Live from ETHDenver 2022, Be[In]Crypto sat down for a live interview with Starseed DAO founder and artist, Cynthia Cao, who believes that ‘Entertainment 3.0’ is the solution needed to fix a fragmented industry.
With the industry now turning its attention towards the metaverse, many artists are wondering if history is bound to repeat itself as its historically broken infrastructure (Entertainment 2.0) starts to seep into Web3 and the metaverse, once again, at the expense of underrepresented creatives.
Cao, the CEO of Starseed DAO believes that the industry is leveraging its already established Web2 artists and brands, and bringing them into the metaverse for an additional source of revenue and distribution – while struggling artists are still fighting to be seen, heard, and thrive in a new space they could successfully dominate and monetize from.
Starseed DAO holds itself out as one of the industry’s first Web3 talent labels in the metaverse that aims to build a parallel entertainment sphere, called Entertainment 3.0, by providing underrepresented artists with a chance to build their brand and monetize without fear or competing against already established Web2 artists.
“Technology will never be the solution, but it will be the power that empowers a new innovative idea such as this,” Cao told Be[In]Crypto. “We want to use tokenization to empower a new business model that will give creators back the ownership of their work, and in this case, the DAO that owns 100% of the distribution platform.”
So, how can the industry repair it’s fractured model through tokenization, capitalizing on Web3’s pathway into the metaverse?
Flip the hierarchy to a “bottom-up” perspective
Cao, an artist herself, says it’s crucial to implement and utilize tokenomics that are specifically unique to Web3 to help empower these creatives to have the visibility and recognition they have long been deprived of so they can successfully build and monetize their professional brands.
“The two biggest problems right now for artists are discoverability and funding, Cao explained, which she says have been “gated by platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube.”
“We’re applying the exact same business model in Web2, where the old gatekeepers are still there, but wearing a different suit,” she said. By looking at the industry from a “bottom-up” perspective, rather than the “top-down” pyramid artists have been accustomed to since the beginning, creators no longer have to choose between forfeiting ownership rights in exchange for funding, and can instead concentrate on how to continue creating in a coordinated space where everyone owns a piece of the pie.
However, simply leveraging blockchain with the industry’s pre-existing business model won’t do anything, Cao explained, emphasizing that the solution to artist’s plight comes from a new business model – Entertainment 3.0.
“We cannot talk about the creator economy without talking about creator ownership,” Cao says.
“It’s time to use tokenization to empower a new business model that will give ownership rights back to the creator. Through the power of blockchain, creators can feel empowered to create the content they want, without fear of losing ownership or priority, and actually succeed in monetizing their brand.”
Starseed’s “create-to-earn” (C2E) model provides creators with the ability to earn shares or ownership of the DAO through their distribution. Through this model, artists are able to earn their social status and staying power by having an ownership in the DAO, which Cao says can really change the lens society often sees struggling artists through.
Could DAOs be the future for talent labels?
One of the many conversations that inevitably took place during ETHDenver was whether or not DAOs could be and/or should be recognized as legal entities, paying mind to this month’s groundbreaking move by the Republic of the Marshall Islands in becoming the first sovereign nation to legally recognize DAOs as legal entities, holding the same privileges as limited liability corporations (LLCs).
As Starseed is arguably the very first Web3 talent label to come into existence with Entertainment 3.0, the question on whether a DAO that chooses to operate as a music label in the metaverse is an interesting one worth pondering.
“I definitely believe DAOs should be viewed as legal entities, but in a very different way than we are accustomed to with traditional LLCs or other corporate structures,” she said.
Speaking to the DAO infrastructure, Cao says that fundamentally, they are nothing more than the traditional form of collaboration we have been used to most of our lives, but with one difference – technology.
“Technology will never be the solution, but it will certainly empower the solution such as an innovative business model,” she noted. “With DAOs, we are now able to scale co-ops and collaboration in a larger fashion strictly because of the technology, allowing for tens of thousands of people to come to the table.”
With time, CAO believes this new business model will disrupt the industry, align the incentives of creators, users, and platforms together – where all three parties can win and will unleash tremendous creativity that was unable to be seen in the old model.
“Initially, Entertainment 3.0 will start as a parallel entertainment industry, which will be built on-chain in the metaverse – that will eventually become the entertainment industry of the future.”
Addressing the many barriers of entry with today’s industry, the potential of a Web3 metaverse talent label is endless, keeping the doors open to as many artists as possible, but injecting quality control for those who have a genuine interest in bringing value to the label.
“With Starseed DAO, we want to start with quality and equality, not wanting to reward people simply because they have a lot of money or being there early. We want to reward creators who are contributing so that we can build something sustainable,” Cao explained.
The first “metaversed artist” that will launch under Starseed’s label, according to Cao, will be CCisDreaming, a proof-of-concept virtual popstar and Cao’s metaverse alter-ego, who officially made her debut back in December at Art Basel Miami as the first NFT project that performs and interacts with an audience in a 3D digital live show.
CC is the manifestation of Cao’s dream of being a Web2 artist, but one that was restricted by cultural taboos inherent in society’s idea of what she should have been doing with her life.
“It was my dream to be an artist, but I faced many restrictions culturally and because of what society thought I should be. So, now, I gave that dream to CC, and she will symbolize that struggle and represent the hope and power for Entertainment 3.0.”
She also said that after CC, Starseed DAO will be welcoming more artists and creatives to the label.
As Entertainment 3.0 continues to develop, it could provide for an interesting approach for the entire industry to restructure how its executives, creators, and of course, fans interact and transact all on-chain and in the metaverse.
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