“Zilliqa is the only blockchain currently that can give you the full suite of launching a token, developing an NFT strategy and we can bring you into the metaverse,” says Sandra Helou, head of metaverse at Zilliqa. Oh and throw in gamification, esports and a focus on creators and that might give you an idea of why the $Zil token has skyrocketed this week coinciding with the glitzy launch of its Metapolis or a Metaverse as a Solution (MaaS) in Miami on April 2 nd .
Co-founder of Token||Traxx, TommyD agrees. “Lots of people are claiming to build a metaverse but chances are they are probably only building a gamified virtual world like the Sims or Marios. Do people even know what a metaverse is, or Web3 for that matter?”
Token||Traxx, the darling of the music NFT industry and littered with 5 star music producers, recently sold out its first token sale (TGE) in a matter of hours and has announced a strategic founding partnership with Zilliqa. Both feature a focus on creators which has aligned their interests; one to introduce brands into the metaverse and the other to enter it.
TommyD bemoans the traditional entry to the music industry: It’s a well-trodden path of doing some gigs, getting a manager, putting out a single and then hoping to do well on one of the streaming services. And then to the streaming services which is an amazing tool for fans and music discovery but not so great for the musician
“Musicians tend to be paid a tiny proportion of all income. It’s not the major labels’ fault per see, but the musicians for not having a proper union. The result is a system that is not fit for purpose – with only 12% of the money going to the artist. The rest goes to ‘other’ people.”
Token||Traxx was set up to disrupt the ecosystem. In the Token||Traxx worldview there are three segments: Creators, Curators and Collectors. And in TommyD’s worldview Token||Traxx is heralding in Music3. In a recent blog he named it Music1 for listening, Music2 for listening and sharing and Music3 for listening, sharing and owning.
TommyD is a big fan of tech when it comes to music. “Technology has always advanced music in some way, from electric guitars to streaming. However, it’s not always a smooth path - look at Web2 and how we were all fooled about our data, but over time stuff gets sorted out.”
Having said that, TommyD also recognises that when humans and tech interact, sometimes it is the screw-up that leads to innovation. He points out to the introduction of the TB 303 box, basically a baseline synthesiser. Some bright sparks in Detroit decided to experiment and bang, acid house music was born.
“In my view Web3 is helping sort out the current mess in which music finds itself.”
TommyD points to other industries where similar changes are happening. “For example, in the coffee industry the actual farmers are finally being recognised and rewarded more fairly. Same in fashion where customers are pushing back on the system that prioritises disposal clothing.”
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Going into the Metaverse, or in Zilliqa’s case, the Metapolis is a natural step for Token||Traxx. Sandra Helou sees the requirement for sound to be an additional layer, a must have in the metaverse. “It’s a challenge for both audio quality and concert practicality – and one that we’re delivering in Metapolis. We see ourselves as offering borderless access to people’s user base – not replacing reality but building on top.”
TommyD agrees. At the time of this interview, he has just arrived in Miami for the Metapolis launch and points out his hotel window.
“I can see Miami Bay and the boats and the sunshine – the metaverse is not going to replace that. New tech changes things and can be scary at first, but people adapt. The trick is to make the tech serve the people and not the other way around.”
TommyD is pragmatic on what technology Token||Traxx uses. He compares blockchains to washing machines – they all have different features. He likes Zilliqa becuase the team is cool. “And they are also looking out for creators too. We believe that the creative economy should lead the blockchain adoption. The emphasis on NFTs is good too – we are building an NFT programme that lasts – no short cuts here.
“And community is important too – we want to help our artists build their communities. Now that we have better ways of interacting and rewarding fans, we don’t need the millions of streams to remunerate the ‘other’ people.”
TommyD is activating Wired’s Kevin Kelly’s 1000 true fans theory. In this argument put forward in 2008, each artist only needs 1000 true fans to pay $100 per year to allow the artist a living wage.TommyD argues that blockchain and NFTs might be the way to make this into a reality for most artists.
Token||Traxx is a ten year project and TommyD is determined to take it in little steps. “We are not a youtube,” he says. “We want to have 10 great successes first. But we’ll have to take our time to educate people and bring them along with us.”
How will Token||Traxx get above the noise of other NFT platforms? Well, TommyD has promised me on Zoom that he will be launching Token||Traxx in Metapolis tomorrow evening stark naked, covered in car grease and rolling around with a polar bear.
I didn’t ask but I am presuming the polar bear will be digital and maybe TommyD will be too – it’s a rock and roll world after all.