Although streaming is a billion-dollar industry, few artists manage to make a living from streaming payouts. Fortunately, NFT music platforms like Atlanticus Music are working hard to disrupt the streaming industry and create a Web3 version that is more profitable to all artists.
NFTevening caught up with Christian Riedi, Atlanticus Music’s CEO at NFC Lisbon. There, we discussed how Atlanticus Music is shifting the focus back to the artist, with a little help from blockchain technology.
Quotes are condensed and edited for clarity.
What is Atlanticus Music?
In addition to being a music NFT marketplace, Atlanticus Music wants to bridge the gap between the music industry, artists and Web3. It was co-built by tech, music and entertainment experts who all believe in the freedom of artists. As a result, this platform is the culmination of the various opportunities available for artists in Web3.
“I’ve always been working on the edge of media; trying to find new ways to do business and new media,” says Christian. “When I bumped into blockchain technology, I said, well, there’s something interesting and worth developing here. I’ve looked at several projects. Then I came across Stefan and his friends who were coming from the music industry.”
The fact that this new project – which later developed into Atlanticus Music – mixed new technologies, the promise of NFTs and the entertainment industry interested Christian so much that he got on board. The rest, as they say, is history.
Disrupting the streaming industry
From early on, the Atlanticus Music team recognized that the current music industry is broken – especially when it comes to artist payments. Although it is a $13.4 billion industry, streaming giants like Spotify only pay artists between $0.003 and $0.005 per stream.
Artists must therefore have millions of streams to make a living from streaming. The focus on the poor payouts of the streaming industry was intensified during the Covid-19 lockdowns, which prevented artists from making money on tour. As a result, many artists were looking for alternative sources of income. According to Christian and the Atlanticus Music team, Web3 could be a viable, long-term alternative to traditional streaming.
This is because, according to Christian, “they [NFTs] put back rarity on pieces that you’re selling.” Moreover, NFTs introduced a sustainable royalty scheme that cuts out intermediaries. So even if an artist sells the original music NFT at a low price at the beginning; there is a chance its price will increase with every resale. In addition, artists receive a percentage every time their music NFT is resold, which is revolutionary in itself.
Connecting artists to genuine music fans
“Collectors have always existed. They want to own a piece of the artist, whether is it memorabilia or anything else. In the back of their mind, they say, well, maybe I’m going to profit from this, but it’s not the primary motive. So it’s just appealing to your fans, and collectors that are willing to own a piece of the artist,” explains Christian.
In addition to the financial benefits, Christian mentions that NFTs can make emerging artists heard in an otherwise oversaturated traditional music industry. “There’s also the difficulty that we have with artists; because they want to be heard, they want to be loved by the wider crowd,” he says.
“However, we [Atlanticus Music] introduce this different logic and say, let’s try to rarify what you’re doing because this has value as an artist. So it’s really bringing back music from the mainstream industry to more on the artistic side.”
Focusing on community-building
Atlanticus Music’s current focus is on electronic music artists. This is because, according to Christian, “they’re much more prone to technology and to new tech adoption.”
Indeed, some of the earliest NFTs were dropped by electronic music artists. These include big names such as Grimes and Steve Aoki. Grimes made $5.8 million selling a suite of 10 exclusive digital artworks, some of which were accompanied by original songs. On the other hand, Aoki is a huge supporter of NFTs and recently launched the Aokiverse.
By focusing on collectors, Atlanticus Music offers a pool of real music fans who genuinely care about artists. Therefore, while these collectors are not opposed to making a profit; their love of new music is the core value that drives them to buy these NFTs. Christian insists Atlanticus Music wisely chose this target group and its royalties structure to ensure the platform’s longevity.
“So in terms of the primary sales, it’s 80% for the artist and 20% for Atlanticus Music. And we’re setting quite a hefty secondary royalty for artists. It’s 10%. This is because we want to be sure that artists are willing to continue sharing things with the NFT holders,” says Christian.
Atlanticus Music is establishing a blockchain fan club
As a result, Atlanticus Music has already made some big wins in terms of the roster of artists on its platform. This includes acclaimed Chilean-German producer Ricardo Villalobos, Parisian DJ and producer Bufalo, and one of Portugal’s top DJs Miss Sheila, to name just a few.
“What we’re trying to build up here is establishing this blockchain fan club, and I think this is what we’re trying to stick to,” explains Christian. Instead of focusing on quick wins, Atlanticus Music distinguishes itself by “addressing the community of fans of those artists that we have on the platform.” By doing this, Atlanticus Music is using blockchain technology to enable artists and collectors to go back to their roots; and put the “music” back in the “music industry.”