An electronic music revolution is brewing in the offices of RCRDSHP.
Fortune favors the bold in the weird and wonderful world of EDM, and this platform's ambitions fit the profile. And since electronic music artists are shaping the NFT landscape as we know it, RCRDSHP is in a unique position to trigger a paradigm shift at the intersection of music and cryptocurrency.
The music industry is a technological tinderbox in 2021, and the EDM community is holding the match. The 2021 IMS Business Report found that 76% of all music NFTs were issued by electronic music artists. That's over $50 million.
"I think EDM artists are by nature innovators, explorers, and very in tune with technology," RCRDSHP founder and CEO Obie Fernandez tells EDM.com. "That’s part of what makes us who we are. Electronic. It’s just our nature."
With a workforce and C-suite consisting of dance music industry veterans, RCRDSHP (pronounced "record shop") is a platform where people can buy and sell digital collectibles rooted in electronic music culture. The company curates digital "packs" of content in the form of NFTs, which are released as exclusive songs, video clips, visuals, exclusive behind-the-scenes content, and other multimedia developed by top artists and brands.
It's like being a kid in a blockchain-powered candy store.
"Our values are fun and authenticity to the music," said Fernandez, who estimates 80% of RCRDSHP's employees are DJs or electronic musicians. "One is the community. It’s really intense," he continued. "That’s putting it mildly, actually. They love meeting our artists and becoming new fans and hyping up who they discover."
A lifelong DJ, Fernandez understands the limitations of artists when it comes to connecting with their fans. The breakneck pacing of short-form content platforms like TikTok has fractured the relationship, leading to a new kind of glass ceiling for musicians who can't keep up with the Marshmellos of the scene. They have massive fanbases that function as virality machines, propelling them to levels of success—and financial stability—that unheralded musicians simply cannot garner.
So Fernandez launched RCRDSHP with the hope of offering creators new revenue streams as well as a novel way to engineer fan experiences. Inspired by NBA Top Shot's electrifying NFT video moments ushering in the crypto age in sports, he set out to develop an ecosystem with a similar approach in the EDM space.
And it seems to be working. In just a few months the company has done over $2 million in sales, Fernandez says, and they’ve distributed "a huge amount" to creators who have dropped NFT packs on the platform.
RCRDSHP allows artists to directly reward their most avid fans in endless ways. They can airdrop the owners of any given NFT exclusive music, fan experiences, video messages, guest list access, and more.
"RCRDSHP appeared on my radar at exactly the right time," said The Scumfrog, an iconic Dutch DJ and electronic music producer. "I was looking for a way to have a more personal relationship with my audience than what the streaming platforms can offer. I made a 65-minute movie consisting of nine new tracks, made with eight collaborators. Given the special nature of the project (it’s more a movie than an album) I was looking for a platform that could shine the best possible spotlight on the project, not only on myself, but on my collaborators too."
"RCRDSHP just immediately understood what I was doing, and they proved to be super creative and accommodating in making everybody win on this project, combining my followers with theirs," The Scumfrog continued. "It is super easy for my crypto-newbie followers to start dabbling in NFTs, because RCRDSHP manages the crypto-conversion, making the threshold much more accessible to join. They only need Paypal or a credit card."
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The advent of fan-owned digital assets has led to a bit of a saturated market in the music industry's crypto gold rush. So what is RCRDSHP's competitive edge?
"We built a team that’s very well-connected in the music industry and amongst artist circles, and we started in bringing in big names," Fernandez explained. "That’s why we have Markus Schulz and Coldharbour Recordings, a whole bunch of house legends like Juan Atkins, Todd Terry, Crystal Waters, Mark Knight and Toolroom Records."
The company also counts trance music superstar Gareth Emery, Juno Award-winning techno artist Tiga, and historic label Iboga Records as partners, among nearly 100 others.
"What we’re trying to do is activate a mainstream audience. We believe in the future of fandom," Fernandez added. "It's based on this closer artist-fan relationship. And right now the existing platforms out there don’t enable that. To me, success means having rabid fans who are crazy about the music you create. Because it moves them."
Artists have found solace in RCRDSHP, which Fernandez believes challenges the status quo in a modern music industry that expects too much of its artists in order to remain relevant.
"It’s very hard to cross boundaries," he said. "I think there’s a pervasive fear that if you go outside your lines as an artist, your fans will reject you and move onto something else."
The crux of RCRDSHP's value proposition, however, is that it democratizes emerging technologies for the creator economy. Half of the company's model is its software, but the other half is rooted in a robust, hands-on "creative suite" that rigorously educates about NFTs and makes them more accessible to the everyday EDM fan.
The hub allows creators to upload assets and go through the whole workflow of developing and dropping collectibles. RCRDSHP also has a production department working directly with artists to create compelling content and help them develop visuals, delineate exclusivity parameters, and other roadblocks associated with the challenges of activating new fans.
RCRDSHP is also launching a "crafting" arm to help creators flesh out unique packs to offer fans. Fernandez invokes "combination mechanics," a phrase which pertains to a sort of chemical bond where multiple assets consolidate to unlock unique rewards.
A practical example, Fernandez explains, is a record label who drops a song in the form of an NFT and includes its stems. A music producer could own the song and combine it with another RCRDSHP asset, which would unlock the ability to remix the song and upload it directly to the label, who may then consider releasing it. Fernandez says instances like this are just one of hundreds of "mini-games" RCRDSHP has planned.
Ultimately, RCRDSHP's goal is to become a major player in the metaverse.
"I think we'll be the major music presence in the metaverse," Fernandez asserted. "My particular metaverse philosophy is that there is one metaverse—not many. So I think we’ll be one of the premier providers of assets related to music in that metaverse."
You can find out more about RCRDSHP here.