SXSW 22': Uni's "Future of the Music Industry" Panel

March 29th 2022
5 minutes
Article By: Takoda Roland

SXSW has slowly been growing beyond a musical festival to include technology.  SXSW has not lost sight of its music roots with the inclusion of tech as the two topics often go hand in hand.  The Mic Check team was fortunate to join a talk about that very topic hosted by Austin-based Uni Streaming. The Uni team brought together bright minds of the music industry from various backgrounds to discuss the future of music and how music is changing with Web 3.0.

If you’re unfamiliar with Web 3.0, this panel was a great introduction and can be streamed through Uni’s website, but Web 3.0 simply refers to a change in how we interact with the internet.  Web 3.0 focuses on data ownership.  With Web 3.0, decentralization built on blockchain technology seeks to take back control of data from large corporations and put it back in the hands of the individual.

We don’t know exactly how Web 3.0 is going to change music, but we know it is changing.  How Did I Get Here? podcast host Johnny Goudie has been a musician for over 4 decades performing as Johnny Goudie and the keyboardist/vocalist for SKYROCKET! and has seen the music industry change firsthand.   He talked about the rise of Napster and how while it made music much more accessible, it crushed a musician’s ability to make money selling their music.  Johnny highlighted that the only way for artists to really make money anymore is to tour and sell their merchandise.  COVID hit artists the hardest because it stopped tours.  Johnny put it bluntly that “COVID was Darwinian for musicians” in that it stopped a lot of artists in their tracks that were not going to make it anyway.  Musicians need to be able to adapt to changing conditions and Web 3.0 could be that next Darwinian wave.

Several of the panelists are working to help artists bridge this gap.  Holly Hagerman, founder of AmptUp, is working to help artists book shows more easily.  By providing a platform that promotes equality, AmptUp helps empower artists to make a living while touring.  Holly spoke about how in today’s market an artist needs to think of themselves as the CEO of their own company while working to bring in the talent around them.

Sly Roque is the Creative Director of The Clever Group, a creative branding agency that addresses the very issue of surrounding yourself with the right talent.  Sly spoke on the importance of an artist thinking of themselves as a brand to maximize their opportunities.  By specializing in brand therapy, The Clever Group helps artists market themselves by providing logos, marketing campaigns, and bringing artists brands to Web 3.0.  

Perhaps nobody understands the power of Web 3.0 better than VSN.  The anonymous artist embodies the spirit of Web 3.0.  Signed to a major record label as a teenager, VSN has experienced the flaws of the current music system firsthand.  Describing major labels as “banks with worst interest rates” he explained how in today’s marketplace labels only purpose is just to do the things that artists don’t want to do, like manage their social media.  Highlighting how artists have been able to horizontally integrate with Web 2.0, but distribution remains very vertically controlled.   VSN is working towards a future where Web 3.0 empowers artists via NFTs to own their own music and distribution.  By developing a community around themselves, artists can leverage NFTs as early distribution to super fans by creating unique experiences while truly owning their own music.

While the full impact of Web 3.0 on music has yet to be understood, Mic Check was thrilled to be a part of Uni Streaming’s Future of the Music Industry panel moving the conversation forward on how Web 3.0 can help musicians build a secure future.  While it is still early for Mic Check in Web 3.0, stay tuned for more information on how Mic Check is working to help artists build a community from their live shows with NFTs.

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