Music needs an easy onramp to Web3. Blockchain gives control back to creators, eliminates middlemen & enriches the experience of being a fan
A financial platform for the business of music. Tools to help music easily enter Web3; starting with automated royalty payments for artists.
This is the total amount allocated to Decentralized Music Platform
Our first utility is the DEMU Jukebox. Users will be able to connect their digital wallet to any DEMU-compatible music player, and pay-per-stream, directly to the artist they’re listening to. Like a digital jukebox. Users pay less, while paying artists more, using crypto. With royalties paid directly to every collaborator involved with the record, automatically, instantly. Anywhere in the world.
This is how it works. We will build a repository of “smart” music files (DEMU), that anyone can link to any Web3-enabled site or app, then any user can connect their wallet to this Web3-enabled site (or app), in order to transact with it. When a record label uploads a song to DEMU, an NFT of the song is minted. This NFT enables a smart contract with the royalty distribution instructions of every collaborator of that song. So anytime anyone anywhere in the world presses "play", from any platform (web, mobile, eventually, metaverse, or any other digital space), every collaborator that was linked to the song at the minting of its NFT, gets paid. Microtransactions are not yet possible on Cardano in its current iteration. Our platform will batch transactions until a threshold set by the rights holder is reached, and then send payment for the “batch” of music streams.
This is just the first of many tools DEMU will build for the music business. Additional Web3 products like a Music NFT marketplace, event ticketing, social tokens, etc. can all be powered by DEMU and managed from one dashboard for the record label to better manage their roster & their content library as well as for the artists to better manage their careers and their relationship with their fans.
We define a record label as a company who owns the trademark of music recordings & videos, so while the DEMU suite of tools will be developed in partnership with established labels who support the creation of music, these tools will also be available to independent artists who seek to be their own record label.
This is the Dapps & Integrations challenge. Most Project Catalyst proposals are either/or, but hardly ever a Dapp and an integration. We’re both. The DEMU Jukebox Dapp will be our music player. It will simply be our own “portal” into this repository of music we’re creating. Record labels, artists, DJs, playlisters, etc can also connect to this repository via APIs for their own music players.
On the other hand, the DEMU platform will help integrate music into other company platforms. An example of one such integration would be a social platform, who would then be able to license music and transact directly with the record label, in a similar way to what Audius does with TikTok. But with a blockchain pipeline that ensures artists get paid for every play (unlike Audius, who do not pay artists at all).
Our value proposition impacts the trifecta of the artist, record labels, and most importantly, the fans. And if we're going to break the fourth wall… Cardano. The utility we build for the music business will lead to an influx of potentially millions of users, and thus value, to Cardano.
The biggest risk is not getting this done on Cardano. What I'm describing is inevitable in some form for the future of the music business. Music professionals are going to want automated royalty payments. NFTs. Web3. etc. and most importantly, control over their business. And once we become the financial platform-of-choice for an entire industry, it will be very hard to move them. We must build this music platform on Cardano before it is built on a competing blockchain. We only have a small window of opportunity.
We already have major label interest from legendary record label Def Jam Records. As the benefits of true music sovereignty become apparent, trust in the system and in blockchain overall grows, we can go from one major label - to their parent company, Universal Music Group. With a 54.5% music market share, they are the biggest record label in the world. Once that domino falls, Sony Music (23.4%) and Warner Music Group (12.1%) will soon follow. This would be huge for Cardano.
This is what your vote on our proposal would be supporting.
There are three additional, smaller risks:
1) Technical risk: Development on Cardano is ongoing. Will we be in sync with how the appetite of the music industry develops? What happens if Def Jam gets really excited & says “we want this now”, only to be required to wait on Hydra?
2) Budgetary constraints: $100k is not enough to build a paradigm-shifting revolutionary tech such as this platform. We will have to raise more money. Can we get enough built with $100k to satisfy an important use case for a major label client? And with that early success, warrant the raise of additional funds?
We have a plan to overcome these hurdles, but decided to mention the risks, so as not to create a credibility flaw by leaving them out of our proposal.
3) Will people be willing to pay-per-stream versus an all-in subscription?
Spotify pays artists $0.003 per stream, on average. According to this study commissioned by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), the average user spends 4 hours per week listening to audio streaming. If we estimate 3 minutes per song on average, that would mean that the average audio streaming user streams about 80 songs per week, or 320 songs per month.
Using the math above, you can see how the average Spotify listener is paying $9.99 per month to listen to $0.96 worth of music. In fact, the consumer would have to play music for over two weeks straight (3,333 songs), to warrant paying a $9.99 monthly subscription if they could pay per stream.
We're offering to help users pay less and simultaneously paying artists more. We think that listening to music in a way that directly supports the artists is also an amazing value proposition.
Our implementation plan is organized by function and stages of delivery, in the following categories:
Proof of concept - DONE: music wallet, player UI and distribution smart contract by James Dunseith now running on testnet. [LINK to PoC]
Product design: graphic and UX design, product management, market/audience research and discovery with labels, artists and other platform stakeholders. @funding +6 weeks
Technical design: Planning for database and server infrastructure, scalability, privacy and security, smart contracts, design for additional key stakeholder outcomes identified in discovery. Design for royalty accounting infrastructure. @funding +8 weeks
Product development: write code for consumer-grade dApp UI, access to music library and personal library; implement essential track-management infrastructure; implement off-chain to on-chain bridge for payouts to those stakeholders. Can start at time of first funding, proceeding for 4-5 months.
Testnet launch: devops, deployment management; 2-3 weeks
Proof of concept: $2k
Program management: $15k
$5k - Graphic and UX design
$8k - Product management
$5k - Market/audience research and discovery
$8k - Infrastructure design
$10k - Smart contract design
$17k - Write code for consumer-grade dApp UI, access to music library and personal library;
$17k - Implement essential track-management infrastructure and APIs
$13k - Implement off-chain to on-chain bridge for payouts to those stakeholders.
James Dunseith - co-founder of Gimbalabs and Web3 educator. Helping to bring development capacity to the Cardano ecosystem. Gimbalabs’ mission is to educate developers on how to build on Haskell/Plutus by giving them a chance to learn by doing. This DEMU project gives James the opportunity to teach his students. Working on big projects inspires students. This results in a revolving door of amazing developer talent for our project. If you'd like to support this initiative directly, please read his own proposal here.
Randall Harmon - 25 year software veteran, system architect, project manager, Plutus Pioneer. 10+ programming languages, full stack expertise. Applied research in distributed computing at Yahoo (pre-Hadoop era).
Mark Moore - Software Engineer and Product leader with 10 years experience designing, creating and delivering SaaS enterprise solutions. Specialist in backend and infrastructure implementation and scaling and Product Management.
Session Cruz - DEMU Founder. Serial entrepreneur. Co-founded entertainment agency, Face Time Agency (company deck). Biggest projects I’ve worked on included Kanye West’s Yeezy Season (1-6), Kim Kardashian’s KKW, Drake, Adidas, and most recently, Kanye/Gap/Balenciaga collection. Primarily a behind-the-scenes guy, so proof of my work is found in articles written about projects where I’m mentioned. Additional work history can be found on my Instagram account, including this photo with the CEO/Chairman of Def Jam (after my DEMU pitch). Contacts in the music industry will be paramount in getting adoption for our music platform. There are very few people in the world with a direct connection to an influential major record label CEO, and I have several.
This is a press release for a reality show centered around my company. It was picked up by VH1, but never went past the pilot stage. Variety & Hollywood Reporter also publicized it.
Here is an article on Vice many years ago, where they spotlight my company for having casted many music videos.
This article in Complex Magazine about former Kanye West muse/model Amina Blue. You'll find they name me in that article as the person who helped Kanye "discover" her.
Mateen Motavaf - CEO of SundaeSwap. Will help advise in areas of business strategy, fundraising, and launching a successful project on Cardano.
(This list is actively being updated. Stay tuned)
We have an opportunity to connect Cardano to an established industry, for a real world business use case - the music industry. Our challenge will be to educate music professionals what problems Web3 solves, communicate how our platform will empower them, and learn what other paint points we can solve for them.
To that end, we’ve already built a simple proof-of-concept of the DEMU Jukebox on the Cardano testnet. A wallet pays tokens to play a song, with token “royalties” split into three other wallets (our pretend “song collaborators”). With our PoC, we can demonstrate our ability to develop on the blockchain, and use it to explain the benefits of Music x Web3, in order to springboard deeper conversations about what else is possible. [LINK to PoC]
We’ve already pitched DEMU to the CEO of Def Jam Records, who has expressed interest in using our MVP on a trial basis, once we’ve built it out enough. They have Kanye West & Justin Bieber signed, and earned 90-100 billion streams last year. We’ve initiated regular meetings with label staff, to educate and get feedback on possible features, and to build a tool the music professional will love. To turn “trial basis” into “permanent”. This effort is what this Project Catalyst proposal is funding.
Our strategy eliminates the need to market our service to the public, or onboarding artists one-by-one to build a library of content; which would cost millions of dollars to do. We empower record companies who are already in the business of doing that, and we cover their financial backend instead.
We will grow incrementally, to catch bugs early and make sure DEMU is ready, as we recognize how early we are. As the benefits of true music sovereignty become apparent, KPIs* are established, and trust in the system grows, we can grow from the one major label who is already interested - to their parent company, Universal Music Group. With a 54.5% music market share, they are the biggest record label in the world. I believe the news of UMG joining Cardano would positively impact the value of the blockchain.
Until then, we understand that our progress won't be easy to see for the community. We'll commit to sharing documentation and regular bi-weekly sharing of status reports via Twitter Spaces on my Twitter account @session_cruz.
* KPIs we intend to measure and present to record labels include “% increase of per-stream revenue over legacy systems”, “avg time for royalty payouts vs legacy systems”, etc.
Our current strategy is to use our Proof of Concept to better communicate the idea and the coming impact of Web3 to the music industry. If we were supported by the Cardano community, we could continue to build on this PoC to deliver an MVP to our first record label client. This MVP would allow them to upload a song, album, or catalog and offer it direct-to-consumer via a Web3-compatible website. Envision going to JustinBieber.com, and connecting your digital wallet to the website, in order to play his latest single or album. This is what success looks like, even if we start off with a much lesser-known artist. As an experiment.
With this first phase complete, we will continue to get feedback from the label, and iterate on our MVP. We’ll develop KPIs to build case studies to make a compelling case of our success to the other record labels (our go-to market strategy is completely B2B). We will also need these KPIs to validate the next round of funding, so we can continue building the additional features we’ve envisioned for the DEMU platform (NFT Marketplace, Social tokens, Partnerships such as w/ WorldMobile, etc).
I will take this opportunity to leave a personal note.
This is my third attempt at Project Catalyst. Failing in F6 & F7 did not diminish my enthusiasm and passion I have for this project, or for Cardano... as a blockchain and as a community. I learn from my mistakes, iterated, and came back even better, and with friends.
I have been blessed to make valuable connections in the Cardano community, who also believe in my vision. They are founding members of Gimbalabs, a well-known highly-regarded community of Cardano developers, thinkers & doers who also educate others on how to develop on Cardano. With their help, I was able to develop our Proof of Concept, despite not receiving any funding support. I am deeply grateful for them. But we are running into the boundaries of what we can do with zero money. We need your support!
I've also connected with the CEO of SundaeSwap, who agreed to join us as an advisor. He's already given us great, actionable advice. I spoke with Micky Watkins, the CEO of WorldMobile, where we discussed the idea of preloading this proposed music player on their mobile network. To give the newly-connected in Africa something to do with their phone, just like music was for the iPhone. In fact, here is a thought. There are over 3 billion people currently unconnected from the internet. That is 3 billion additional potential listeners for musicians worldwide to connect with, previously inaccessible. More importantly, the musicians from these developing countries will now have access to a global music marketplace from which to earn a living.
I hope this final message communicates the qualities you want to see in an entrepreneur. I am relentless, passionate, smart, tenacious and connected. I've been able to recruit talented people who see the same vision, and have joined me despite not immediately being paid. I’ve learned that this is the measure of an entrepreneur - Who can they successfully recruit to buy into their vision? We already have a working Proof of Concept. And I won't stop until this project is fully built, on Cardano.
Please vote on our proposal. Third time's the charm!
Follow me on Twitter to track our progress!
I've worked in the music business for 20 years. Record labels are already interested. Senior members of Gimbalabs are part of our dev team. They're a group of Haskell/Plutus devs well-known in the community, who educate new devs on how to develop on Cardano. www.gimbalabs.com