An Introduction To Water and Music

An innovator’s guide to the music business

Water and Music Introduction
G Tucker / ONE37pm

The music industry is vast, as is the Web3 space. Now combine the two together and you have got yourself a whole lot of questions, but not many answers. That is unless you know about Water & Music.

Water & Music is a budding newsletter and research DAO founded by Cherie Hu, to empower music-industry professionals with the knowledge, network, and skills to do more collaborative and progressive work with technology.

Not only is the Web3 space evolving, but so are all the industries surrounding it, and music happens to be a very large industry that is still trying to figure it all out. Water & Music is here to help.

What is Water & Music?

If you aren't already familiar, DAOs are decentralized autonomous organizations; essentially, they're Web3-based organizations that each share a common goal.

In this case, Water & Music's goal seems to be centered around artist development, data comprehension, community building, and optimizing communication.

While the music world has changed drastically since the introduction of TikTok and Web3, everybody has been doing their best to keep up. Consider this your introduction to the guiding light that the music business needed, Water & Music.

To start off, let's first talk about just how fast things are changing in music. As TikTok and Web3 have become ingrained into the modern music world, things are much different than they used to be.

There's a much heavier reliance on things outside of what prior music biz experts would recommend. Since the label-dominated era when you couldn't get any traction without corporate backing, times have changed drastically.

Nowadays, the "best-case scenario" for artists is their own version of an independent career, at least until they have the leverage to secure mutually beneficial deals. With that being the case, there's a much heavier dependence on information.

While in the past, artists heavily relied on label reps to take care of just about everything, nowadays, those duties usually fall upon the manager.

Managers are essentially artists' business partners in music, and whether they know it or not, today's managers are in dire need of data-backed information.

It seems like every week there's a new development in Web3 and music; Water & Music's DAO and $STREAM tokens are the answer to those yearning to stay in tune.

What is $STREAM?

In December 2021, Water & Music launched its inaugural collaborative report on Web3 and the music industry. Their findings resulted in industry-wide discussions about the most urgent needs and current challenges in the Web3 and music space.

To begin the proper research, the DAO was launched, along with the $STREAM governance token and genesis NFT membership.

$STREAM is a “research token” that represents high-quality, tangible contributions to their larger project of collaborative research, knowledge-sharing, and community-building in music and tech.

To be absolutely clear, the $STREAM token has no financial value, it simply functions as a key to on-chain governance for Water & Music's most active contributors and supporters.

The community treasury resources are mainly used to fund future research and editorial projects.

There is a fixed supply of 10 million $STREAM tokens, with varying percentages of the tokens being distributed amongst the community, staff, and research development. Below is the breakdown:

  • Retro community airdrop: 20% of the total supply
  • S1 collab research airdrop: 1%
  • Stakeholders (founders, advisors, staff, etc.): 15% (founders and staff are subject to a 1-year vesting period with a 3-month cliff)
  • Community treasury: 64%

You can view $STREAM's entire distribution and ownership history on Etherscan.

Why is Water & Music so important?

Earlier this week, we were fortunate enough to talk with two of the company's contributors, Alex Webbs and Katherine Rodgers. The two gave us thorough insight into why Water & Music is so special.

Water & Music's significance comes from the fact that they are the innovators' guide to the music business, offering innovators in the industry valuable information that is difficult to find elsewhere, such as:

  • Making smarter deals and business decisions
    Various aspects of the music industry are changing, including recording and publishing contracts, brand partnerships, licensing deals, and M&A. Web3 is evolving the way the industry functions.
  • Tracking emerging music and tech trends
    With the evolution of Web3 comes completely new technological advancements, resulting in a shift in culture as well.
  • Learn to market and promote your music better
    Marketing yourself in the music industry is becoming increasingly difficult, especially with the Web3 wave. Everyone is currently trying to figure it out. Water & Music provides insiders tips on this topic you won't find anywhere else.
  • Follow publicly-traded entertainment companies
    From music groups like Universal to platforms like Spotify, Water & Music tracks the economics of how the music industry is adapting to the new technology.

Ultimately, Water & Music's newsletter and blog are the perfect sources of knowledge for managers and other industry roles alike — even for the DIY niche of artists.

While many other blogs are focused on pre-release coverage, W&M is focused on more thematic, strategic, data-driven pieces. Take their article from earlier this month for example, "The State of Music DAOs."

This piece is basically the blueprint for navigating the music Web3 space. In the article, Water & Music introduces several meaningful music DAOs, along with their specific functions.

If you were a manager stumbling upon this article of theirs, it might be the first time you heard about DAOs that are dedicated to backing artists with investments.

That could be the only thing separating an artist from getting the funds needed to enact their vision. Don't discount the value of information in the complex formula of artist development. Water & Music surely doesn't.

After learning everything I have about the value offered by Water & Music, I felt I had no choice but to sign up for their $20/month membership, which grants access to their Discord channel and full access to their site.

As if the stockpiled resources on their site aren't engaging enough, their Discord is home to their growing community. We spoke about how influential Discord has been in community building, but this is even further proof of the concept.

Their Discord server has 8 categories: Start Here, Say Hello, Community Events, Co-Research, News + Trends, Tips + Connections, Recommendations, and Archived.

Across all of these categories, their community engages in sharing valuable knowledge, setting up collaborations, and other forms of networking.

If you are interested in getting your own membership, you can join the $20 per month option, or sign up for an entire year for only $200, and you save some money, the choice is yours.

My only problem with Water & Music is that I hadn't heard about it earlier. Here's a link to their site so you can take a deeper look for yourself.

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