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Short-form video has exploded in popularity the past three years, buoyed by TikTok. Copycat apps and features are now the norm across social media sites — Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Instagram. MIDiA analyst Tati Cirisano joins me on this episode to break down the ongoing war between short-form video’s main players. The music industry is certainly keeping a close eye on the battle. Short-form video has been a boon for music discovery. Though, many music execs would also argue music has played a big factor in the rise of these platforms, and the industry wants to better monetize that.Tati and I covered all this and more on the show. Here’s everything we hit on:[02:59] Vine paved the way for short-form video[05:56] TikTok filled void in social media[06:53] Factors behind TikTok’s success[10:19] TikTok is an entertainment platform, not social [13:20] Potential pitfalls for TikTok [23:10] YouTube’s biggest advantages [25:53] Overlap between YouTube’s short-form and long-form audiences[29:37] Facebook and Instagram Reels are picking up steam[35:19] Instagram Reels more natural to the platform than YT Shorts[35:35] Meta’s advertising is both a pro and a con[36:39] Active creator vs. passive watcher user bases[38:35] In what scenario does TikTok lose top spot in short-form video war?[41:50] Best platform for artists?[43:08] Best platform for record labels?[44:05] Best monetized platform?[47:11] Will there be a new form of content consumption in the next five years?Listen: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSSHost: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.coGuests: Tati Cirisano, @tatianacirisanoThis episode was brought to you by trac. Learn more about how artists can bring web2 and web3 together for their fans at Enjoy this podcast? Rate and review the podcast here! is home for the business of music, media and culture. Learn more by reading Trapital’s free memo.TRANSCRIPT[00:00:00] Tatiana Cirisano: One of my pros to talk about something that I've just, I don't know if this is still true, but something that I've heard from marketers, music marketers in the past is that, Instagram just has more trust with brands than TikTok and other platforms that are new because they've been using it for so long.[00:00:13] They know what the deal is like. It just has, better relationships in that respect. but if that's also leading to more ads on the platform, then it's kind of a pro and a con. [00:00:42] Dan Runcie: All right, today we have a jam packed episode that is about the short form video wars, which platform will come out on top. And I'm joined by none other than Tati Cirisano from Video Research. Welcome.[00:00:55] Tatiana Cirisano: Thanks Dan. Good to be back. Thanks for entertaining another rant of mine, [00:01:00] Dan Runcie: No, this is good. And with what you write about what you cover, you're the perfect person to have this conversation with. There has been so much focus as anyone listening to this podcast, who knows about the influence of short form video, what it does for discovery, for music, for artists, how record labels and all these companies are tackling it.[00:01:19] Now we have several companies that are vying for that spot with similar but different products. But before we jump into TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram, I feel like we gotta give props where it is and give a shout out to Vine because I don't know if we were to be here if it weren't for Vine paving the way, so, oh, gone too soon. [00:01:41] Tatiana Cirisano: you're giving me flashbacks to the Water Malone guy. I don't know if anyone else is gonna remember that, but the specific things that went viral on that platform. Oh God,yeah. We have to give the shout out to Vine.[00:01:53] Dan Runcie: It was the perfect example of constraints, breeding, creativity, six, seven, second videos, and people had whole narratives of storytelling there. It was so unique to see what people were able to do. I feel like at its peak I saw it was 200 million monthly active users, which obviously is a drop in the bucket compared to the services we're about to talk about.[00:02:17] But at that moment, that felt huge. It really was the platform. And obviously I know that Twitter had other objectives and things there, but. It's almost like a little too early as well. I just don't know if culture was like right there. And even music itself with artists, I feel like there was a lot of influencers, but there's a few artists, but not as many that really tapped in where it was really a huge discovery platform.[00:02:41] Tatiana Cirisano: Yeah, and I think also like people weren't so comfortable with creating content at that time, or it wasn't something that was like so readily available. Like now I feel like every teenager just kind of create, thinks of creating content as, you know, just part of the social toolbox. Or maybe they want to be a content creator and that's, you know, that's like a sort of a new aspiration.[00:03:02] But I think at the time of Vine, maybe that's another reason it didn't pop off, is it wasn't like the consumer behavior wasn't there. There were some people that loved to make videos, but I think most people were just watching.[00:03:11] Dan Runcie: Right, and I feel like too, the people that really popped off on that platform, They never quite got as big as some of the people that are on the platforms. We're gonna talk about, thinking about whether, you know, you mentioned someone where thinking about Alphacat or like King Bach, some of the others that were big there, and I know they had moments, but again, it was almost a little bit ahead of its time in terms of them being able to really take off the way things did in the late 2010s and ever.[00:03:39] Tatiana Cirisano: Mm. I'm also trying to remember now because one of the major things that usually comes up for me talking about like why TikTok was so impactful is how it's such, it was such a big deal that it opened to the for you page instead of like a feed of people, content from people you already know. But in my mind, it was kind of like the first major social media platform to do that.[00:03:59] But was Vine actually the first, I don't remember how the feed worked. Was it people you followed or was it just random?[00:04:05] Dan Runcie: I forget. That's a good point. I forget someone listening probably will ping back and say that, oh, it was this way. But yeah, I completely forget. I feel like I remember there are videos I knew from people that I would go back and follow cause they easily wanted to go watch it. But yeah, I completely forget. And even if it was there, I don't think the algorithm had quite enough content to be able to make that happen.[00:04:27] Tatiana Cirisano: Yeah, that's true. But yeah, the history is really interesting cuz you had Vine and then Twitter shut it down and there was kind of this void for people that loved the platform not having something similar. And then musically came around, but it wasn't really the same. It was kind of all focused on lip syncing.[00:04:44] It wasn't, you know, people just making random videos. and I feel like it also had kind of a younger audience, like it was more like middle schoolers than high schoolers. And it just kind of didn't have that same, it didn't reach like the critical mass of, no offense to middle schoolers, but like it didn't have that cool factor[00:05:02] so it's interesting like that happened. And then the timing is so important because I feel like we can't ignore the fact that TikTok launched in the US a few years before the pandemic and kind of reached that critical mass of users right when Lockdowns began. so yeah, I'm glad that you started with Vine cause I think the history is really important to look at.[00:05:24] Dan Runcie: Yeah, and I think the TikTok piece is unique because before TikTok ends up launching in the US, Instagram and Snapchat have stories, which obviously isn't the same as what we're gonna talk about with Instagram having reels. But that vertical video, and I believe that when Instagram first came out, it was 15 seconds, I believe was the limit.[00:05:44] So there was a bit of that trying to copy what Vine was doing to that extent. But then TikTok comes up with, you know, an entirely new platform. And I feel like the concept of a TikTok post is what then brings you to it's, For You page, and just [00:06:00] having that endless content role. Which a reel is, but a Instagram story or even a Snapchat story I tried to do at points, but never quite got there, which is why Instagram and Facebook more broadly has tried to make a pivot into that.[00:06:15] Tatiana Cirisano: Yeah. And it was more about like from music's perspective, it was about users engaging with the music that they're fans of like when TikTok first started to blow up in 2020, it was all dance challenges. It was all people kind of putting their own spin on the songs that they loved, and I feel like that's also different from stories and like the other sort of video, sort of short form video, tools that we had before where it was maybe about[00:06:40] sharing music, but it wasn't about actually engaging with it and putting your own spin on it. And I think that was the other thing that TikTok did that was really powerful from the music discovery standpoint, is inviting people to actually put their own spin on the things that they love.[00:06:54] Dan Runcie: Right. There was a culture that was created around the music and around the content [00:07:00] generation that did not exist in those platforms, right? Like to your point, yeah, you could have had music playing while you're sharing some video that you naturally wouldn't have wanted to share on your Instagram feed, but that wasn't the same as trying to do your own rendition of Old Town Road, right?[00:07:17] Tatiana Cirisano: And there weren't trends like TikTok is so trends focus
The artist-entrepreneur-investor Mr Eazi has no on-off switch. Who he is in the recording studio, on stage, and on the boardroom are the same. With business and music, Mr Eazi has found parallel industries that allow him to be the same person.He’s founded both emPawa Africa and Zagadat Capital to feed his business appetite. The former invests into African artists and helps them scale. Meanwhile, Zagadat Capital invests into tech startups, most of which are inside the continent. Then there’s Mr Eazi, the Afrobeats artist. He’s collaborated with the likes of Beyonce and J Balvin, and also taken center stage at Coachella. After taking time away from music amid the pandemic, Mr Eazi is back in album mode now. Holed up in Cape Town currently, Mr Eazi has plans for two new albums this year.I caught up with Mr Eazi to cover his never-ending pursuits in music and business. Here’s everything we chatted about:[0:22] How Mr Eazi is balancing artistry and entrepreneurship[1:40] Similarities between music and startups[6:19] Taking equity stakes in artists and what an “exit” looks like[10:50] How Eazi measures success for Empawa artists [13:00] Eazi’s investment thesis for startups[18:10] Startup success trends in Africa [21:30] Lack of capital is biggest challenge to Africa’s startup scene [29:45] Raising awareness within the continent[32:20] Biggest obstacle that African artists face [36:52] Uncleared sample on a Bad Bunny song[40:45] Impact of Western companies investing into Africa[47:35] Mr Eazi is in album modeListen: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSSHost: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.coGuests: Mr Eazi, @mreaziThis episode's sponsor is Symphony. Put your fanbase growth on autopilot with the first AI-powered platform that brings all your artist marketing workflows in one place. Learn more at this podcast? Rate and review the podcast here! is home for the business of music, media and culture. Learn more by reading Trapital’s free memo.TRANSCRIPT[00:00:00] Mr. Eazi: part of me deciding to be an artist was reading the book, the Jay-Z book, Empire State of Mind. And that was when I saw it clearly and I was like, oh, wait a minute like this music is a business and the music gives you access, it gives you access to capital, access to the network it puts you, gives you a seat at the table[00:00:20] Dan Runcie Intro: Hey, welcome to the Trapital Podcast. I'm your host and the founder of Trapital Dan Runcie, this podcast is your place to gain insights from the executives in music, media, entertainment, and more. Who are taking hip hop culture to the next level.[00:00:48] Dan Runcie: All right. Today we have the one and only Mr. Eazi, the artist, entrepreneur. How you doing man? Welcome to the pod.[00:00:56] Mr. Eazi: I'm good. I'm good. I'm chilling. What's, going on[00:00:59] Dan Runcie: Me. I'm good, man. Trying to keep up with you. Trying to keep up with you, man.[00:01:03] Mr. Eazi: I'm trying to keep up with me, bro.[00:01:06] Dan Runcie: Well, let's talk about that because you are someone who sits at this intersection of artist, investor, entrepreneur, and you are doing all of those three jobs and more. And it's also happening at this moment where the entire continent of Africa is booming from an entrepreneurship perspective, booming from a music perspective.[00:01:29] How does it feel right now? How are you operating being at the center of that?[00:01:34] Mr. Eazi: To be honest, I just feel like it's a blessing to be born or to be existing in this time. where like you said, everything is just like taking shape and, you know, yeah, it's exciting and it is for me. It's like every day I'm seeing opportunity left and right and just figuring out what is fun and what is doable and just, you know, going from thinking, oh, I'm an entrepreneur, to oh, I make music. And, it's similar cause it's products at the end of the day, on the bottom line, it's like you're selling music or you're selling some other product. And I thought they were two different things, but you know, I'm seeing how it's one and the same.[00:02:17] It's just exciting to realize that I don't need to be two different people like I still be the same me and operating both walls.[00:02:27] Dan Runcie: So how are they similar for you approaching both music and startups?[00:02:32] Mr. Eazi: So I feel like every artist is like a. because the artist has a brand, has a feel, it's like a service product, it's an emotional product, right? And every artist, you know, that IP, there's an IP with every artist, and the artist usually needs investment to scale. And like coming from, like when I went outta school straight into an incubator program called 440NG and I kind of, there I learned how, you know your idea and your business, you know, you have the idea, you put it together, you iterate as the business keeps on going. So what you thought was the business at the beginning, you know, your customers could give you feedback and then you realize it evolves, it accelerate and you are trying to be as lean as possible and grow to the point where you have that critical volume to sort of like ask, what's the word as, proof that this is a valid idea either via customers or via revenue. And then you try and get to, you know, you try and scale, and you figure out what's your, unique value proposition is, and that's like where the startup, what's your unique value proposition?[00:03:46] Who are your customers? What's the idea? You take it to market, you test it, you go get investment. And it's the same thing with every artist so at the time where I decided to do music full-time, I was in an incubator program, and so I just started to see the similarities with the music. I'm like, okay, let me test it, put it out, people listen to it, you know, gimme the feedback, you know, and the point where I decided I was gonna take the music as a business was when like I got the first person reach out to me and say, Hey, I want to pay you for a verse. So that was the first signifier to let me know that, okay, maybe I'm onto something.[00:04:22] Then I started to have my early fans then Lauryn Hill reached out and said she wanted me to come play at her show. And I thought it was a fluke until I found myself in America performing in Lauryn Hill, coming out to say, I love you, thank you so much for coming. And like all of that is like with a business, with a traditional startup, it could be different things, but for me, the revenue, the number of users, aka the fans, all of that were signifiers.[00:04:51] And then I just needed, you know, the capital to take it to the next level, right? So I think those are the similarities, and I've tried it when I started emPawa it was at the beginning, it was to test if they were one and the same. So I was like, okay, Y Combinator send, you know, picks a few, start a couple of startups, you know, does incubator program put funding and whatnot to them?[00:05:18] And then maybe 20% of them you know, end up working on, and I did that with 100 artists across 11 African countries, over 30,000 entries then picked 100, then gave them the same amount of money, created the emPawa YouTube channel to host their videos, service it the same way, and in the end, start to see the ones that organically started picking up.[00:05:41] And we had success with that. So for me it was like, oh, wait a minute it's one and the same. I've proved this. And that's when emPawa then turn from, you know, the, program I was doing to actually full service music company, because I had proved that it was the same and in the same way you invest in a song.[00:06:01] I remember the first Joeboy song, the visualizer cost me $500, and then the song ended up having like 30 million views in like a year. And you know, Joeboy just went boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. So, I start to say, okay, there is a process here and perhaps we could do it with other artists, you know? So to answer your question, that's how I see both as, you know, one and the same in a way.[00:06:28] Dan Runcie: That makes sense. And I wanna talk about emPawa specifically because this is you bringing so many of those startup concepts to music like you said, you saw Y Combinator is doing. How could you apply that here? The difference though is that with Y Combinator, the promises of course, an exit, so they're hoping this companies get acquired.[00:06:47] They're hoping that they go public in music though. What does that look like for you as someone that is taking equity stakes in the artist? What does your return look like? What does your exit look like?[00:06:59] Mr. Eazi: So, I mean, first off, the return is like when you invest, you know, you invest to create the content, you put it out, put some marketing, and you start to see, you know, the streams coming, the revenue coming, the artist is now doing live shows, getting endorsement deals, you know, you could get four, 5x, 10x multiples, you know, and time.[00:07:24] so that's, one. But secondly, like on a developmental standpoint, you could develop the artist and then a big label comes and says, oh, we wanna upstream. So upstreaming is like a sale. It's like an exit, and you could still have passive rights to get passive income, on the artist. So those are like the kind of like returns and the kind of like exits.[00:07:48] Plus you could just invest in the IP, buy it up, and next thing somebody wants to sample it and then they have to write you a big check. And it could happen now, it could happen in like 10 years, in 15 years time, you know, you could have a record just lined. I'll give you an example, recently the Joeboy record that didn't make it to the Joeboy is one of my artists.[00:08:09] The song didn't make it to his album, and so we then licensed the song to a guy called Lakizon, you know, he puts out the record, you know, there's not s
The gaming industry is larger than music and film combined. We’ve seen big music collabs in Fortnite, Roblox, and more, but there’s room to leverage music even more. That’s been a big focus for Vickie Nauman, who works at the intersection of music and gaming. She consults for major record labels, game developers, and more through her company, CrossBorderWorks. She’s also worked on big virtual concerts, like David Guerra and Saweetie in Roblox, and VR games like Beat Saber.  But there are plenty of friction points between music and gaming. As Vickie said, the music industry likes to get money upfront, whereas gaming is fine getting it on the back-end. Then there’s the long process of clearing music from rights holders to even use in games. It makes it tough to move quickly It’s even more challenging because of how fast technology is changing. New virtual experiences are being created daily, which adds pressure on the music industry to sort this out. Vickie and I covered all this and more. Here’s everything we discussed: [1:40] What attracted Vickie to gaming[2:40] The gaming moment that finally struck a chord with the music industry[4:33] Similarities and differences between gaming and music industries[10:09] Why Travis Scott’s Fortnite concert clicked but others haven’t[9:53] Can gaming have its Kate Bush - Stranger Things moment [15:47] Why the music industry plays catch up to technology[21:33] Clearing 143 writer’s share for David Guetta’s Roblox concert[28:45] Dot-com bubble era of web3[30:45] Music will evolve differently in web3 experiences[36:17] What’s slowing down virtual reality adoption?[41:26] AI is coming at the music industry like a freight train Listen: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSS Host: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.coGuests: Vickie Nauman, @vnvnvnvnThis episode was brought to you by trac. Learn more about how artists can bring web2 and web3 together for their fans at trac.coEnjoy this podcast? Rate and review the podcast here! Trapital is home for the business of music, media and culture. Learn more by reading Trapital’s free memo.TRANSCRIPT[00:00:00] Vickie Nauman: There are not an enormous number of opportunities for music and games. It's gaming is similar to the music industry where there are a handful of huge, huge, huge gaming studios, and then there's an inordinate long tail of small to mid-size gaming companies and, you know, very, very similar to music.[00:00:19] So the few big studios, a lot of them are doing, you know, licensing and they get music in. But it's been much more common over the years to gaming studios just hire a composer and they just create a song that is right for the mood and the moment in the game, the gaming studio owns it and they're just done.[00:00:40] You know, they don't have to worry about licensing or business models to incorporate music into the games. But I think for the most part, the music industry always likes to get their money up front, and the gaming industry likes to get all the money on the back end[00:00:55] Dan Runcie Intro: Hey, welcome to the Trapital Podcast. I'm your host and the founder of Trapital, Dan Runcie. This podcast is your place to gain insights from the executives in music, media, entertainment, and more. Who are taking hip hop culture to the next level.[00:01:22] Dan Runcie: This episode is all about the future of gaming, and today we'll be breaking it down with someone who understands this space in and out. Vickie Nauman. She is the founder and CEO of CrossBorderWorks, which is her consulting and advisory firm, which works with some of the biggest major record labels, streaming services, and more on the intersections of word music meets technology, gaming, and several other emerging tech platforms.[00:01:47] We talk about what music and gaming's challenges and opportunities are in the future, how games are monetized versus music, some of the opportunities there. We also talk about the music industry itself and why the music industry often sometimes plays catch up with regards to emerging technology, how that impacts her work.[00:02:07] And what it can look like for gaming, to have that huge sync moment that Kate Bush running up that hill moment like we saw on Stranger Things. What could that look like for music in a video game? I think we've seen several successful examples over the past couple of decades, but we'll continue to see more as gaming in the Metaverse, Web three, and AI continue to intersect and influence this space.[00:02:29] Really great episode. It was great to have her share her insights here, and I hope you enjoy it. Here's our chat.[00:02:36] All right. Today we're here to talk about gaming music and so many of the intersections it has, and wanted to talk with someone who understands this space better than almost anyone that I could reach out to Vickie Nauman, who has consulted and worked with many of these companies in music and gaming.[00:02:53] Vickie, welcome to the pod.[00:02:54] Vickie Nauman: I am so happy to be here. I'm a huge admirer of your writing and your work and it's an honor.[00:02:59] Dan Runcie: Thank you. Appreciate that. So what is it for you that attracted you to this space? It's been an emerging space for some time, and it feels like the music industry is now starting to put more emphasis in, but you had been focusing even before the current wave has been there. What attracted you to it?[00:03:16] Vickie Nauman: Well, I've always looked at gaming and I'm one of these people who for years was telling the industry. Gaming is bigger than music and film combined, you know, it is a massive, massive industry and they're, you know, and almost all the monetization is built on low friction, high engagement in-app purchasing.[00:03:37] And so companies are releasing games that are free and they're making billions of dollars. There's, you know, there's lessons for the music industry. I feel like it all fell on deaf ears. People are like, yeah, yeah, yeah, you know, companies come to us and. We wanna license them our whole catalog, and they don't want it.[00:03:53] And so there's nothing for us to do. And then, Marshmello did a set in Fortnite and got 10 million people to listen to his music, and that struck a chord in the, you know, in the industry. you know, and importantly, it didn't necessarily resonate with the digital business people who were always, you know, under an onslaught of new companies coming to try to get rights.[00:04:19] But it was in marketing and a and. and then there was like, it was a moment where I think everyone started to realize the power of gaming and the hundreds of millions and billions of people who are playing games as a new platform in a new way for artists to reach, fans and to break artists.[00:04:37] And it was interesting too because at that time I was working with Beat Saber. and they were this was in 2019 that all of this happened. And, Beat Saber was still an independent studio out of Prague, brand new game. And we were trying to get some of first songs in to that game.[00:04:55] Vickie Nauman: We had worked with Monstercat before and we had these original soundtracks in there, but we didn't have any, huge major label acts and we were trying to license Imagine Dragons. And so I heard firsthand from labels and publishers all throughout that process of like, wow, you know, we really want to do more with gaming.[00:05:16] And I credit a lot of that to Marshmello.[00:05:20] Dan Runcie: And you talked a little bit about how gaming is just so much bigger than music, and part of it is because they're not necessarily selling the content itself. They are selling what you can do on top of it from things you can buy or other things that are less friction. The frictionless, as you mentioned.[00:05:38] Had any of that come up, especially after the marshmallow event? Did any of that come up in any discussions about like, Hey, could this be an opportunity to rethink monetization a bit more broadly? Or maybe think about the bigger picture? What have some of those discussions been like?[00:05:54] Vickie Nauman: Yeah, it's been really interesting actually because they're really in aggregate. There are not an enormous number of opportunities for music and games. It's gaming is similar to the music industry where there are a handful of huge, huge, huge gaming studios, and then there's an inordinate long tail of small to mid-size gaming companies and, you know, very, very similar to music.[00:06:18] So the few big studios, a lot of them are doing, you know, licensing and they get music in. But it's been much more common over the years to gaming studios just hire a composer and they just create a song that is right for the mood and the moment in the game, the gaming studio owns it and they're just done.[00:06:39] You know, they don't have to worry about licensing or business models to incorporate music into the games. But I think for the most part, the music industry always likes to get their money up front, and the gaming industry likes to get all the money on the back end. And so you know, there are these friction points that, you know, marrying a business model into a game is kind of an art because if you've already got an existing model and it's free, or there's, you know, in-game purchases, then how do, you know, do you try to incorporate music into that? Do you just pay the rights holders and get a deal for a certain period of time, or can you create a revenue share and some way to participate in the upside and, a lot of gaming companies are even huge companies are still new to this. And so they're kind of what I would call, like dipping their toes into the pool, you know, testing the waters and trying some small things. And then trying to figure out does this work for us?[00:07:44] Do we need to, you know, do we need to create a big stack of technology to manage the ri
Burna Boy will be the first African artist to headline a UK stadium show when he performs at the 60,000-capacity London Stadium this summer. It’s the latest sign of Burna’s starpower and Afrobeats exploding popularity.The Nigeria-born artist is one of the genre’s biggest stars. Burna has reached this level because of consistency (six albums in nine years), savvy performing strategies, and a headliner mentality. To break down Burna’s rise, I talked to Denisha Kuhlor, founder of Stan, which helps artists identify and grow their fanbase. Stan has used Burna show giveaways to develop insight into his wide-spreading fanbase. Here’s what we discussed:[3:05] What sets Burna Boy apart from other African artists[6:26] Burna’s show at London Stadium[7:26] The Burna fanbase[7:52] Streaming era impact on African music[11:56] Returning to Coachella after 2019 drama[17:05] How Ye incidentally helped Burna break out[19:16] How fame is perceived in Africa vs US[20:45] Fans of Africa’s “Big Three” artists battling each other[21:50] Burna’s “contested” Madison Square Garden sellout[24:11] Possible missteps in Burna’s career[27:54] Projecting Burna’s future shows[32:20] His best career move[38:03] Building record label infrastructure in Africa[44:06] Five-year prediction for Burna’s careerListen: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSSHost: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.coGuests: Denisha Kuhlor, @denishakuhlorThis episode was brought to you by trac. Learn more about how artists can bring web2 and web3 together for their fans at trac.coEnjoy this podcast? Rate and review the podcast here! is home for the business of music, media and culture. Learn more by reading Trapital’s free memo.TRANSCRIPT[00:00:00] Denisha Kuhlor: I think it was interesting, him being so vocal in the approach he took, I think a lot of, Ayra Starr did a documentary for Spotify and she's quite big, especially within West Africa. And she talked about touring in the United States for the first time, and she basically said that she viewed it as an opportunity to make someone her fan, right?[00:00:19] Like, just by someone attending her show, her goal was to convert them into a fan. Whereas, Burna definitely takes the approach of, "you should either already be one or recognize my fan base for what they are." I think in his case he's lucky cuz he's been able to back it up. especially when you look at Coachella to now.[00:00:40] but definitely a, an approach that's consistent with his brand. [00:01:11] Dan Runcie Guest Intro: Today's episode is a case study style breakdown on the one and only Burna Boy. I was joined by someone who is a near expert when it comes to the world of Burna Boy, and that is Denisha Kuhlor, who has been on the pod several times, and she is the founder of Stan, where not only does she focus on how artists can engage their fan bases, she's actually been involved with ticket giveaways for Burna Boy's upcoming stadium show in London. So she has insights into what these fans are like, what are some of their preferences? And we talked about all that and more. We broke down, Burna Boy's rise. What are some of the key things to his success? What are some of the challenges? Talked about some of the other moments that he's had that we wanted to talk about.[00:01:57] Where does that stand with him? What is his standout moment and where things could really go for him from here on out? Really great conversation. If you enjoyed the one we did on Cash Money a couple weeks ago. This is something similar, but about an artist who is really having this moment right now, and we broke it all down.[00:02:12] Here's our breakdown on Burna Boy.[00:02:14] Dan Runcie: All right, today we have our case study style breakdown on the one and only Burna Boy, and who else is gonna join me then? Someone that understands him and the work that he's done in and out over the past few years. Denisha Kuhlor Welcome back to the pod.[00:02:29] Denisha Kuhlor: Thanks so much for having me. [00:02:30] Dan Runcie: Yeah, and I wanted to talk to you because you wrote that piece in Trapital several months ago, talking about how artists who have relied on music festivals, maybe there's something that they may regret down the road in terms of actually getting in there and building the true fanboy fan base. And you used Burna Boy as an example of someone that went through this and obviously he's blowing up. He's had a huge year and we've now seen so much growth, especially in the past few years of just how so many African artists have been able to rise and grow platform.[00:03:05] But Burna Boy has clearly been able to hit levels that many others haven't. What do you think it is that has set him apart?[00:03:13] Denisha Kuhlor: Yeah, I think one, just Bruno boy is very compelling, as an artist. I've seen him perform, last year twice. his Madison Square Garden show. Then I got to see him at, Afrochella now, Afro Future, in Ghana. And one, he is a live band, as crazy as that sounds, I feel like that's rare and rarer these days. as consumers, it kind of feels like we've gotten used to maybe a DJ or kind of that accompany accompaniment. So the live band aspect is a huge one for me, and I think he's very compelling on stage and has great, charisma. and then lastly, I kind of feel like he was everywhere this year.[00:03:53] You couldn't really. Escape him, whether it was last, last, as a hit or, him touring so much of the United States. I feel like if you didn't know about Burna boy, maybe a year or two ago, last year was definitely just a true breakout year for him on the global stage. [00:04:09] Dan Runcie: Yeah, I think that makes sense. I think there was a couple other things that stuck out to me too. So he has been able to position himself as a leading man. I am the person that's headlining. I'm not just gonna be the person opening for the artist. gonna be the person that is doing the guest first.[00:04:27] And I do think that's some of the other artists who rose up from Africa, they have done a bit more of the, "okay, let me jump on the Drake verse. And then that becomes Drake's or things like that." although I know that Burna has done several guest appearances and feature shares, it hasn't been in that same way.[00:04:45] And I think he's still just been so focused on himself in that way. And of course it could take a little bit longer to develop, but it's almost like how in Hollywood you may see someone that is always positioning themselves as supporting acting roles. If that's where you're taken to blow up, it could be hard for the industry to see you.[00:05:04] The lead actor, but if you're willing to do the lead actor roles for the smaller things and you get the right thing, then you become seen as the lead actor on the big I feel like that's [00:05:14] been his experience. [00:05:15] Denisha Kuhlor: I'm totally aligned with you when, just based off you talking about that makes me think about some of his features on the continent. And he's largely broken those artists, right? You look at Bnxn,formerly known as Buju, right? [00:05:27] And the Lenu remix who was signed a Burna. I first heard about Amapiano,because Burna Boy got on the Spoon, No No remix, and one of the biggest breakout stars of the continent, Asake, the Zumba remix, this year. So I agree, I think he's positioned his features as more as like, let me lend a helping hand and let me get your distribution and your visibility. But if I was. In African artists or emerging artists from the continent vying for a feature in some ways, I'd probably wanna Burna feature over potentially a big artist from the west. [00:06:04] Dan Runcie: Yeah. And I think a lot of that is with his. And his persona, and we can get into that in a minute, but I that played into a lot of this. And as you said, he's been every run the past year and we're setting stage for an even bigger 2023 where he will do his stadium tour at London Stadium, the first African artist, a headline and do that.[00:06:26] What does that mean for his career?[00:06:28] Denisha Kuhlor: Yeah. One, I think it's just huge and a testament to how far music from the continent has grown. I think, you know, you look at the story or how people paint the narrative of how music from the continent has grown. And so often it's kind of like, oh, there's a population of people here or there's little, you know, subsets of people that are interested in the music.[00:06:51] Whereas now, it's makes it very clear that this is world music, right? This is pop music in a lot of ways in that people have embraced this music in the same way you look at, Latin music, right? And people are singing whether they know Spanish or not. I think it's really a testament to the ability to do that. So it's very exciting. [00:07:13] Dan Runcie: Yeah. I think you've also had a front row seat to this as well, because with your work at Stan, you've been doing ticket giveaways and things like that to really tap into who the Burna Boy super fans are.[00:07:26] Denisha Kuhlor: Yeah, so we've found two things working with Burna Boy fans or Burna Boy fan pages. Is that, or maybe even three. I find that one you have the fan that maybe, it reminds them of home. So typically a fan with roots or ties back to West Africa or Africa more broadly, who's now living abroad or first generation, but there's a sense of nostalgia or home as a result.[00:07:52] I think you also have fans that are like learning or being introduced to, Africa. Through his music, which has been really fascinating and really cool to see us talking to a fan, based in France, right? That like taught herself pidgin and like wants to visit Nigeria because she's such a big Burna boy fan.[00:08:11] and that's also really, really cool to see. And then third, I think you just have like hometown pride, right? Like you look at people in Lagos or even other Afric
In music, web3 hype may have cooled over the last year but there are still builders in the space making moves, like trac’s founder, Cardin Campbell. Trac is one of our sponsors for Trapital, and it was great to have Cardin on to discuss how music tech startups see the big picture and are approaching this. trac is a music distribution service, but it wants to bridge web2 and web3 together in a way most distribution services aren’t.Cardin sees an opportunity to digitize how royalty payments are made without disrupting the Web2 experiences on Apple Music and Spotify. That can remain, while blockchain technology adds a layer to bring an artist’s superfans around for the journey.In this episode, we discussed web3 music — what was overhyped, what has lasting value, and where things go from here. Here’s what you can expect: [2:57] Finding a wedge in web3 music [5:17] What people get wrong about web3 and ownership[9:25] SEC challenges with NFT royalties  [12:04] Most music fans don’t want to invest in artists[15:31] Where web3 and web2 meet in music[19:13] Building trac’s platform [21:37] Benefit of artists “windowing” music releases[25:59] How trac sets itself apart[32:15] Artists “moving on” after reaching success [34:54] What’s most exciting in web3 right now[36:22] Biggest friction points to web3[41:05] Projecting trac’s revenue mix between web2 and web3[44:38] How to follow trac’s processListen: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSSHost: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.coGuests: Cardin Campbell, @iamcardinEnjoy this podcast? Rate and review the podcast here! is home for the business of music, media and culture. Learn more by reading Trapital’s free memo.TRANSCRIPT[00:00:00] Cardin Campbell: Success means, you know, you as an artist can make a living doing your art, and whatever the national average is in terms of salary per year, we want every artist on track at that level to get to that level of freedom and beyond.[00:00:17] yeah, we're building for that success story. and then some that's like the bare minimum for us. But yeah, we hope to create, you know, the next superstar. Not create, but we hope to help support the next superstar by giving them the tools to make the business side and, you know, management side of their catalog super easy.[00:00:35] Dan Runcie Intro: Hey, welcome to the Trapital Podcast. I'm your host and the founder of Trapital, Dan Runcie. This podcast is your place to gain insights from the executives in music, media, entertainment, and more. Who are taking hip hop culture to the next level. [00:01:03] Dan Runcie Guest Intro: Today's episode is all about where Web two and Web three meet each other in the music industry. It has been a rollercoaster past couple of years in terms of NFTs Web three Crypto and how all of it makes sense for artists, musicians, record labels, and more to help make sense of where we are and where things are going.[00:01:21] I sat down with Cardin Campbell, who is the founder of Trac is on a mission to empower artists to reach their fans more closely than ever, whether that's by distributing their music directly to the digital streaming providers or through NFTs so that their most passionate fans can get early access and a small ownership stake in their music moving forward.[00:01:42] Trac is also one of sponsors, so it was great to be able to talk with them about their solutions more deeply and how they're serving artists. In this conversation. We also talked about some of the other challenges that happened with music distribution, such as when you have those superstar artists, how do you keep them on board?[00:02:02] We also talked about broader trends in web three, where things are going, what some companies are getting right, wrong, and more really great conversation. I like the way Cardin sees things. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Here's my chat with Cardin Campbell.[00:02:17] Dan Runcie: [00:02:17] All right. Today we got a full conversation on deck. We're gonna talk about where Web two, when Web three, meet each other with someone that is living and breathing this every day, Cardin Campbell, founder of Trac. Welcome.[00:02:29] Cardin Campbell: Thank you, thank you, thank you. Good to [00:02:30] be here.[00:02:31] Dan Runcie: Yeah, definitely. I feel like you and I have had a few conversations about this, and the industry's been in such a fascinating place right now. You look at the past year and a half with Web three, crypto NFTs. It's been a rollercoaster in terms of where the industry is, where people stand, where companies stand, and where they're focusing on.[00:02:51] How do you feel like we are right now? What's your macro take on where the industry is right now with regards to web three?[00:02:57] Cardin Campbell: I think the industry's in an interesting place. I think we're still trying to find that wedge of where web three or this concept of Web three, you know, aids music in any way. You know, I think a lot of people, are trying to think of it like this separate space and you know, this place where you can sell more of stuff and generate more revenue for the industry.[00:03:19] And I think that can happen, but I don't think it's going to happen in a way that we've been approaching it to date, you know, but yeah, I think we're still trying to find out which ultimately is where we currently are.[00:03:30] Dan Runcie: Yeah, I think one of the challenges was that there were so many cool and nifty ideas that people had about what something could look like, but at the end of the day, you needed to have a real functional aspect that would add value in a way that you are either making something easier for the consumer or you are making it more unique in a way.[00:03:49] And I feel like a lot of the things that are being pushed, were more focused on, oh, here's this cool, almost wonky idea of what something could look like as opposed to, boom, here's a fundamental shift change into how things were and how things could be moving forward.[00:04:04] Cardin Campbell: Yeah. [00:04:05] Yeah. It's really like, you know, the classic case of entrepreneurship and startup, right? It's like you try to find a problem to solve and then solve that problem, whereas with web three, there's so many cool things you could do. And people were just like building cool things and then trying to find a problem, you know, later.[00:04:24] Right. So I think that's why we're still trying to find our wedge in the whole space, but because it's just been a case of, "Oh, we can do this and do that and like, wouldn't this be nice?" You know, but not really centralizing, you know, the focus on problems to solve, right? And then solving them.[00:04:39] Yeah.[00:04:40] Dan Runcie: And as you look back on it yourself, as someone that's been following the industry to to a deep extent yourself, do you feel like there are parts where you yourself are like, huh, maybe I had overstated where I thought this was gonna go? Because I think that each of us probably bought into some of the height and potential to at least some extent.[00:04:57] Cardin Campbell: Yeah, [00:04:57] so I still feel like we have, we've got it right to a degree, and I'll explain, right, so a lot of people approach Web three music in this like way of thinking of it like it's another medium, you know, for people to consume music, to buy it, like it's a collectible and I think that's the wrong approach.[00:05:17] That's just my personal feeling. I've always thought that, and probably will always think that until I'm convinced otherwise, right? Because you can't really treat it like a new medium. When Spotify and Apple, you know, has the fan experience, you know, being the best it's ever been, like I feel like discovery has been solved, do you know what I mean? Like the algorithms and all the things that they provide to help you discover new music and just have access to all the songs, right? There is the best it's ever been. So companies that's been approaching it where they're thinking, oh, web three, we can generate NFTs out of songs and sell them.[00:05:56] I don't know that that's it. like, I hope I'm wrong cause it feels like an opportunity, right? To generate more revenue for the industry but I don't think that that's it because we've seen iTunes come and go, right? they were selling a digital file that was the MP3 for a dollar and that was cool for its time.[00:06:12] But then we shipped to streaming, they bought beats and turned into Apple Music and, right? Like it shifted. So I don't think that that's it. And I think that's where a lot, you know, the focus has been, and I think that's where people are getting it wrong. Because it's not, another, you know, medium, so to speak.[00:06:29] Dan Runcie: That's a good point because I do think that part of the reason that streaming took off, and a lot of this was in conflict of what Steve Jobs himself thought. He of course, is one of the big proponents of iTunes, and I think for its time, iTunes especially, when did it launch 2003? I believe that was the answer at the time.[00:06:48] You could buy your favorite song for 99 cents or a $1.29, whatever it was at the time. But after a while, consumers really didn't wanna do that. And I feel like one of the reasons why Spotify worked, granted, I know that the company has had its own ups and downs over the years, but one of the reasons why I think Spotify works is because it met consumers where they were at. People wanted to have access that at the time mattered more than ownership. So some of these things that are going back more to ownership, like whether it's companies or models that you're referencing, it brings us back to that. And it's not that people don't wanna own things.[00:07:22] They clearly do. You see the boom of vinyls and other things. It's just not ownership in the way that we may have thought, or that
The Techstars Music accelerator just announced its 7th cohort. As the program’s Managing Director Bob Moczydlowsky told me on this episode, they don’t invest in music companies. They invest in companies solving problems for the global music business. There are 10 companies that involve music in some way, including — education, web3, and even wedding celebrations. Each startup gets a $120,000 check from Techstars and hands-on development for 90 days. Past portfolio companies include Community, Endel, and Splash among many others. According to Bob, the program has returned a 3X multiple on invested capital since starting in 2017. Companies that went through the accelerator have gone on to raise an additional $250 million in capital after the accelerator.Here’s what we hit on:[0:00] How the accelerator has evolved [7:56] Investment areas that have underperformed [9:02] Is there a ceiling on music innovation? [12:38] Minor-league scouting, major-league swinging[17:07] Repeating motif of investments[18:11] 2023 accelerator cohort is “weirdest class ever”[28:49] The case for remote teams[31:44] The surge in capital from outside music industry[37:46] Music is less sensitive to macroeconomic conditions[40:39] Return on music accelerator vs. other Techstars programs [43:32] Techstars LP’s becoming more experimental [48:01] Hip-hop business mentors wantedListen: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSSHost: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.coGuests: Bob Moczydlowsky, @bobmozThis episode is brought to you by Amuse. Learn more about how its new program Music Insights can help your artist career: this podcast? Rate and review the podcast here! is home for the business of music, media and culture. Learn more by reading Trapital’s free memo.TRANSCRIPT[00:00:00] Bob Moczydlowsky: We have to invest in something that isn't fashionable but looks like it's before it's time, might even look a little crazy. And that's the where we can add a ton of value. And then it's our job to help to look back three years later and go, oh yeah, there it is but of course we saw that all along.[00:00:13] Like, same thing with generative media. We've been making generative media in investments since the very first year of the program and about half of them are really interesting, valuable companies now. And it took a long time for the red, the market to sort of catch up to that. and then, you know, ironically, my problem is as a small check investor just at the moment where I know that space really well and I can be really helpful and we have a good portfolio there and a community of people to connect new founders too. Now that the category is hot, we can’t afford it anymore.[00:01:07] Dan Runcie's Guest Intro: Today's guest is the one and only Bob Moczydlowsky, but if you're in the space in the industry, you probably know him as Bob Moz. He is the managing director of the Techstars Music Accelerator, and he recently announced the seventh cohort that they have for the accelerator, which includes a few companies here, let me just read the names here.[00:01:26] Baton Media, Beeper, Confetti, 5ive Mics, Haven, Highly Liquid, Homeroom, Obey Me, Royalty, and Seed. So Bob and I talked about what went into these companies, what are some common themes that went into this cohort and how this cohort has changed over time. This is now the seventh year that Bob has been running this accelerator.[00:01:48] So he's gone through the bull market of startup investing. The growth of streaming and how each of those things have impacted. So what are some of the trends that have been the most lucrative for him? How he's evaluated on his returns, how his LP mix has been shaped and shifted over time, and some general trends and some common misconceptions that people hear and think about when it comes to investing in music companies and companies that are trying to solve problems in music.[00:02:16] Great episode, especially for the founders, investors and builders out there. Hope you.[00:02:22] Dan Runcie:[00:02:22] All right. Today we have Bob Moz, who is the managing director for Techstars Music Accelerator. Bob, first time on the podcast.[00:02:31] Bob Moczydlowsky: Thank you very much for having me. I am a, longtime listener. I'm kind of thrilled to be a guest. It's very cool.[00:02:37] Dan Runcie: Yeah, and I think it's great to talk to you right now because you have the new cohort for Techstars Music Accelerator now, but you've actually been doing this now since 2017, and I think that. It's been interesting to just to see how much has changed in your role, but more broadly with music. You had this bull run, you had streamings rapid growth, and I'm sure with that, there's been so many different evolutions of how this cohort and how the companies have shaped over time.[00:03:06] What's been your read on that? How has the accelerator evolved over time?[00:03:11] Bob Moczydlowsky: Oh man, that is a gigantic question right out of the gate. so when we started the program in 2017, part of the thesis was. and it is still sort of the dirty secret of Techstars music. Like, we're not really here to invest in music companies or music tech startups. We're here to invest in startups that solve problems for the global music business.[00:03:31] So we wanted to be five to seven years ahead of, where new revenue streams would be. New audience interactions would be. we wanted to be really, really out there on ways kids could express themselves and, and or make new music or how rights holders would monetize that music and I would say that heading into our seventh class, like any, you know, venture fund, we made a bunch of mistakes.[00:03:54] we are happy to have some really valuable companies in the portfolio that are changing the way the music business works, like Splash and Endel, and community. And so the winds have come from the places we didn't expect, with maybe the exception of generative media. We can talk about that a a little more.[00:04:11] Bob Moczydlowsky: We were into that from the beginning and we've, remained into it though I can no longer afford any of those deals because that's kind of a popular category. So I think I'm kind of out of those deals now. But in general, like the wins came from places we didn't expect and the defeats came in places we thought were gonna be great spots, right?[00:04:28] So what we have learned is that you really have to focus on the quality of the team. You really have to focus on the opportunity and how that company can capture value in the market. And then you have to be patient, and just, and remember that one email, you know, with a yes on it. One phone call with a yes changes the fortunes of companies.[00:04:48] Pre-seed, seed stage, you know, one feature, one good, dev sprint, where you actually really, you know, solve a problem for your users, changes the trajectory of the whole company. So, I would say that we have, put ourselves in a position now where we ha like our thesis is defensible, our portfolio value is real, and we have an incredible list of people who have come through the program and touched it in some way that.[00:05:12] make a lot of really important decisions in the music business. So mostly it's just, I feel old when you say that, and I just feel super grateful that we get to do.[00:05:20] Dan Runcie: Well, you said a few things there that I wanna dive into about the wins and the losses being opposite from what you may have expected on either side, and I think that's a thing I've heard from other investors and VCs, but specifically with this accelerator, are there certain trends that stuck out for things that you thought would've been a big bet but didn't end up turning out?[00:05:43] Bob Moczydlowsky: Well, know, we were really excited about adaptive music and it's changing and matching your biometrics and pairing that with fitness that hasn't really come to fruition yet. . I'm optimistic it still might, but it hasn't so far. we were super optimistic that the using DSP streams to make mixes would allow, DJs to create and express themselves and create new content and repurpose music, and that wouldn't be considered a derivative work.[00:06:08] And you could give full credit stream back to the rights owner, and that would be a way to deepen engagement and maybe add a couple of bucks to the monthly subscription fee of a larger DSP. That hasn't happened really, you know what I mean? or come to fruition. it has taken longer, than we've expected for someone to make a hit song using generative media and AI, though, you know, it sort of perpetually feels like it's right around the corner.[00:06:33] but I think in that category, you know, I think we were just wrong people were gonna use generative media and AI to make songs. and instead they were going to use it to become artists and play games. and so we've learned a lot there where, what the thing we actually learned, and I say "we", but what I really mean is the splash team.[00:06:50] Bob Moczydlowsky: And Steven and Angus, I'm a passenger in that, right? So I say "we" a lot, but those guys do all the work. you know, what they realized was that kids don't wanna make songs. Like no kid is going out there looking for an AI to make a song. they're looking for an AI to help them do[00:07:05] several of the things that it require that are required to be an artist and grow a following and have people pay attention to you and express yourself. And they went and built a whole game around, okay, well then here's all the parts you need to DJ set. Here's the ability to perform in front of people.[00:07:20] Here's a framework under which those performances are judged. And that became a wildly popular game. And so it turns out that like in the gaming world, you might use an AI to control both sides of the copyright, to give the player the fre
The biggest stage in music is still the Super Bowl Halftime Show. In 2023, that stage belongs to Rihanna. This is a noteworthy show for multiple reasons.Rihanna hasn’t released an album since 2016’s ANTI, which was a TIDAL exclusive! Seven years is a long time. She has since built two billion-dollar brands with Fenty Beauty and Savage X Fenty, and recently became a mother. Could this be the start of a music comeback for RiRi?A few years ago, Rihanna famously turned down this opportunity citing her support of Colin Kaepernick. But that was before Jay Z’s Roc Nation entered into an agreement with the NFL to produce the show in 2019. That relationship — Jay signed Rihanna to her first record deal at 16 — likely patched things up.This performance is also noteworthy since it's Apple Music’s first year as sponsor, taking over from Pepsi’s decade long-run. To unpack it all, I brought on Louie Mandelbaum aka DJ Louie XIV. He’s a pop music connoisseur and breaks down the genre on his Pop Pantheon podcast. Here’s what we covered on the episode: [1:38] How Rihanna has stayed relevant without releasing music[4:49] Factors behind Rihanna’s cool factor[13:18] Where will Rihanna’s performance rank among Super Bowl halftime performances?[18:03] Evaluating Roc Nation as halftime show producers[26:47] “Chaotic” MTV-era producing halftime shows [28:59] Apple Music’s impact as first-time show sponsor[32:52] Is performing at the Super Bowl still the biggest stage?[37:15] Is Rihanna finally returning to music?[45:32] Predicting future Super Bowl performersListen: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSSHost: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.coGuests: Louie Mandelbaum, @DJLouieXIVThis episode was brought to you by trac. Learn more about how artists can bring web2 and web3 together for their fans at trac.coEnjoy this podcast? Rate and review the podcast here! is home for the business of music, media and culture. Learn more by reading Trapital’s free memo.TRANSCRIPTION[00:00:00] Louie Mandelbaum: I would say there's three moments that really stand out to me, maybe four. the first is I do believe from the jump, she always had the coolest records from Pon de Replay on like Rihanna, Pon de Replay, SOS, Unfaithful. These were like very state of the art cutting edge, well-made. Cool pop songs. She always had that going for her.[00:00:23] I think from the jump, but I don't know if that necessarily translated into her celebrity persona. I think that began to emerge around her third record, which is 2007s Good Girl, Gone Bad. I think Umbrella kind of to me stands as like the moment where Rihanna went from sort of upstart to like true.[00:00:39] Kind of a-list Pop Star, that record is obviously widely considered to be one of the best pop songs of the 21st Century For Good Reason. [00:01:15] Dan Runcie Guest Intro: Today's episode is a Super Bowl special. This is all about Rihanna, the halftime show, and how this show has evolved over the past few years. I was joined by DJ Louis the 14th, who is the host of the Pop Pantheon podcast, and him and I talked all about what do we expect from Rihanna? This is the first big music thing that she's done in quite a few years.[00:01:35] What do we think? Where this show will sit in terms of other performances that have been historic in the Super Bowl, this is now gonna be the fourth Super Bowl that Rock Nation has done. What do we think about the job that they've done? This is the first year for Apple Music. How have they been doing and what do we think we'll expect from them moving forward?[00:01:53] And also, We all know about the Super Bowl bounce, what artists do the year after the show. So what do we expect from Rihanna for the next couple of years after the show? What do we expect to see from the show moving forward? And we make some predictions at the end on who we think would be some dope Super Bowl performances that we could likely end up seeing in the next couple of years.[00:02:14] Here's the episode. Hope you enjoy it.[00:02:16] Dan Runcie: All right. Today we have the pop culture expert himself, DJ Louie the 14th here with us. Today he's hosted the Pop Pantheon podcast, and he was the best person that I had that I wanted to talk about this upcoming Super Bowl halftime show with the one and only Rihanna. So Louie, we're talking a little bit before we recorded just about her and how, I know she's someone that you can riff on for a while, but it would be good to start with where this fits with Rihanna's career right now, because she's someone that, I think it's almost gonna be seven years since Anti came out at this point, that at least the Super Bowl halftime show would've happened. I know she had the Black Panther song, but it's been so long since she's released new music, but she's still stayed so current.[00:03:04] What do you think it is about her that just keeps that.[00:03:08] Louie Mandelbaum: Dan. Thank you so much for having me on the show. So glad to be speaking with you. What I think is Rihanna's number one currency as a pop star, you know, like lots of pop stars have sort of a thing that. Is the engine behind their stardom, you know, for someone like Taylor Swift for instance, I would say it's her songwriting chops.[00:03:28] That's like the thing that everybody turns to about her. For Beyonce, it's kind of her epic performance abilities. Like, not to say they don't have other attributes that, you know are working towards their success, but they're sort of like a main thing with all of them. I tend to think, and to me Rihanna's has always been her cool factor, like Rihanna is the coolest pop star of her generation, and she's never been the most traditionally talented at any of like the musical aspects of all of it. Like she's not like a generational songwriter. She's not a particularly like gifted dancer, you know, she's a very distinctive, but not traditionally powerful vocalist necessarily.[00:04:13] So Rihanna's thing has always been that she is genuinely cool, like in a way that isn't put on or try hard in any sort of way. And I think that allows her to have a certain amount of interest in everything that she does, even when she's not making music. And of course, she's done a really fantastic job of building out her brand identity outside of just being a pop star through the success of her various fashion lines, Fenty Beauty, Savage, all of that stuff.[00:04:47] Has allowed her cool factor to like disseminate through culture without her necessarily releasing music. But I think the most important part when it comes to her returning to music is that unlike other pop stars of her generation, say like a Katie Perry, who definitely does not run on Cool factor, I think that Rihanna is appealing to pop's core fan base, which has shifted out of her specific generation. So like since Rihanna's released new music, like there's an entire new generation of pop fans that are now like the kind of core center of pop music that were very, very young last time that she released music. But I think Rihanna's cool factor.[00:05:28] I guess my hypothesis is that Rihanna's cool factor can allow for her to potentially be someone that they'd be interested in engaging with on new music in a way that they wouldn't, for somebody like Katie Perry or even someone like Lady Gaga, or even someone maybe even like Beyonce, I think that her cool factor creates the circumstances where perhaps people will still be engaged and interested in her releasing new music, despite the fact that it's been such a long time.[00:05:56] Dan Runcie: When do you feel like that cool factor emerged? Because I agree with you. I think there is something intrinsic about her that just pulls people in and thinking about her career, it's almost been 20 years now. She came on the scene as a teenager and, of course, I think that in the early years we do start to see a bit more of the record label created person, and you don't see as much of the personality, but over time you start to see that.[00:06:20] When do you think that shifted? Whoever's like, oh, here is the Rihanna that is showing us why she's the shit and other people aren't quite at that level.[00:06:30] Louie Mandelbaum: I would say there's three moments that really stand out to me, maybe four. the first is I do believe from the jump, she always had the coolest records from Pon de Replay on like Rihanna, Pon de Replay, SOS, Unfaithful. These were like very state of the art cutting edge, well-made. Cool pop songs. She always had that going for her.[00:06:53] I think from the jump, but I don't know if that necessarily translated into her celebrity persona. I think that began to emerge around her third record, which is 2007s Good Girl, Gone Bad. I think Umbrella kind of to me stands as like the moment where Rihanna went from sort of upstart to like true.[00:07:09] Kind of a-list Pop Star, that record is obviously widely considered to be one of the best pop songs of the 21st Century For Good Reason. It's an incredible song and something that really allowed her specific kind of reading nasally voice to like shine through and like she gave that song a Life that I think even other vocalists couldn't necessarily.[00:07:30] That was a song that famously like got passed around to Britney and Mary j Blige and acon and a lot of other artists. So it's really her plus this song that sort of came together and it was like her cool factor and her specific brand of Rihannaness that really made that song what it was. But I also think in a sort of, weirdly, maybe this is like a sticky and difficult or chewy idea. But I do think in the wake of what happened between her and Chris Brown, which was obviously like a horrific public experience, and you know, a very difficult thing for her to parse through. And for the public who, you know, were experiencing her at like one of many zeniths of her caree
The playbook for artists to go viral on TikTok has changed a lot since 2019. Sean Taylor aka “BrandMan Sean” has written and executed that playbook for his clients since the early days of TikTok. He’s the co-founder of the ContraBrand Agency, which specializes in TikTok marketing for music talent. The agency has helped artists like Macy Gray, 24kGoldn, and Trap Beckham, among others.Sean and his team just released a global report on How Artists are Going Viral on TikTok. The report is packed with insights on artist virality on the platform. According to the report, artist-generated content (AGC) is the key to going viral today. It’s more impactful than not user-generated content (UGC) from fans and other users. AGC not only works, but it’s also a cost-effective way for independent artists to break through.However, Sean points out that virality isn’t as easy as before. TikTok has matured, and overnight success is harder to achieve. Still, with the right strategy, Sean believes TikTok is still a second-to-none top-of-funnel marketing play. We broke down this tested TikTok system in our discussion. Here’s everything we covered about the platform:[1:51] TikTok entering its maturation stage[5:39] Second wave TikTok music artists vs. first wave[9:10] Biggest shift on TikTok for artists[17:13] No, artists don’t have to post dance content[24:00] YouTube shorts lack of culture[26:29] YouTube’s advantage over TikTok[31:31] The problem with IG Reels[33:32] TikTok pushing Google for search dominance[38:55] TikTok as a marketing funnel[42:21] The rise of TikTok live[46:10] Predicting where TikTok will be in three yearsHow Artists are Going Viral on TikTok in 2022 report: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSSHost: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.coGuests: Sean Taylor, @brandmanseanEnjoy this podcast? Rate and review the podcast here! is home for the business of music, media and culture. Learn more by reading Trapital’s free memo.TRANSCRIPTIONTrapital #Sean Taylor[00:00:00] Sean Taylor: One of the problems that people were having were them blowing up right? Without being able to connect to an actual face, right? So it solves so many of the problems that come with that, and even helps the problem of TikTok’s algorithm where people just hop on and start running things up with ads and you haven't really even understood what your content looks like, that creates some algorithmic problems, which probably aren't worth getting into, here, or maybe they are, but yeah. Man, artists generate content. It's gonna be a love hate relationship for sure with artists, the labels, all of us, right? But, if anything, it'll force collaboration and synergy between teams, in ways that it hasn't before.[00:00:42] Dan Runcie Intro: Hey, welcome to the Trapital Podcast. I'm your host and the founder of Trapital, Dan Runcie. This podcast is your place to gain insights from the executives in music, media, entertainment, and more. Who are taking hip hop culture to the next level.[00:00:42] Dan Runcie: All right, today we are joined by my guy, Brandman Sean, Sean Taylor, who is back on the podcast for a second time now, and I wanted to have him on because there's so much that's happening with TikTok, with short form video and how artists are using it. And his company, the contraband agency just put out a report that dives deep into this, and he talks about this often on his platform, the Brandman Network. So Sean, let's level for a little bit, and I feel like TikTok is in such an interesting place right now, 2023. It's not some of that same rapid growth that it may have had a couple years ago, but it's still so essential for artists. How do you feel about where the platform is right now?[00:01:51] Sean Taylor: I think it's in a really good space actually. It's in a maturation space. The problem with that is people aren't seeing hits come as easy on the platform. and they're actually using that to downplay the platform and say, TikTok isn't that impactful, or it's not that big of a deal. It's hard to get a hit on TikTok. The difference is it's now a normal marketing infrastructure within your whole overall marketing stack. So yeah, there was this hot period where you were getting like gains that you probably didn't even deserve. Right. Every shock, swish, nothing but net. Now you have to do what you're supposed to do in every other space. So I think a lot of the pain that people are feeling isn't necessarily TikTok not being effective. It's TikTok not being unreasonably effective, unbelievably effective. The thing that made me get on TikTok, back in 2019. It's in an interesting space, but I think it's in a good space actually. And I can go deeper into that specific argument and why I see it that way. Cuz there's some numbers and milestones that I kind of think of it and approach it from, but yeah, that's where I think TikTok is right now. It's new, it's a viable marketing channel, but it's not the marketing channel that everybody is going to be as excited about as they were.[00:03:24] Dan Runcie: I'm glad you said this because there's been a bunch of reports about how TikTok has slowed down about how artists are starting to complain, and I've heard many A-list artists, even privately and publicly complain that things are popping the way they used to. But this isn't 2019 anymore. It may take some actual marketing expertise since some clever thinking about how to find things in. I remember one of the reports I said was talking about how you can't just give some post or some link to Addison Rae and then hope that someone like that goes and blows the whole thing up for you and makes you a superstar. You have to find your niches and build from there. And in reading that, it's like, well that sounds like what it's like to grow any type of career, and that's probably how it should be, right?[00:04:11] Sean Taylor: Exactly. Should it be that you pay one person and everything just blows up. Not really. I would love it to be that way for me, you know? But look, that's just the reality of how marketing works. So you can still get that number to grow and get millions of streams, but that millions might come a little bit slower. And now when it hits that 2 million mark, 3 million mark, probably even before that, it's gonna take a lot more heavy lifting to get it over the hump where, That thing could just keep going like a rocket ship straight to 2030 and not stop, right? So it's a great space to get things off the ground and create the spark, but going beyond that spark is more difficult.[00:04:59] Dan Runcie: In past years, we saw record labels signing a bunch of artists that came from TikTok, and I would assume that because of this rocket ship success, people didn't have the infrastructure behind them. A lot of those stories probably didn't end up panning out the way that they thought they would, maybe even at a lower rate than the average hit rate for. Otherwise artists at a record label are assigned. But I would think now that things have matured a bit, the artists that are actually coming to the forefront are likely gonna have more behind them. And because of that, B, the potential to actually maybe have a more sustainable career than that first wave of artists who just benefited from a very aggressive area.[00:05:39] Sean Taylor: Yeah. I mean, I think the thing is people hadn't really seen anything like that before, right? Like yeah, there had been one hit wonder. That has happened and someone who's seasoning the game probably understands what needs to take place. But to constantly have day after day someone popping out of nowhere like a breakneck speed level and trying to figure out how to bring infrastructure up, up under all these artists at the same time is a completely different story. Cuz it's also a different story when you have these artists housed under you, and then things take off really fast. You're taking them, you're trying to create a deal and figure out how to sign them, and then create infrastructure. By the time some of these deals take place, a lot of that moment is already missed, right? So, it was a really weird space, and I'm sure there's labels that have more of an infrastructure that's prepared for that situation. It's like, oh, if we bring somebody in from that particular climate, then there's a specific path that we can take 'em. Whether we expedite some things or we start here versus there, I'm sure that's there. But TikTok was really weird watching in the beginning because you had all these people blowing up and many didn't even wanna blow up, right? Like you had kids just using the platform and blowing up, they were an artist or just a regular influence or whatever you call 'em. They were just doing what kids normally do on apps and became stars overnight, which is very different from the artist who wants to be an artist. And then they take off. These are kids who are in their experimentational experimentation phase, kind of just having fun playing with things. And then it might be a hit song, right in a bed without even them trying to pursue it. So it created this really interesting space on TikTok and unfortunately, where I saw early on there were so many artists I don't wanna say artists, actually, less artists, more general content, creators falling prey to opportunist managers and companies because artists fortunately, have had a lot of education in these pages. I'm not saying artists don't ever have bad deals and situations, but there's a very common knowledge almost at this point that's been put out for artists getting in bad deals, avoiding bad deals, what you should do, in the culture, that education is out there as a regular content creator. That information isn't out there. Right. But it's very similar. So I actually saw like a lot of kids being signed by
Everybody’s got something to say about Cash Money Records and the brothers who co-founded the label —Bryan “Birdman” Williams and Ronald “Slim” Williams. To paint the full Cash Money full picture, good and bad, I brought on Zack O’Malley Greenberg who has interviewed the brothers at-length while working at Forbes.Cash Money has one of the deepest catalogs in the game with several classics. And unlike some other upstart hip-hop labels, Birdman and Slim maintained control as they rose up. Their 1998 distribution deal with Universal is hip-hop’s Louisiana Purchase.But we can’t ignore Cash Money’s lows either. There is a long, long list of artists who claim they were not compensated fairly by Birdman and Slim.Zack and I go through 30 years of Cash Money as a business, its competitive advantage, and what comes next now that Drake and Wayne are gone from the label. [1:44] Is Cash Money the greatest hip-hop record label of all time?[7:34] What people sleep on about Cash Money[11:01] Cash Money’s history of not paying artists [16:52] Did Cash Money succeed because of Birdman and Slim or despite them? [19:29] Biggest signing? [20:29] The 1998 Universal-Cash Money deal [25:31] Lil’ Wayne’s mixtape run[29:03] The benefit of partnering with Republic Records[31:49] Bidding wars for Lil Wayne, Drake, and Nicki Minaj[33:21] Connection with New Jack City [40:56] Cash Money catalog valuation ?[43:00] Lil Wayne’s beef with Birdman [45:48] Can Cash Money strike platinum again? [50:44] Birdman’s love for music [56:08] Hopes for a Cash Money reunion tour and biopic [58:24] Who “won” the most in Cash Money’s history?Listen: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSSHost: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.coGuests: Zack O’Malley Greenburg, @zogblogEnjoy this podcast? Rate and review the podcast here! is home for the business of music, media and culture. Learn more by reading Trapital’s free memo.Transcription[00:00:00] Zack: You know, some of the subsequent deals that they worked out with Universal, you know, maybe some of the deals where they were able to get universal to, to tackle some of the back office stuff. I mean, it's very unsexy, but you know, that's clearly an area where they needed to improve. So, let's say,to give some cash in terms of like higher distribution fee in order to have Universal, you know, cover some of this stuff. It's kinda like a boring, dark horse candidate, but you know, I mean, you could say that, that's probably useful in terms of buttoning things up.[00:00:37] Dan Intro: Hey, welcome to the Trapital Podcast. I'm your host and the founder of Trapital, Dan Runcie. This podcast is your place to gain insights from the executives in music, media, entertainment, and more who are taking hip hop culture to the next level.[00:00:57] Dan: All right. Today's episode is all about the one, the only cash money records. I got the one and only Zack Greenberg here who has reported on this company many times before we ran to this company and the business moves they did in our Top 10 Revolutionary list last year. So Zack, welcome back. I'm excited for this one.[00:01:18] Zack: Always good to be here with you, Dan. [00:01:19] Dan: Yeah. So for the folks listening, we are gonna do this in a few ways. We got a bunch of categories here that we're gonna run through, just evaluating Cash Money as a business, some of the highs, some of the lows, and just where they stand overall. But I think it'll be great to kick it off with the question that we often hear from folks is Cash Money, the greatest hip hop record label of all time? What's your point? What's your take?[00:01:44] Zack: How, man, you know, I mean, I think it's sort of like, any of these greatest ever are you talking about, overall body of work or sort of like, you know, The label at its peak. But you know, I think you gotta take it in an overall body of work, you know, type of thing. You know, it's hard to top Def Jam, I think, you know, if you were gonna go with an overall body of work, hip hop, legacy. But, you know, I don't know other than that, I mean, it's hard to say that there's anybody who you'd put above cash money, I'd say. Especially something that is, you know, really artist founded in that same way. I mean, you could talk about Bad Boy, you could talk about Rockefeller. But I think that, you know, Cash Money has staying power. You know, through Drake and Nikki and Lil Wayne and so forth, you know, in a way that, you know, I would argue that a lot of these other labels haven't, and, you know, who else can say that they've had Drake for that long? And I guess he's not there anymore. But man, that was pretty recent development and it's been a pretty great run. So, you know, to go all the way from the early nineties, you know, through basically now being relevant, stacking up all that catalog, you know, it's certainly, if not number one, it's, you know, gotta be top three, if not top two.[00:03:00] Dan: Yeah. So my answer is Def Jam as well, and we'll get to Def Jam in a minute. But, the case for Cash Money is this, and I know a few people have said it. Irv Gotti recently said it. Russell Simmons himself said that Cash Money was the greatest hip hop company that has come through. But the case for cash money, you mentioned it earlier, the fact that they did it while owning the core asset and the music and still doing that moving forward says a lot. Not something that can be said about Def Jam, many of the others that would be even in the conversation. I think even with a newer label at Quality Control, they've still done it while owning it. Well, at least up to this point from some rumors that are happening. But I think that's one case for Def Jam. But then I think of the continued run of success from everything that happened in the nineties from I guess we could start with like juvenile drop in HA in 98 and then pretty much everything from Drake's last Cash Money album, which I believe was Scorpion. So if you're looking just at like that run from everything there, that is such a strong hit rate. And I think that's the thing too that I would give them over Def Jam is the hit rate of who were the artists we signed and what was their likelihood of success and they were just able to do it. Even with the imprints, I mean, I think major record labels. So wrong with so many imprints. I just never worked out and for them to have, whether it's Young Money or even the smaller moments with the best music or with Rich Gain, there was always something there. And even though there was some conflict, and we'll get to that, I think that's the Cash Money case. The Def Jam case though, I think this is where I think of course Def Jam did end up becoming a major record label, so it's a little bit nuanced there, but I do think you have that eighties run Beasties LL Public Enemy. You got the nineties run with all those artists too. Especially looking at what Red Band met the man DMX. I feel like they had New York on Locke and then two thousands, the Rockefeller partner. Murder Inc. The video games, I mean, it's, I know the last decade hasn't been there, but it would be tough to not put Def Jam up top, but I understand if some people would consider Def Jam a major as opposed to, you know, an independent. So, I get the nuance there. [00:05:10] Zack: right, right. And, and being, you know, fully owned by a major as opposed to Cash Money, which really has distribution agreement. You know, and you could look at, you know, I guess Def Jam was sold in chunks, but the total amount that sold for, you'd have to adjust for inflation and stuff. But I wonder how that would stack up against the current value of cash money today, which, you know, it's incredibly driven by the copyrights that they still control and, you know, definitely hundreds of millions of dollars. You know, if you look at, Lil Wayne kind of quietly sold his The Young Money, Cash Money Partnership for a hundred million bucks a couple years ago, that was before the catalog boom, got really crazy and then kind of died down again. So, you know that that's valuing what Birdman and Slim Own, you know, just on the Young Money, Cash Money side of the business, you know, at nine figures. So there's, you know, there's a lot more to the company than that, although that's, you know, that's kind of the gold line. But still, you gotta think that, you know, this is still, you know, sent a million dollar business and, you know, I'd be curious to see what a proper valuation, you know, what it would look like against the total value that Def Jam got, you know, in terms of dollars over the years. But, you know, when you think about who was hottest and what record label was hottest at any particular point, Yeah, I think probably the peak was there was that year that Def Jam was, you know, getting sold or the second half of it was getting sold. And, Lyor basically said to Jay and D M X, like, let's have two albums this year. And, you know, because the valuation is gonna be based on revenues, not earnings. And like, the more you can sell, the more we get. And so, you know, that moment at D M X at his peak, and you know, Jay, I think, I'd say at least at his commercial, you know, record Sales Peak, you know, as an individual artist, you know, that was about as hot as, as it could ever get for, for any record label, I think. [00:07:08] Dan: That's a good point. So I guess if we were to compare Def Jams 98 and 99, like that run to Yeah. Cash Money, and I know there's a few runs you could put in there, but from an overall commercial perspective, it would have to be 0 8, 0 9 20 10, I would probably assume, because you get. Carter three, and then you get, you know, Drake's debut, Nikki's debut. I feel like it would probably be somewhere in there. [00:07:34] Zack: Yeah, that's probably pretty close. I mean, that was a lot, you know, that was a lot of
I had a great chat about the future of streaming and more with Ari Herstand, who isan independent artist who also runs Ari’s Take, an education business to teach others artists about the industry. He just released the third edition of his book, How To Make It In the New Music Business.Ari joined me to discuss how artists are navigating new music releases. It's increasingly getting out of the artist’s hands in favor of the uncontrollable algorithms powering the likes of Spotify and TikTok. Ari says it’s like, “playing the lottery.” While algorithms are taking the human element out of music discovery, that human touch has found itself into new artist monetization tools like NFTs. It has inverted what Ari calls an artist’s “pyramid of investment” for an artist growing their fanbase.Ari and I covered a lot of ground on this episode. Here’s what you can expect to hear from us:[3:10] Waterfall release method infiltrating Spotify[8:15] Music discovery power shifting away from human, toward algorithms [11:40] DSP’s purposely pulling power away from playlist editors[19:21] TikTok isn’t for every artist[21:26] Evolving team structure of an indie artist [27:55] Role of music NFTs[31:44] How Sammy Arriaga sold $250k of NFTs to non-fans[40:02] The Pyramid of investment [49:10] Ari the musician vs. Ari the educator [50:05] Updated version of How To Make It In New Music Business bookListen: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSSHost: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.coGuest: Ari Herstand, @ariherstandLearn more about Ari's book, How to Make It in the New Music Business here: https://book.aristake.comLearn more about Ari's Take here: week’s sponsor is Laylo. Join artists like Kodak Black, Sam Smith, and others who notify their fans instantly when they drop merch, tickets, and more. Create your own drop page for free in seconds at laylo.comEnjoy this podcast? Rate and review the podcast here! is home for the business of music, media and culture. Learn more by reading Trapital’s free memo.TRANSCRIPTION[00:00:00] ARI HERSTANDI'm not a good recording engineer and I'm not a producer. So that's another team member that I'm going to hire when I make a record. Like I'm not Finneas. I'm not going to make a record in my bedroom. Like I can't do that. And that's not what I want to do. Like honestly, that doesn't inspire me. What inspires me is to make music with other people.[00:00:26] DAN RUNCIE INTROHey, welcome to the Trapital Podcast. I'm your host and the founder of Trapital, Dan Runcie. This podcast is your place to gain insights from executives in music, media, entertainment, and more who are taking hip-hop culture to the next level.[00:01:36] DAN RUNCIEToday's episode is a playbook for all the indie artists out there. I had a great conversation with Ari Herstand, who is a musician himself, and he's also the founder of Ari's Take, which is his education business that focuses on how artists can make it today, especially indie artists. How indie artists can make it today in the new music business. And that's actually the title of the third edition of this upcoming book. Ari and I talked a lot about some of the new and updated insights that he has in this edition of the book, specifically around streaming, and how artists are starting to favor and prefer focusing on algorithms and how that can get them more listeners and where playlists currently sit with artists prioritizing them. And we also talk about NFTs, TikTok, and Ari's concept in the book called the Pyramid of Investment. This is a great conversation for anyone that wants to better understand the music industry, especially for the growing segment of independent artists that are carving their lanes out for themselves. Here's the episode. Hope you enjoy it.[00:01:48] DAN RUNCIEAll right, today we are joined by Ari Herstand, who is the author of his new book that's coming out, how to make it in the new music business. He's an artist himself, and I was lucky enough to be a guest on his podcast a couple months back. So Ari, it's great to have you on. And congrats on the book coming up.[00:02:06] ARI HERSTANDYeah, thanks, Dan. Thank you. Thank you. Very exciting. The third edition and get ramped up for that. But it's great to be here with you today. Thanks for having me.[00:02:17] DAN RUNCIEYeah, definitely. And I know for you, one of the big topics of the book is just how artists continue to evolve with how they're releasing music, how they're paying attention to what's going on with streaming right now. I feel like you have a good vantage point for this because you're doing so much of this yourself with your own releases. What are some of the big changes? Because I know that everything post-pandemic has been a little different, and now we're heading into this new phase right now with the new year. What's the big thing for you that you're seeing with the evolution?[00:09:07] ARI HERSTANDRight. So every artist needs to ask themselves what their intentions are with their release. And so, you know, the beautiful thing about the new music business and the scary and daunting thing about the new music business is there really isn't a right or a wrong way to do anything. There is the right and wrong way for you. And that could be the wrong way for me. So everyone, you know, it's based on your intentions and what your goals are for the release. If we just go, you know, more in the mainstream realm or let's just say your intention is to be successful on Spotify. Because that's a metric that most artists these days are kind of using to gauge the success of their release. And they want to have the best chance of, you know, grabbing that Spotify, being being blessed by the Spotify God, I guess. So to do that, there is a very specific release strategy that has been studied and now tested and now used by everyone from Lizzo and Krungman to Maggie Rogers to Robert Glassberg. And that's the waterfall release method. And Indie artists, you know, that are just releasing their first few singles are using this as well. I mean, this is the waterfall release method. And I'll break this down a little bit on what this means. This has started to get used a few years ago, but it really picked up last year in 2022. And now 2023 is I think going to be the year of the waterfall. But basically what it is is that, you know, you release singles leading up to the album. That has been happening for years now. However, here's what gets a little bit more where where it gets a nuance on how those singles are released. It's you don't just release a single song anymore as a single. You release your first single one song. That's just the one song released one second now your second single is that the new song is track number one. And the previous single that you released is track number two. So it's technically your second single, but it's kind of like a two song album. If you really go that way, if you're tuning it up, if you're an artist is to the artist asking this all the time. Well, how do I do this in my district? back end or whatever, like doing it's a two song album. And the way that the streams maintain for the previous single and that you don't lose your playlist inclusion, all that stuff is you use the same highest or C number. And so it's if you use the same highest or C number that used when you released that track, a month prior, it will be identical stream counts. And then a month later, you release your third single, but that's now a three track album. You know track number one is the new single track number two is the single you release a month ago and track number three is the is the single you release two months ago. And as long again, use the same highest or C numbers, it'll be included in the same playlist. They will be identical tracks, wherever they're included on people's algorithm, personal playlists, all that stuff. You can do this. People are doing five or six singles that way. And then the album and this release method, you know, this could take eight months, essentially, if you want to do one single every four to six weeks, and then the album. How you can kind of look at it, is you're building the album. And so it doesn't have to go on order, you can pick whatever order you want based on your singles. And then the final album is the album order, no correlation doesn't have to be the single order, you can pick whatever order you want each time. The track art can be different each time. I've seen it, people do different single art for each release. I've seen people just use the album cover for every release. So you know, at the end, you might have like six singles released that each have a few different songs on them. And then the full album, some people pull those previous singles down. So if they want to get a clean discography going up there, you just have a final album at the end of the day. And the previous singles with like the two song album, a three-song album, the four-song album before they pull those down. But you're not going to lose any playlists, you're not going to lose any stream counts because you're using same iris to scene numbers each time. So that is a release method, and the reason people are doing it this way is for the Spotify algorithm because Spotify likes to have regular releases. And if you send somebody say, hey, here's my new song and you send them the link, they're going to listen to that song. Now, if there's nothing, no other songs following that song to listen to, after your song finishes, Spotify is going to recommend them something to listen to or they're going to jump off and listen to something else. Now, if you give them the songs to listen to that after your previous releases, they'll stick around and keep listening to it. So the reason people are doing this is for the Spotify algorithm, but also to keep their fans engage
Sean “Diddy” Combs is one of hip-hop’s most serial entrepreneurs. His business track record stretches 30 years with successes in completely-different industries — music (Bad Boys Records), clothing (Sean John), spirits (Ciroc and DeLeon), media (Revolt), among many other ventures. To take a closer look at Combs' empire, I brought on Tarik Brooks, who is the president of Combs Enterprises. Many chalk up Diddy’s entrepreneurial success to his influence and brand alone. While Tarik doesn’t deny Diddy’s star power, he also argues that line of thinking understates Diddy’s business acumen — his ability to spot trends, attract talent, raise capital, and so forth. Not only that, but the broadness of Combs Enterprises is a unique competitive advantage. Diddy’s different businesses across sectors give them unique data points that can drive decision-making. The group announced a new foray into cannabis in late 2022. However, they won’t enter the space completely void of knowledge. Using insights from Revolt or Ciroc, they can glean how customers think about cannabis already.  Tarik and I dove deep into Diddy’s sprawling business empire this episode — the “why” not the “how” behind Puff’s success. Here’s what you can expect to hear: [0:00] Combs Enterprises’ focus in 2023[2:22] Synergies between Diddy’s different businesses [4:40] Using Revolt Summit as a testing ground [6:29] Origins of the “Ciroc playbook”  [9:32] How much strategic overlap is there between Ciroc and DeLeon marketing? [15:41] Entering the cannabis space[18:00] Regulatory challenges in the cannabis industry[26:01] Why Diddy is not just another celebrity entrepreneur [30:03] How Combs Enterprises invests in startups[34:21] Did Diddy really back Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter?[36:45] No rush to sell Bad Boy Records catalog [41:32] Sean John comeback [47:05] Diddy’s attempt to buy the Carolina Panthers in 2018Listen: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSSHost: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.coGuest: Tarik A. Brooks, @tarikamin  Enjoy this podcast? Rate and review the podcast here! Trapital is home for the business of music, media and culture. Learn more by reading Trapital’s free memo.TRANSCRIPTION[00:00:00] Tarik Brooks: Twitter's impact in society is certainly bigger than how it shows up from a profit and loss and from a market cap perspective. And when you look at, you know, where Twitter is trading today is trading at a fraction of like Facebook or like Snapchat is the question from an investment perspective with some you could create meaningful.[00:00:33] Dan Runcie: Hey, welcome to the podcast. I'm your host and the founder of Dan Runcie. This podcast is your place to gain insights from the executives in music, media, entertainment, and more who are taking hip hop culture to the next level. [00:00:53] Dan Runcie: All right, today we got my guy, Tarik Brooks, the president of Combs Enterprises. Second time on the podcast. Great to have you back, man.[00:01:01] Tarik Brooks: Happy New Year my brother. Great to be back. [00:01:03] Dan Runcie: So what's the latest from the House of Combs?[00:01:08] Tarik Brooks: Things are wonderful enterprises, man. Tremendous 2022, where we did a lot of investing in our existing platforms and in new platforms. And so, you know, the big push in 23. Is to operationalized and grow a lot of those new platforms. You know, a lot of people are familiar with the cannabis deal, which we announced late last year. We're gonna close that deal and get that operational. We've also been working on an e-commerce platform with Salesforce, called it Power Global, that will launch this year, you know, released music last year. That did great. I mean, he and a sub-Christian. You know, with the first father and son duo to be number one. At the same time, there'll be more projects from Love Records coming in this year. So a lot of new things are in 23, so I wanna accustom a lot of exciting developments. [00:01:56] Dan Runcie: And I feel like one of the strengths for him whenever he is launching a new brand is being able to find some type of synergy between something that he's done that's already worked and finding some way to tie it all together. And for you, I know you've been there for a couple years. Is there like one company or one tie in that really stands out about, oh yeah, what Puff is able to do here? Tweak the formula a little bit, brought it over to this company and then it helped that one too.[00:02:22] Tarik Brooks: Yeah. It is interesting, man, like, because you know, with the ecosystem we have that there are synergies all over the place that we work hard to exploit everyday. What I'll tell you bigger thing is that underneath our ecosystem sits the core premise, a core belief that our culture drives culture, that our people drive what's cool and what's next and what's hot in a meaningful way. So, you know, you go back to blues and jazz and rock and roll to hip hop, TikTok, viral dances, like our people drive that. And so if you look at all of the different elements in our ecosystem. What you see are different sectors that we drive through our cultural presence. And so when you look at our platform through that lens, you see how they all fit together. So then synergies just become finding places where, you know, we can work together to make one plus one equal three or four. Right? And so like, you know, easy examples when you think about how you know our brands will show up at the Revolt Summit. So Revolt hosts this amazing event every year in Atlanta. 10,000 people come. It gives us an opportunity to kinda have revolt, touch to people, but also have ourown touch to people for us to do research for new companies that we're developing the test concepts. These are ways that we don't place there with our ecosystem. I mean, I look at a great example. Deleon tequila. Used Druski in an ad, you know, super funny guy. Did a tremendous job with the ad. We then, you know, connected in with the team in Revolt and he did something with Revolt. It ended up being a great, great opportunity there. So like throughout our ecosystem, you see all these opportunities that exist with our portfolio companies and with the companies that we invest in. We think about how we invest and part of it is all the stuff you expect from any traditional investment vehicle. You know, do you have great leadership? Do you have a strong destructive concept? But what we also know about there two or three ways that this thing could be utilized is our ecosystem for the company. So it's an everyday activity, you know, finding, exploiting, and developing those things [00:04:31] Dan Runcie:  You mentioned earlier about the Revolt Summit and how that can be a test space for whether it's new products or new things. Can you talk more about that? Cause I think that's really interesting. [00:04:40] Tarik Brooks: Yeah, so I mean this past Revolt Summit, the team at Empowered Global, which is the eCommerce platform that I just mentioned, had a space set up where they could introduce the concept to the participants at the Revolt Summit. And more than that, we actually had, and it was, I gotta find you a picture of this. A digital vending machine that was filled with black-owned products. So, and kinda like what you would see at the airport where you have vending machines, where they kinda have, you know, non typical vending machine products, headphones, and different things like that. Our vending machine that we had set up in the Revolt Summit was all filled with products that were owned by black that came from black owned companies. And so that was like just a real example. In that moment, we were able to introduce people to the concept of the platform, try out some new tech and get real time feedback from people who we believe will be a part of that target. [00:05:34] Dan Runcie: That makes sense. Yeah. Because you wanna have people that are first bought in, you get the people there and I think the people that are gonna attend Revolt Summit likely end up being culture shapers or mavens within their particular area themselves. They start saying something's good, and then they can, you know, go back and that's how you're able to spread things.[00:05:52] Tarik Brooks: 100%. It's the way, you know, everybody talks about it in terms of synergies, but we like to talk about it in terms of not planting there, right? Like we have these resources, we have these brands that mean something to people. You know that the most impactful thing we can do is find out how putting those brands together at different times in different ways produces more information, produces more insight, produces more, you know, revenue generating opportunity than any of those entities in silos. So for me, like the silo is the enemy, right? Like the key is to have all of our leaders and all of our team members continuously engaging in a very fluid way.[00:06:29] Dan Runcie: Yeah, the one that always stuck out to me too was Ciroc and the on the ground promotion for that, because there are so many through lines going back to The Bad Boy Days, the Bad Boy Street team, and then the Ciroc Boys. It's very similar playbook and being able to help push that. [00:06:45] Tarik Brooks: Yeah, I mean, look, and again, the playbook is the same. It's the same. You know, when you look at what the spirits industry looked at at the time, it was very different from today. You know, a lot of folks don't realize at that time the only people really trying to market, know black people in the hip was more liquor. Right? Cause I know I wasn't on the team back then, but what I can tell you is he looked at how nightlife worked and how the culture was working and evolving and saw a huge opportunity for an aspirational luxury product. And then was able to apply a lot of the same tools that were driving his success in the music business in spirit
I had the pleasure of being the keynote speaker at New York University’s Annual Alumni Event for its music business department. Big thanks to Larry Miller, a professor and director of the program, for inviting me. It was a free-flowing conversation focused on how technology is reshaping the music industry from top-to-bottom. We’re well into the streaming era now, but some of the second-order effects are barely starting to ripple — particularly the oversaturation of content. It’s easier and cheaper than ever to release music, which explains how tens of thousands of new songs are uploaded to Spotify on a daily basis.On one hand, this has ushered in a golden era of independent artists making a career without the backing of a label. On the other hand, value is increasingly accruing to the superstar artists. Most of these superstars were “grandfathered” into this new era as they were already household names before streaming took off. Reaching that same superstar status is harder and harder for new artists due to the industry’s oversaturation. Larry and I dove deeper into the issue during our conversation. Students also hit me with Q&A about burning topics such as ChatGPT, botted streaming numbers, and much more. Here’s what you can expect to hear on this episode: [2:02] Introduction from Larry Miller [5:09] Superstar artists like Taylor Swift and Drake shining brighter than ever[10:22] Too many hits, not enough superstars[17:23] How Curren$y “niched down” to break through[24:18] Tradeoffs of going independent or the major label route[26:47] Industry takeaways from Spotify and YouTube’s billions playlists[30:32] YouTube’s competitive advantage over Spotify[34:09] Evolving Trapital’s own business model[39:43] Music’s bot problem in streaming and ticketing[42:07] Is the music superstar dead?[44:19] Picking a platform(s) as a new artist[46:24] How oversaturated music landscape impacts listeners[49:03] Is New York drill music the next wave?[50:48] Pros and cons of AI musicTrapital’s first-ever Cultural Report for 2022: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSSHost: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan,  Enjoy this podcast? Rate and review the podcast here! Trapital is home for the business of music, media and culture. Learn more by reading Trapital’s free memo.TRANSCRIPTION[00:00:00] Dan Runcie: Both Spotify and YouTube generated a tremendous amount of revenue for the music industry. I believe Spotify had last shared that they generated 7 billion for the industry. YouTube generates six or seven, I think it's 6 billion. The last thing that I had seen them put in. So that is a sign. Okay, great. You know, you tie that back into the numbers you shared before. You can do a little bit of backwards math to see how much of that is responsible for the overall industry with where it is now. So you see that, and then you also know that like anything else, the most popular songs drive most of that revenue. So you can kind of get a good idea to be like, okay, what are the songs that are driving? The music industry right now. [00:00:46] Dan Runcie: Hey, welcome to the podcast. I'm your host and the founder of Dan Ruey. This podcast is your place to gain insights from the executives in music, media, entertainment, and more who are taking hip hop culture to the next level. [00:01:04] (Intro) Dan Runcie: This episode is a fun one. We're sharing the audio from a talk that I recently gave at NYU. I was the keynote speaker at an event there for several hundred alumni and students. For the music business program, it starts off with a 10 minute talk by me where I'm giving an overview on the lay of the land with where things lay right now with streaming and music and social media, and how artists are doing their best to navigate all of the noise that's happening right now. And then it pivots into a conversation. Which is a fireside chat with me and Larry Miller, who's the head of the music program at N Y U, and we talk even more about what certain artists are doing, right? We talked about Currensy, who I recently had on the podcast a couple months ago. We also talk a little bit about me and Trapital and building this and where I see things going in the future. Really fun conversation. I really enjoyed doing this event and I hope you enjoyed this. Here it goes. [00:02:02] Larry Miller: Dan Runcie is the founder of Trapital. Trapital has become an amazing media platform and the quality and amount of content, really insightful content that Dan cranks out as remarkable. It's just remarkable. What it's about is the people who are taking hip hop and culture to the next level. That includes the artists who are becoming moguls, leaders who are reaching new heights and fans inspired by hip hop's growing influence. Dan, when he'd school, and I suppose even, you know, business school. This media company Trapital, because he wanted to see a change. The hip hop execs that he looked up to were becoming really successful business leaders, but he felt that they rarely got the coverage that they deserved. And he wanted to do something about it. So he launched Trapital in March of 2018, and the business has grown ever since. Tens of thousands of influential people read Trapital's weekly memos and listen to the Trapital Podcast every week to stay ahead of the latest trends. Trapital's been featured pretty much everywhere. Places like The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, and the BBC and N P R,  C N B C and lots of other places are turning to Dan for insights on the business of hip hop. Dan's recent coverage has focused on lots of things. He's focused on the surprising differences between Spotify's and YouTube's. Billion stream playlists. Just looking at the ones that have done a billion on each platform. There are actually some pretty interesting differences between those two platforms. He's done significant work on how a venture capital fund from a 16 Z, Andreas and Horowitz invest money that is raised exclusively from black leaders in entertainment, sports, and business. He's done a report on the so-called decline in the influence of hip hop culture. He's done work on the future of ticketing. He's done a lot on DIY careers in hip hop, and done some really insightful reporting around Joe Kelli's amazing new book, Rap Capital, the Rise and Reign of Atlanta's hip hop culture, which if you haven't read it, get it. Dan got his MBA from a school in the Midwest, I think it's called Michigan, and he lives in San Francisco with his wife, and small child, daughter. Please give a warm NYU music biz welcome to Dan Runcie.[00:05:09] Dan Runcie: Larry, thank you to the entire faculty, alumni for having me. It's an honor to be here. And I guess to start things off, because she's been brought up a few times, Taylor Swift has been a topic I know a lot of you thought about. So just outta curiosity, how many of you tried to buy Taylor Swift tickets this week? Okay, a few hands. Keep those hands up if you actually got Taylor Swift tickets this week. Okay? All right. Well, people will have to follow up with you all after to figure out exactly how you did that, but I think that's an interesting place to start with so much of what's happening right now in the music industry, because Ticketmaster, as most of you know, the whole entire app and the site crash because of the high demand. Ticketmaster put out this blog post and they said that they had five times the amount of hits compared to the Super Bowl, compared to other high days worth of events for this concert alone for Taylor Swift, and she's someone that's been on tour before. She's someone that has done plenty of things in music, but to see this kind of demand is pretty surprising. But she also broke a bunch of records with the album that she just put out a couple weeks ago, Midnights, and it's made me think about something we've talked a lot about recently, in Trapital. Something we've done a lot of research on. Right now there is so much music coming. I see, I think a few of you probably saw that music business Worldwide article, Spotify releases it. A hundred thousand songs a day get uploaded to that service. Most of those songs don't get listened to, to be clear, but a hundred thousand songs a day is still something else. And then as Larry had mentioned as well, Live Nation and a lot of these other event promoters and ticketing companies are having their biggest quarters and biggest years. And artists like Taylor are probably going to be having record years. And on the flip side, you also look at someone like Drake. Him and 21 Savage recently just put out their album, Her Loss. I think Drake gave one week's notice on this album, fourth highest streaming week that an album has ever had, which is pretty impressive. I know that Drake's a superstar, but still, even his past albums before this had plenty of buildup before where if you think about what he did with Scorpion or even the long buildup for an album like Certified Lover Boy. But the fact that Drake can announce on short notice is pretty surprising because if you think about where things are in music, you have more artists than ever that wanna tour. You have more artists than ever that are releasing music, but it's the superstar artists that are still the ones that people are gravitating more towards and they're the ones that are still getting most of the profits. But on the other side of the spectrum, things are getting a little bit tougher because Larry mentioned it a little bit earlier, but a lot of artists are struggling to make toward profitable, especially post pandemic the way that things are right now. Inflation costs are rising. It's costing so much more from freight costs to be able to travel with an entire production set from city to city, hotel airfare. So certain artists are selling out their tours or selling
I’m digging into the mailbag for today’s episode. For the first time in over a year, I asked Trapital listeners and readers to send me their most burning questions about the music industry. I’ve pulled out nine questions from the bunch to cover on the show. We’re covering everything from NFTs to artificial-intelligence-assisted music creation to investing in music catalogs going forward and a whole lot more. I’m hitting you with my honest thoughts on each. Here’s a look at the topics:[0:54] State of music NFTs [4:40] Customer problems as a music startup[8:35] Lack of new music superstars [12:07] Future of AI-assisted music creation [17:00] Tradeoff for artists wanting ownership [22:11] Hasbro selling eOne[26:16] Music catalog investing in 2023[29:41] Globalization of hip-hop [33:21] Emerging artists as startup founders Trapital’s first-ever Cultural Report for 2022: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSSHost: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, Sponsors: MoonPay is the leader in web3 infrastructure. They have partnered with Timbaland, Snoop Dogg, and many more. To learn more, visit Check out The Drop, REVOLT's weekly newsletter to stay ahead of the latest news in hip-hop and Black culture. To learn more, visit Enjoy this podcast? Rate and review the podcast here! Trapital is home for the business of music, media and culture. Learn more by reading Trapital’s free memo.TRANSCRIPTION[00:00:00] Dan Runcie: If you're an owner of I.P., often times that I.P. may be the most valuable thing that you have. But does it always make sense for you to then be the ones that produce it? Of course, there's unique examples of this, right? I think Disney is a company that clearly does both, but Disney is such a unicorn in what it does in so many ways, and we've all seen that flywheel of what they've done, and that flywheel is so relevant because it's hard to see another company that could really do that to that level. But it's more likely than not that if you are an I.P. owner or it's probably in your best financial interest to partner with a company that you can leverage their production because they are skilled at being a production company to do that thing.[00:00:46] Dan Runcie: Hey, welcome to the podcast. I'm your host and the founder of Dan Runcie. This podcast is your place to gain insights from the executives in music, media, entertainment, and more who are taking hip hop culture to the next level. [00:01:04] (Intro) Dan Runcie: From you, the listeners who make Trapital, exactly what it is. So this is a mailbag question where you all sent in your best questions. Some of you emailed them, some of you posted them on socials, but I looked at the questions and picked the best ones, and this is a mailbag episode. It's been a while since we did one of these, so it felt good to do one. I actually wanna do these more often just because I think the questions were really great and we're able to address a bunch of topics that we'll get into A.I, the future of music, globalization, ownership, and all the topics that we love to break down on capital and a few ones. So let's jump in.[00:01:41] (Pre Roll Ad Moonpay) [00:02:11] Dan Runcie: All right. Today we have our one and only Mailbag episode from Trapital. It's been a while since we did one of these. I feel, maybe at some point earlier this year we did a mailbag, so it was finally good to dig back in, hear from folks and be able to answer the questions that a lot of you have been thinking. This podcast has grown quite a bit this past year and was in the 1% for the most shared podcast according to Spotify wrap, so that was pretty good. Some applause for that. And I wanted to bring in some of the questions from some of the avid listeners and readers we have. So I posted in social media, posted in the newsletter, and this is a roundup of the best ones. Covered a bunch of topics. We're gonna talk about the future of A.I and music, the state of NFTs, globalization, ownership, and a whole lot more. So let's dive into the first question we have here. So, Ken Penn wants to know what is the current state of music NFTs and our major labels as interested in them as they were? So first for some clear context, a lot of people have been asking questions about this because the general trends of N F T discussions from last year to this year is not quite what you would expect. A lot of people saw that Bloomberg report that came out earlier in 2022, I think they said, N F T transactions were down 97% from the peak that they were at in 2021. And if you type in the word NFTs in Google Trends, you'll probably see a slope that looks quite downward. That is very true, and that's clearly where that is. But I think there's a big difference between that, which I think 97% of that was the hype and a lot of the crap that you likely would only see at the height of the pandemic when money was flowing like crazy. Think about the time when like Pet rocks were being sold and Logan Paul was buying his NFTs or trying to sell his NFTs for whatever. If that was the top of the market, then I think we're seeing things level off a bit more now because you are still seeing partnerships from the major labels and from a lot of artists. I look at Warner Music Group. Warner's been active, more active than any other major label, I think, when it comes to active investments and being forward-looking and being public about those investments. And it was just six, seven weeks ago that they had formed a partnership with Open Sea, which is one of the largest platforms out there to be able to trade in as a marketplace to be able to buy and sell NFTs. So you also have other deals that we've seen. Universal Music Group recently hired two SVPs that are focused on web three with a pretty strong focus on NFTs themselves. And more broadly, you have companies like Public Pressure that just raised $6 million to continue to build in this space. I have said this a few times in this podcast, but I think that Web three and NFT specifically, you had to get through era. You had to get through that phase of people just starting shit because it sounded like it was something that was gonna resonate, but after a lot of that didn't work out. You obviously had bubble burst. That era still gave us Google, it still gave us Amazon and all these other companies that have still continued to be successful and be some of the biggest companies in the world today. And I think there was a very strong chance that we will still have that with this current wave. It may look slightly different in music, but I still think that we're gonna see, and we have seen more of the true opportunities, whether it's on the artist side of artists that are selling actual NFTs that their fans would find valuable and that others will wanna buy into as well. And I think you'll see this on the major label side with more investment going into acts that can actually reap the rewards from it. One of the biggest deals of 2022 when it comes to N F T sales was Snoop. and what he was able to do, just capturing that momentum. After the Super Bowl. We wrote, or I covered a lot of this in the culture report that Trapital put out will include a link to it in the show notes if you haven't checked it out yet, but still a lot of upside on NFTs. I do not see it quite as much as the bubble that I think was clearly there in 2021. A lot of that quarantine rapid growth needed to calm back down a bit, and I think NFTs are one of the areas that were hit a lot harder than others, but I still think that there's plenty of upside for people that actually wanna build and don't just wanna do grifter, whatever the hell else people were trying to buy itself time. Another question here is from David from Santa Monica, and this was actually a reply to a newsletter that I recently put out where I was talking about some of the cost challenges that music startups and music tech companies will face as in regards to working with customers and customer service and working and dealing with unprofitable customers and wanting to move further up. Mark's question was whether or not I had any data on the customer service costs that these companies have. And I wanna answer that question in a slightly different way. It's less about customer service in the same way that you know, you or I may go call Comcast or may call Xfinity when we're having an issue with our cable or our internet, but it's more so you are a client or customer that is trying to use this particular service, whether it's free or you're relying on it to grow your own business, and you are now having some challenges, you're having some type of question. The thing is a lot of the companies, especially a lot of the distribution platforms, started off being available to everyone, but I think they realized how expensive it is to serve the clients and to serve the customers who are not driving the most business possible. It's no different than a lot of people see when they're working with client services. Overall, your $2 million clients in a lot of ways can be so much more enjoyable to deal with and work with than your $2,000 clients or $2,000 clients will chat a nickel and a dime. They have a bunch of questions about this, that, and the third, but your clients that have a bit more money, they normally come in a bit more clear and confident with what they're looking for, and it can lead to better business in the long run. And I think to a lot of extent, the same is true with a lot of the artists that you end up serving or a lot of the customers that a lot of these platforms end up serving because a lot of their time gets spent with customers that just don't justify the ROI of how much it costs to have that person on staff continue to work and continue to coach and work dire
This episode is a two-parter. At the top, I talk about the news at Motown Records with Ethiopia Habtemariam stepping down from her role as CEO and Chairwoman. After that, I talked to Zack O’Malley Greenburg about Hip-Hop’s wealthiest artists of 2022. After years of compiling the list for Forbes, Zack O’Malley Greenburg released the 2022 edition independently. This time around, he used insights from Columbia Business School to better grasp on the wealth of the industry’s biggest moguls.Jay-Z tops the updated list with an estimated net worth of $1.5 billion. In second is the newly-minted billionaire Sean “Diddy” Combs. The rankings are rounded out by Ye ($500 million), Berner ($410 million), and Dr. Dre ($400 million). Zack joined me on the episode to discuss the rankings, and two artists in particular — Diddy and Berner. Diddy has a portfolio of diversified assets that include media, music, spirits, and now cannabis. Berner is the biggest surprise of the top 5 but has quietly built a cannabis empire with a large runway for further growth. Here’s everything Zack and I covered on the show: [13:56] Zack’s process behind putting the list together  [15:40] The newest billionaire on the list[16:41] The growth of Diddy’s DeLeon tequila brand[29:02] Sean John’s place in Diddy’s portfolio [30:28] Diddy’s latest moves in cannabis and possibly Twitter [32:45] The evolving business of REVOLT[36:19] Berner’s “surprise” $410 million net worth[31:50] High potential for Berner’s business[34:52] Berner’s business success supersedes his music fame [39:50] Drake moving up the ranks [43:50] Girl Dad storiesZack’s Hip-Hop’s Wealthiest Artists list for 2022: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSSHost: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.coGuests: Zack O’Malley Greenburg, @zogblog Download The Culture Report here: Sponsors: MoonPay is the leader in web3 infrastructure. They have partnered with Timbaland, Snoop Dogg, and many more. To learn more, visit Enjoy this podcast? Rate and review the podcast here! Trapital is home for the business of hip-hop. Gain the latest insights from hip-hop’s biggest players by reading Trapital’s free weekly memo.TRANSCRIPTION[00:00:00] Dan Runcie: Hey, welcome to the Trapital Podcast. I'm your host and the founder of Trapital, Dan Runcie. This podcast is your place to gain insights from the executives in music, media, entertainment, and more who are taking hip hop culture to the next level.[00:00:23] Dan Runcie: Hey, today's episode is a two parter. The first part of the episode, we're gonna do a breakdown on one of the more recent news that happened in the music industry. Motown Records CEO and Chairwoman Ethiopia Habtemariam has stepped down and there is a lot to unpack there. So we're gonna talk about that. And in the second half of this episode, we're joined by my guy Zack O'Malley Greenburg, and we are gonna talk about the recent list that he put out, which is his hip hop's 2022 list for the wealthiest artist. He has some new announcements, some usual names, and we break it all down. But first, let's start with the news at Motown. So it was last week, shortly after Thanksgiving. Ethiopia and Universal, and Motown announced that she will be stepping down from her role. This is a role that she has officially had at this level for just over a year and a half. I think it was March, 2021 that the role was announced, but she's essentially been the face of Motown from a leadership perspective for over a decade now and when the move happened, I think that there were a fair amount of people I could understand that could have been caught off guard by it. But when I start asking around, asking a few people questions who I know understand the situation pretty well, it's quick to see that what's being pushed publicly isn't quite reflecting what's actually happening behind closed doors. But before we get to all that, let's talk about some of the wins that I think Motown and Ethiopia have accomplished over the past decade, because I think these stand out and they're really important. I look at the 2015 joint venture deal that she did with quality control music, as one of those deals that can ultimately help bring a record label from its days of resting on its laurels to being able to get a bit more current. We've seen this happen time and time again. You look at Interscope in the early nineties. Interscope was a legacy rock and roll label. Jimmy Iovine was trying to figure out the next thing and then boom. Here comes Suge Knight. Here comes Dr. Dre and Death Row records comes through. Not only does Death Row continue to rise up with the supportive Interscope, but you also see Interscope adopt a bit of that cool factor and really revive itself, and now Interscope is continuing to be one of the strongest record labels that we have. You also saw that a few years later happened with Republic records and with cash money signs. The deal that I've talked about plenty of times on this podcast, that 1998 distribution deal and that deal did a lot for Baby and Slim, but it arguably did even more for Republic Records, which now I believe it's in its fourth year in a row, the leading industry or the leading record label in the industry when it comes to overall market share. And I do think that what quality control and Motown were able to do, do deserve some similar praise. But the slight difference here is that Motown for a lot of its time and even more so as we continue to learn, was saddled under the Capitol Music Group umbrella and didn't really have the opportunity to standalone as a true record label that could run on its own and be a standalone entity. The same way that we see with Interscope, the same way that you see with Republic. And some of the other record labels that are under the Universal Music Group umbrella. When the news first announced though, there wasn't as much chatter about Ethiopia's departure. You think about the times that Def Jam has turned over CEOs. There are think pieces on think piece. You can't get people to stop talking and sharing their opinions, and some of them on base, but people sharing their opinions about what Def Jam did and didn't do wrong, but there wasn't as much here. You saw a little bit in piece that Gail Mitchell at Billboard had done where I think she did a good breakdown. You could definitely read between the lines a little bit of some of the things that necessarily weren't being said, but what I think we started to unpack and what we started to get a sense for was, even though Motown had increased its market share considerably under Ethiopia's tenure, I believe back in 2017, it was around 0.4%. And as of most recently from what Billboard reported in 2022, it's at 0.95%. And that's great, more than double. And you think about how much more recorded music has grown from 2017 to 2022 now as well, that's a pretty huge growth and that's nothing to shy away from. The thing is, record label executives and the music industry aren't just judged on market share. You're judged on how efficient you are with what you do to acquire that market share. You're also judged on your ability to score deals and your ability to do it in a way that's efficient. Everyone still has a PNL at the end of the day. But I think the slight difference for some of these companies is that because they sit under the Universal Music Group umbrella, you may not necessarily know what's really happening unless you have a really discerning eye and you can put two and two together. And if you look at some of the moves that Motown has made over the years, there have been a number of big signings. But have those big signings always necessarily led to the type of results? You know, someone like Universal CEO, Lucian Green wants to see from a record label that now would be standing alone and no longer under the Capitol Music Group umbrella. You look at an artist like Lil Baby, who you know, through quality control, is part of that Motown collective. But, you needed a few more artists at that level and you needed to get them at affordable rates. And I think the biggest win that we saw from Motown in recent years was they recently signed NBA Young Boy. This is about a year after he started working with his record label, but how much did it cost to get NBA Young Boy? He had just posted on Instagram, this is two months before this deal was made public. He had just posted on Instagram, this was in August, 2022, that he was a 60 million dollar dude. You're saying you're a 60 million dude. A lot of people thought that was a cash money deal. They thought that was probably what Baby and Slim offered, but you later find out that this is what was coming from Motown, and I don't know if that's the number or not, but you can just assume a few things. One, NBA Young Boy was someone that just got out of his deal at Atlantic Records and he's getting out of his deal. This is the second most streamed artist according to HITS Daily Double for year to date for 2022. But as we also know about streams, not all streams are necessarily weighted the same, and those YouTube streams may not necessarily lead to the same payouts that you may get from the digital streaming providers. Your Spotify, your Apple music, your titles, your Amazon, and so forth. So you have that. You also mix that in with NBA Young Boy's audience isn't necessarily the type to go buy up a bunch of vinyl. They're not the type to go buy up a bunch of digital copies or then necessarily sell out an arena. And it's great that he has those streams, but he has those streams because he is dropping an album every other month. It's not the same as Columbia having a big release from Harry Styles and then monetizing the shit out of that. Or Kendrick Lamar having a big
Rich Homie Quan was one of the defining rappers of the music era that preceded the industry’s shift to streaming. He — along with the likes of Future and Young Thug — made “mumble rap” a hot commodity in the mid-2010s. But while Future and Thugger continued their careers, Quan took a hiatus from the game, until now.Quan dropped his first project, “Family & Mula”, in almost three years back in October. During the long layoff, Quan admits he lost both his confidence and heart for rapping. He refused to quit on himself during the down period, which only spurred him artistically and business-wise. That’s because the eight-track EP is also the first under his independently-owned Rich Homie Entertainment label. Now ten years into his career — most of which spent under a label — Quan felt now was the time to go independent. Not only for the creative freedom, but also for the CEO role that comes with it. I caught up with Quan to reflect on his 10-year music career up to this point and how he envisions the next ten playing out as an independent artist and a CEO. Here’s everything we covered:[2:41] Reflecting on the loss of Takeoff[4:07] What Quan misses about his “come up” years[5:16] Why Quan went independent at this stage of his career [5:40] Taking on a CEO role[7:57] Why Quan doesn’t like his hit record “Flex”[10:33] New partnership with Troy Carter and Suzy Ryoo's Venice [14:44] Differences between Quan the CEO and Quan the artist [15:54] Rising as an artist before the streaming era took off[17:25] Distinctions between album, EP, and mixtape [20:16] Quan’s non-music business pursuits [21:56] How pandemic re-motivated Quan to do music[24:00] Quan wants more credit for influencing Atlanta sound[31:14] Quan’s 10-year vision for himself [35:54] Did Quan start “deluxe” project drops?Listen: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSSHost: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.coGuests: Rich Homie Quan, @RichHomieQuan Download The Culture Report here: Sponsors: MoonPay is the leader in web3 infrastructure. They have partnered with Timbaland, Snoop Dogg, and many more. To learn more, visit Enjoy this podcast? Rate and review the podcast here! Trapital is home for the business of hip-hop. Gain the latest insights from hip-hop’s biggest players by reading Trapital’s free weekly memo.TRANSCRIPTION[00:00:00] Rich Homie Quan: I was kind of afraid of my creativity on that song. You know what I'm saying? If that makes any sense. Like, I don't know. Cause I make a lot of music, man, and it's a lot of songs that's probably similar. That's like that. That will never come out only because of my mind. But that's why lately I've been letting the team I create, decide, you know? Pick which ones they feel like that needs to be heard. You know what I'm saying? So that's why I've grown as an artist slash CEO.[00:00:31] Dan Runcie: Hey, welcome to the podcast. I'm your host and the founder of Dan Ruey. This podcast is your place to gain insights from the executives in music, media, entertainment, and more who are taking hip hop culture to the next level. [00:00:51] Dan Runcie: Today's guest is the one, the only Rich Homie Quan. R.H.Q came through to talk about his partnership with Venice and how this is a new start for him as an artist. He's independent now. He's seen what it's like on the label side. He's seen what works, and what doesn't work. But this is his opportunity to have more creative control. To see more of the money that comes in and out, and ultimately have more of a say on what makes the most sense for building his career and moving. So he talks about the benefits of the Venice partnership. He also talks about some of the other things that he's working on as well. We talked about his real estate game and how he made over a million dollars this past year from his real estate business. We also talked about where he sees himself in Atlanta's influence. He says he's top three and not three from the city. So you have to listen to hear the name chops that he has in here. Some of the other multimedia projects and a whole lot. Quan also recorded this one while he was getting his hair braided, so I gotta give him credit for multitasking. Shout out to Quan. Hope you enjoy this episode. All right. Today we got the one and only Rich Homie Quan with us. Man, before we get started with any of this stuff, let's just do a quick check, man. How are you? How are you living? How are things right now?[00:02:03] Rich Homie Quan: Oh man, I'm good man. Mentally, better than ever. I'm just in a good space right now, man. I love the space I'm in, probably better than ever, man. I'm good, man. Yeah. How about you, man? How are you, you know what I'm saying? Mentally, you know what I'm saying? You know, spiritually how you feeling? [00:02:021] Dan Runcie: Yeah, I mean, I'm good. I mean, things have been good getting ready for the holidays and everything right now, but, I feel like it's kind of been a tough week, I'm not gonna lie. Thinking about take off and just thinking about artists passing so young. I mean, I mean, I know that this isn't anything new necessarily, but it just feels like it's been so much recently, so I've been thinking a lot about that.[00:02:41] Rich Homie Quan: That part, you know, like I've been trying to get it out my mind, man. Cause like me and Takeoff wasn't close, but I have worked with him, you know what I'm saying? On numerous occasions, on numerous occasions. And with him being from Atlanta, man, it just hit, that one hit a whole lot different, man. That one touched me, man. That one hurt me, man. That hurt a lot of us, man. You know what I'm saying? Like I think I was walking say the best man, like hip hop took big ill man that that was a humongous ill man.Humongous.[00:03:10] Dan Runcie: Yeah. And there were so many of you that came up right around the same time. I feel like you came out and then they had the moment, like there were so many of y'all from Atlanta that rose up.[00:03:22] Rich Homie Quan: Yes. Yeah. So that's why it's like, I, I kind of felt a different, like I saw, I saw before, um, they were with QC all us sitting on Gucci couch before we, before we got our first million, when we still were grinding and grind mode. So like, just to see that and know like, man, that could have been me, that could have been any of us. You know what I'm saying? Like, so that, that one definitely like hit me. Alright man, real hard.[00:03:47] Dan Runcie: Yeah, for sure. And I mean, you were just talking about it, you going back to being I QCs couch. I was just looking back at the double like cell cover, the freshman class for you on the cover. And man, it was such a moment. I mean, when you think back to that moment when everything was rising up, like what do you think on the most, what memories stick out to you the most about that time?[00:04:07] Rich Homie Quan:  Uh, what memories stick out about the most? I would just say more so recording in the music, being so. Because at that time we didn't have all those eyes on us. So then, you know, like we could say whatever and when, and no one, you know, we can say how we really felt. You know what I'm saying? Because you was in that grind and it just, you know, once you get to a certain level and certain things, you can't say no. Cause you know what I'm saying? You got certain people looking at you and that dissecting your words every, every type of way. So I would just say, man, just a recording process, man. Then man, the way we record the way, it'll be all five of us in the booth at one. Or maybe you should say it this way or this way. And it was just a know, just a vibe man. And the learning experience, man. Cause we were so young at that time, like we didn't know we'll be here 10 years later, you feel me? So yeah, that's the beauty of it all. [00:04:56] Dan Runcie: And I mean, for you 10 years later, you've done a few interview recently. You talked about why you wanna be independent and what this next chapter looks like for you? What has been the big thing that's made you wanna have this next chapter? Be independent, be on your own terms as opposed to how the last decade was up to this point?[00:05:16] Rich Homie Quan: Would say the most important part about being independent and what I wanted about it, what I wanted, uh, from it more so, it was just the fact that I had tried everything else. I had tried being with the other independent labels and I just thought it was my turn. I had saw every side of the sword, but just this side of the sword and it's just been so much more fun.Just when I say fun, it's more so from a business side. And I say that because at first I was such an artist mode. It was hard for me to be a CEO, but to continue to say I'm a CEO when I'm not doing none of the CEO shit. And I say that to say like, I'm not in tune with the conversations, or I'm not on every phone call. I'm not CC'd in those emails and those important emails. So now man, with me being a ceo, I'm more in tune. You know what I'm saying? I'm knowing, I'm knowing what the budget is for this. Uh, just understanding the budget, know what I mean? Understanding, so, you know, just taking this a whole lot more serious, being independent, knowing now, like it's really the, that's why I'm probably in this such great space because I know the opportunity I have, I know what I've done.[00:06:27] Dan Runcie:  You talked about seeing the money and just being able to see what the costs are looking like, what the money's coming in. What was the biggest surprise there? Cause I know you didn't see a lot of that as the artist, but now that you're being CC'd on those emails, now that you're seeing those things, did anything stick out to you?[00:06:40] Rich Homie Quan: The most? To me, uh, it was just more so of money I would see go without videos and stuff like
Cooper Turley, better known as Coopahtroopa, is betting big on ushering a new generation of music. In September, he announced a first-of-its-kind investment fund focused squarely on web3 music projects and artists themselves. Coop Records raised $10 million and Coopah will be the sole general partner. He’s hesitant to call it just an investment fund though. That’s because Coop Records is also a record label and incubator. Coopah will invest directly into web3-native music artists in a “seed round” — turning emerging artists into venture-backed startups.Structuring an artist’s company is what Coopah sees as web3’s biggest opportunity: resetting ownership dynamics. NFTs are another vertical of the Coop Records fund, in addition to the seed-stage investing in both companies and artists.  Coopah joined me on the show to give us an in-depth look at how Coop Records is eying its investment opportunities. Here’s everything we covered:[0:00] How Coop Records started[2:06] Focusing on emerging artists, not established ones [3:35] Coop Records’ investment thesis[7:24] Investing in artists during “seed round”[9:50] Structuring artists as a holdings company[11:40] What does an exit look like for artists investors?[15:00] Artists as CEOs[20:11] What makes a music NFT historical [22:28] NFTs as a replacement for masters and publishing[27:18] Accredited investors vs. fan investors[29:30] Artist success stories with community building on web3[31:40] Focusing on story when marketing NFTs[34:25] Optimizing for engagement not reach on social [39:24] How tokenization changes the artist-fan relationship [47:00] Predicting the year that music NFTs go mainstream [48:25] Coop’s big question for web3Listen: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSSHost: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.coGuests: Cooper Turley, @Cooopahtroopa Download The Culture Report here: Sponsors: MoonPay is the leader in web3 infrastructure. They have partnered with Timbaland, Snoop Dogg, and many more. To learn more, visit Enjoy this podcast? Rate and review the podcast here! Trapital is home for the business of hip-hop. Gain the latest insights from hip-hop’s biggest players by reading Trapital’s free weekly memo.TRANSCRIPTION[00:00:00] Cooper Turley: And I think that gets to this artist development piece more broadly is that you're trying to start the process much earlier, much earlier than I think a lot of the major record labels are starting now. Because I think they often wanna see artists having some proven. Track record before they're willing to sign them.[00:00:24] Dan Runcie: Hey, welcome to the podcast. I'm your host and the founder of Dan Ruey. This podcast is your place to gain insights from the executives in music, media, entertainment, and more who are taking hip hop culture to the next level. [00:00:49] Dan Runcie: Today's guest is Cooper Turley, aka Coopa Troopa. He is the founder of Coop Records, which is a new venture fund, a 10 million fund that is focused on investing in the future of music, specifically in web three. He is someone that has made a name for himself as a thought leader in the space. He was involved with the Dow Friends with benefits and he's now started this fund to make economics better for artists and ultimately help them take more advantage of the opportunities that are around them. So we talked about a lot of it. We talked about how he views the space right now, why he started this fund, and what the fund's investing in. There are three main areas that we go into. We talk about investing in music startup. Investing in artist seed rounds and investing in NFTs themselves as an investible assets that him as a general partner and little Bited partners would wanna see returns from. So we talk about what the economics of that look like. I think that. Cooper stands out in a lot of ways because he has a much more nuanced understanding of how Web Three fits in with the broader ecosystem of what's happening right now in music, what some of the trade offs are with the financials, the relationship with fans, what services it offers versus the traditional record labels and more really insightful conversation, and I hope you enjoy it. Here’s our chat.[00:02:07] Dan Runcie: All right. Today we're joined by Coopa Troopa who just launched Coup Records, which is his fund that is investing in the future of music and Web three specifically. And first off, congrats. I saw the announcement, it's really dope. So walk me through the process from thinking about you wanna start this fund to where you are now, today with it.[00:02:28] Cooper Turley: Absolutely. Well, first of all, thank you for having me. I'm really excited to be here. I've been in music for the last 10 years in crypto for the last five, and so I've seen everything from ICOs to Defi, to Dows, and not most recently NFTs. You know, throughout that time I've been active across public markets as a trader, behind the scenes, as an angel investor, as a community builder, and as an operator. And when I started to think about how to connect all the pieces together, I've always been a fan of music. I felt like there was never really a clear vehicle to help elevate and amplify the space. And so I found coop records to be the best way to really just zoom in on this niche that I'm so excited about and figure out how to really help the founders, artists, and builders that are supporting this space everyday.[00:03:05] Dan Runcie: Makes sense. What were the conversations like getting buy-in from LPs?[00:03:10] Cooper Turley: Basically helping to explain what music NFTs are, why this is a vertical that you'd wanna invest in at this time and day? You know, historically I think that music has gotten a bit of a bad rep, cuz it's very antiquated in a lot of ways. You know, there's a lot of systems that are very complicated and hopefully we can unpack some of those on this episode. But, I think we through presents a new opportunity for artists to monetize in creative ways. You know, as someone who's been a curator my whole life, it's very easy for me to understand the value of investing in songs, artists, et cetera. But for someone who's not music savvy and not passionate about this sector, you know, the majority of those conversations are why would anyone wanna collect a song? Why would someone wanna invest in an artist? And trying to help people understand why there's an opportunity here that I think is. Influential and paramount for the next chapter of music. But once people get over that line, you know, I've kind of been able to build a brand for myself that I think speaks very clearly to why I'm so excited about music. And so for investors that are looking to get exposure to the space, coop records is a great way to get that exposure without them having to get as deep in the trenches as I am.[00:04:07] Dan Runcie: Right. And I gotta imagine that that probably took a few conversations just given things that I'm hearing too, from folks. People, they understand the promise and the opportunity of what NFTs and what web three offer, but there's. Hesitation, there's still perception about what's going on and some of the headlines that people see. How did you communicate or address some of those concerns while still sharing the value add for what you have? [00:04:32] Cooper Turley: Yeah, I really focus on emerging artists. You know, I think that this is where the vast majority of value will accrue over the next couple years with Web three. And so when you think about investing in music, most people's mind goes to like, how do we get Drake to drop NFTs? I actually don't really focus on that at all. Instead, I think about how do we develop the next act that becomes Drake using Web three tools? And so for investors that are kind of hesitant about getting involved in the space, I point out early examples like X copier people, you know, crypto artists who really made a brand and a name for themselves on the back of selling their nfts. And obviously in the case of people, he had a major brand before, but it wasn't until the existence of NFTs and sort of these community based assets that they started to see monetization aspects with their fans and with their collectors. And so trying to highlight that there's an opportunity here to develop and support emerging artists new to Web three through music, I think it really made a clear case that. This isn't about trying to get your biggest celebrity to drop NFTs. I think that will happen at some point in time. But this is about investing in the infrastructure and the artists that are going to make this space very valuable over the next couple years.[00:05:31] Dan Runcie: And one of the things I like too about how your fund is structured or reminds me a bit of Matt Pinkus and how his music fund is structured. It's not just focused solely on startups that are trying to build the next tech platforms. You're also looking more broadly. The NFT space itself and what that opportunity looks like and it'd be great to break each of those down. So let's start first with the music tech companies, cuz I know that's 85% of your fund looking at preceded seed stage companies. What's your thesis for the type of company that is a coop records company that you're looking for? [00:06:04] Cooper Turley:  I'm a really big fan of composability. So in Defi there's this concept of money Legos or protocols and platforms that could plug into one another. I believe the same thesis will play out with music, where we're gonna have music legos, where there's different marketplaces, service providers, tooling, infrastructure that can help sort of amplify what an artist can do with Web three. And so when I think about investing in a music tech company, I think about culturally, is this company aware and active within the pocket that I'm spending a lo
Today's episode is a two-parter. Part 1 is on Spotify and YouTube’s billion streams and views playlists. After reviewing both lists, there’s a lot to learn about the streaming era and the strategy for both platforms respectively. I broke it all down with Tati Cirsiano, a music analyst at MIDiA Research.Spotify’s list is more reflective of passive consumption. Spotify’s top-performing songs are more correlated with radio hits than YouTube, which is a more active consumption experience.YouTube’s Billion Views Club has more international stars than Spotify. With streaming continuing to grow across the world and plateauing in the United States, YouTube’s list more reflects future music consumption. Part 2 is with Glenn Peoples from Billboard. We talk about its new Global Music Index that takes the publicly traded stocks from the biggest music companies in music to give an overall picture of stock performance for the industry. Here’s everything Tati, Glenn, and I covered on the show:[3:03] Immediate takeaways from each Billions Club playlists[5:15] How “meme traffic” impacted both platforms[9:37] Passive consumption vs. active consumption[12:11] International differences between Spotify and YouTube[14:57] The Justin Bieber conundrum [16:36] How Spotify and YouTube enable fragmentation of fandom[21:26] Gym-going and seasonality’s impact on streaming numbers[26:14] Short-form videos eventual effect on YouTube streaming[27:55] YouTube vs. Spotify competition intensifying [35:58] MIDiA’s upcoming predictions report[38:33] What % of the Global Music index Spotify takes up[39:23] Why music industry stocks fell further than the overall market[46:25] Streaming platforms increasing prices[50:22] What goes into calculating Average Revenue Per User for Spotify[55:23] Spotify’s podcast strategy & acquisitions[59:18] How much of Trapital’s audience comes from Spotify[1:02:53] Why TikTok should launch it’s own streaming service[1:09:39] What Glenn expects 2023 to look likeListen: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSSHost: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.coGuests: Tati Cirisano, @tatianacirisano, Glenn Peoples, @theglennpeoples Download The Culture Report here: is the leader in web3 infrastructure. They have partnered with Timbaland, Snoop Dogg, and many more. To learn more, visit this podcast? Rate and review the podcast here! is home for the business of hip-hop. Gain the latest insights from hip-hop’s biggest players by reading Trapital’s free weekly memo.TRANSCRIPTION[00:00:00] Tatiana Cirisano: Spotify's list is more of an accurate reflection of what the passive majority listens to, whereas YouTube is more of a reflection of what people are actively fans of and actively engaging, which is interesting because that was a question that we asked in our last episode where we were like, how do we measure, like, what are new ways to measure consumption? And I said, well, it'd be interesting if we could actually measure, you know, active consumption versus passive. And now here I'm looking at these two lists, I was like, oh, this is actually potentially an example of that.[00:00:37] Dan Runcie: Hey, welcome to The Trapital podcast. I'm your host and the founder of Trapital, Dan Runcie. This podcast is your place to gain insights from executives in music, media, entertainment, and more, who are taking hip-hop culture to the next level. [00:00:57] Dan Runcie: Today's episode is a two-parter. We normally don't do two-parters, but these topics were so closely linked, it made perfect sense, so we had to do it. The first part of this episode is a conversation I had with Tati Cirisano from MIDiA Research, and we talked about the Billions Clubs. Spotify and YouTube both have their respective playlists that have over a billion streams and views respectively. So we talked about what can we learn from both of these playlists together. What does it tell us about the most popular songs that do well on streaming, but also what can it tell us about these two platforms individually? What are the differences between the two playlists? Are there certain songs that perform better on others versus that and why? And what that means more broadly for the sector, Just given how big these companies are. Second part of the conversation, I talked to Glen Peoples who works for Billboard, and he recently released this Global Music Index, which is a value-based index that takes the publicly traded stocks from many of the biggest companies in music, combines them, and gives us an overall picture of how we can look at the performance of the music industry, at least in the publicly traded companies. Hint, it's been a down year for stocks overall, so nothing too surprising there. But we talk specifically about Spotify, who stock is noticeably in a tougher place, at least from, where it was year to date compared to some of the other companies. So we talked about why that is, what to expect, and more. Really great conversations. Let's start things off with Tati. Hope you enjoy it. [00:02:31] Dan Runcie: All right. Today we have Tati Cirisano back with us from MIDiA Research and we're going to dive into the Billions playlists that are both from Spotify and YouTube. What a fascinating list that's like a tripped-out memory lane, telling you what songs are popular, but also how these lists are different. I feel like they both have somewhere between like 3 to 400 songs, but there's a whole bunch of different trends here. I know that we both have a bunch of notes here, but Tati, I'll start with you. What stuck out to you most when you were looking through these lists? [00:03:03] Tatiana Cirisano: Oh my gosh. So there's so many things. I guess I'll start with the things that stuck out to me that don't have to do with differences, but just stuck out to me in terms of just looking at both. And one was that I felt like there was definitely a dominance of songs and artists from the last decade and maybe even just the last five years, which was interesting to me because there's been such a debate recently about is old music or what we call catalog, which is often not actually old music. But is it sort of cannibalizing new music? Does new music have more to compete with? And that whole argument. So it was interesting to see that there actually weren't that many or weren't relatively as many older songs. I believe the YouTube Billion Views Club had, like, one song from the 70s. It makes more sense with YouTube. And I think YouTube had even more dominance with more recent songs. And that kind of makes sense because if it's visual-based, maybe some of these songs we don't have the music videos, or maybe they're not as good. But I thought that that was interesting just off the bat from both ways. [00:04:03] Dan Runcie: Yeah, I would agree. I think that YouTube's list did trend much younger, and there's a whole MTV effect of just what music videos look like then and now. But I also feel like what's important is with both Spotify and YouTube, that when these platforms accelerated in growth, a lot of the artists that were releasing music around those times accelerated and growth too. And I feel like I saw some trends there. If I think about YouTube and its rapid growth phase more so in the early 2010s. There were a few songs there that I saw, whether it was like a party rock anthem or songs like that, that streamed really well on YouTube. Still nowhere near a billion streams on Spotify. And I think on the flip side of that, on Spotify, there were a few songs that were in that late 2010s era when Spotify was in its rapid growth phase that weren't on YouTube's playlist. So that was one of those interesting things. Like, for example, I think Drake's song Nice for What, a billion streams on Spotify. It's in the Billions Club, but it wasn't on YouTube's list. And I remember that music video, I think it's at the skating rink and he has, like, Issa Rae and all these people in it. So there was definitely some influence of the platforms too. [00:05:15] Tatiana Cirisano: Yeah. And that reminds me, too, of with the influence of platforms, it felt like, there were, so okay on both platforms. I felt like there were a lot of songs that were driven by, like, a viral hit or a novelty, which kind of just goes to show how embedded music has become in, like, meme culture and social media and just like online culture in general. But it also, like, looking at the differences within that, it felt like, this is like, I mean, you'd need to do more of a real, like, study and look at the actual numbers on this, but just from scrolling over the list, it seemed like, more of the TikTok traffic is going to Spotify. Like, there were a lot of songs that had a billion streams that I just remember being moments on TikTok, like Dreams and the Roses, Imanbek remix, like those songs and many others had passed a billion streams on Spotify, but had not cracked the YouTube list. And then on the flip side, YouTube had a lot of stuff that was more, like, just these, memes about, I'm trying to think of an example, like the Dame tu Cosita song and video, like that. There were actually an abundance of songs on the Billion Views Club for YouTube that were linked to these videos, including Crazy Frog. [00:06:24] Dan Runcie: I saw that. [00:06:25] Tatiana Cirisano: It like that was just, like, that was a moment in time in meme culture that kind of preceded TikTok humor. I don't know, like you can almost track meme culture's impact based on these two platforms lists as well with TikTok driving more traffic to Spotify and sort of the old, almost like Vine humor going more to YouTube. [00:06:45] Dan Runcie: That point makes me think of two things I also saw as well. So I believe the first YouTube video that hit a billion streams was Psy's Gangnam Style.
Megan Holston-Alexander is a partner at Andreessen Horowitz Cultural Leadership Fund. It’s the first VC fund that raised money exclusively from Black leaders — from entertainment to sports to business. The fund co-invests with a16z’s other funds and has raised more than $60 million across its three funds to date.The overarching purpose of CLF is to create generational wealth opportunities for Black communities. It’s a two-pronged approach. The first is getting Black dollars directly on the cap tables of high-potential startup companies. And the second is creating a pipeline for more Black talent at early-stage companies. Megan joined me on the show on the heels of hosting the first-ever Cultural Leadership Summit and announcing CLF III before then. Here’s everything we covered during our conversation:[2:39] Takeaways from the Cultural Leadership Summit[5:19] Building despite economic uncertainties [7:36] High-worth individuals also affected by macro economy [9:05] How has the Cultural Leadership Fund evolved?[14:54] Difference between entertainment and executive LP’s[17:16] Web3’s knowledge imbalance  [19:16] Megan’s interest in DAO’s[20:58] Will CLF’s investment model change?[22:42] How CLF used relationships and trust-building to scale its operation [28:35] Megan’s vetting process with LP’s[36:02] How VC industry at-large can create more opportunities for black founders and talent [39:15] Has the Bay Area lost its monopoly on tech? [44:59] What CLF is focusing on in 2023Listen: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSSHost: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.coGuests: Megan Holston-Alexander, @meghalexander Download The Culture Report here: Sponsors:MoonPay is the leader in web3 infrastructure. They have partnered with Timbaland, Snoop Dogg, and many more. To learn more, visit Enjoy this podcast? Rate and review the podcast here! Trapital is home for the business of hip-hop. Gain the latest insights from hip-hop’s biggest players by reading Trapital’s free weekly memo.TRANSCRIPTION[00:00:00] Megan Holston Alexander: What we hadn't considered on the executive side is, while the athletes and our kind of entertainers can partner on different things or, like, help them go into new markets, when it came down to, like, core operations or how you should run on your board, or how to think about hiring X, Y, and Z, our black executives, like, hold that information, like, in the palm of their hands. These are people who've been, you know, operators for 20 or 30 years, and so they brought kind of an additional level of skill and kind of insight to bolster what our other LPs on the more kind of athlete or entertainment side were doing.  [00:00:40] Dan Runcie: Hey, welcome to The Trapital podcast. I'm your host and the founder of Trapital, Dan Runcie. This podcast is your place to gain insights from executives in music, media, entertainment, and more, who are taking hip-hop culture to the next level. [00:01:01] Dan Runcie: Today's guest is Megan Holston Alexander. She's a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, currently leading its Cultural Leadership Fund. And to date, this fund has raised over 60 million, invested in over 300 Andreessen Horowitz portfolio companies, and has brought over a hundred black leaders into this space. I'm talking to Megan right after the Cultural Leadership Fund hosted its first-ever in-person summit. It was a pleasure to attend that summit myself and meet so many of the people that are friends of the fund, LPs of the fund, and really make it what it is. So this conversation, we talked a little bit about what it was like bringing that event together, especially after the pandemic. We also talked about how events like that fit within the fund's overall strategy and how that strategy has evolved over the past few years. For a little bit of background, the LPs in the Cultural Leadership Fund are all black, and it is one of the first funds to have ever done that in the VC space, and specifically, to date, a lot of the investors had been athletes and entertainers, but Megan talked a little bit about how they've expanded to bring on more black executives, what that looks like, and how that ultimately helps support the goal of the fund even more. One of the fund's other goals is to increase the amount of black talent and interest in tech. So we talk about what some of the opportunities are, what some of the challenges are, and what the VC community can do to help improve this even more. Great conversation, so many insightful points that Megan shared. I enjoyed this conversation and I know you will too, especially if you are an investor or you're a founder yourself. Here's my chat with Megan. [00:02:39] Dan Runcie: All right, today we have Megan Holston Alexander from Andreessen Horowitz Culture Leadership Fund, and first, I got to say congratulations on an amazing summit. It was a great event to be a part of and to attend. How does it feel for you now being on the heels of that and just seeing the impact of everything? [00:02:57] Megan Holston Alexander: Yeah, so thank you so much for coming. It means so much that people would be interested enough and engaged enough to spend time with us away from their, you know, everyday grind. But we're really pleased with how it turned out. We were motivated because so many of our LPs had said to us, we want to get together, we want to meet each other, we want to meet the founders, we want to meet the investment team. So as an LP and kind of partner summit, I think it had the intended effect and it seemed like people really enjoyed their time, but also learned a ton. So I could not be happier. I will say I was telling myself that after it was over, I was going to have so much time to, like, get so much other stuff done, but, like, it just never, it never stopped. So, we were really proud of what we were able to put on.[00:03:38] Dan Runcie: 'Cause I'm sure an event like that makes you think about what else you could do, right? I'm sure you had a bunch of people buzzing with ideas on what other in-person events or what other things could look like, too. [00:03:48] Megan Holston Alexander: Yep. And that's always the hope, right? We bring people into a room together in hopes that, like, we can help some serendipity happen. So many people in our network work on similar things or adjacent things or things that would have a really nice kind of partnership together. And so anytime we get to make those introductions, our hope is that people will be buzzing after, and have ideas for events and programs and partnerships. So we'll see what comes out of it. [00:04:12] Dan Runcie: And I imagine that a lot of this probably had been in the plans for a while. It was just a matter of timing. So much of CLFs rise and growth had happened during the pandemic as well. And it was just a matter of, okay, when can you bring people together safely to make something like this happen? [00:04:28] Megan Holston Alexander: Yeah. Yeah. And when I say it was three years in the making. I am not kidding, because we were planning actually to host the first summit in 2020. So we were in process of like, you know, picking out venues and cities and where we wanted to be. And then, like, so many people when the pandemic hit that spring, it just kind of cleared everybody's calendars. And so it's nice to know that 2 and a half years after the original that the motive was still the same and the demand for what we were building was still the same that we got to put it on, I think, even better than we could have hoped in 2020.[00:05:00] Dan Runcie: Yeah, I agree. And then looking at, now, you, of course, get to have it on the tail end of your announcement for fund three. You've now raised over $60 million for this fund. What was it like raising in this climate though, just given where things are with the market and how things have been so far in 2022? [00:05:19] Megan Holston Alexander: Yeah, totally. Totally. So when it comes to like the market environment, you just never know what's going to happen and unintentionally, you know, I actually got to raise ahead of kind of the market changing earlier in the spring. And that was actually because I was expecting and planning to be a new mom. And the firm was really supportive of that. And they said, okay, kind of up to you. Do you want to do it before mat leaves? Do you want to wait until the fall when you come back? And me being like, I don't want to think about this while I'm trying to raise a baby. I was like, Let's knock it out early. So lucky enough, you know, I was able to close that out before people really started tightening their belts. But, you know, as a firm, we really believe that, you know, no matter what the economy looks like, what the macro, you know, face of the world looks like, builders are always building. And even more so, during times when they can be home and spend time thinking about the problems that they want to solve. And so our hope is that, you know, even in moments like that, we can still really rely on founders to keep, you know, pushing great, great companies out. [00:06:17] Dan Runcie: Yeah, and I like to think of these moments as well as when you do start to filter out some of the companies or ideas that maybe were a bit more fleeting, and you can focus on the real things happening, you look at the last economic downturn that we had, and all of the companies that came from that timeframe, too. So I feel like the call to action for so many fund managers like yourself, you mentioned the LPs or even to others is, like you just said, people are still building, and if anything, it's the real companies that are going to come out of this timeframe.[00:06:46] Megan Holston Alexander: Yep. And then a piece that I would add onto that is in these moments, while we know that like great companies
At the top of the episode, I talk about Trapital’s new Culture Report and our opening section on hip-hop’s “decline.” This report is sponsored by DICE, and it was a great chance to chat with DICE President Russ Tannen about the future of ticketing and live events.Russ moved to New York City in 2021 amid the pandemic with one lofty goal: grow the music ticketing platform’s business inside the competitive United States market. If that wasn’t challenging enough, this was all while live musical shows were still hard to come by. More than a year later, DICE is still in growth mode, not only in the US but with aspirations for other international markets too.Russ was a day-one employee of DICE when it started in 2013 in Europe. What separated the platform then — and to this day — is its laser focus on the music fan. Unlike its major competitors, DICE is as much a discovery platform as a point-of-sale. Using the app’s own internal data, fans are recommended local shows to attend. The recommendation system was created with the intent of improving the live music-going experience for fans. This same reason is also why the ticket price you see on DICE is the final price, no extra fees added at check-out. DICE tickets also can’t be resold outside of its app, ensuring true fans, not ticket scalpers, will have first access to see their favorite artists. Russ joined me on the show to discuss the inner workings of DICE, from the app’s unique benefits for fans, artists, and venues alike to its overarching growth strategy. Here’s everything we covered:[0:35] The Culture Report[13:01] DICE entering the US market amid pandemic[15:26] Competing against other ticketing platforms[19:58] Re-wiring consumer behavior around attending events[22:15] Prior partnership with Kanye West[23:37] Has there been any artist pushback?[25:16] Showing ticket price upfront, not at checkout[28:10] How DICE deals with ticket-buying bots[35:57] DICE’s investment in data science is paying off[35:37] Partnering with Ice Spice[38:21] Early signals that an artist is on the rise[40:22] Correlation between social media and streaming numbers on ticket sales[43:16] Differences in ticketing in US vs. other markets[46:18] Sales strategies for low-demand shows[48:46] DICE’s plans to tap more into Latin music market[52:27] Expansion is DICE’s primary focus in 2023Listen: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSSHost: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.coGuests: Russ Tannen, @RussTannen Download The Culture Report here: Sponsors: MoonPay is the leader in web3 infrastructure. They have partnered with Timbaland, Snoop Dogg, and many more. To learn more, visit Enjoy this podcast? Rate and review the podcast here! Trapital is home for the business of hip-hop. Gain the latest insights from hip-hop’s biggest players by reading Trapital’s free weekly memo. Sponsors: MoonPay is the leader in web3 infrastructure. They have partnered with Timbaland, Snoop Dogg, and many more. To learn more, visit Enjoy this podcast? Rate and review the podcast here! Trapital is home for the business of hip-hop. Gain the latest insights from hip-hop’s biggest players by reading Trapital’s free weekly memo.TRANSCRIPTION[00:00:00] Russ Tannen: At one point I was booking in London a 150-capacity venue, and I thought it was amazing when 400 people would show up for the hundred 50 capacity show, and we try and cram them all in. And I always saw that was an amazing sign. Those shows were always free, but obviously, now we are ticketing around the world, many of the best 100 to 200-capacity venues that exist in some of the best music cities in the world. So what's fascinating for us is to not just be speaking to the people that are running and booking those venues, but to be looking at the data of, okay, which shows sold out on and out at that level, and who's got the biggest waiting list at that level. And we see a complete global picture of that.[00:00:42] Dan Runcie: Hey, welcome to The Trapital podcast. I'm your host and the founder of Trapital, Dan Runcie. This podcast is your place to gain insights from executives in music, media, entertainment, and more, who are taking hip-hop culture to the next level.   [00:01:02] Dan Runcie: Today's guest is Russ Tannen. He's the president of DICE, which is a ticketing platform for live events that's working to make ticketing fairer for fans of live music. They're also working to make sure that there's personalization, so that fans have a better understanding for the music and the concerts from the people that they want to be able to see. And they've been using a ton of analytics to address some of the challenges that the live entertainment industry has faced over the years. DICE is one of the presenting sponsors for Trapital's 2022 Culture Report that is out and available. You can get that on the Trapital website or if you're on the email list. And it was great to talk to Russ about some of those findings and also get a better understanding for the main problem that DICE is trying to solve. There are several aspects of the live ticketing business from scalpers and bots that are raising prices, with artists and fans not necessarily being able to have the most direct connection possible, and fans not always necessarily knowing what concerts are in their area, other people that they may want to see, and being able to get personalized recommendations there. So Russ really brought us under the hood, painted us a picture of what the events business looks like. This is a company that started in the UK, was able to get a good amount of market share there, and is now expanding into the US. So we talked about how they're focused on the venues, specifically, that have capacity from 200 people up to 10,000, what that looks like, what the opportunities are, what some of the challenges are, and what he's ultimately looking forward to most. Here's my chat with Russ.[00:02:36] Dan Runcie: All right. Today we have Russ Tannen, who is the president of DICE, a company that is on a mission to help solve a number of the challenges right now in the ticketing and live events business. And I give you a lot of credit because this is a difficult business for a number of reasons, and you're entering a US market where I think there's so much opportunity for improvements with things. So it would be great to hear from you all, and for the folks listening, what your strategy is and why the US market's been so important for you.[00:03:08] Russ Tannen: Thanks Dan. Thanks so much for having me on. It's really good to meet you and to get a chance to have this conversation. I don't know why you think it's difficult. It's it's been so straightforward. It's been such a breeze the last nine years. No, it's definitely complicated. Before we jump into it, and I do want to tackle that one, I wanted to ask you a question first actually. What was the first concert you went to, Dan? [00:03:27] Dan Runcie: Ooh, the first concert I went to. So I am Jamaican and my parents are Big Harry Belafonte fans, so I must have been nine or so, and we all went as a family to a Harry Belafonte concert. I grew up in Hartford, Connecticut, so he had come through, so that was the first one. [00:03:44] Russ Tannen: Wow. What was the first one where you, like, bought a ticket or you were, like, going with your mates and you were, like, excited to go? [00:03:49] Dan Runcie: Okay. The first one where was actually, like, me going, it was a 50 Cent concert. He had come through, they had this concert venue, the Meadows in the Hartford area. So, yeah, we went to that. This is like right when he had, like, blown up. [00:04:00] Russ Tannen: How was it? Amazing? [00:04:02] Dan Runcie: I mean, at that age, it was amazing. I thought that it was the coolest thing ever. I mean, this was the person that everyone was talking about, Oh, you know, he got shot nine times. He's this mythical legend. And then you get to see him in this venue. And of course, you're also, you know, you're young, you're with your friends, you're finally, like, getting out, like, people are finally starting to go different places. So I really enjoy that. And yeah, I mean, that was with my own money for the first time.[00:04:25] Russ Tannen: Yeah. I love thinking about those memories. I found a picture of me going to my, like, first proper concert, which is, like, I used to have hair, obviously, when I was a teenager and it was, like, dyed green, and we were going to see Deftones and Linkin Park play. They were playing in London. And I remember just being with all my mates going, it was like the most exciting thing ever to, like, go to that show. And I love like, thinking about those things and that feeling and that emotion 'cause I think, like, if you have, like, a really amazing experience early going to a concert and feeling all of those emotions about going to see live music, then it can really stay with you, like, your whole life. And I think a lot of what we're trying to do and what we're trying to capture is that feeling for as many people as possible and to get more people having those types of experiences, like, more of the time, really just spending less time at home. Like that's what we're really, that's what DICE is all about. Like, more than being an app or being a company or all the other things that we're doing, like, it's really, like, how do you get more people to feel like they're going to the 50 Cent concert and just, like, this is it, like, but thanks for sharing that. [00:05:26] Dan Runcie: Oh, definitely. [00:05:27] Russ Tannen: Yeah, I moved to the US in April last year. So I'm joining on the call from New York at the moment. And we already had a presence here. We'd been building up the business in LA for a few years before, and obviously, th
Rory founded HitPiece two years ago. HitPiece is an NFT marketplace focused solely on music collections. While in beta earlier this year, unauthorized NFTs from big-name artists became available for purchase on HitPiece. HitPiece was hit with wide-spread backlash from artists, the RIAA, and many others for copyright infringement. The company quickly went dark while the team recalibrated its business.
Comments (3)

Precious Udegbue

loved this interview!

Apr 17th

Kyle Zeigler

this podcast is extra dope.

Jul 16th
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