Digital Music Sustainability Initiative

Sustainability Initiative

Social MediaHaving worked closely with dozens of emerging artists over the past decade, we've seen firsthand how difficult it can be for new talent to establish solid career footing. The world of music is fragmented and hyper-competitive – the last thing musicians need is a media environment that further stacks the deck against them. In 2019, excited by the potential of the decentralized web to recalibrate the economics of the business, we established the Digital Music Sustainability Initiative to help address the structural imbalances we saw in the social media and music-consumption ecosystems.

Social PatternsThree years on, the need for a remedy and intervention is greater than ever. The centralized tech giants have gained even more power and control even as their platforms face fresh challenges from without and within. Algorithmic, viral dynamics have grown worse, as have their negative repercussions across our culture and our politics. The economics of music streaming remains brutal for 98% of artists – payouts are paltry thanks to all-you-can-eat pricing –  and many artists are finding that touring is a money-losing logistical headache. At the end of the day, music is undervalued, fans are undifferentiated, and most artists struggle to build sustainable careers.

Our commitment to the health of the online music ecosystem has taken the form of infrastructure support and a tooling buildout, in an effort to strengthen both the opportunities for creative people to thrive and for industry stakeholders to succeed. Specifically, we believe that the web of tomorrow will be built around the following five principles:

open protocols

  • Open Protocols

  • Decentralized Applications

  • True Digital Ownership

  • Transparent Accounting

  • Data Sovereignty

These strategies and approaches – collectively and commonly referred to as web3 – are made possible by advances in blockchain technology, and the growth of peer-to-peer network protocols like IPFS, both of which are core to the following DMSI rollouts. Our focus has been to employ the most consumer-friendly of these offerings and to keep our technology stack as open-source and interoperable as possible.


Next-Generation Artist Communities

Launched Spring 2023

New Friends

This spring, we relaunched four of our artist websites on Ghost, an open-source community platform with integrated email campaigns and Stripe-backed payment processing. We added our own custom web3 layer to this powerful content management system and incorporated social and streaming data from ChartMetric. Artists are able to build a membership business using the latest technologies and techniques, leveraging a variety of direct-to-fan strategies and token incentives. Learn more about how this project came together in this blog post.

Listening Parties

Launched Summer 2023

Listening PartyThe first rollout on our custom fork of Ghost is a members-only “listening party” event feature. Designed to be held prior to a track’s release on DSPs, virtual listening parties draw in community members to help drive pre-saves and spread the word about new music. Attendees can interact with the artist and each other via a livestream text chat and are invited to claim a free digital token to prove they were there. Everything is pre-configured in advance on our management dashboard leaving organizers to focus exclusively on being hosts. For background on how we designed, built and launched this feature, go here.

Management Dashboard

Launched Summer 2023

Dashboard PageOrchestrating a successful web3 artist strategy requires intuitive tooling and easy-to-follow workflows for those managing the creative execution and the business backend. We built a fully featured SaaS dashboard to empower administrators to oversee wallet creation, mint tokens, integrate media assets, manage IP metadata, receive and allocate payments and provide customer support, among other integrated functions. If you’re interested in taking a peek behind the curtain, look for an upcoming blog post that describes how we simplified and streamlined the management of token-powered communities.

Challenge Quests

Coming Spring 2024

Spotify ChallengeNext on the roadmap is a series of gamified challenge events that leverage fan participation to help promote and support an artist’s career goals. For example, members connect their Spotify accounts and are encouraged to participate in a time-defined listening challenge. Song streams from an artist’s catalog are tracked and ranked on a community leaderboard, and top finishers are rewarded with perks like exclusive merch and ticket prizes. Launching soon.

Community Polling

Coming Fall 2024

Community PollingArtists are also able to solicit feedback and take the temperature of their community via easy-to-set-up voting widgets and polling pages, with results stored securely on-chain. Creative decisions (“Which album artwork do you prefer?) logistical choices (What town should we play in next?) and lighthearted queries (“Who’s the best-dressed band member?”) help keep fans engaged throughout an artist’s business cycle. Launching soon.

Digital Merchandise

Coming Winter 2024

Digital PropertyEstablishing a token-driven reputation economy familiarizes audiences with digital goods and online wallets, and paves the way for commercial purchases made with fiat currency that are registered on the blockchain. We’ve absorbed the best practices, avoidable pitfalls and most important takeaways from the early 2020s NFT boom, and built a rich media token offering that emphasizes ease of use for creators and tangible end-user consumer benefits. Discover how our digital box sets can revive dwindling download revenues and delight fans with a new class of musical collectible. For more on how we are currently designing and developing this innovative feature, go here.

Get In Touch

Built on the Flow blockchain from Dapper Labs, and incorporating the open-source Ghost CMS, our offering provides a set of software services designed to onboard musicians and their fans into the world of web3 in the simplest possible fashion, without the costs, risks and friction typically associated with other crypto-based solutions. If you're a musician, a manager or a label interested in how the next generation of web technology can help your business or career, please reach out and let's discuss how we can together build a more equitable 21st-century music ecosystem.