When non-fungible tokens first exploded into crypto-mainstream last year, the primary product on the market was images.
While that form of art remains prevalent, another has emerged at its side, and in Vancouver may even be stealing the spotlight. That’s right: Music is proving an opportune medium to tap into the metaverse and blockchain-related technologies.
One example of this is Monstercat. The independent record label was founded in 2011 and dropped five NFT collections in 2021.
In fact, Monstercat—which was founded in Ontario and boasts a team in Vancouver—this year launched its own NFT platform, Relics.
“Relics is where music, art, and the Metaverse collide,” the company says, stating it is the first record label owned-and-operated digital collectibles platform.
Web3 is in the company’s DNA: Cofounder Mike Darlington made this year’s NFT100 list where he was recognized as “both a champion of NFTs and an innovator working to build out new ways for artists to connect with fans and create independent wealth for themselves via blockchain tech.”
Speaking of blockchain tech—each “Relic” is an audiovisual ERC-721 digital collectible composed of full-length Monstercat songs and animations that can be utilized in the Metaverse, according to Darlington. Artists receive a split from primary and secondary sales of each mint, with payments issued monthly.
Each Relic also possesses a rarity that evolves in tandem with the song’s real-world performance. As a song streams more, “its gemstone rarity increases, similar to a record going Gold or Platinum,” says Monstercat.
The first “season” from Monstercat dropped 1,500 NFTs across 50 Relics.
Another example of web3-infused music in Vancouver hails from TerraZero, which was founded in 2021 in Vancouver by Dan Reitzik, founder and former CEO of DMG Blockchain Solutions, one of Canada’s largest Bitcoin miners.
In May TerraZero leveraged some of its tech to produce drill rapper 22Gz’s online music video, “Spin,” which debuted at Blixkyverse on Decentraland, a browser-based 3D world of digital assets and experiences.
More recently the company announced that Jason Derulo—an Atlantic label artist alongside 22Gz—will also be joining the metaverse through TerraZero. The organizations and Derulo have collaborated on “a series of unique activations in the Metaverse,” according to a statement from the BC startup.
“I would have given anything for this kind of connection with my idols growing up,” Derulo said. “The Metaverse, and how people can come together to experience something special—this is definitely the future of the Internet.”
TerraZero has created a custom avatar for Derulo and intends to recreate his “Slidin” music video with an experience on Decentraland. The concept was spearheaded by TerraZero’s Chief Metaverse Officer Ryan Kieffer and Chief Experience Officer Brandon Johnson.
“Being an avatar in the Metaverse and connecting with people directly is a new way to show who I am beyond the screen and speakers,” said Derulo. “It’s super real in a very unreal way.”
Kieffer and Johnson say Derulo’s avatar-based approach will create “new kinds of interactions which merge figures like Derulo from the real world with infinitely open-ended stories and moments that would never be possible, let alone interactive and social, in any other way, in any other medium.”
And while metaverse experiences can be rich and immersive, real life happens too.
Local events like CREATE highlight the dynamic diversity of creators and builders in and around the metaverse. Meanwhile, Monstercat plans to return its free street festival Compound to Vancouver on August 20 with plans to “incorporate elements of music and technology for attendees to explore” for full-on block party vibes.