Music is one of the many industries that has benefited greatly from Web3. While the music business has traditionally favored digital platforms and labels over artists, these system-wide changes have come at a perfect time. From Distrokid to TikTok, access to distribution and promotion has never been so democratized for artists. Web3 has taken it a step further.
In the music-making process, artists record original takes over a beat, which is usually mixed by a mixing engineer at a studio. Then the “mix” is sent to a mastering engineer, who turns the mixed studio recording into the “master recording.” Thus, “Masters” are the master recording of a song, which is the best sonic rendition of the music. “Composition,” or publishing, represents performance and mechanical royalties, specifically based on the melody, beat, and lyrics of the song.
The typical artist/label relationship has been defined by a contract, in which the label offers an advance to be recouped (paid back in full). In return, the label is given 80-85% of their masters, and artists need to pay back the advance using just their side of the rights (producers and songwriters have musical rights too).
If you don’t own your masters, your master owns you.
As Web3 has been introduced, skeptics have served as a buffer between those who are actively utilizing its features and those who are unaware of them. However, for those making the most of Web3, music’s outdated model is a thing of the past.
As artists have traditionally given away ~80% of their masters to “make it” in the industry, it’s become clear that this route isn’t beneficial in the long-term. All sorts of companies have emerged as middlemen in the breakdown of artists’ musical rights, and have left artists with the least prosperity of everyone.
Music’s “rent-based” economics have been relatively backwards thus far; even after paying back the advance they “rented,” labels continue to hold onto their percentage of the masters in perpetuity.
Decent.xyz is a platform that enables artists to list their music as NFTs, while adding additional value to collectors and fans by collateralizing the NFTs – staking them with Decent to accrue streaming royalties, among other things.
It’s only natural for the company, too. One of their co-founders is an artist himself, starting as an independent artist releasing music from his dorm, to eventually signing with a major label. He released the first song on the platform and even performed at Ultra Music Festival this year. His experience and understanding of the independent artist’s journey was crucial in what Decent knew was needed in this space.
Having an artist at the helm of a music platform is immensely beneficial. Empathy is essential for proper execution of creating meaningful solutions for real-world problems, and Decent has an abundance of it.
The company makes it easy for artists to financially flourish. Artists get to distribute their music on the platform, and include percentages of their streaming royalties in the sale of the NFTs. To support artists in their mission to sell on the platform, Decent has implemented the “Crescendo” dynamic pricing model, which is a stabilized solution to growing each individual asset among other innovative and new solutions like NFT staking, Engage to Earn NFTs, etc. This economics-savvy approach is something that’d typically be out of reach for artists.
Decent has become known for its flexible time-bounded royalty listings, giving artists maximum control of their careers, setting higher valuations for artists through their unique approach (compared to the label standard), and much more.
One of the most interesting things about Decent is the notion of up-and-coming artists making way more money than previously possible. Through the sale of streaming royalties via NFTs, artists are able to gather significantly more funding than in the previous music business model.
With their dynamic pricing and trading mechanisms, like Crescendo, Decent has found a feasible way of supporting the higher valuations that they are creating for artists, which clearly demonstrates the sustainability of their particular business model. It’s actually really impressive.
August 2021: The founding team forms.
September-October 2021: The team prioritizes back-end development on product structure.
November 2021: The Decent team is accepted into YCombinator.
December 2021: Decent.xyz has its initial launch with 20% of Forester’s royalties to the song Spark for the next 3 years. Forester raised at an implied song value of ~$20K, 3-5x what any major label would value the song at.
January 2022: DCNT vault wrappers are published.
March 2022: Onboarded three more artists and published Crescendo, which debuted at the YCombinator demo day.
April 2022: Onboarded another five artists and developed NFT staking.
May 2022: Continuing development and revealing community engagement mechanisms to support minting/pricing innovations.
This Thursday, Decent is debuting a single from Jon Waltz, called “RIOT,” in which 25 NFTs will be sold for .1 ETH each. Jon will join a coveted list of artists who are enjoying the full benefit of integrating Web3 into their careers.
Decent.xyz has continued to demonstrate a heavy interest in innovating all things music, and is a primary contender in the Web3 music space. If you’re an artist, manager, or anything in between, definitely take a deeper look at the forward-thinking world of Decent.xyz.