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Interview with NEWM!

A community-driven movement towards transparency, fairness, creative control and connection in music

Web3 Music graphic

Welcome to Web3 Music, your weekly newsletter to the captivating world of music in the realm of Web3!


Here you can read about music news in web3, musicians spotlights & their latest music NFT drops, opportunities for musicians, upcoming music spaces on X (formerly Twitter), curated content and more!


Now let’s not lose any more time and let’s get to meet today’s star! 🌟


NEWM

NEWM Studio graphic

NEWM is poised to revolutionize the music industry with its innovative approach to music streaming and community empowerment. With a mission to empower artists and fans alike, NEWM offers a decentralized marketplace where musicians can retain ownership of their creative content, enjoy fair royalty-sharing, and directly engage with their supporters.


Leveraging blockchain technology and NFTs, NEWM is reshaping the landscape of music distribution, removing middlemen, and fostering a community-driven platform governed by its participants. Now that you got to know them a bit, let's head straight into the interview!


1. Can you provide us with an overview of NEWM and its mission in the music industry?

The driving force behind NEWM revolves around solving the biggest issues within the music industry that have been putting artists at a disadvantage for decades. 


One of the main problems comes down to the antiquated financial structures that govern the music industry. Today, large entities like streaming platforms and record labels take the lion’s share of music revenue, leaving little to no royalties for artists. As a musician, Intellectual Property (IP) is extremely valuable and you shouldn’t have to sign away your Copyrights just to make a living.


Additionally, the lack of innovation with respect to how fans can interact, financially benefit from and collect this subcategory of fine art (in ways that used to be possible – e.g., CDs, vinyls, etc.) has led to a massive gap in the market that NEWM is bridging. The blockchain industry is already disrupting the traditional, financial operating systems that are generally controlled by the rich.


As a corollary, NEWM, using blockchain technology, aims to disrupt the music industry by removing the overwhelming power of monopolizing third parties that currently dominate it.


Our vision is to create a community-owned platform that connects artists with their supporters and fans directly; removing the middlemen and replacing them with code that’s not incentivized to make a profit. To achieve this goal, we are developing a multi-level platform powered by several decentralized services for artists to publish, distribute, directly promote, fund and launch their music.


2. What inspired the founders to create NEWM, and how does it differ from traditional music streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music?

The founders of NEWM came together over a shared vision to transform the music industry for the better – and to do so by leveraging blockchain technology to help provide artists with the power to control their art. 


With platforms like Spotify, Apple Music and others, there’s very little transparency surrounding music revenue – from how it gets calculated to when and who receives the royalties in the end. What happens during that process is highly convoluted and cloudy, but what’s crystal clear is that artists, more often than not, wind up on the losing end. It’s important to note that streaming services are just one part of the larger issue. That’s why NEWM is building a comprehensive music ecosystem that removes unnecessary middlemen and prioritizes artists and fans above all. 


It starts with NEWM Studio, our flagship product for music distribution and fractionalizing streaming royalty rights. This platform enables artists to release their music on their terms with a one-time distribution cost (as opposed to other music distributors) and greatly simplifies the royalty payout process. The best part is that our business model will never include taking a cut of artists’ royalties. 


Once our music marketplace is live, users will be able to buy/sell/trade streaming royalty rights in the form of Stream Tokens – enabling artists to earn a new source of revenue that can support future work and fans to directly support the artists and music they love.


Finally, our upcoming in-app music streaming platform will be able to provide instant royalty payouts, and facilitate direct tipping, so fans can show their favorite artists even more love.


3. Could you share some background on the team and the expertise they bring to NEWM's development?

Our amazing team is made up of 50+ (and counting) financial wizards, legal nerds, blockchain experts, design junkies, marketing gurus, community builders, music lovers, entrepreneurs, industry experts and experienced management executives – all brought together by our shared love of music, technology and NEWM’s vision to transform the industry. 


Our product and dev team has previously developed high-adoption apps for companies like Nike, Walmart and Monday, as well as built fundamental technology for the Cardano blockchain.


Our rockstar marketing team has created highly successful campaigns with long-lasting, organic communities from startups to celebrity-owned brands with global reach. 


4. Could you explain how NEWM leverages blockchain technology and NFTs to empower both artists and fans in the music industry?

We have two main use cases for NFTs:


1/ The RecordStore Music Collectibles - These are not tied to music rights – think buying CDs/vinyl, but unique and recorded on the blockchain, with funds going directly to the artists. 


2/ NEWM Studio Music Distribution & Rights-Sharing - (currently, only Streaming) - Think fractionalizing music royalty rights and sharing them with collaborators and/or listeners.


In both cases, the direct connection between artists and fans is the  overarching benefit. Music NFTs give artists a new way to diversify revenue, while providing fans with access to exclusive content and the opportunity to directly support their favorite artists. Similarly, rights-sharing in the form of Stream Tokens enables the same line of connection, while also allowing fans to share in a portion of royalties generated by the music they love. Plus, with Stream Tokens, fans have an extra incentive to market the songs they hold tokens for.


A powerful case study we have is with Web3 Cardano-based artist, NIDO, whose stream count has grown considerably following the sale of Stream Tokens for his song ‘Love in the Water’, which was released through NEWM. 


Ultimately, all the direct fan engagement, co-ownership, token-gating, music streaming, tipping, ticketing and other tools we’re building with and without tokenization will create more and more powerful options for artists, writers and musicians to leverage.


5. Can you elaborate on the process of tokenizing streaming royalty rights with NEWM Studio and how it benefits musicians?

When an artist mints (aka tokenizes) a song’s streaming royalty rights on the blockchain, they create Rich Fungible Tokens (RFTs) in the form of Stream Tokens, which include all the essential details about the song, such as the actual music, royalties, agreements, and more, giving artists full control.


So whether an artist wants to keep 100% of their royalties, divide them among song collaborators, or seamlessly transfer streaming royalty rights to another party, NEWM Studio puts the power in their hands. Here are the major benefits: 

  • One-Time Distribution Cost: No recurring annual fees to keep your music up on all the major streaming platforms.

  • Headache-Free Payouts: Music RFTs make it easy to automate royalty distribution for all contributors on a track and ensure every artist is fairly compensated. 

  • Creative control: Artists can set specific conditions for the RFT use, such as licensing terms or access to exclusive content, giving them more control over their work.

  • Keep 100% of your earnings: NEWM does not take a cut of your streaming royalties or earnings like other music distributors.

6. NEWM underwent a rebranding phase from 'projectMUSE' to 'NEWM'. What were the driving factors behind this decision, and how does the name reflect the project's vision?

It’s kind of a funny story – the original name of our project was 'projectMUSE', but after receiving a Cease and Desist Letter from the band, MUSE, (which we laugh about now) we had to quickly switch directions. We settled on 'NEWM' for many reasons, but ultimately, it came down to two factors including the following: 

  1. The Music Nerd Side. NEWM is derived from the word neume, pronounced /njuːm/, which is the basic element of Western and Eastern systems of musical notation and a precursor to modern five-line staff notation.

  2. The Branding Side. Since we are introducing a NEW Music industry model to the world, spelling 'NEWM' this way gives us endless possibilities for wordplay and makes our copywriting team very happy.

7. You mentioned using the Cardano blockchain for NEWM. What advantages does Cardano offer over other blockchain platforms for your project?

Trust and security is imperative when our protocol will be handling millions of IP rights and royalty distributions. Cardano, as a decentralized L1 solution in combination with Plutus (the native smart contract language for Cardano), provides both!


Overall, the Cardano blockchain gives us a competitive advantage with smaller transaction fees, sustainability, higher security, and research-driven development. 


8. In the context of NEWM's mission to remove middlemen and gatekeepers from the music industry, how do you envision the future of music distribution and consumption?

We envision a fully decentralized future where artists and fans have a direct line of interaction, support and community. One where music takes center stage and artists aren’t beholden to music execs who care more about the bottom line than the actual music – or the people who create it. Technology has advanced far beyond the traditional financial structures that currently govern the music business. What we’re doing is taking the tech that has already revolutionized other sectors, and adapting it to fit the needs of the music industry. 


9. What measures does NEWM take to ensure the security and privacy of artists' intellectual property and fans' data on the platform?

First, we want to make it clear that we don't retain any of artist streaming royalties or Intellectual Property (IP) – and we never will. When artists use NEWM Studio to distribute their music, they retain full ownership and control over their intellectual property, as they rightfully should.


 In terms of data, NEWM Studio utilizes a KYC process to prevent illegal activities in return protecting both company and clients, however, we do not store any user data. Instead, our partner, iDenfy securely manages all user data related to KYC, while upholding stringent data protection practices. 


10. How do you envision NEWM contributing to the decentralization and democratization of the music industry?

From a technological perspective, we try to think of ourselves not as a blockchain project that is doing music, but rather, a music platform that happens to be using the blockchain – AND our users should feel the same. Our contribution lies in bridging the gap between Web2 and Web3.


Until now, User Experience (UX) has been a massive barrier to entry for blockchain projects in general. While our long-term vision is fully decentralized, we recognize that this transition is not going to happen overnight. That’s why we’ve built the necessary integrations to create a hybrid experience – the power of Web3 paired with the ease-of-use of Web2. NEWM protocol users shouldn’t feel the need to learn a new technology in order to use our services; it creates a seamless experience and helps us develop a frictionless product offering that drives mass adoption.


On the topic of democratization, NEWM is first and foremost, a community-driven project, where the power lies in the hands of artists and music lovers, and everyone who participates in the ecosystem will have a say.


How? Through our governance & utility token, $NEWM (Ɲ).


11. Looking ahead, what milestones or developments can the NEWM community and stakeholders anticipate in the near future?

NEWM Studio is just the first product release in the wider music ecosystem we’re developing, which will include features such as music distribution, automated royalty splits, the ability to buy/sell/trade music royalty rights on an open marketplace, an in-app streaming platform, and direct tipping for artists. 


As for what’s coming down the pipeline in the near future, our mobile app and the marketplace will be the next products set for launch. But if you’re curious to know more about our product timeline, be sure to check out our full roadmap.


12. What message would you like to convey to aspiring artists and music enthusiasts who are considering joining the NEWM platform?

NEWM is not just a band-aid solution to a broken industry; it’s not a quick fix or a cash grab. This is a community-driven movement towards transparency, fairness, creative control and connection in music. Web3 music distribution is just the prelude, what comes next will redefine the music experience as a whole.  


13. Reflecting on your journey with NEWM so far, what have been some of the most significant challenges and successes you've encountered?

We’ve come a long way since starting the project in 2021, and we’ve definitely experienced a few bumps – and more than a few big wins – along the road. One of the key challenges we’ve faced comes down to raising the capital to support the project’s development. We’ve been fortunate enough to receive funds from a few angel investors over the years, but the biggest form of support came from our Stakepools during our ISPO.


Another related challenge is having a team that is majority part-time. More than half of the team have full-time jobs, but dedicate a few hours every week to working with NEWM, which can impact the pace of development. Finally, we’re working primarily with open-source technology that, while convenient, is subject to rapid change. So we’re continuously adapting as the tech develops in order to give our users the best possible product.


Despite the challenges we’ve faced we’ve had some truly game-changing successes and hit huge milestones along the way. Among them are receiving community-voted funding for Project Catalyst Funds 9, 10, and most recently 11, which has gone a long way towards furthering the development of open-source technology to build our fair music ecosystem.


Another big milestone was the launch of The Record Store, the first marketplace dedicated to music collectibles on Cardano, created in partnership with NMKR and Sick City. Then of course is the recent launch of our music distribution platform, NEWM Studio! This launch was the culmination of countless hours put in over the last three years, and THE first step of our vision being brought to life. 


Finally, we would be remiss if we didn’t talk about our greatest success – our community. Building such an incredible community that has believed in the project and supported our vision for years before there was proof-of-concept or a full-fledged product is what we’re most proud of – and grateful for. We would not be here today without their support. ♥️


14. Lastly, how can individuals interested in NEWM stay updated and get involved with the project moving forward?

If you want to stay in the loop on NEWM’s progress, one great way is to join our monthly newsletter, where you’ll receive updates on development, exciting news and helpful resources. We also encourage you to join our discord and telegram to connect with other artists and music lovers in our community, and follow us on all major social platforms. 


 Lastly, if you’re interested in getting involved with NEWM and you already hold ADA, you can join one of our stake pools to contribute directly to project development, while earning rewards at the same time. 


Thats all folks

Thank you for taking the time to read. Until next time!


Musically Yours,


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