The EOS-built decentralised music-sharing platform Emanate (EMT) has plenty going on under the hood and is set to open it all up to Ethereum via Uniswap. We caught up with Jimi Frew and Sean Gardner – two of the founders from the under-the-radar Aussie project.
Let’s start with the elevator pitch. How would you describe Emanate?
JF: It’s a platform for music sharing, collaboration and distribution, focused on the Web3 environment. It’s designed to close the relationship gap between artists, labels and their communities and make it super easy to monetise your love of music.
So is disrupting the traditional music industry a narrative the project plays into? Was that the spark for the idea?
JF: Yeah, the idea was originally about improving efficiency and collaboration opportunities in music. The legacy music industry is still built around outdated systems and processes. So for Emanate, the opportunity was shifting how music is shared and consumed as we bring it out of the dark ages.
Would you say Emanate is all about putting artists first?
JF: It’s more about empowering anyone who contributes value. So it could be the artists, music collectives/labels, community influencers or super fans. There’s a lot of scope here for automation and increased transparency – and that will ultimately put more revenue in the pockets of artists.
What sold you on EOS as the blockchain for Emanate? We’ve heard rumours you might be switching to Ethereum. Is that true?
SG: Yep, Emanate sits on EOS for now. But, it’s been designed to move chains if needed and we’re starting to bridge to other chains very very soon – with Ethereum and Polygon in mind first.
We chose EOS at the time because nothing else could give us the fee-less transactions, speed and scalability needed to operate. There are lots of other, better, options now. The blockchain space is fast-paced and always providing new exciting opportunities.
Buying the EMT tokens doesn’t appear to be all that easy right now – it’s not listed on too many exchanges. Where’s the best place to pick them up?
SG: For now, on EOS via NewDex or DefiBox is best, but we’re excited to announce that an ERC-20 version of the token will be trading on Uniswap in the coming weeks. This is our first step towards moving Emanate to an EVM [Ethereum Virtual Machine]-compatible ecosystem.
Nice! Tell us about the EMT token. What is it and what are the benefits of holding it?
SG & JF: Currently, it’s a utility token. For EMT, that means users need to stake (or lock) it via the platform to access the full suite of features. They can actually choose between subscribing with a credit card or staking EMT. When your earning rate increases, you access cash-out, traditional distribution, exclusive community channels within Discord and more.
We’ll continue building utility into the token as we progress. We originally planned a governance component for EMT token holders but the project is not ready for that yet.
What’s the main way musicians can benefit from Emanate?
SG: I’ll give you five ways…
- It’s an easy, quick way for them to share and monetise music.
- They get instant payments, direct, with no minimum cash-out.
- It’s a trusted collaborative environment over automated digital contracts.
- They get distribution to traditional music digital service providers.
- They can own a piece of the network and cut out subscription fees via the EMT token.
And what about the consumers? Playlist-sharing for micropayments sounds like a cool idea. Can fans get decent rewards from this?
JF: Yeah, that’s the idea. We believe anyone adding value should be given an opportunity to share in the money. It’s about aligning incentives and flipping the way things are traditionally done.
Imagine having your community rewarded for sharing your music on social media rather than having to pay for reach via the platform. It just makes sense.
There looks to be some pretty hefty competition in the peer-to-peer music sector of crypto. Is there room for lots of winners?
JF: We’re all trailblazing, there is a lot of cross-pollination and everyone contributing is taking their own unique approach. For us, it’s great to see multiple companies in the space bringing in their own audience to further open the possibilities for larger awareness.
Audius (AUDIO) have just secured a high-profile partnership with TikTok. What can make Emanate stand out in the sector?
SG: Audius is killing it with their adoption and marketing. It’s bittersweet for us because we’re excited to see the space evolve, but we’ve been putting music on TikTok and over 30 other streaming platforms for more than a year. We actually do pass the payments along, too.
We think the next year will see insane growth of Emanate with our Ethereum compatibility, native-app releases, monetised playlists and NFT integrations.
JF: Respecting intellectual property is a key focus for us. We’re doing our best to ensure rights holders get what they should, quickly and efficiently with minimal friction and hassle. As Sean said, Emanate connects you with fan bases on other platforms like TikTok, Spotify and YouTube – via distribution. We see Emanate as an all-in-one solution that artists can use as a cockpit for their sounds.
Speaking of sounds… what are you focused on? You’ve mainly brought in the electronic, tech-savvy artists and crowd so far, would that be fair?
JF: Yeah, spot on. Electronic music has been our focus so far, although the platform is open to everyone and every style of music. The electronic community has a rich history of leading change and taking a different approach on how things get done making them an ideal focus.
Deadmau5 is a pretty big name that’s attached himself to Emanate. What other artists and labels have you got on board?
JF: Yep, we have deadmau5 and mau5trap music on Emanate. Chris Lake and his Black Book imprint, mr.bill, Mayflwr are all on the platform. But what’s more exciting to us than the electronic heavyweights is the emerging talent we’re finding on the Emanate – people like Molly Otto, ROBY, Laminar, Jack Megraw, Eleganto, Kar, wtfhaks, MAIWORLD and Chinksey.
Do you have an Aussie-music mindset? Are you set on growing the local industry? Or do you really just think more globally?
JF: We’ve always taken the global vision and perspective, but having the Australian local industry test ideas and gather feedback is truly an asset. The local industry needs support right now so we’re looking a little closer than we have in the past.
It’s pretty hard for cash-strapped artists to tour at the moment. Do you think music platforms with strong community become even more important in times like this?
JF: Absolutely! It’s no secret that COVID has destroyed the live music industry. We need to find new ways to create revenue moving forward. Emanate is just one of many new ways artists can explore this. It’s free and easy to get started, with nothing to lose and everything to gain.
What do you think is the biggest barrier to Emanate’s growth or gaining the type of adoption you’d like?
JF: In the past, we had to be careful about the language we used because “blockchain” was a bit of a scary word for many people. In this cycle, people are far more open-minded and NFTs have really been the vehicle to change that. Funding and talent can be hard at times but we are on a good wicket now.
Besides innovating the music industry, what else is exciting you in the crypto industry right now?
SG: The gaming and the NFT space is really exciting to us. One particular project that’s worth checking out is Illuvium. We can see this play-to-earn narrative flowing into music, too.
We also love the community building around NFT projects like Bored Ape Yacht Club. I think NFTs will provide music artists with exciting tools to play with and will offer incredible potential for new revenue.
Can you share some things of interest coming up for Emanate?
SG: We’re already planning our next development phase as we move out of our EOS/ALPHA into Beta which will be focused on more EVM compatibility. Selling limited copies of tracks to super fans via audio NFTs – unlocking exclusives streaming are just some ideas we have in the pipeline.
JF: Our native mobile apps are about to drop – we’ve got a fun collab coming up with mr.bill. The next chapter of the platform is super exciting with a “play to earn” component as well as monetised playlists.
And lastly… what are you listening to at the moment that you’re enjoying?
JF & SG: Chinksey, ROBY, MAi World, Laminar, JYRYMY, Micci and Molly Otto are just some of the amazing artists on Emanate we’re enjoying right now.
About the Emanate founders
Long-time friends, the three Emanate founders share a passion for technology, music and industry disruption.
Prior to Emanate, Jimi Frew spent 12 years in the electronic music space as a creator and curator, offering musical/engineering services to a long list of high-profile clients.
Born into a musical family, Sean Gardner is an award-winning creative technologist and fan of decentralisation. He’s been working at the intersection of art and technology for more than 15 years, four of those in blockchain.
Trent Shaw has a ton of experience in the commercialisation of emerging technology across a number of industries, including music and entertainment.
You can learn more about Emanate here.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity. Stockhead has not provided, endorsed or otherwise assumed responsibility for any financial product advice contained in this article.