Carving out a sustainable career as an independent musician is a daunting task. The competition is fierce, support can be scarce, and earning a living without the backing of a major record label is an uphill battle. However, there are artists who have managed to build successful careers without the support of a record label. One such artist is American singer Vérité, who has amassed hundreds of millions of streams since releasing her first single, “Strange Enough,” in 2014.
Vérité was on the cusp of signing with a major label, but they backed out at the last minute. This setback turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as it allowed her to maintain complete creative control over her music and career. Since then, she has become one of the early adopters of nonfungible tokens (NFTs), an innovative technology that many tech-savvy artists have started incorporating into their careers.
NFTs, however, are still relatively niche in the music industry and remain controversial and experimental, especially among the mainstream. Despite this, Vérité has managed to embrace this new technology and build a strong community in the Web3 space. She has had several successful high-profile NFT drops, including releasing one-of-one NFTs, selling the master rights to her music, fractionalizing song royalties on the blockchain, and even giving out NFTs to concert attendees.
But how does one successfully integrate Web3 into their career without alienating their existing fans, many of whom may have little to no interest in crypto? In an interview with Magazine, Vérité shared her insights on walking this fine line.
One of Vérité’s key principles is not to over-rely on Web3. While the technology offers exciting possibilities for fan engagement and revenue generation, she believes it is important for artists to have diversified revenue streams and marketing strategies. It’s crucial not to assume that the hype surrounding NFTs or any other Web3 tool will last forever.
According to Vérité, building a career in Web3 is a “double-edged sword.” While it can bring people together, it becomes a negative when artists limit themselves solely to those tools and communities. She emphasizes the need to build a career that can withstand trend cycles and refocus on the foundation of the music industry, which has long been plagued by broken systems.
Protecting and respecting fans is another priority for Vérité. She understands that not every fan wants to join her on her Web3 journey, and she actively encourages them not to unless they are fully educated and willing to take on the risks. She is clear in communicating that participation in Web3 is optional and should never be a requirement for enjoying her music.
Vérité acknowledges that not everyone is enthusiastic about crypto and NFTs. Many of her non-tech-native fans have a lack of interest or even skepticism and distrust towards these technologies. She believes that the marketing of NFTs and Web3 to the masses has been unpalatable for those fans and advises framing it as utilizing tools rather than imposing something new and unfamiliar.
Rather than forcing fans to join her on-chain, Vérité focuses on offering experiences with a Web3 element that is present but optional. She wants fans to have the choice of whether to engage with the blockchain functionalities or not. For example, she collaborated with a company called IYK to release a tech-enabled sweatshirt. The sweatshirt has a near-field communication chip embedded in the sleeve that can be scanned to access exclusive content and unlock an NFT, but fans can still enjoy the sweatshirt and its added value without engaging in Web3.
Throughout her career, Vérité has prioritized her fans and their experiences. She has managed to successfully push boundaries and explore Web3 while keeping her loyal non-Web3 fanbase intact. Her fan-centric approach has played a significant role in her ability to navigate this new landscape.
Looking toward the future, Vérité envisions a world where blockchain technology can demystify the black box of data between artists and their fans, allowing for direct communication and long-term rewards. However, she emphasizes that the success of the music-Web3 revolution relies on placing fans at the center of it all.
In conclusion, Vérité’s journey as an independent musician and her integration of Web3 technologies offer valuable insights for artists navigating this new landscape. By diversifying revenue streams, respecting fans’ choices, offering optional Web3 experiences, and prioritizing fan experiences, musicians can carve out sustainable careers while embracing the possibilities of Web3.