In an industry where trending and pop music dominates the charts, streaming platforms such as Spotify, YouTube Music and Amazon Music provide a space for independent artists to discover. However, a large majority of independent musicians find it difficult to rely on these streaming services for a living as they receive little compensation, with Spotify paying less than a cent per stream.
Rohit Ganapathy, Rishi Bradoo, Ishaan Negi, Prithvi Sankar and Pradyumn Awasthi also noticed that it was quite difficult for independent artists to pursue their passion.
In conversation with The story decipheredexplains Rohit,
“Many indie artists spend months honing their tracks, perfecting lyrics, and mixing synth sounds, but most consumers today won’t pay to download their music. last decade, the industry has also seen the production of shoddy music.”
The five friends came together to found The Swaraj Project in 2022. The startup is building an NFT project in collaboration with future musicians. A decentralized music label, it experiments with unique forms of IP (intellectual property) native to Web3.
The startup intends to engage with the 100 most loyal fans of each independent artist to invest in their music.
“In the course, the artist would earn more money than they would through Spotify or other streaming services. We want to create a fair environment where 100 genuine fans of an artist would be willing to pay to produce their music and try to bring back the feeling of belonging”, he adds.
Engineers by profession, Rohit, Rishi, Ishaan, Prithvi and Pradyumn came together to create the native Web3 platform, driven by their passion for music and their love for technology. Prior to working on The Swaraj Projekt, the co-founders were developing a social music discovery app, Humit.
“Rishi is a musician and producer, and his music has been featured in the film Detective Byomkesh Bakshy. The rest of us are engineers and we wanted to understand artists’ perspectives and build things that elevate their work,” says Rohit.
The name of the startup has an interesting origin.
“The word Swaraj has its roots in Sanskrit, which means autonomy. It’s a way for artists to free themselves from the unfair practices of a conventional record company, whether it’s irregular payment schedules, insufficient venues, or a lack of artist solidarity,” notes he.
How the platform works
The startup allows the creation of NFT (Non-Fungible Tokens) as an artisanal audiovisual work born from the collaboration between singers, producers and visual artists. They will primarily be auctioned off on the Swaraj platform, and users can then resell them on OpenSea or display them in their own galleries. Every transaction involving the NFT, which is created by the musician, is stored on the Ethereum blockchain, allowing them to earn royalties on all subsequent sales in the secondary market.
Rohit says, “The main NFT mint will go to the user who bids the most in the auction. The person can now take the NFT to the secondary market like OpenSea and sell it.
The native Web3 platform launches NFTs to Volume (1) of his Genesis collection, where he collaborated with seven singers, five producers and three visual artists.
“Each music producer creates a bunch of beats which are broadcast among the singers. Then two or three singers choose a beat, each of them sing along to the beat and create a unique song. We have 32 unique songs in this collection” , he adds.
The entire collection will be available on the Ethereum chain. Rather than relying on conventional ticketing techniques – plagued by hidden fees, scalping and counterfeit tickets – the startup instead usesas a safe and viable substitute. He also plans to airdrop NFTs to users, as gas fees (transaction costs) are relatively low on Polygon.
Airdrop refers to the distribution of cryptocurrency or NFTs sent to a Web3 wallet address for free as part of a promotion or as added value for participating in an experience.
Each NFT will have a base price of 0.1 to 0.2 ETH (as of July 26, 2022, it ranges from Rs 11,042.99 to Rs 22,106.06). The startup claims that 75 percent proceeds from the auction will go to artists, including singers, producers and visual artists. The rest 25 percent will go to Swaraj’s treasury, which will then be used for community-related initiatives.
Apart from eliminating middlemen and record labels for artists, the startup allows users to interact with artists through the discord channel The Swaraj Projekt in the lead up to the NFT auction. They will also be able to own Swaraj products and B-Side NFTs, an audio-visual NFT created from excerpts from the Swaraj Volume 1 collection, but not part of the final version.
Rohit adds, “Ahead of the auction, we decided to give users 1,000 passes to a closed, coin-operated gallery where people can view music from the Genesis collection. They also get intimate insight into the story behind the song and build relationships with the artist and the music before heading out to buy NFTs.
Designed by a visual artist indicating the sense of self through this illustration
Create generative musical NFTs
Through music NFTs, the startup also encourages artists to mix or modify content to create innovative content, including fan edits that strengthen the relationship between fans and artists.
Most songs are made up of many layers of sounds and instruments, often called stems. Rohit explains that each stem of the song will generate different NFTs, and people can collect NFTs from each stem and remix them.
“With this, musicians can produce separate versions of the track by altering the main melody in different ways,” Rohit explains.
Worldwide, the American rock band Kings of Leon was the first to release an NFT album in 2021. Since then, musicians and artists including Emery Kelly, Grimes, Steve Aoki, and Eminem have entered the field of NFT music.
closer to home, Azadi records experimented with NFT drop for their album Nayaab. Last year, Ritviz and Nucleya collaborated on 20 musical NFTs.
“Recently veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan published an NFT collection on his poetry, Madhushala,” he adds.
According to Market Watch, the global NFT market size is expected to reach $7,390.8 million by 2028, at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 24.4%.
Outragedmusic NFTs can be sold on NFT marketplaces including Catalog, Sound.xyz, Foundation, Beat Foundary, etc.
In the coming days, the startup plans to launch five volumes of the Genesis collection, and the first volume will launch the first week of August.
“We are also working on the generative collection and also plan to gradually increase the reach of the community,” he adds.
The startup plans to integrate and collaborate with many mainstream independent artists in the future.
In December 2021, it raised an undisclosed amount of funding in a pre-seed round led by Antler, and is currently looking to raise funds.