SOCAN’s Digital Services team participated in a webinar, The Metaverse: A New Music Marketplace, on Oct. 18, 2022, that examined how the evolution of new tech might best serve music creators, as the online world continues to evolve rapidly from websites to interactive spaces (which accelerated especially rapidly during the past two years of ongoing pandemic shutdowns).

The event, part of Canadian Music Week’s “Virtual Voices” series, featured Dean Wilson, CEO, Seven20 and manager, deadmau5, and Corey Kovnats, Vice President, Web3 Technology, Also participating were SOCAN representatives Holly Fagan-Lacoste, Manager, Digital Business & Partner Relations, and  Tanner Jackson, Licensing Agent, Digital Business. It was hosted  by webcaster Rudy Blair, of Rudy Blair Entertainment, and presented by the RBC Emerging Artist Project.

Dean Wilson talked about how deadmau5 is currently working with various new tech companies in the fledgling days of the new interactive online spaces, and how they’re “game-ifying” the music industry – combining music with digital collectibles.

Wilson said that in the new interactive spaces, artists can

  • meet directly with their fans (who can also meet and interact directly with each other);
  • allow those fans to pay for and collect all kinds of assets, including stems [individual recorded elements of a song, e.g., the bass line];
  • re-make those stems, contributing their own additional musical elements (e.g., adding a guitar part and solo); and then
  • port them into the digital marketplace, and sell them as well.

He also said that artists, like gaming companies, will be able to set up their own crypto-currency, and that their fans still want to own and collect music – and in the metaverse, “there’s no gatekeeper, no one taking a cut of the artist’s income, there’s a direct connection with their fanbase – and the fans absolutely love it. Artists can make more money, more quickly, by super-serving the super-fan.”

SOCAN’s Holly Fagan-Lacoste agreed, saying, “Even with only a small core group of fans, as few as 100, activity in the metaverse can be very supportive for their career. Like Patreon, but very interactive.” She also pointed out that the metaverse strongly values music, as fans pay more to own it exclusively than they do to stream it on digital service providers. And she noted another advantage – that digital music lends itself to automated data, which helps for better, faster, and more accurate tracking of music, and therefore of royalties for that music.

SOCAN’s Tanner Jackson said that the tech is so new, “we’re like cavemen rubbing two sticks together.” He also said that the metaverse is transitioning music consumers of a given artist from an audience into a community, where the market of fans determines the value of music, not the gatekeeper – and the artist will get whatever they’re willing to pay for a piece of music, or another asset. He added that working in the metaverse to serve the artist’s super-fans doesn’t negate continuing to work via traditional websites and social media to reach the broad market, but instead builds alongside it.

Corey Kovnats mentioned the challenges of trying to present concerts in interactive online spaces while still complying with all of the international regulations that apply to a show when it’s available worldwide. He also discussed new metaverse companies trying to foist the responsibility for compensating music creators, whose work is being used, on to the users who are generating content – as YouTube has done. Some of them are opting for a “notice and takedown” option for unlicensed music, but in Kovnats view, “Saying ‘we told them not to do it’ isn’t enough.”

You can watch the full webinar here.

SOCAN, and our invaluable members operating in Web3 spaces, are passionately looking forward to working together to assure that music rights are understood and protected.