As every disruptive period does; the advent of new tech platforms brought with it the promise of new ways for artists to distribute their art, interact with fans and build niche communities. The advent of Web3 signalled greater artistic control, better compensation and the potential formation of deeper relationships. From the explosion of NFTs, greater crypto adoption and creative blockchain solutions; the opportunity to conduct transparent transactions and build solid collectives in the digital sphere seems to be well and truly upon us.
The benefits are pretty clear - and very appealing - as the interconnectivity between fans and creators can be explored in new, creative ways. Mutually beneficial practices such as blockchain projects that allow fans to pay their favorite artists directly or invest in their favorite artist’s work have given credence to the symbiotic future us fans have always dreamed of. For artists, the potential of these tech solutions has given them the chance to earn instantly, draw up transparent contracts, tackle ticket scalping and directly share their content with their most fervent supporters. They can also share revenue with fans through innovative royalty-split schemes and reward systems.
With Web3, the power is back in the hands of both fans and artists in a peer-to-peer environment unencumbered by intermediaries. This democratization of fandom seems to have hit a few snags though, with the year’s biggest oh no! stories in tech impacting platforms that help facilitate the dream. A few examples of the fate of the Web3 so far include the spectacular crash of FTX, the loss of value for Bored Ape NFTs and the resultant trust deficit faced by crypto as a mode of commerce, the collective furore around NFT marketplace OpenSea’s (non)enforcement of creator royalties and the slow conversion of the populace into the metaverse.
So as not to end on a downer; it’s worth noting that ironing out these wrinkles is necessary and will probably lead to more robust practices in future. Every innovation needs to be stress tested! Adoption is also a marathon rather than a sprint sometimes so virtually no one knows when uptake into our digital worlds might spike! More pointedly; while some of the year’s outcomes have negatively impacted entire industries, renowned platforms and early-adopters - the connections between creators and fans don’t have to be. In cased you missed it, check out our thread on fans becoming industry professionals and listen to our playlist spotlighting rising stars from across the globe.