As artists realize the possibility of owning their music through nonfungible tokens (NFTs),, the billion-dollar music industry is in a transition. Ashanti, the multi-platinum-selling singer, actress and co-founder of EQ Exchange — a women-led Web3 platform — recently shed light on this during a Cotton Candy Records meetup that took place on June 20 in New York.
Ashanti, Janice Taylor’s founder and CEO at EQ Exchange, spoke on a panel about the importance of ownership for creators today. Ashanti spoke from personal experience.
It is vital to keep the story going that owning is the best way to go. It is a great feeling to be able to get up in the morning and put your heart, sweat, and tears into a project, and then have another person reap the rewards while you are working. This was how my contract was set up many years ago. But now, I have the right to go back and re-record my first album and create new masters.
Creators should own their creations.
Ashanti shared with Cointelegraph that creating an album before Web3 and the launch was difficult. She noted that artists would sign a record contract and then create an album which would sell for $15. The R&B legend stated that an artist would receive $0.38 from this amount. This was the high-end. Ashanti realized that this was a common practice and began looking for other ways to acquire her intellectual property.
Ashanti , nearly 20 years after the release of her debut album, formed a partnership to EQ Exchange. This made her the first Black female artist ever to co-found a Web3 business. On April 6, 2022 Ashanti, who was celebrating the 20th anniversary of her debut album Ashanti, released a NFT collection with EQ Exchange. Taylor claims that Ashanti sold her five first NFTs within minutes. Although this is impressive, Ashanti said that the main message behind music NFTs was “that owning your work”
Ashanti said that she also owns the NFT collection and wants to make it more beneficial to her fans. Fans will have the exclusive right to hear my music first. They also get to own the music. She said that they will be entitled to a percentage of royalties on new records as well as tickets to shows, vacations, and limited merchandise drops.
Web3 Women aim to inspire
Ashanti also stated that she hopes for greater female participation through her NFT collection, and her role in the Web3 space. This is crucial, considering that EWG Unlimited and The Female Quotient recently discovered that Web3 continues to be dominated by men. The report shows that only 16% Web3 creators identify themselves as women. This has created an inherent male bias. Ashanti stated that this is because of the inherent male bias.
“I never imagined that I would be working in the Web3 space. It was necessary to get involved in this space as an independent artist. The Cotton Candy Records meetup was my first experience speaking at a crypto-focused event. I plan to speak more often to encourage other women creators and women of colour to get involved.
Taylor said that education and events are crucial for bringing women into the Web3 space. She also noted that her first investors suggested that Taylor hire a crypto-native man co-founder for EQ Exchange. This was to make it appear that Taylor understood crypto better than she is, even though she has been a tech founder three times.
Taylor was able to ignore this comment and bring Ashanti on board as EQ Exchnage co-founder. She stated that she wanted Ashanti to be her partner, and that she specifically wanted a woman and woman of color.
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Cointelegraph spoke out in support of Taylor by Sarah Omolewu who founded Access Abu Dhabi, a program that encourages women and minorities into the UAE’s business community. She told Cointelegraph that women can join the crypto community to create new career paths, regardless of age or financial situation. She stated:
Before 1974, when the Equal Credit Act was adopted, women in America were not able to get credit from banks. Fast forward to 2022, and less than 2 percent of venture capital goes to women-led companies. Web3 could be the equalizer to change this story by getting women involved in the very beginning blockchain technology. This space is currently home to 93-95% male cryptocurrency users.
Omolewu stated that although women make up a small percentage of Web3 users, Access Abu Dhabi recently partnered with Unstoppable Domains, a platform that grants ownership NFT domains. This partnership will provide all nationalities living in Abu Dhabi with free blockchain domains. She noted that Unstoppable Domains was the first step towards our long-term goal to disrupt this space for women in the area.
Sandy Carter, senior vice-president of Unstoppable Domains, explained to Cointelegraph that Unstoppable Domains is a user’s digital ID, making it simple for non-crypto users to access Web3. Users don’t need to use a complex wallet address to send or receive crypto transactions. They can simply use their NFT domain.
According to Unstoppable Domains, ShapeShift, Coinbase Wallet and other crypto wallets can be used with supported applications. “We have more than 300 partnerships. Carter said that Paris Hilton changed her Twitter handle from ParisHilton.NFT to ParisHilton.NFT.
Women should now be able to join Web3
Despite the many benefits of music NFTs as well as the encouragement from influencers, it can still be difficult or intimidating for women to join the Web3 sector. Carter said that women should start sooner than later because the market is still young. “I like the expression, we are in the dial-up phase Web3 — We are rewriting what the internet is and need diverse voices now.
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Taylor said that EQ Exchange was helping to create a financial system that is sustainable and allows artists, especially women, to flourish. Taylor said that the platform was launched in March this year. However, Taylor also shared that other female creators have already begun to create NFT collections. Monifah, a recording artist, actress, and producer, said to Cointelegraph that she would launch an NFT collection in July 2023 with EQ Exchange, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of her single touch it.
Monifah stated that music NFTs are the future for the industry and that artists need to do their research so they can get involved.
“It would be insane if I did it in a traditional manner at this stage.” She said that Web3 is the most important thing for artists. Monifah shared her frustration with Web3 however. “It’s still challenging to navigate the Web3 space. But it’s fun. I want to introduce Web3 to the younger generation.