractional ownership in new songs and give them a new way to express their love for their favorite artists.
These changes could also be made to production. Just as we have experienced in the digital art world with Fidenzas, Ringers, and Autoglyphs, music in the future may be similarly generated with deep AI. A music NFT generator can create music that suits your mood. It could help you relax after a long day or to get you moving for the gym.
Whatever the case, the truth is that the future is being created now. Artists need to be involved in shaping this future. We don’t want it to be a repeat of the traditional music industry. I don’t want one company to control the entire thing and then trolling us with low royalties at best and “hearts and loves!” Artists, along with their communities, deserve full ownership of these powers and direct input.
It’s obvious that Web3 is the future of music. Let’s get involved, shape it before anyone else.
Matt Sanders, also known as M. Shadows, is the lead singer of Avenged Sevenfold. He co-founded the Deathbats Club with his bandmates.
I have been writing professionally for over 20 years and have a deep understanding of the psychological and emotional elements that affect people. I’m an experienced ghostwriter and editor, as well as an award-winning author of five novels.