Unchained Podcast

André Allen Anjos, who is better known as the crypto-friendly artist RAC, and David Greenstein, co-founder of Sound.xyz, a web3 music platform, analyze the current state of the web3 music scene and discuss how artists can leverage web3 tools to get paid at fair market value for their art. Show highlights:
RAC’s experience in the traditional music industry
why David believes music is the most undervalued sector in the world – and how Sound and crypto can help value it correctly
the different types of NFTs with which musicians like RAC are experimenting
what Sound.xyz is and how it is helping artists unlock their fanbase and community
why David is so passionate about creating a social experience when it comes to music NFTs
Sound.xyz’s decision to allow artists to deploy their own smart contracts
what RAC has made in NFT drops compared to Spotify streams
why Sound.xyz was built with “editions” as the most common format for NFTs sold on the platform
what makes blockchain technology well-suited for the music industry
RAC’s crypto adventures: $TAPE, $RAC, and more …
how the famous “Amen Break” sample would work as an NFT
what artists will be measured by in the NFT world
Crypto.com: https://crypto.onelink.me/J9Lg/unconfirmedcardearnfeb2021     
Coinchange: https://coinchange.io   
OnJuno: https://onjuno.com/ 
David Greenstein
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidgreenstein/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/dgreenstein1?lang=en
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RAC
Website: https://rac.fm/
Crypto Adventures
RAC Token
Music NFTs (w/ Sound.xyz embeds)
Tokenized cassette tape
Recent raise
Recent drops that are fun
Bored Ape Yacht Club Band
Snoop Dogg
Music NFT Content
Good overview:
Cooper Turley Content
Weekly blog
Music NFT tweets
RAC Content:
ETH royalties compared to Spotify
RollingStone profile
Likes the 1/100 NFT drop
Coinbase listing of RAC?
How the Sinners drop would have worked over time
Thoughts on music NFT metrics
Jesse Walden write-up on Sound.xyz
Laura Shin: 
Hi all, a couple quick announcements. First, turn into Unchained podcast on YouTube at 11:30 a.m. Eastern time, today, for a livestream of the Chopping Block with early-stage crypto investors, Haseeb Qureshi, Tarun Chitra, Robert Leshner, and Tom Schmidt, as well as a featured guest, Andre Cronje. 
Also, if you’ve read my book, The Cryptopians, and want to chat about whether or not Ethereum would’ve hard forked without the involvement of Andrey Ternovskiy of Chatroulette or how Ming Chan was able to stay on as executive director of the Ethereum Foundation despite so many people wanting her out for so long or whether or not it matters that Charles Hoskinson appears to have lied about his education, then join one of my book clubs. 
Today, is the day of my book club with Christoph Jentzsch, Griff Green and Lefteris Karapetsas. It’s at 1 p.m. Eastern time, and you can buy one of the few remaining tickets at bits.ki/laurashin. Again, that’s bits.ki/laurashin, and if you can’t make this week’s discussion, then be sure to not miss next weeks, which is on Tuesday May 10, at 3 p.m. Hope to see you at one of the clubs. The link, again, is bits.ki/laurashin, and now onto the show. 
Hi, everyone. Welcome to Unchained, your no-hype resource for all things crypto. I’m your host, Laura Shin, author of The Cryptopians. I started covering crypto six years ago, and as the senior editor at Forbes, was the first mainstream media reporter to cover cryptocurrency full-time. This is the May 3, 2022 episode of Unchained. 
Welcome to a new world of crypto-friendly banking with Cross River Bank. Request your fiat on/offramp solution now at CrossRiver.com/crypto. 
Buy, earn, and spend crypto on the Crypto.com app. New users can enjoy zero credit card fees on crypto purchases in the first 30 days. Download the Crypto.com app and get 25 dollars with the code Laura. Link in the description. 
This episode of Unchained is brought to you by Beefy Finance, the multi-chain yield optimizer. Beefy is the easiest way to earn more from your crypto. Deposit funds into Beefy’s secure vault to auto-compound yields across 12 blockchains. Got crypto? Choose Beefy. 
Today’s topic is music NFTs. Here to discuss are Andre Allen Anjos, better knowns as the crypto-friendly artist RAC, and David Greenstein, co-founder of sound.xyz, a web3 music platform. Welcome David and Andre, I guess. 
Andre Allen Anjos:
Yeah, well, thanks for having me, I really appreciate it. 
David Greenstein:
And thank you, as well, I feel like this has been a long time in the coming from your initial email when we first connected. I give you a lot of credit for reaching out back in December.
Laura Shin:
Oh, yeah. Oh my god, I feel like my book launch is just kind of upended everything in my life, and grateful is not the word because, obviously, I’ve enjoyed the book tour, but you know it’s nice to be able to get back to work.
All right, so the problems with the business model in the music industry have been kind of, I guess you could say, iffy, slow-motion disaster might be another way to describe it, has in playing out over the last few decades since the internet has become dominant, but before we get into kind of like everything regarding music NFTs, let’s just make sure listeners understand the traditional business model of the music industry. Can you describe that and also what you think is wrong with it, and why don’t we start with Andre, so people can learn to differentiate your voices?
Andre Allen Anjos: 
Like my experience with the music industry has been in the form of an artist, so you know, a lot of people sort of have different perspectives on it, but like, you know, my experience is working with various labels, and I’ve worked with pretty much every label out there, big and small. I’ve done music for film and TV. I’ve done a little bit of everything, and so I’ve gotten to experience almost every problem area of the music industry, so I do have a lot to say here, but it’s also important to mention that, you know, as much as we’re trying to fix things, like a lot of what we’re trying to do is sort of start over, and we can get into that during this talk, but you know let’s start with sort of the recording side of music, you know, the Spotify’s and the Apple Music’s and Amazon Music’s, and all that.
So, you know, typically, as an artist, you work in a studio, you record a piece of music, and from that point, you know, and it’s relatively inexpensive. I mean, you know, the cost of producing music has gone down pretty dramatically in the past 20, 30 years, to the point where a kid with a laptop can essentially make a professional quality, you know, chart-topping song, so you know, I guess, my point is that it’s really inexpensive and actually quite accessible to a lot of people. 
You know, we start there, and okay, you finish the song, now, okay, now, we’re thinking about distribution, like where do we go. From here, there’s sort of a variety of different methods of releasing music, and what people generally know is you sign to a label and they handle that side of it, then they release it for you, they handle promotion, they handle all those sorts of various aspects of releasing music.
In that process is sort of where I see one of the major issues in the music industry, which is essentially the financial side of it, you know, so labels, typically, serve two purposes. One is the financing of music and the sort of creative support, you know, I’m talking about like album art, you know, maybe they’re helping find the right artist to do the album cover or they’re finding the right record store to put it in, like things like that, but the financial side of it, I really see it as sort of one of the core issues, which is that it’s almost like a loan shark model where they’ll offer you, you know, let’s say, for the sake of this example, you know, 100 thousand dollars, and they call it an advance, so an advance is essentially a loan that’s paid back at a rate, and that rate traditionally, especially on a major label, is about 12%, so okay, you’re an artist, you get the 100 grand, you know, you’re like, sweet, okay, like half of that goes to legal, right off the bat, so then, from there, you have a little bit of money left for promotion, you know, maybe by the end of it you have maybe a couple thousand dollars to yourself, you know, for living expenses and what not, so you know, you’re a little bit limited there, but the issue that I think a lot of people don’t realize is when you take an advance like that, you’re actually paying it back at a 12% rate, so that 100 thousand, you know, they call it recoupment, so it’s like when you pay that back, you’re paying it back at a 125% rate, which effectively makes it sort of more like a million dollar loan because, essentially, the album or the song or whatever needs to make a million dollars to recoup that 100 thousand, so my point is just that there’s a lot of sort of shady kind of misconstrued, you know, tactics that people use to take advantage of young artists that think that they’re supposed to do it this way, and that’s created, I think, like a really difficult environment for an artist to actually make a living. It really supports primarily the people that run these labels and everybody else in the music industry. Essentially, the artist is the last one to get paid, across the board.
I could go on and on about like all the different prowls in the music industry, but I think that that’s like sort of a key one that I think is actually directly related to crypto is sort of the financial side of it, like because it’s always going to cost money to promote stuff, it’s always going to cost money to make music and release it, so how are we financing that, are we going to finance it through it like really toxic loans or are we going to find a new model, so maybe I’ll just kind of keep it at that one example because like that, to me, is such a strong, like easy to fix, you know, also relevant to this conversation about music NFTs is like of sort of the fundraising side of music, which is incredibly anti artist, I guess. 
Laura Shin:
Yeah, I have to say, I relate because, although it does sound worse than publishing a book, there are aspects of it that are very similar, so a lot of what you said resonated with some recent experience I’ve had. So, David, what do you want to add on that?
David Greenstein: 
Yeah, so a common theme that I’m sure is going to come up in this interview is just too few options. It’s not about one versus the other is better, it’s about giving artists more options to explore and experiment with their music, and so on what Andre just talked about, which is, obviously, very valid and all too common, is that if an artist wants to raise money for an upcoming project or an album or a music video, there are very few sources today in music for where to get that creative capital, and oftentimes comes, obviously, from the label. 
If there’s very few sources, then the other party has the leverage because there’s ultimately not that many places that you can turn to, and part of what’s going on here is the more sources for creative capital, the more places that artists can honestly choose from. 
The same is also true on the monetization side. No matter whether you’re self uploaded or you pick a label to distribute your music, the next step is where do you put out that music, and today, the majority of recorded music revenues come from streaming, which wasn’t even a thing 10 plus years ago, but is now, obviously, the dominant default and has done a lot of good, like the music industry is at an all-time high, right now, and labels are making more than ever because of, obviously, the growth of streaming. 
However, though, streaming didn’t solve every problem, and what streaming has done is it’s, basically, become a very top-heavy model. It’s essentially radio with a very pretty UX on top, and there are a couple reasons for that. Let’s just, hypothetically, that I’m a huge RAC fan, and Laura, you know, you don’t really like RAC, unfortunately, there’s no place on Andre’s Spotify page that lets me give him money for his music. If we took every one of his listeners, and there’s millions, and we asked them how much do you want to pay for Andre’s music, it seems very unlikely to me that they all decided that they want to pay roughly 0.003 cents per stream. Some fans may want to pay a lot more, some fans may want to pay a lot less, but the answer is we should find out what that answer is because, as a listener, no listener has given input into the price of an artist’s music, and then, the irony of the story is, no artist has given input into the price of their music, so Andre has never determined that the price of his music on any music DSP today should be 0.003 cents per stream. This leads to the conclusion that it seems unlikely that the entire music world has decided to value every song by every artist the exact same way, which is kind of the underlying thesis behind this whole movement of maybe music is undervalued. 
I think one of my favorite tweets, and there’s a lot of them, from Andre, that I always use in almost anything I say is he put out a tweet a couple…right, a couple weeks ago, a month ago, around Walmart, and Walmart is a 300-billion-dollar company, and the music industry, if you add up the entire music industry on recorded music is around 30 billion, so the question is, is the impact of the music in the world 1/10th of Walmart. 
If the answer is true, then, you know, I think we’re all going to be very wrong about, obviously, what’s going on here, but if the answer is that that’s ridiculous, well then, music is potentially one of the most undervalued media assets in the world because it’s been suppressed, the value of music, for no real reason. That 0.003 cents per stream is not some sophisticated calculation, it’s really just a number, and the question is can we experiment and kind of explore with what that number, obviously, looks like, and the ultimate goal, to wrap it up, is to give artists more options and more ability to make a full-time living off their music because, ultimately, music is what drives an artist economy, whether it’s touring or merch, all of these things are unlocked because somebody has an emotional connection with the music, and so it feels a bit crazy that music isn’t as valued as it should be.
Laura Shin:
Yeah, Jesse Walden has said that music is criminally undervalued compared to the impact it’s had on society or something like that. I remember that term criminally undervalued, which makes sense, to me, just, you know, to my mind, music…well, I mean, I actually once had a philosophical debate about this with somebody, and now, I’m going to argue against myself, but I do think that music is one of the art forms that kind of like just gets with our emotions in a more direct way even than some other art forms, so you know, obviously, that has a high value on it.
So, obviously, both of you are like very active with your own projects, but before we get into the details on it, and I do want to dive into the details on those things, I actually just want to give people an overview around music NFTs, generally, because, at the moment, I think, a lot of people actually, typically, associate the word NFT with visual art NFTs or profile pics, but you know the term music NFT actually can refer to any number of things. There’s like a huge variety, and there’s a lot of creativity, right now, in how people are experimenting, so what are some of the ways that you’re seeing that people are associating NFTs with forms of music?
Andre Allen Anjos: 
Well, I can jump in here. I mean, I feel like there’s been a variety of different methods that have been tried, and that’s actually kind of one my favorite things about it, right now, is it’s completely undefined, so it allows, actually, creators and artists to sort of treat it almost as its own creative medium, you know, and explore that, and you know a lot of it is sort of economic in nature, and that’s fine, but I like that we haven’t sort of landed on that perfect formula yet and that we’re still sort of iterating, like it’s exciting, you know, it’s not sort of the same old thing, like even just like maybe two years ago, you know, before…I mean, perhaps, before NFTs and before a lot of this stuff really started to take off, I mean, the only method of releasing music was essentially, kind of like what David was saying, is like you upload it to Spotify and hope for the best, you know, and hope you get on some featured playlist and you know maybe you’ll get some plays, and you know maybe four or five years down the line, you’ll actually get some money from it, so it’s also like a lot more of a direct connection, which I really appreciate, you know, it’s me interacting with my fans in a very real way, like artist to fan, and you sort of get that feedback, but anyway, going back to the different styles of NFTs, you know, I experimented very early on with visual art because that’s sort of where I was…you know, SuperRare was kind of the main platform, Nifty Gateway was starting to pop off, and I just started working with a visual artist, that was a friend of mine, that he had done my album art, and now, he’s like one of the biggest, highest grossing crypto artist out there, so you know it’s kind of cool to see that transformation of like, you know…we were just trying to do something creative, create digital art, you know, we weren’t necessarily thinking about it as this category of music NFTs, but…
Laura Shin: 
And who was that?
Andre Allen Anjos:
Oh, sorry, this is Andres Reisinger.
Laura Shin:
Oh, okay. 
Andre Allen Anjos: 
He’s incredible. So, we did a couple like visual collaborations, but in the back of my mind, I always hoped that we could go to like sort of what I would think of like a pure music NFT, you know, maybe it has an album art attached to it just like an album would or an LP or whatever but like having the focus be the music with something that was very appealing to me even back before it was really a thing, so I was kind of like hoping that it would kind of happen naturally, and I think that’s in great part due to David and the Sound’s team. I think they sort of crafted that category in their own way and sort of differentiated it from other platforms that were doing maybe a different style of music NFTs, so just to list a few, typically, there’s been sort of the one0one music NFTs, so you know a single edition, essentially, and you know the other one is, obviously, the sound.xyz model, which is, you know, anywhere from like 25 to 100 editions, sometimes a bit more, if you’re a bigger artist, but the idea is some level of accessibility while still maintaining a level of scarcity because that’s important, you know, you want it to be desirable.
Those are kind of the two prominent ones. There are other experiments with, you know, what we call stems, so like, you know, every song has sort of different layers of musical elements, you know, guitar, bass, drums, whatever, and you can separate those two into maybe let’s call them sub NFTs that are associated to the original at the top but can be kind of played around with and you can do different things. 
The other example that I’ll throw out is I did this project with a platform called Async where I essentially created a song that didn’t really have like a final form, so you know when you listen to something on Spotify, there’s a final song and that’s it, you know, it doesn’t change, but this was like you’re selling elements of the NFT or stems of the song, and every NFT has sort of a couple options, so what that does is essentially the owner of that sub NFT can change the drum arrangement or change the piano here or whatever, and it creates this sort of everchanging piece of music that…again, it’s just an example of using this technology to do something creative that is really not necessarily possible before, so I mean, I don’t know if I’m missing any, David, but those are kind of the main categories that I’m thinking of.
David Greenstein: 
Yeh, I think the only one to tack on is probably like I’ve seen a few generative drops and first artist on Sound. Oshi just recently did one with a company called Beat Foundry where took four different songs and all the stems that Andre was talking about and they made 808 unique copies of that song, so again, the beauty of business goes back to my original theme, it is it’s not one format versus the other, it’s about giving artists the tools and the options to experiment with what makes sense.
I do think that there are principles that remain true throughout every single one. Something that was really important to us at Sound, when we were getting started, was, one, obviously, making sure that this was, you know, accessible to…obviously, like want to be careful there with saying, we did a price point around 0.1 ETHS to start, which in crypto world is not too bad, but obviously, in the music world, it’s still 300 dollars, but again, within striking distance, it’s not super cheap but it’s not so far away from being like in kind of a mass market accessibility, and then, two, like we felt it was really important for more than one person to be able to collect because from an artist perspective, they want their music to be heard by as many people as possible. Most artists don’t want their music heard by only one person or two people or three people, and so while we’re super early there, it was really about getting multiple around the song because you unlock different dynamics when you have like a community around that music, and I always use the concert as like the Holy Grail of music experiences.
I think no matter what happens in web3 music, I think that in-person concert experience will remain the Holy Grail of music. And why is it a concert so incredible? It’s because you’re amongst a community of people. If you went to a concert and there was just Andre playing for Laura, maybe that would be a good time for you two, but I don’t think it would be the most like memorable experience, and so part of it is just about building that in an online format, and I always use some examples like let’s use the Grateful Dead, which is not your typical web3 example, if you go on Spotify and you look at the Grateful Dead streams, you would think that nobody cares about them, but they’re playing 80 thousand stadiums or whatever…literally, any arena in the world, they can play and sell out in two minutes, but that’s not captured anywhere in their online presence, and part of that is because the community of the Grateful Dead is not able to congregate in that way in some type of online manner and support that artist through their music, and a lot of what’s going on here is how do you give artists the tools to build their communities, their cults, their like super following around it, and today, that’s captured through the concert, but the music experience is very isolated. 
When I listen to Andre’s music, it’s really me by myself, and I think that’s what’s kind of being unlocked here, so with Sound, we, obviously, have a lower price point, and obviously, it’s still scarce but more accessible and sets like the stage for kind of what’s to come with building these kinds of communities through their music.
Laura Shin:
Yeah, that’s one thing I loved about when I was learning about Sound, I thought it was super cool that you had the social element, but one, actually, other type of NFT that I just wanted to mention was, and maybe you just view it as being in a different category, but like Royal allows people to participate in the royalties, which, you know, I think is another kind of interesting model, and obviously, like quite different from some of these others, but actually, let’s now dive more into sound.xyz because, you know, obviously, as we discussed, you launched it to address some of these issues that we are seeing in the music industry, so why don’t you describe how Sound tries to address those and how it works for musicians and also for fans?
David Greenstein:
Yeah, so Sound is a suite of web3 tools that help artists experiment and monetize with their music in new ways, so the first tool that we built was, basically, the ability to upload your songs since it seemed like that was a lot of artists wanted to do, and so you upload your song, it feels very much like SoundCloud, back in the day, where you upload the wave file, you upload a name, we created a section for artists to write a description about the song because we thought the story behind the music was really, really important to kind of building that emotional connection between a listener and a song, and ultimately, an artist, and we, ultimately, allowed for artists to like add new attachments or rewards, and the final thing that we did was we created this fun game called the Golden Egg where one of the NFTs associated with a sound drop is valuable for no other reason than the art work is different, and the Golden Egg isn’t something that money can buy, it gets randomly determined only once the song sells out, and artists have been attaching value to this Golden Egg, if they want to, with, you know, whatever perks or rewards, whether it’s, you know, access to unreleased music, concert tickets, it could be anything. We’ve seen some pretty creative use cases, which I can get to in a second, but it was just fun, fun way, so an artist uploads their song, takes about 10 minutes, and one of the things that we did that was different is we created the first music NFT platform that allowed artists to deploy their own smart contract, so something that was really important to us was artists owning the relationship with their listeners.
People don’t want an autograph, essentially, from sound.xyz, people want an autograph from Andre because Andre is the artist, Andre is the brand, the artist is the platform. Sound is just a reflection of all the artists on Sound. Sound itself is nothing without, obviously, the artists on the site, so that was another thing that was really important and the way you can see that very clearly is that every artist has their own open sea storefront because each artist has their own collection, so you upload a song, it creates a listening countdown associated with that song, so now, the listener can see everything about that song, the description, the rewards, how many NFTs. They can’t play the song, yet, and they can see the countdown ticking down until the countdown gets to zero.
Once it hits zero, it plays back across all devices at the same time, so we’re all listening to the song together, which is kind of a spin of the concert, right, when you’re at a concert, you all listen to the song together, and as I’ve said, I’ve been very inspired by concerts, and once the song ends, you can press our famous 8 button, which is our buy button, and if you press the 8 button, you can go and collect that song, so a couple things to highlight are anybody can listen for free, we’re not charging people to listen to music, that’s, obviously, against kind of the ethos of what we stand for in terms of making the art accessible to as many people as possibly, everybody should get to enjoy Andre’s music. Those who want to collect is totally optional. 
If you choose to collect and you’re able to get one of the NFTs because they often, as people have found out, sell out within seconds, then one of the first ways that you can show off that you own this NFT because today most NFTs sit in your wallet, and that’s not a very social experience, is that you can leave a comment on the song and kind of etch your name in the history of that song’s journey, which was inspired by, obviously, like SoundCloud because they had a feature where you could leave a comment, and I’ve always been obsessed personally with who discovered Andre, who discovered some of these major internet stars, and even if they’re not superstars, more just like artists that have gone on to have tremendous careers. 
Artists have never had the ability to differentiate between their first fans and their one millionth fans, right, they all get washed in, and this created, if there was a clear, simple way to be able to show who are the 25, 50, 100 people that are supporting that artist, then it would be very easy for the artist to have that ability to say, hey, I want to interact with the people that have first supported me, and of course, just like everything else with Sound, there was a bit of a wrinkle in it, which is if you sell your NFT, you lose your comment on the wall, and the new person can come in and leave a comment, so it creates a bit of like, I guess, buying pressure because some people really want the social status, but then these NFTs have, obviously, gone up in value, as well, and that’s kind of the end-to-end process.
Andre Allen Anjos:
I just wanted to add something that you said that, I think, it’s sort of a common misconception with, I think, maybe NFTs, in general, and it’s particularly interesting for music is that the song is free, like you can listen to it for free, anybody can listen to it. I think a lot of people assume, and I get it, it’s sort of a click bait headline, it’s like, artists sell song for 300 dollars or whatever, you know, I know what it sounds like, but the truth behind it is actually you’re only selling the ownership of that addition, you’re not gaining content, you’re not putting a paywall on it or anything like that, so it’s something that I like to make a distinction because I think a lot of people gloss over that, it’s like, I think, it’s actually a really powerful idea of essentially let’s stop like gating content and just say, hey, literally, anybody can have it, and the theory, and I believe in this, is that, you know, the wider something travels on the internet, the more valuable that original source or that NFT becomes, and you can still monetize it in however way you want and all of that, but it’s that original, you know, like there shouldn’t be a hindrance, like you know we’re like 30 years into the internet, you know, really, so I’ve always argued that that is sort of an old model that doesn’t apply to the internet, like information wants to be free, and this was sort of a way to, you know…it’s a different model. It’s just a different way to sort of value digital object, so I just wanted to add that because I think it’s like really important for people to understand, it’s like we’re not trying to charge 300 dollars for a song, it’s free. Have at it.
Laura Shin:
Right. Right. Yeah, although I don’t know if I would agree that information wants to be free, that little line annoys me for various reasons, but anyway, I did want to ask you, though, because, obviously, you know, you are an artist on Sound, and I’ve seen you tweet about this, can you just walk us through a comparison of the economics for an artist, like yourself, on Spotify versus on Sound?
Andre Allen Anjos:
Yeah, absolutely. So, it’s such a stark difference that people don’t believe it. So, okay, like for example, on Spotify, you know, we count it in millions because that’s the only way to sort of rationally think about it, so like I know in the back of my head, it’s like I don’t count it as 0.00 whatever 3 cents, I count it in a million plays, so I know that if a song gets a million plays, that’s roughly around anywhere from 3,500 to 4 grand, so that’s like pre distribution, pre label, pre everything, that’s just sort of raw money from Spotify, so okay, that’s a million people that need to listen to a song, you know, or a million plays, you know, somebody can listen to it all day long and you know it adds up, but still, a million people, that adds about 4 thousand dollars, and if you think about it in the Sound model, I mean, if we’re doing 0.1 ETH, I mean, it’s really just a handful of people that can sort of achieve the same amount of money, and it’s kind of incredible, honestly, because like, I tweeted this out, and people really just don’t believe it. They go, how is that possible, you know, it’s like this isn’t right, this is a scam or whatever, and it’s like, no, it’s actually just the unlocking the value of music, you know, it’s sort of going back to what we were saying earlier, it’s like I really believe that recorded music, specifically recorded music, is completely undervalued, and this is sort of letting a market decide the value of it, and I find it hard to argue with markets, you know what I mean, it kind of is what it is, so you know the example that I gave with my Sound release is that, you know, I think we sold 100 editions and that’s about 10 ETH total, so you know about 31 thousand dollars. I think, I…
Laura Shin:
Yeah, I have the tweet.
Andre Allen Anjos:
Yeah, yeah.
Laura Shin:
You said, you made 1.85 ETH or about slightly under 6 thousand dollars in royalties in one week, and you said, it was generated by 36 people, and then you said, that would’ve taken 1.4 million plays to generate that on Spotify, and then you said that when you included the primary sale, which was 10 ETH or about 31 thousand dollars, that that was the equivalent of 7.75 million plays, and so, basically, you concluded 136 people generated more than 9.1 million people.
Andre Allen Anjos:
Yeah, and that’s what I mean, it’s like these numbers I know it seems crazy, right, but look at the data, I mean, it’s what’s happening, and that, to me, what that signal is that music is far more valuable than 0.003 cents per play. I just don’t accept that anymore, you know, like I think it’s worth a lot more, and there’s a lot of sort of behind the scene stuff about how that rate came to be, and we can get into that if you want, but you know I think just there’s some kind of simplicity and beauty in the fact that a market decided the value of this, and it’s like, finally, we have, you know, somebody valuing music in a different way, you know.
David Greenstein:
And I think there’s some underlying like principles that are not even covered there in just the pure numbers, which are things that I don’t think will ever go out of fashion are being, you know, fast, transparent, and accurate with payouts, and I think those things are oftentimes not the case, today, in the music industry, so I think it’s not only just the shear like quantity of the money, it’s also that it was paid out instantly and on the spot, that you literally has it, which I think is different because, I don’t know, I think, with Ether maybe you put that out…I don’t know if you put that out on Spotify or you didn’t, but if you did, right, whatever money does come in, it still takes 3 to 6 months, right, for getting it out, so the premium to be paid, and I think just to do it from an aggregate perspective on Sound, on Sound, we’ve been around 4-1/2 months, we’ve done around 125 songs on Sound from like 100 different artists, we just crossed the 100 artist milestone, which we haven’t announced yet, we’ve done 2.7 million dollars paid out to those artists, which, again, is around 650 million Spotify streams, but the real impressive part is not necessarily the dollar amount, it’s the quantity of people who generated that 2.7 million dollars, and we just announced, recently, that we have over 2,000 unique collectors, so 2,000 unique collectors generated, and again, it’s not apples to oranges in terms of streaming aren’t equal to people, but you got the idea that 2,000 people generated the equivalent of 650 million, and that is such a large magnitude of difference that even if it came down and we met somewhere in the middle, it shows something is off, and I think that’s kind of the macro point on this one.
Laura Shin:
Yeah, so in a moment, we’re going to talk more about how Sound works, but first, a quick word from the sponsors who make this show possible.
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Back to my conversation with David and Andre. So, I actually wanted to talk a little bit about, you know, the smart contract aspect of Sound because, you know, you’ve structured it so that, basically, each artist gets their own smart contract, which I can imagine would be expensive and a lot of work, so why did you choose to structure it that way?
David Greenstein:
Good question, so I think, for us, like provenance of a contract is something that is going to become the default, if not already, so artists, like a lot of the space is about empowering creators, empowering artists, and for us, it was really important that artists own the relationship with their fans. Again, coming from, obviously, the music industry side of things and kind of trying to undo things that, obviously, haven’t been able to be done before, I think there were certain themes that we thought were never going to go out of fashion, so one was fast, transparent and accurate payouts. I didn’t see who would complain about that, and the second thing is…
Laura Shin:
Yeah, and by the way, I just wanted to add on that, which is that like it just goes to show you how far behind the internet era, our current financial system is because, just intuitively, that makes sense that at the time of transaction sort of like, you know, when you go into a store and you’re going to buy something that the money would just be exchanged, at that moment, so it just seems like such a no brainer, and so it’s just kind of funny that, yeah, actually, now, the majority of these payments take 3 to 6 months or whatever, which is just like bonkers, in this day and age, but anyway, keep going.
David Greenstein:
And the other thing was that no artist has ever held the relationship individually with their fans, like they always tell you, you have fans in New York, you have fans in Portland, but you’ve never been able to just message those fans directly or take those fans and leave and go from one platform to the other, so that, to us, felt like another core critical component. I think we were inspired by a couple other platforms that did this, but I think the first to really like hone in on it was the company called Manifold, obviously, did their own creator smart contracts, as well, and we fully agree with everything that they’ve been kind of promoting and sharing, which is that artists should have a provenance over their own contracts, and you see a multitude of different market places do this, we’re kind of the first on the music NFT side, but it was 100% worth the extra engineering effort to, basically, make this happen because it, basically, sets us up for artists to, obviously, own and build those relationships, and you know Sound is kind of the first example of something built in the Sound protocol, but in the feature, artists can host, and we can even build tools to help artists host things like listening parties on their own website so that it doesn’t have to take place on Sound@xyz.
Andre Allen Anjos:
I just wanted to add to this because this is like so important to me, like this is like such a big deal, so I’ve been doing this for a long time, I’ve been doing this profession since 2007, that’s the Myspace era, then I moved to SoundCloud, and then I moved to Spotify, and then, you know, so on and so on. My point is that I’ve had to build and rebuild audiences every single time and hope that people sort of like, you know, move with me, and I’ve never really owned that actual relationship, it’s always been, you know, let me give you an example of, you know, Facebook is a great example, so like I built 100 thousand followers on Facebook. That took a lot of time and effort, you know, I gave away a lot of free content to sort of get people to join it and all this stuff, and then, at a certain point, they sort of turned a switch, and they’re like, hey, actually, so you know that audience that you built, we’re going to charge you so that you can reach them, so we’re going to monetize you now, as well, so it was sort of like it became like what are we building this for, like I’m not building this for myself, and granted like, you know, there is a benefit to it of having access to that many people and there’s a lot of good sides to it and communication and all that, sort of owning that relationship is like so crucial, and we get into this if you want, but that’s sort of the core thesis of behind my own token and my own platform, and my own website is really sort of being the platform, not building the platform for somebody else, sort of like using tools, like sound.xyz and using various other web3 tools to sort of build that platform myself, and granted, that’s a little bit bespoken, you know, a little tech heavy for maybe the average artist, but if I can sort of prove the use case, I think there’s like a real pathway for other artists to do this, so that’s like something…the provenance thing is also super important, you know, making sure that the art is coming from your ENS address and like all that stuff, like it’s super important, and I just wanted to stress that.
Laura Shin:
Yeah, so I do have a bunch of questions for you about RAC and racOS, and other things, but before we get into that, why don’t we just do two more questions on Sound, so David, you talked about how having additions makes music more inclusive or at least I saw that on the Sound website, can you talk about why you’re describing it that way, like what about it is more inclusive?
David Greenstein: 
Yeah, so I think the main point was just around forming a community around the song and I think, you know, artists, obviously, want to get paid and have their music valued appropriately, but they also want to have their music heard by as many people as possible, and so the goal is like if you can bring down the price, and obviously, have people directly support it, then you can build models where artists can make a full-time living off of their music with 25, 50, 100, 1,000, it doesn’t matter, and I don’t think we’ve found out what that core number needs to be, but as long as it’s around there, every artist can aspire to get that amount of people around their music.
What Andre covered earlier was, he thinks in millions, and the problem is that there’s only billions of people in the world, how is every artist going to get tens of millions of listeners in streams. There just simply aren’t enough people to be able to get those amount of streams, so you ended up in this really top-heavy world, and this is why I think it’s important that, obviously, we’ve had some big artists on Sound, but the core of who we’re trying to solve for and who our main like ultimate kind of artist is, is like the independent, up and coming, unsigned artist because those are the ones that actually like really need what we’re doing, right, because there’s so much music. 
Something that Andre said earlier that is so true is like the cost of making music is none, but the cost of getting heard and getting your music heard has never been higher, and so it’s really, really important that you build sustainable ways. It doesn’t seem sustainable for every artist to get tens of millions of streams. If you want to be a mainstream artist, that’s incredible, and so with Sound, we’re kind of threading a middle ground here, which is, hey, this works for a bigger artist. We’ve, obviously, done Snoop Dogg and a few other artists with more established kind of audiences, but if you want to only build with 25, 50, 100, doesn’t matter what the number is, this can very real work for you, and as Andre said, he only did 100 people on his first sound drop and his second sound drop, but 100 people can cause real noise if they are connecting to the music and obviously want to support, so that’s really why we thought it opened up just the dynamics from more than one perspective, and the final thing I want to just comment is, a lot of the times, and other prior web2 models, it was always the artist doing work, like if we think about kind of the fan club model, it’s the artist making exclusive content, it’s the artist, and the artist spends a lot of time already doing the work of making the music, and so by forming multiple people around the song and multiple listeners, and multiple fans, there’s an opportunity for the listeners and the community to engage with each other without even the artist being there, just those fans of Andre’s music, and I think that’s also a more healthy ecosystem where the artist is free to go work on music, and obviously, he still is an active participant in the community but doesn’t need to be there 24/7 running like a fan club or a newsletter because, ultimately, why they became an artist in the first place is really to make music and create, and that’s kind of what this is unlocking, as well.
Laura Shin:
Yeah, yeah, but I wanted to note like in wherever it was that I saw this on your website, it said something like that you decided to do it that way because music shouldn’t just be for the very few rich, like I think it was like saying like this is a better idea than one0one, which I thought was interesting in like, you know, just goes to what you were saying because I agree with you that the concert is the best way to experience music, and that’s like, you know, kind of…yeah, just like the height of a music experience, so I love that, yeah, you have this community aspect, and one thing I did notice, though, is that you don’t take a commission from the artist who use your platform, so how will Sound make money?
David Greenstein:
Yeah, so that’s a very famous question we get asked all the time. I think that was more of a statement than anything else, so I mean, Sound has plans to, obviously, monetize in the future, but I think in the beginning, we were really just so laser focused and still are on just helping artists shape and reevaluate music because while people are talking about music NFTs on Twitter now, when we started, it really wasn’t much of a conversation, and so before we monetize anything, we first need to make sure that this is like an asset that people honestly want to collect, and so monetization wasn’t our focus. 
Our focus was really on directly supporting artists, and I think there’s no better way to make a statement than paying artists 100% of, obviously, what comes in on both the primary and the secondary market, and given, I think people forget that we’ve only been around 4-1/2 months, we just haven’t turned on monetization, so that’s the simple kind of excuse for why we currently…and honestly, unlike other kind of web2 things in the past, we wanted to figure out our business model in conjunction with the artists. Every single artist that’s released on Sound, we have a personal relationship with.
We actually have a group chat with all the artists on Sound, and this sometimes gets like, I think, spread falsely is like I don’t think there’s going to be a problem when we do monetize, and if when we do, we’ll do it in a very tasteful kind of manner in terms of figuring out like what that looks like because I think like large 50% transaction fees are not the norm in kind of web3, and I think it’s really just going to be about figuring out that business model in conjunction with the artists, who are, basically, like co-stewards of the platform, as well. I think, it’s obvious that if we never make money, we probably won’t be in existence, so I think it’s in everybody’s best interest to kind of work that out together, but I think, in the interim, now, it’s much more of a powerful statement to pay everybody 100%, and a kind of bet on the feature that, hey, we’re not in this for like the short-term like because, obviously, we could be charging on these drops, right now, we think this hasn’t even really gotten started and you know we’ll be prepared for when that true growth really happens.
Laura Shin: 
And so, that sort of almost sounds like a DAO model, I don’t know if that’s what you were hinting at.
David Greenstein:
So, I’d say the thing that I’d more likely say is I think something that’s been true in kind of the prior world is that no artist or the music community, and there’s more than just artists, we always talk about artists because they’re kind of the focal points, but there’s producers, there’s songwriters, there’s mixers, there’s the music listener, there’s music curators, that’s kind of who I think about it in the entire music economy, has ever really had a stake in a music related service or platform, so I’ll use, you know, our favorite, Spotify, as the example. 
When Spotify went public, all three major labels had major stakes worth hundreds of millions in Spotify, when they went public. No artist, as far as I know or if there are, they’re probably a sub-5, had a stake in Spotify, and most artists don’t even have a stake in the label that they’re ultimately signed to. 
Now, why is Spotify work, whatever it was when it IPO’d? My guess is that it built up a large subscription base based on something called music, and who, ultimately, makes that music. It’s not labels, it’s, ultimately, the artist, the songwriters, and the producers, and so I think there’s a world, and that’s kind of honestly what drew me to the space where what if you can build this music economy where artists, songwriters, listeners, producers, mixers can all kind of have joint say in kind of where a music product is headed, and I think that is the ultimate kind of experience and experiment that hasn’t been run in prior iterations of the music industry.
Laura Shin:
Oh my gosh, we’re like at 45 minutes, and there’s just like there’s so much we could cover, but RAC, Andre, we need to get into your trajectory into crypto. Obviously, you told us a little bit about your struggles with all these different platforms, eventually, you not only found crypto but you have already lived like nine lives in crypto, you know, you like…yeah, why don’t you just talk about how you got there, but then I’d be interested in hearing, you know, your initial work with like the tape token and then later launching the RAC token, so yeah, why don’t you just give us that whole history. 
Andre Allen Anjos:
Yeah, so just for some really broad context, I’ve always had sort of an interest in computer science. It’s been part of my life. I think it goes hand-in-hand with music production because, you know, very computer heavy, you know, it’s just there.
Laura Shin:
As evidenced by your background.
Andre Allen Anjos:
Yeah, yeah, it’s a little…yeah, so it’s a highly technical thing, computers go hand-in-hand with my lifestyle. So, I grew up around various different technologies, I grew up surrounded by opensource software, I’ve always loved it, you know, I’ve always had a Windows, Linux, Mac, I’ve had it all just because I just love computers, and at the time, I became pretty upset, and that sort of, basically, was my sort of musical awakening, like that’s when I discovered the world of music, and I was young, I lived in Portugal, a small place, and like the thing that I like to say is I discovered The Beatles on Napster, which, you know, is kind of crazy, but that’s how I found out about them, and you know I saw how they got shut down immediately, and you know, in hindsight, I think like their model was messed up because there was sort of a central point of failure, even though most people thought that they would sort of work with the music industry, but you know they would move on to BitTorrent, and BitTorrent was like the first time it really became fully decentralized, and so my point is like I’m starting to see how technology can sort of challenge the status quo, you know, BitTorrent, although it is sort of a piracy…primarily a piracy or a protocol used for piracy, you know, the technology was sort of neutral in that way, and that was important to me, so you know that’s later on when I discovered like bitcoin and all that, it all kind of made sense to me, and granted, I didn’t come from a financial background or anything like that, I really recognized the power of a decentralized technology, so when I discovered bitcoin, I was like, cool, this is really interesting, I don’t know anything about finance, but you know let me look into this, and that’s when I discovered Ethereum, and it was like, okay, we’re here, this is cool, this is really cool, and that’s like when it sort of clicked for me where it’s, you know, a general purpose blockchain, so sort of those decentralized properties, but you know a programmable blockchain, so you can essentially create anything within reason, you know.
My first thought, when I discovered Ethereum was like, oh, we could sort of rebuild the rails or the piping or the plumbing of the music industry using this technology in a way that’s actually completely neutral, and essentially, replace the music industry with code, and that’s something I like to say because that’s kind of what it is, it’s not completely destroying the human element, but it’s taking the sort of part that needs to be decentralized and making that decentralized, so that became an obsession of mine, and I really haven’t looked back, and so everything that I’ve done since like 2017 has essentially been sort of a form of experimentation with this where it’s like I’m not going to singlehandedly reinvent the entire music industry, but I can at least experiment with my own career and I don’t have much to lose, you know, like people don’t really care…you know, I’m still going to do things the typical way, but you know having this, again, this other option of being able to play with technology and do something that’s interesting, that became an obsession of mine, so in 2017, I guess, I released a first album on Ethereum, so we used a smart contract to if you deposited, you know, roughly 10 dollars of Ether in this contract, you got the download and you got an ERC-20 token, so again, this is sort of predating the ERC-721 standard, but you know it was a form of collectable, you know, and one that’s actually still currently traded where people have sort of wrapped it into a 721, and now, they’ve traded it on an open sea, so it’s kind of cool to…
Laura Shin:
I’m sorry, which token was that?
Andre Allen Anjos:
Oh, my album was called Ego, and it’s called the ego token. So, again, this is like 140 people, like tiny, tiny, tiny little experiment, but you know it sort of proves the use case, and granted, we were so early, but it was cool to kind of play around with that. 
I’m going to try to get to this quickly, but in 2020, I had another album called Boy, and I figured, okay, Uniswap was already starting to kind of be a little bit more popular, and I was like what if we created an ERC-20 token that represented this limited edition cassette tape, basically, so it’s essentially creating a market for a scarce good, so instead of just making 1,000 tapes, I just said, all right, I’m going to make 100, and I’m going to let a market decide its value, so it went from, I think the original listing was like 20 dollars or something like that, it eventually peaked at like 13,000 dollars or something like, which, again, the irony isn’t lost on me of like, you know, using a kind of cutting edge technology to sell a cassette tape, which is also like an obsolete technology, but also, again, challenging the notion that music is valuable, and you know, granted, that was sort of an extreme example, you had a lot of DeFi people kind of running the price up and down, whatever, but it was kind of a fun thing to do and say, hey, no, music is actually way more valuable than what you guys are pricing it as, so that really kind of got me into it, and you know that sort of set the groundwork for the RAC token, and also, I need to give it a little bit of context, which is that, you know, COVID was happening.
Suddenly, the thing that we love about music, live performance, is not an option. Okay, so what do I do? I start streaming on Twitch, and now, suddenly, there’s like this group of people that…I’m kind of interacting with my superfans for the first time in my career, you know, like 10 years in, so it’s like I’m getting to know them, I’m like talking to them, and then that sort of funneled into a Discord server, you know, okay, now, now, you know, there’s not a large amount of people, you know, but they’re all in my Discord server, and the most beautiful thing about it really, for me, was it wasn’t just about me anymore, it was like maybe I was the catalyst that got them there, but they have a lot more in common, and this sort of naturally turned into more of a community, of sorts, but I have PTSD from all these other platforms, you know, pulling the rug, and so I was like, okay, well, how do I sort of circumvent this, while I can, you know, so that was the idea, it was like, okay, let me create a token, let me a create a token that I’m, basically, going to airdrop to anybody that I have an email, that I have sort of a financial transaction trail of any sort, so anybody that bought like an MP3 or a piece of merch or anything dating back to 2009, which is like the earliest data we had, got a token airdrop, so they got it for free, you know, they didn’t do that with an expectation of a token, so I felt like that was like a real way to start…well, the community existed, it was just a way to sort of like connect them, you know, and it was sort of a way for me to backtrack and like sort of try to get everybody back into this, in a platform that we controlled, you know, so that token, I think, it was one of the first…maybe not the first but like it was one of the earlier kind of social tokens, you know, at first, it was perhaps like a rewards token. It was kind of a lot of different things, but you know, eventually, we started to develop some software around it, and that sort of culminated in the most recent release, which is what I called the racOS. It’s rac.fm, if anybody wants to check it out, but it’s, basically, it looks like an OS, and you know you can connect your MetaMask and it will check your wallet and unlock songs based on your token holding, and we sort of just wanted to lay a framework so we can continue to add more features, so it was a long path, but we finally got to this point where it’s like I am the platform, and you know I’m trying to create, like, you know, I’m trying to own that platform instead of giving it to Facebook or Instagram or Twitter or whatever, and those platforms will always exist, and I’m always going to continue to use them, but at least I can now funnel people to like a platform that I control and we can make it, you know, streamline or we can make it like for that community, like niche specific, and that’s sort of where I see all of this going, and that’s sort of why I’m excited about it because it’s like, you know, finally, you know, it took like this long, but like, now, finally, I feel like we’ve finally landing on a model that kind of is starting to make sense, and I’m just like excited, you know.
Laura Shin: 
Yeah, I love how you said, now, I am the platform, which makes so much sense. If like people are fans of you and your work, then it would make sense at the way that they’re going to congregate is around you and your work, so I love that. 
One other thing that I saw in an article written about you is you were talking about something called the Amen break and how that sparked some of your thoughts on music NFTs, so I want you to tell us about that, but we’ll play a clip of it here, so people can hear what it is.
So, go ahead, tell us about this Amen break and how it sparked some of your thoughts around music NFTs.
Andre Allen Anjos:
Yeah, so the Amen break is amongst like music producers, it’s maybe, anecdotally, it’s probably the most widely used sample of all time, so what it is, is, don’t quote me on the exact song because I kind of forget what it is, but it’s from a song I think from the ‘60s where it’s just a drum break, so like a little interlude, like a six second interlude, in the middle of a song, it’s a B side on a little 7 inch, somebody found that and was like, this is a sick drum loop, I’m going to use that, and it’s such a good drum loop that it essentially spawned entire genres of music, like, you know, there’s entire scenes and entire worlds and subcultures that are based around this sample, and you know this is, obviously, wishful thinking, but like, you know, if we had NFTs in the ‘60s or whatever, and if that sample was some form of an NFT, you know, even though it was sort of widely used for free, you know, because nobody ever paid any royalties on this, you know, I think of it as sort of an important cultural artifact in that it’s sort of like…I think it’s priceless, you know, and the most disappointing thing about the current music industry is that like the original artist never saw a single dime from that usage, so even though they have sort of, you know, like I played drums on the Amen break on like 700 songs or 800 songs or whatever, but you know they never got their due.
I mean, it’s not a perfect comparison, but it’s just another example of like how the music industry has sort of failed us in the current system. I think of it as like, okay, maybe this isn’t for right now, maybe, you know, I don’t know if we’re going to find another Amen break, today, but you know, we’re setting up the system correctly, I think, and that’s sort of what I was getting at with that.
Laura Shin:
Yeah, because, basically, it seems like maybe that then could become a stem NFT, I don’t know if I’m using the terminology correctly, and when people use it, then they could like pay some royalty or even if like it was just sold as kind of a cultural artifact, then the value of it like, you know, whatever people are trading it for would sort of reflect how valuable it is even if people use it for free still, so?
Andre Allen Anjos:
It actually asks a really interesting question, and a lot of people will debate me one way or another, and I love it, but basically, like what actually gives this value, you know, is it the monetization of it or is it it’s sort of cultural significance or maybe that’s a threshold that you cross after a certain point, I don’t know, like I truly don’t know, and that’s actually sort of a question that’s happening a lot with NFTs, now, except for maybe Royal and a couple other examples, like there’s not really that connection to the monetization of it, so again, like we’re making these NFTs free, so like where is it going to monetize, you know, none of those royalty streams are streaming to the NFT holders, at least in its current form, so why does it have value, and that’s like I don’t know that I really have an answer for that. I have a couple theories, but like, you know, that’s something that we’re kind of grappling with, right now, you know.
Laura Shin:
Yeah. So, I do want to ask some broader questions about music NFTs, but before we do that, just one last question for RAC for Andre, which is you have this creative agency called 6, why don’t you tell us what that is and how it came about.
Andre Allen Anjos:
Yeah, so 6 was, it’s essentially…well, okay, in the broader context of like I started doing visual NFTs, and you know this is like late 2020, we had a couple like minor successes and broke a couple records and what not, and I think the music industry started to take notice, and it was really when Justin Blough, actually, the CEO of Royal, he did an NFT release that I think grossed around 12 million dollars or something like that, it was a very pronounced moment, and this happened on a Sunday, so me and my friends had sort of been toying with this idea because we were getting, you know, hit up from every angle saying, hey, what’s this NFT thing, like what are you doing, how you making money off of this, like what is it, you know, because everybody in the music industry is hungry because they don’t make any money, so like people were like freaking out trying to figure out how to do this, and me and a couple friends, people that have been doing this for a long time, we were like, okay, well, what if we started an agency, like maybe that’s something that we could help other artists, and that was sort of our focus is like let’s help the independent artists, let’s help the people that really stand to benefit the most, let’s help them before the labels come in and try to like mess it all up, basically, so actually, that Sunday, we kind of got together in a group chat, and we were like, hey, I think we need to start this, like tomorrow, I think we need to announce this tomorrow because like, in my mind, like that 12 million dollar mark, every single person in the music industry was going to hear about that, first thing in the morning, like every intern is probably like scrambling, preparing for like some presentation on what NFTs are, and we’re like, okay, well, let’s get ahead of this, let’s just literally put out an email and a square space website, and within the next like four months, I feel like I was on calls for 16 hours a day talking to various different people, so it was this like amazing little pocket of time that we kind of got the timing right and you know we created this agency. We, eventually, were involved in the Wu Tang album and some other crazy stuff, and it’s been like…
Laura Shin:
And when you say that, just talk a little bit about the…which because, obviously, now, there’s multiple Wu-Tang Clan albums.
Andre Allen Anjos:
Unfortunately, there’s a little bit of this that I can’t speak about some details because of NDAs, but essentially, we were involved in brokering the deal in between the DOJ and PleaserDAO, so we sort of facilitated that.
Laura Shin:
Oh, okay.
Andre Allen Anjos:
Yeah. Yeah. So, that was…
Laura Shin:
Yeah, that was the one originally owned by Martin Shkreli.
Andre Allen Anjos:
Yes, yes, so that was a crazy, crazy couple months. Yes. 
Laura Shin:
Okay. Okay. Oh, that sounds fascinating. I would love to dig into that, some time. 
Andre Allen Anjos:
Laura Shin: 
We’ll do it off air. So, here’s what I want to ask, this was a super interesting tweet that I saw, Cooper Turley tweeted breakout web3 musicians will not be ranked by plays or monthly listeners, they will be ranked by floor price, trading volume, unique holders and treasury balance, and this was controversial, and Andre, I saw you tweeted about it, so why don’t you guys both just react to this, so you know what’s your take on what he said?
David Greenstein:
So, I think Cooper is, obviously, a big collector on Sound and kind of been pushing the music NFT space for a while, but I land somewhere in the middle here, I think that’s a bit on the extreme end of the spectrum. I don’t necessarily think that that’s how we’re going to be like describing artists because, as I said, like there’s only two sides to this, there’s, obviously, the monetization side, but there’s also like just getting that music heard.
On the flipside, I think Cooper has a point and a lot of people in the space have shared theirs, which is you can’t define a song’s impact by just the play count alone because for certain people, that song might’ve changed their life, right, and that promotes this mass culture kind of like society where like your song is only successful if it goes mainstream, hundreds of millions of streams, et cetera, so I think it’s more of like the future of the music industry is around building tightknit communities around your music, and I think that will be the most important aspect, and then I think, yes, you will still have mainstream, what’s called hits in the music industry that reach hundreds of millions of people, but the ultimate bar over what we’re, obviously, doing is to form tightknit communities kind of like mini, you know, Grateful Dead examples, and why not because the best music communities have always been like cult, and I think, Andre, actually, had a great example of this where Andre has people around his music that really care about him and his music, and there’s a lot of strength in numbers here, which is like Andre can put out whatever, it’s an RAC token, it’s a release on Sound, and his community will travel and follow with him, and I think that’s why I think Andre was such a large movement for us on Sound, when he first released, is and why we’ve, honestly, like I don’t think Sound would exist without Andre’s kind of pushing the boundaries forward even before Sound even launched, but that’s why like Andre’s a much more relatable example to many, many more artists than if we take some of the like a Drake, as an example, where it’s so large and so beyond kind of like any type of relation, and I do think a lot of artists can be, in their own way, their own RAC or create their own platform and have their own kind of relationship, and I think that’s kind of the model and the blueprint here, so I think, again, like everything else, it’s about harmony and balance. It’s not about any one versus the other, and that’s, honestly, reflected in everything in the web3 space where it’s not…we never tell an artist, hey, you can’t try out something else or hey, you can’t release on Spotify. It’s really about kind of experimenting and exploring with the different options out there. 
Andre Allen Anjos:
Yeah, I’ll just sort of chime in on that tweet. I mean, it definitely, you know, ruffled some feathers, let’s say, in some people, but like I think what he’s sort of intending to explain isn’t really that dystopian even though sometimes it’s kind of perceived that way.
I think like, you know, what it is, is a little bit sort of myopic, and this happens a lot in crypto where they only see crypto and they don’t see the wider sort of ecosystem, and like David was saying, I kind of play in both worlds like, yes, obviously, I focus a lot of time and attention on crypto, but I mean, you know, I still release music widely and tour and do all the things that are non-crypto related, you know, so they are kind of two different audiences, but like I think where maybe this is going is that, you know…this is kind of like how I’m thinking about it a little bit as like a sort of gamified form of fundraising on some level, you know, where you’re sort of perhaps raising funds to be able to release it more widely or whatever your objective is or if you just want to sit on it and collect the money, I don’t know, but I think there will be a class of fans and investors or whoever you want to think about them, that do care about the floor price, you know, it makes sense, you know, they bought something, they probably care about its value, you know, but I think it’s maybe a little bit naïve to think that the wider community would actually care about that, so I mean, like I know he means well, it’s just, you know, I think I responded to that tweet and sort of shared my thoughts, but yeah, it’s…
Laura Shin:
Yeah. No, I agree with you that maybe certain people will view it that way, but I don’t think most people will just because I do think even when you have NFTs, which make it easier to earn money from these cultural objects that, really, the primacy still is with like their cultural value, so I do agree, yeah, plays and listeners will matter more, but anyway, okay, you guys, this has been so interesting. we could’ve just gone forever, but before we go, where can people learn more about each of you and your work?
Andre Allen Anjos:
So, probably easiest is rac.fm or on social media RAC. I’m easy to find, so yeah, come say hi.
David Greenstein:
Yeah, we’re also all over Twitter, and that’s kind of where we spend most of our time, but yeah, we have our website sound.xyz, we have our Twitter, which is @soundxyz_, and then our Discord is always open for anybody who has questions, which you can find in our Twitter, as well. 
Laura Shin:
Perfect. Well, it’s been such a pleasure having you both on Unchained. 
Andre Allen Anjos:
Thank you for having us. It’s actually been sort of a long-time dream of mine because I’ve been listening to your podcast for a long time, so I’m stoked that we got to do this.
Laura Shin:
Thank you, and thank you, also, for listening for a long time, I really appreciate that. 
Andre Allen Anjos:
Well, I learn so much, yeah. 
David Greenstein:
To both of you, as well, it’s been, as I said, since December, so I’m very happy and I couldn’t think of a better guest to have it with than Andre.
Laura Shin:
Perfect. Well, thanks so much for joining us, today. To learn more about RAC and Sound, check out the show notes for this episode. 
This week, I will be doing a virtual, not in-person, event at the PBS Crosscut Festival in conversation with author Jimmy Sony about my new book, The Cryptopians, as well as his new book, The Founders. The festival takes place May 4 through Saturday May 7. For more big events, visit my website laurashin.com/book.
Also, tune into Unchained on YouTube later today for a livestream of the Chopping Block with early-stage crypto investors Haseeb Qureshi, Tarun Chitra, Robert Leshner, and Tom Schmidt. Andre Cronje, founder of SegWit Holdings, will be the featured guest. 
Unchained is produced by me, Laura Shin, with help from Anthony Yoon, Daniel Nuss, Mark Murdoch, Shashank, and CLK Transcription. Thanks for listening. 
Posted in: 2022, Shows, Unchained
Aka the crypto-friendly artist RAC
Co-founder of Sound.xyz

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