“Over 8 million artists on Spotify and only around 2000 NFT artists. 85k songs hit Spotify every week, but only 5-10 are released by NFT artists.”
Compared to the old-school and oversaturated music biz, blockchain’s opportunity in audio is huge. In his perfectly on-brand conclusion, Sean advises: “if you wanna be heard, step away from the noise”.
Emanate is a music network marketplace powered by instant payments and automation. In cofounder Jimi Frew’s words, it’s “a platform for music sharing, collaboration, and distribution, focused on the Web3 environment”.
It challenges old modes of connection between creators, fan communities, and producers, which have so often been exploitative for artists and prohibitive for fans.
Like so much blockchain-based technology, it calls into question the role of the middleman (or perhaps more aptly for this industry, the money men). And it makes it easier for artists to monetise their creations.
Before the music
Before coming to Skalata, the Emanate Alpha site was already live and kicking after 2 years in the making.
Three-man team Sean, Jimi, and Trent Shaw had secured “a loyal and passionate following of blockchain enthusiasts, EOS fans, and musicians”, with 6000 community members, over 8000 EMT token holders, and more than 3000 pre-registered platform users.
The team's networking skills were strong, and they came armed with a handful of record label, management, and publisher partnerships including artist connection/collaboration platform vampr.me.
Crucially, they had Emanate Visa Stream already flowing, enabling artists to be paid in real time and link their accounts to their debit cards. No year-long wait for royalty checks here.
Early tempters for signups were a 90 day free trial, a choice between two subscription tiers (Pro Connect and Music Lovers), and 50 hand-selected artists for streamers to start exploring.
But Emanate Alpha was still an MVP, and it was coming to the end of its runway.
Relying solely on digital asset sales, Emanate needed to reduce user churn and get artists onside to promote the platform to their fans.
The founders had an R&D project ready in the pipeline, and they wanted to build a strong and inclusive company culture.
To get cash flow positive, Emanate identified a marketing need to acquire 400 paying Pro Connect users, and 300 Music Lovers.
Skalata ft. Emanate
During their time with Skalata, Sean, Jimi, and Trent got into the business side of the music business.
We sat down to identify company strategy, quantifiable company goals including OKRs and KPIs, and customer segmentation and personas.
We helped them set up legal frameworks for commercial agreements.
We worked with the founders to develop a company narrative which articulated a clear value proposition to users, along with business metrics to track performance (e.g. visitors to website, signups, repeat users).
The team noted that accelerating product improvements, boosting user engagement, and building decisions around data could be more productive than fundraising activity.
Emanate also appointed a virtual CFO, and joined the Outlier Ventures Base Camp program for Web3 startups). This very web3-centric network helped the team to align their blockchain strategy.
They worked on their value proposition for artists and improving the conversion pathway, learning that those making the successful move onto the platform (and making money out of it) were ideal reps for sharing success on social media.
In validation of their hard work, Emanate hit 1000 artists on-platform.
Between 2020 and 2021, social growth and engagement increased by 205%, uploaded tracks increased by 233%, and users increased by 194%.
Hitting the big time
In a huge win, Emanate secured a partnership with the LA-based Seven20 Group, a music collective that connects digital strategy, artist management, and music publishing. Through this connection came a big name. Emanate was able to onboard known NFT champion deadmau5’s mau5trap catalogue.
Midway through their time with Skalata, Emanate were at 6,700 users.
By April 2022, that number was over 14,000, and Emanate Beta went live.
Here, “smart collaborations and live, instant payments are at the core”. The site had a brand new homepage, “an entirely new user experience, EVM compatibility, NFT integration, and a number of really exciting new features… benefit[ing] not just those consuming and creating music through emanate, but the broader web3 community as well”.
In the same eventful month, Emanate attended the International Music Summit in Ibiza, presenting on a panel on the impact of the Metaverse and web3 on the music industry.
In 2020, global NFT sales totaled USD $95 million. The following year, they totaled $25 billion. They’re predicted to grow to $120 billion by 2028.
Investment bank Houlihan Lokey believes “the audio sector is in the early stages of a 10+ year investment cycle that will see great value created and unlock tremendous innovation”.
Goldman Sachs predicts global streaming subscribers will grow from 523 million to 1.3 billion by 2030.
These are two tremendously exciting markets that Emanate is cresting the wave of. But in the spirit of collaboration of this new industry order, they can’t do it alone.
MODA DAO is a project- and platform- agnostic DAO (Decentralised Autonomous Organisation) that’s creating new standards for the remixing of music, blockchain, and NFTs.
For the new listener, DAOs give musicians the infrastructure to interact directly with each other and their fans without the need for third-party intermediaries. That way, they avoid the steep fees the intermediaries usually charge for their services.
A DAO could manage music rights and royalties more efficiently, and free up time for artists to focus on their work. DAOs could also reduce fraud and piracy by giving artists a secure infrastructure to distribute their music.
The future of of cross-platform collaboration is bright for Emanate (if you can bear with the industry jargon): the team is in talks with MODA DAO (among others like Avalanche, Fantom and Polygon) about their audio NFTs; you can now buy their EOS-based EMT token to Ethereum on SushiSwap; and the team has partnered with crypto-trading OS FalconX to enable further capability.
Today, Emanate is kitted out with a for artist profile manager, track and release manager, Apple and Android native apps, token-based memberships, and an EOS token reward engine.
Next up is a Series A round, which we are not surprised to note is already attracting strong local and international VC interest.