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Blockchain Music Creation
VeradiVerdict - Issue #221
Arpeggi Labs is an open-source, web3-enabled music platform that allows users to co-create music through permissionless sampling and remixing. The company just raised a $5.1M seed round led by a16z crypto with participation from music giants active in the crypto space like Steve Aoki and Justin Blau.
Traditionally, the only way to really “make it” as a musician was to sign with a major record label. Unfortunately, the web2 music industry is rife with problems:
Creators are exploited by record labels and middlemen; without these players, artists don’t have to split profits with intermediaries.
The tradeoff for access to reputable record labels is a lack of freedom regarding artistic direction. Once corporations have a meaningful stake and become more heavily involved in the creator’s content, the creator is often bound to their inputs.
Working with record labels is slow and painful because of legal technicalities and backend processes that the corporation must follow through with.
The musician is much less in touch with their fan base when operating through record labels and intermediaries versus interacting with them directly and creating a true community around their brand.
With web3, we can craft new creation and go-to-market models that directly support artists and make it much easier to grow their fanbases in an organic way. Cryptonatives and investors are beginning to recognize the power of these use cases as well. Cooper Turley just launched Coop Records, a fund focused on investing solely in the future of music, specifically music NFTs. CreatorDAO recently raised a $20M seed round from a16z crypto to invest directly into creators and the content they produce. New platforms and design structures like these help drive the creator economy forward and make it a more equitable and collaborative industry.
Arpeggi is the first and only 100% on-chain music creation platform that allows users to intuitively and collaboratively create sounds in a web3-native way. Users have the option to remix others’ work, build on top of Arpeggi’s rich sample library, create a sound or song from scratch, or work with a mixture of all three. When users finish creating sounds, they can mint them as NFTs, which publishes them back to Arpeggi for others to iterate on.
Arpeggi’s interface shows recent projects, featured creations, and trending sounds. Source: Arpeggi
One key aspect of the creation process on Arpeggi – and one that sets it apart from other music creation platforms – is the idea of “sampling.” Sampling, which Arpeggi describes as a lost art form, is the process of remixing beats from existing songs and led to massive creation in the music industry (including hip hop). However, in music now, there’s often huge hurdles to working with other peoples’ creations because of legal concerns. Arpeggi brings the theme of sampling back by allowing creators to work with existing sounds on the platform. In James’ words, “the ethos for this project is open-source music creation and changing the standard so that any sound you hear is a sound you can create with.” An open-source platform with underlying blockchain technology ensures that all creators working on a specific song are appropriately recognized and paid.
Arpeggi changes the game by ensuring all contributors to a song get attribution. Source: Arpeggi
On Arpeggi, sounds can be iterated on while ensuring that proper attribution is given to the original musician. The platform’s core thesis is that when a person creates a song, it should be open for future artists to play with and contribute to in their own way. This creates a dynamic definition of music creation where an emphasis is placed on iteration rather than stagnation. By default, then, Arpeggi is also building a strong community on its platform of music enthusiasts who work together to create amazing sounds.
This theme has strongly resonated with creators: the platform has 4305 songs minted and 829 sounds minted as of October 9.
The music creation interface on Arpeggi. Source: Arpeggi
Blockchain tech, optimized for music
Arpeggi uses the Audio Relationship Protocol (ARP) to store music primitives on-chain. At its core, ARP is a registry that enables transparency and permissionless characteristics of music on the blockchain, and therefore allows for open collaboration among parties. Benefits of ARP are consistent with core blockchain features – for one, media on ARP can be tracked as it’s iterated on by different users. This traceability ensures that the original artist is getting the deserved attribution. Sounds, once published on the ARP, can be immediately remixed by users via the Arpeggi Studio. ARP is currently supported by Polygon.
Remixing inspires and expedites the creation process. Source: Arpeggi
Arpeggi was founded by James Pastan and brothers Evan and Kyle Dhillon. All three are technical and have strong backgrounds in web3, product, and music technology. The idea for Arpeggi first started when Kyle was playing around with a side project: a platform that generated hip-hop beats. At the time, music in web3 was nascent but interesting enough that Evan saw an opportunity to build the product out in the context of blockchain. With James’ experience in product combined with Evan and Kyle’s music technology and development skills, the trio was perfect for creating Arpeggi.
Arpeggi has exciting plans in their roadmap, and plans to extend their core value prop of permissionless sampling and remixing to support any DAW in the near future. The team plans to demonstrate the power of on-chain traceability by automating splits information for all songs published to the platform. The web3 space is filled with music NFT’s from different platform and Arpeggi team plans to leverage the interoperability of those assets by allowing any artist to easily make their music NFT remixable on the platform. Many new artist and platform partnerships are also in the pipeline to help drive product growth. As Arpeggi builds out their platform and ecosystem, we believe they’ll be integral in creating a future of music that is multiplayer, fair, and collaborative.
- Paul Veradittakit
Pantera Capital Puerto Rico Management, LP and its affiliates (“Pantera”) makes investments in crypto assets and in blockchain-related companies. Pantera and/or its affiliates or personnel may be an investor in, or have relationships or other business arrangements related to, certain instruments, companies and/or projects discussed herein. This document does not contain any advertisement for Pantera’s investment advisory services, or any other services or products, whether provided by Pantera or otherwise. The information and opinions presented in this document are solely those of Paul Veradittakit; they do not represent, and should not be interpreted as representative of, the views of Pantera or any other individual working for Pantera, and do not represent investment, legal, tax, financial, or any other form of, advice or recommendations. Neither Pantera nor Mr. Veradittakit is acting, or purports to act, as an investment adviser or in a fiduciary capacity with respect to any recipient of this paper. Information contained in this document is believed to be reliable, but no representation is made regarding such information’s fairness, correctness, accuracy, reasonableness or completeness. There is no obligation to update this document or to otherwise notify a reader if any matter stated statement or information contained here changes or subsequently is shown to be inaccurate. Nothing contained herein constitutes any representation or warranty as to future performance of any financial instrument or company. Forward-looking statements should not be relied upon, and performance or outcomes may differ materially from what is contemplated herein. Opinions included here incorporate subjective judgments or may be based on incomplete information. This document does not constitute or contain an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any securities or a recommendation to enter into any transaction, and no reliance should be placed on this document in making investment decisions.
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Hi, I’m Paul Veradittakit, a Partner at Pantera Capital, one of the oldest and largest institutional investors focused on investing in blockchain companies and cryptocurrencies. I’ve been in the industry since 2014, and the firm invests in equity, early stage token projects, and liquid cryptocurrencies on exchanges. I focus on early-stage investments and share my thoughts on what’s going on in the industry in this weekly newsletter.
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