The Lab Report 19 - Grimes, AI and Psychological Ownership

Grimes, artificial intelligence and psychological ownership. Ticketmaster introduces new NFT functionality and W+M maps out the music web3 fan journey.

The Lab Report 19 - Grimes, AI and Psychological Ownership

Hi everyone,

Welcome to another edition of The Lab Report.

Despite our focus on web3 we'd be remiss to avoid discussing the incredible speed of transformation around AI. We have two great articles covering the topic this week. One is from Tatiana Cirisano at MIDIA Research, the other is from Troy Young from the People vs Algorithms newsletter. In both cases, the assumption is that AI is inevitable. Rather than dwelling on displacement, the authors focus on how music and media brands can respond and adapt.

In both cases, I believe their conclusions are correct. AI will accelerate the already-challenging reality of increased competition in music and media. It will put the onus on storytelling, brand-building and community as markers of trust and integrity. Great music will always matter of course, but in order for fans to connect with it, it will require a greater emphasis on the surrounding context and narrative.

Web3's role in this new paradigm is still to be determined, but it seems complementary to me. In a world of endless digital media, the value of blockchain-based scarcity increases. In a world of AI-generated disinformation and deep fakes, the value of provable authenticity and provenance increases.

It's certainly early days here, but lots to think about. Until next time.

Grimes' Gen1 Avatar Released on Zora 

Artist/Platform News

Deeper Dives

NFTs for Free: Artists Giving Away Tokens to Reward Fans | Billboard

  • A good breakdown in Billboard that explores how the Music NFT market is changing.
  • We've always been of the opinion that fan engagement and marketing is one of the areas where NFTs can truly shine. In this article, Ben James highlights how artists have been using free NFTs to connect with their community.
  • Examples include The Chainsmokers who gave away 5,000 free NFTs tied to their album royalties as well as web3 platforms like Decent and Showtime which allow artists to easily mint free NFTs.

Why AI Music May Make Fandom Even More Important | MIDIA Research

  • A short but thoughtful piece from MIDIA Research's Tatiana Cirisano. Here, she explores the importance of fandom in a world of endless AI-generated music, highlighting its importance as a key differentiator when endless on-demand music makes its way to streaming services.
  • Cirisano defines fans as people who "identify with the context beyond the music — things like the artist’s personality, values, backstory, and aesthetic," describing its value as "identity (real or aspirational) reflected in another person."
  • While the importance of fandom is not new, it is accelerating in a world of media saturation and information overload. With AI set to compound the problem, artists and their teams should keep this reality in mind as they move forward. Web3 is one of many tools that address these changes.

Can Media Survive the AI Onslaught | People vs Algorithms

  • A great breakdown on what the media industry can expect from the coming AI onslaught from Troy Young who runs the People vs Algorithms newsletter. Troy is a long-time media industry executive who was previously president of Hearst Magazines.
  • A few of the takeaways that stood out for me: "the role media brands play moves beyond content to 1) marks of trust / informational integrity; 2) purveyors of proprietary data sets; 3) connective tissue for groups of communities with shared interests, as such a bridge between digital and offline worlds."
  • Although web3 isn't discussed here, it seems to me like there will be an important role for web3 to play in this new paradigm with blockchains being able to help verify authenticity and provenance and establish trust in a system flooded by artificially-generated information.

Mapping The Fan Journey in Music and Web3 | Water & Music

  • Another great deep dive from the crew over at Water & Music, the music, technology and research DAO.
  • While this article is restricted to their members only, it's worth including for the takeaways around how fans connect with artists in web3. Based on the interviews and research, it seems like there are two main mechanisms for discovery:
  • 1) Web2 artists building out a strategy for Web3, with platform partners to help deploy smooth onboarding experiences for all fans.
  • 2) Trusted sources, referrals, and word-of-mouth within Web3-native communities.

Building Psychological Attachment — Not Just Ownership — Into Web3 | Li Jin

  • This is a fantastic article that addresses a topic I've been thinking about quite a bit over the last 6-12 months. The focus here is "psychological ownership."
  • Psychological ownership is a concept from psychology and behavioral science that explains how individuals relate to products and services in which there is a deeply felt sense of personal attachment (not financial). It is the feeling that "this is mine."
  • It's a somewhat abstract concept, but one that is surely familiar to the many among us who grew up carefully curating our itunes libraries – whether they legally "owned" the music or not. Jin actually has a few interesting references to studies around music streaming and psychological ownership, but that's a conversation for another day.
  • What's important here is to consider how token-based products like NFTs can amplify this sense of psychological ownership by embedding abstract notions of fandom, identity and community into a more tangible asset.
  • For anyone operating in web3, this is a crucial concept. The article offers a great overview of how to approach psychological ownership while highlighting the extensive research on how it connects with commerce.