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How indify’s Co-Founder prettyboyshav Is Flipping The Economics Of The Record Business

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The traditional record label model isn’t artist-friendly. That’s not a secret to anyone by now. Deals are notoriously long and feature a revenue split heavily tilted toward the label — not the artist. But an ambitious alternative has arisen in the last few years. Meet indify, a start-up co-founded by musician prettyboyshav and his two childhood best friends, Matthew Pavia and Connor Lawrence.

 

indify is a platform that connects investors with up-and-coming artists. Investors can not only financially back artists, but also mentor them in matters like legal or marketing. But unlike a record deal, investments can be as short as a song-per-song basis. As prettyboyshav told me, it’s like “going on dates instead of marrying.” 

 

As an artist himself with millions of streams to his name, Prettyboyshav is specially equipped to carry out indify’s vision — to create a more equitable, prosperous music industry. indify was originally a music discovery tool when it launched in 2015. Using an algorithm, it identified emerging artists on the cusp of “blowing up” like Khalid, who the tool flagged way back in 2015. That technology still underpins its new business pivot as the “AngeList for the music industry.” 

 

To get a glimpse into indify’s innovative technology and mission, listen to my full interview with prettyboyshav. We covered a lot of topics, including the ones below:

 

[3:39] indify’s Mission In The Music Industry 

[5:28] Why Artists Are Taken Advantage Of So Often

[7:03] What Does indify Look For In Investors Wanting To Join The Platform? 

[10:16] The Potential For Culture-Setters To Financially Back An Emerging Artist

[14:38] indify Vs. Record Labels 

[19:07] Is There A Glass Ceiling On Artists Who Don’t Sign With A Record Label? 

[23:35] Does indify Do Upfront Money Deals? 

[26:10] Principles That Guard indify’s Technology

[29:27] indify Having Web 3.0 Values Despite Being Off-Chain 

[33:11] How prettyboyshav Juggles His Music Career And Being Start-Up Founder

 

Listen: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSS

 

Host: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.co

 

Guests: prettyboyshav, @prettyboyshav

 

Enjoy this podcast? Rate and review the podcast here! ratethispodcast.com/trapital

 

Trapital is home for the business of hip-hop. Gain the latest insights from hip-hop’s biggest players by reading Trapital’s free weekly memo.

 

TRANSCRIPTION

 

prettyboyshav  00:00

I truly, truly, deeply believe in it and feel it and empathize with the work that’s being done because I believe in these values, which really comes down to community, right? And community ownership, community governance, I think these things are very powerful concepts. And I think these are very powerful ways for an artist to run their business.

 

Dan Runcie  00:26

Hey, welcome to the Trapital podcast. I’m your host and the founder of Trapital, Dan Runcie. This podcast is your place to gain insights from executives in music, media, entertainment, and more, who are taking hip hop culture to the next level. Today’s guest is prettyboyshav. He’s the co-founder and CEO of Indify, a platform that is helping people invest in the future of music. Indify connects merchant artists with the funding they need to build the biggest careers. On Indify, it brings together artists who want to grow and control their career on their terms. It also brings together investors who want to support and back these artists and have the know how to help bring them to the next level. It also brings together business partners who can help artists with marketing, legal, accounting, and many of the other things involved to help run the business. One of the things that Shav and I have always talked about and we agree on is that artists are founders. If you follow me anywhere, you’ve seen me talk about this, you see me reiterate this. And I think Shav himself is a great example of this. He very much approaches Indify this way, and he’s also a recording artist himself, prettyboyshav has over 10 million streams. And we talked a lot about what it’s been like for him, navigating both the CEO role and his role as an artist. But we also talk about what Indify has been up to and some of their progress they’ve ha. The company has had over a million dollars generated this past quarter and 2022 for the artists on its platform and over a billion streams for those artists collectively as well. We talk about the influence that some of the partners they’ve had as well, such as Alexis Ohanian, who was an early investor in Indify, some of the artists that he’s been able to back, and ultimately what they’re trying to build towards. We talked about how Indify is positioned relative to other alternative financing options in the music industry. We also talked about how it’s positioned relative to record labels. And can an artist on one of these alternative financing platforms achieve the same success as the superstars that are on the major record labels? The folks that headline major music festivals, perform at the Super Bowl and things like that? This is a great conversation. And if you’re interested in where the music industry is going, some other options, you’ll love this one. Here’s my chat with prettyboyshav. All right, we got the one and only prettyboyshav here with us today. He is the co-founder CEO of Indify, platform and a company that is helping artists embrace their independence. He is also an artist himself with over 10 million streams. Shav, welcome to the pod.

 

prettyboyshav  03:15

What’s up, Dan? Good to be here, man. I’ve been wanting to come on here for a while.

 

Dan Runcie  03:19

Yeah. And I mean, you know that I’ve been following everything that you’ve all been doing. And it’s been very interesting to see how you’ve navigated the industry and how you leverage the technology built to continue to do good things. So for those that are less familiar, what is Indify and what is it that you all are trying to help solve in the music industry?

 

prettyboyshav  03:39

Well, Indify is a marketplace that’s helping artists raise funding on equitable terms from strategic partners. You could think of it as almost like AngelList for music. I think our premise is that the major labels and a lot of the old system and the traditional system, the music industry, kind of represent what you know, private equity did years ago on the venture side. And I think fortunately, we have things like YC and AngelList. Actually, one of these tweets is the Kanye tweet from around fall 2020, where he kind of talked about a lot of things that we’ve been talking about, but we think it’s time that a lot of those standardized, founder-friendly, and digitize terms come to help artists who we believe are also founders raise funding equitably. Yeah. So it’s been exciting. I think this is an evolution from our earlier platform, which was really just a discovery tool for the music industry and became an industry-standard tool across a ton of record labels and ended up identifying a ton of artists, early one that we’re very known for is Khalid.

 

Dan Runcie  04:34

Nice, and I got to mention, because you mentioned the Kanye tweets behind you. Is one of those the one that’s talked about the Y Combinator for the music industry?

 

prettyboyshav  04:43

Yes, that’s exactly what it is, you know, “When I spoke to Katie Jacobs who’s on the board of the Vivendi. We decided to create a YC for the music industry so artists have the power and transparency to be in control of our future. No more shady contracts, no more lifelong deals.” And this one is Alexis tweeting Blonde, because I showed Alexis Ohanian, who’s our investor. I was like, man, you got to get deeper into Blonde and Frank Ocean because this thing is amazing.

 

Dan Runcie  05:05

Yeah, it’s an amazing album. And I think, thinking more broadly about what you all are building, I think that venture for music is the pitch I’ve heard from you. I’ve heard references well with where you’re seeing with this, but I feel like you’re taking a bit of a more unique take on it than maybe just the YC model. So what does that look like? What do you see things playing out for you?

 

prettyboyshav  05:28

Well, I think what YC did, right, in building the safe and standardized docs, and more documentation and transparency has allowed founders to see, okay, what is par for the course? What are founder-friendly terms? You know, if you don’t use a safe note, for a raise, or standardized docs, you’re kind of, you know, totally left field, a ton of artists, I would say, you know, just anecdotally, like, one out of three artists we meet, a very high percentage have actually signed some sort of predatory, shady contract before they even get off the ground. And the lack of standardization at that early stage if you compare it to Venture Seed, Series A, Pre-seed, has made it so a lot of artists get taken advantage of at inception. And I think that’s something that’s very core to Indify to prevent that from happening to build the tools and education system so that artists can have an ecosystem or have kind of technology, such that they’re protected.

 

Dan Runcie  06:20

And I think a lot of that you mentioned the partners they work with and the people they meet, because that, of course, is how people ended up in either good contracts or bad contracts. That’s a lot of what’s there right? And I think you’ve spoken before about this distinction between smart money versus dumb money, which I know has also been very common in investing and in tech as well. And I think the same can be said in music. And I know that you all do your job on both sides, both the artist side and the investor side to determine who can be entered into the program. So yeah, let’s start with the investor side. What are the things that you look for when someone wants to join your platform because they want to invest in an artist?

 

prettyboyshav  07:03

Yeah, I think, you know, building on kind of some of the points you were making earlier to Dan, like, what is protection for artists? What is being artists first? This is something that at Indify we studied for six years, and these are nuanced questions, and I’ve studied it myself as an artist, right? You know, there’s a ton of funding solutions that are out there, some fan investing, some loan investing, but you know, if it is a finance bro buying your song, or if it is, you know, a loan against your own streams, a lot of the times this can put the artists in a worse position than if they were to take no money at all, because now they’re in the hole, X amount of dollars. And if all those dollars are not spent, wisely are spent in a way that they’re amplifying, ultimately, your platform as an artist or your income as an artist. Now, you’re not increasing your income, and you’re in the hole 10, 20, 50k. And that’s something that I think, you know, is important to make a distinction about because artists are founders. And we’re not necessarily seeing founders prioritize capital, but prioritize the best partners when they’re raising funds for their companies. I think the same is true for the smart business owners that are artists. And I think they should be respected as such, many of them are making six, seven figures a year that work with Indify. And part of the reason that that is, is they’re not only I think, CEOs in their own right, and building their business on platforms like  TikTok, Instagram, social media, shipping every day, right? Like we talked about shipping with founders, these artists are shipping every day. They’re putting their stories out there, they’re connecting with people. But they’re also very, very smart to find business partners that know how to digital market their music, that know how to manage their operations, and they’re hiring these partners and partnering with investors. And so what we look for, you know, there’s generally two kinds of cohorts, I would say, one is spark music professionals that have had experienced breaking artists before. And we have certain kinds of thresholds for that, one of the thresholds we talked about is, has this partner work with an artist that has reached over 30,000 streams a day or not, even previous time? Or also, you know, influencers themselves. I think that’s something that we’re really excited about. It’s a bit more on the early stage. But, for example, Alexis Ohanian invested in the artist Leah Kate, I think around, you know, when he least identified her on the platform, and he, that was all him. He went on the platform and he found her. She was even lower on the rank. She was at around 3000 streams per day. He’s helped her grow using his platform and his base to now over a million streams a day. And we think that’s an incredible example of a partnership. And we think those combinations together, a syndicate of sorts of these strategic professionals with strategic influencers that can gift an audience to younger artists, is the new way of music industry.

 

Dan Runcie  09:51

I’m sure there must be some nuance there, right because of course, someone like Alexis who is a fan, he understands that clearly, he has a lot of influence to be able to make things happen. But I’m sure you may also get interest for people in tech, let’s say they were early at a startup, startup exited, they have some extra money. They may know nothing  about the music industry, but they just want to get in. How are those conversations?

 

prettyboyshav  10:16

Well, I think, Alexis, and I’ll tell the story, like, Alexis tweeted, I wish I could invest in Lizzo enterprises. And I tweeted back, invest in the next one on Indify, and somebody showed him the tweet, somehow, I caught him for five minutes at the US Open actually, and told him music investing safe, he said, you’re a crazy person. Investing in music can’t be safe, I tried it. And he, actually, you know, put his money where his mouth is, and he backed an artist. But I think with that was the spirit of somebody who wanted to help that artist and grow, with that was the spirit of somebody who wanted to spend time with Leah, who was a founder and help her develop both as an artist and as a businesswoman, an independent businesswoman who’s building an incredible seven-figure per year revenue business. And so I think that that development, and I think more so with him, the ability to empower her as an entrepreneur. And that story, getting out there, I think, was what made for something really exciting with Leah. But I think what’s really interesting is now bigger artists actually coming into the fold. We actually a huge artist, I’m not at liberty to say yet, in Q1, backed an artist, one of my favorite artists of all time, and this I think is going to happen more and more. What happens if LeBron starts backing artists on Indify, right? What happens if, you know, actors and actresses? What happens if Lisa, right, starts backing artists on Indify? I mean, these are artists that can bring real taste, culture, and audiences to those next generation of emerging artists. And I think when you’re posed with signing your rights away to a major label or partnering with someone like that, I think it’s a really exciting proposition for the future.

 

Dan Runcie  11:48

Yeah, this reminds me of an idea that I think it was Jack Butcher, if someone like that had mentioned on a podcast about looking at someone like a Canelo Alvarez or even Deontay Wilder, you have these prizefighters, boxers, and if they invest in artists, that artist is the one that walks out with them when they’re doing their walk-up music, that is a huge platform, so able to introduce someone like that. I think that is so powerful.

 

prettyboyshav  12:14

I saw that clip and shout out Jack Butcher and Visualize Value, and everything he’s doing. He has an amazing podcast too, he’s a friend. And I think that’s such an amazing concept, right? Like, I think as a society, we’re yearning for cross-cultural moments, you know what I mean? You see it so much with even the Paul’s fighting in boxing. And you know, Paul-Mayweather, what a crazy event that was, or Conor McGregor-Mayweather and I think, more and more, I think you’re gonna see culture crossover, right. And I like that fun there. But like, you know, music is in our DNA. And people talk about sometimes they asked me, like, you know, what’s the market in music? What’s the market of streaming? What’s the opportunity? And I’m like, well, there’s 7 billion of us in the world. We all like music, right? So I think everybody is on the table to be a part of the story. And I think that’s why it’s so powerful. I think we’ve wanted solutions for music for such a long time. But I think for us, you know, it’s been these strategic partners, and pairing them with, you know, and our ability to identify artists, I think is the best out there in all honesty, pairing them with artists with traction, that’s when one plus one equals 100. I mean, in the last year or so we’ve helped artists reach over a billion streams independently. And this is rea on the ground effort, and real on the ground connections, that is making a difference in these lives, not in terms of just a one-time cash-out. But many of these artists are now making six, and some seven figures per year over, you know, what could be the rest of their careers. And that’s the beauty of when you do break through on streaming, what it can do for you can create sustainability as an artist, I think it’s something that we’re very proud of, in our cohort of artists helping them get to.

 

Dan Runcie  13:48

So let’s talk a little bit more about the benefits and what artists do you get. Because I think a lot of people, they hear options like Indify, they’re thinking about it as an alternative to maybe going with their traditional record label and doing that type of deal. And on the surface. Of course, if an artist is working with Indify, I believe the terms is up to 50% and rotating ownership for their masters is what they offer. I know there are some record label deals that do offer that. But if you could talk a little bit more about the distinction there. And if there are certain things that you think that you offer as a replacement, and then are there certain things where you still think that an artist would need to still find elsewhere, they should find elsewhere, and may be a bit of the itemization of where Indify’s value add is relative to what the artists would get on a record label.

 

prettyboyshav  14:38

Well, I think talking more just technically to start, if you look at the traditional record industry contract and what standard and this is for people out there who don’t know, generally they’re like, aghast when I explain this, but a typical record deal is, this is the deal that a lot of these greats have signed A typically a record deal Is 85%-15% in favor of the major label, a five-album deal. And over the course of a lifetime of copyright plus like seven years. It’s like the traditional kind of deal. So that means an entire artist’s career, that they’re sort of signing away at 17, 16, 20 years old, but are involved in for the next 10 to 15 years of their career. And I think that time period also matters. Also, for the capital advance, you get, right, like you see these artists get all these nice things upfront, I think that upfront cost is massive. It’s massive, because you’re not only, in a typical loan, you pay, you know, your 100% of your rights would pay back that loan, right? In this case, your 15% has to pay back that initial advance, let’s say it’s 100k, 200k, 500k, meaning you’re in the whole millions, right of dollars, before you see 15 cents on the dollar. And that’s after there is and these are some of the things that I find the most predatory, a 25% distribution fee, which costs $20 on this circuit, or, you know, accounting that is just less than clean and clear, I’ll say. And so I think on the converse side, I think a lot of these infrastructural issues are initially what we’re trying to fix, you know, beyond just I think the terms, but if we put it plain and simple on terms, I mean, a lot of artists on our platforms start with raising for one song, right? With a partner that they talked to, and they might have interest from a ton of partners, messages from the ton of partners on the platform, speak with them. And if they liked that partner, generally these deals are for one song, only three to five years. And after the initial investment is paid back, I think we see a lot of 70-30 kind of splits in favor of the artists. So it’s quite literally flipping the economics and making the commitment significantly less. And I think honestly, one of the other things that I’ve heard, you know, people talk about one of the greatest forms of control is slowness. I think, you know, these contracts, they take sometimes six weeks to six months to a year to fully kind of work through. On Indify we’re seeing, you know, you can raise one song, try a partner, try another partner for another song, if you liked them, do an EP. And you can do that investment. You know, using this platform. Again, all of the actual legal terms are in our outsourced to our like TOS and our super artist-friendly, we have our sort of indie note that like backs that, but you’re then just deciding for simple terms, once those are decided it can take 45 minutes to raise, and you can capitalize on that moment that’s happening on TikTok, or on Instagram immediately with some of the best marketers and managers in the business that are doing a lot of, a lot of the heavy lifting behind the scenes, and are a lot of times the people who the label pay at a premium. And so I think that’s for us why we feel Indify is really a better option. Because, you know, rather than diving in and getting married to a partner at the youngest possible age, you’re in fact, just, you know, going on dates, I guess, with different partners and seeing, alright, who’s the best fit for me, who’s somebody that connect with? Who’s the right value add investor for my project?

 

Dan Runcie  18:01

I do think that last example, makes a ton of sense of that, essentially, because so much of it, especially with these five-album deals, you are signing away so much early on when, if you think about yourself as an asset, you’ve been de-risked, hopefully much earlier in the process if you end up being successful, but there’s no opportunity to necessarily realize that until a bit later on in the process, and I know one thing that I do hear from people and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it is that with some of these alternative financing options, the terms are great, everything is effective from that perspective. However, people still have this question about, okay, well, what is the max that we could see an artist succeed? Can we see someone be this superstar that’s performing at the Super Bowl or reaching these Billy Eilish or Olivia Rodrigo or Ariana Grande level of artists if they’re not with one of the major record labels? You could still earn a living off of those, but can an artist reach that path? So it’d be great to hear your thoughts on that, and especially how you think that relates with Indify. 

 

prettyboyshav  19:07

I’d really love that question. It’s something that I think about a lot. It’s something that I’m excited to experiment with myself. I think eventually, you know, something that I’m interested in is documenting, transcribing, and publishing my process of going through Indify with an artist with 10 million streams. I’m not quite, I think fairly qualified. So I’m actually posting my TikToks trying to get there. But I think as an artist, you get excited about seeing what, and as obviously as a founder, what the brink of this platform is. We’ve seen for transparency’s sake a $400,000 deal happened on Indify. We’ve also seen deals for 10 to 50k, right, where the investor, you know, pre-release, invest in the song. Week one with some initial pre-release traction, and then I can talk about the Seaside demo example. That song was invested in on Sunday, it came out on Monday. By Wednesday, it was doing well, Nick Mueller and Golden Kids Group, he flagged it to Spotify. And he made sure the digital marketing was being spent wisely. So that week two, it’s now doing 100,000 streams per day 200,000 streams per day, week three, week four, he’s calling TikTok, calling Snapchat, calling Apple, calling all the right partners such that it reaches pop rising by week two, or three, and by week five, and hit Today’s Top hits as an independent song. And this happened within the course of a month. I mean, you know, songs like that, without going into too much detail. When you do have that viral capacity, you could see a 30 or 50x, on your 10k investment. And we’re seeing investors experienced that, you’re seeing these artists, again, earn six to seven figures, from creating moments like that. And beyond that, you know, just working with these partners, when it doesn’t happen at that level, you’re seeing, I think 80 or 90% of these deals on the platform are profitable. So quite literally, you have what is a low ceiling, or a low risk, high ceiling asset class, which I think is incredibly unique, especially because we’re de-risking those things by only allowing the artists to come on and see strategic partners and only allowing the partners to come on and see artists with traction and be able to invest in them right on the platform and then be able to earn out directly through kind of this whole ecosystem and technology that we’ve built. And I think what we’ve seen in the last year, even the last quarter Jx.Zero, I think he reached 700 or 800,000 streams a day. Leah is now doing a million streams per day. Pink Sweat$, who was the first artist to raise way back when this was even off platform. Leah was the first one on platform with Alexis. Off platform, Pink did a funding partnership, a funding deal to start his career. I mean, he’s had a platinum record. He’s in the top 500 of the world, and he’s at Coachella. And that’s the only artists that’s had a few years to develop. I think the next superstars are already happening on Indify, I think that’s a given. I just think that just like startups, these are going to take time. But if you look at the last year, and even if you look at the last quarter, I think we had three or four songs hit the global viral chart last quarter, and these artists are on their way to be great. And I think just to add one more thing, if you look at Kanye West’s top songs on Spotify, his jeen-yuhs just came out, College Dropout was spotlighted in that, like crazy. I mean, what an amazing doc. But if you look at his Spotify, his number one song is Praise God, right? If his number one, why is his number one some Praise God? I mean, Moon. I love that song. Arguably a better song in my view, praise God is a great song. Off of Donda, there’s a million tracks that are doing well but that’s the only song off Donda that’s number one. No, the jeen-yuhs doc didn’t move anything to number one in terms of The College Dropout and the songs that were spotlighted. So why is it that Praise God is the number one song on Kanye’s catalog. Kanye West are the biggest artists the world, because on TikTok it reached 1.5 million videos. The investors on Indify are the best at marketing on TikTok and social media. And it’s my belief that not only should the next generation of emerging artists raise funding on Indify, but it’s my belief that the current generation of superstars will start to in the next few years.

 

Dan Runcie  22:58

It’s a compelling pitch. And I think normally at this stage, you of course, are able to incentivize artists with the amount that they could earn by essentially starting around and using their songs as around or using an album is around, right? Is there any upfront pitch or financing though that would happen? So let’s say there is a major artist that’s like, Oh, hey, I see what you all are doing, I’m down. But if you could give me some upfront money, not necessarily an advance or some type of upfront money, what would that look like? Is that something that you’ve all explored? Or has that come up at all?

 

prettyboyshav  23:35

You know, it’s so funny. One, bigger artists are approaching us. I think that’s actually, to my surprise, I didn’t think we’d be at that stage yet. It’s a dream. It really is a dream, what we get to do every day, a chance to serve some of these artists gives me chills, because these are artists that are heroes. And to know that we built the infrastructure better than the old. In fact, the pitch is much easier to them than the new artist because they’ve been through the system. They know what it looks like from the inside. Generally…

Dan Runcie  24:01

So you don’t have to say the artist but could you give us like a tier, like what level is one of the ones that have reached out?

 

prettyboyshav  24:07

I would say an important megastar. I won’t say like, I think that’s the right, I’ll give that to you. That’s what I’ll give.

 

Dan Runcie  24:14

Okay, okay. Someone that would have headlined Coachella? 

 

prettyboyshav  24:18

Yes, absolutely.

 

Dan Runcie  24:19

Okay. Okay. 

 

prettyboyshav  24:20

I think you’ll see artists that would headline Coachella, and that people would be most excited about on the bill, especially in Brooklyn, where I’m at, where there is a care for culture and art, and these things that we’ve been excited about. I think those are the artists who were excited to serve, man. You know, like it’d be a dream to work with and help Frank Ocean raise for his next project. I mean, he’s the guy that started this model years ago, and I think these artists deserve credit, not just as artists, but as entrepreneurs. But yeah, to your question on Indify, you’d be shocked. Artists are on there negotiating down the amount of initial sort of capital they’ll get, because they only want the right amount, not the most amount, because they don’t want to earn on their advance. They want to earn on their equity, they want to earn on the business. And that’s to me, the generation of founders as artists or founders that we’re looking to empower. And I think I’m excited to help the superstars, you know, earn off of their streams too as they should, because their pies are going to look a lot bigger.

 

Dan Runcie  25:17

Yeah, I think the interesting test I’ve always looked at was when Taylor Swift had finished her record label deal that she was on the open market/ She was exploring options, and everyone wondered, what is she going to do. She obviously wants to own her masters moving forward. And she ended up doing a licensing deal with Republic Records, which she has been now and she’s released, I believe, three albums now, under that deal. I think that, what you’re saying is that if we could get to the point where now the market is at a different place than it was in 2018, with options like yours, that now have the option or opportunity for a megastar, who is out of their deal. They’ve been de-risked they already are a star, what could it look like for them to be like, okay, now that I’m done with this deal, now, I want to go to Indify?

 

prettyboyshav  26:10

Yeah, I think you’re gonna see a lot of that happening. I’m very confident in that. And I think those are conversations that are happening faster than we expected, I think what, you know, going back to the Taylor Swift moment, and you actually did an amazing breakdown of what was going on with her. And just for anyone who’s listening, like, I know, you’re already on Trapital, because you’re listening to the podcast. But I do believe, Dan, what you’re doing is some of the most accurate breakdowns in the market. I mean that. It’s a joy to listen to these podcasts. It’s a dream to be on here. And it’s so cool to read your newsletter, you know, every time it comes out. I think, going back to the Taylor one, because I remember you breaking it down. And obviously, we’re nerds about this stuff. So we should talk about it. But you know, on Indify, there’s three main principles that guard the technology on the platform. One, artists own the rights forever. You know, artist kids deserve to have their music, we think that’s the fundamental, maybe even a human right, not just a right that we believe they should have. And that’s something that, you know, an ownership deal will never happen and in the fight, and I would hold Web 3.0 platforms to that same standard, because I think a lot of them are doing ownership deals. And I think that’s going backwards. I think a lot of the music industry is moving forward from that. So it’s something that I believe just very strongly as an artist, we need to move forward from. Two, artists deals are always 50% or better after the initial investment is returned on Indify. The platform is like locked in, like error out if you start to put in terms that break that. And third, artists always keep creative control. And that’s the way these docs are formatted. I mean, for an artists like Taylor Swift, who’s brought a lot more value to these companies, and, you know, arguably bigger than some of these institutions ourselves. She deserves to be the CEO of her own life and our own art. And she deserves to make every decision the way she wants to, she deserves to pass that on to her kids. The fact that artists like that can’t do that, and then what she has to now go through to make that music, you know, listen to equitably out there is insane, it’s out of control, and it shouldn’t exist. And I think, you know, we need tools that we need new solutions, to rewrite how this is going to work for the next generation of Taylor Swifts. I think, Indify, you know, I hope that we can have a conversation with her about doing stuff with her future projects to make sure that, again, she can build her business equitably, own her business, but still get those strategic partners and marketers needed to take the next level.

 

Dan Runcie  28:30

You mentioned Web 3.0 earlier, and some of the solutions there and what you hope those solutions will offer to artists. And I think a lot of people have talked and thought about the Web 3.0 opportunities in music and positioned it as a use case to do or in many ways, what Indify is doing and you are proving with your platform that this can happen. It is happening off-chain, and it doesn’t necessarily need to be done through 3.0 or through NFTs or things like that. Some of these things you may be exploring in the future. But where do you stand right now in that aspect, because I do feel like a lot of the other companies that are positioning themselves to try to solve a similar problem have positioned themselves as the Web 3.0 solution for this. But you’ve been a bit more focused on saying, hey, this can exist, it doesn’t necessarily need to happen that way. 

 

prettyboyshav  29:27

I mean, look, I think you really broke it down best, as you do in the A16Z piece you wrote, the music tech community is going to need to, at large, both Web 2.0, and Web 3.0, and Web 2.5, and everything in between is going to need to tackle different problems for artists for us to build an ecosystem that’s competitive with these goliaths of the old, you know, and I think us working together and us holding each other accountable having these conversations and I love how I think Web 3.0 has pushed Indify to be more open and more inclusive. I have a lot of friends in the community who’ve, you know, shown me incredible values and the incredible depths of what this movement is about. And I truly, truly deeply believe in it, and feel it, and empathize with the work that’s being done. Because I believe in these values, which is really comes down to community, right, and community ownership, community governance, I think these things are very powerful concepts. And I think these are very powerful ways for an artist to run their business. I, you know, I have so much love for what sound and what catalog and what some of these companies are doing. I think there are amazing founders behind those companies. I think they’re building amazing tools for artists to earn different and new revenue streams on their music. And I think all of us need to really come together and work together to build this infrastructure for new artists. I think one of the things that I’m yearning for, one of the things I haven’t yet I think fully see in the space that I’m excited about, is something that maybe more reflects an artist DAO of sorts. And again, I’m still in the first inning of this, all of this understanding all of this as most people are, but something I’m going to experiment with. Again, like the way I’ve always operated with prettyboyshav and you know, the artist career and being the founder of Indify as co founder with Connor and Matt who I’ve built this with, you know, my best friend since day one is, like, I experiment and we experiment, me, Connor and Matt experiment and kind of create these different like processes with the prettyboyshav. We hack at my Spotify For Artists, we do all this crazy stuff, to learn, right, and to experiment and to figure things out. And then a lot of that, a lot of that failure becomes what is knowledge and R&D into I think the Indify roadmap. I think that’s an amazing way to stay grounded and stay into focus. For me, one of the things I’m going to do is and I published my goals at the beginning of this year, I not only want to raise on Indify and published and  transcribe that, that for the public to see. But I also want to, as an artist, do some Web 3.0 experiments. And I’m basically launching this physical and digital trading card experience that is going to be like my mecca for my pretty community. And so it’s going to come, you know, if you get it, you can basically like, see a roadmap for the prettyboyshav art, you can come get your nails painted with me, you can listen to some exclusive music. And I think those community events, that superfan access, I think is something I’m really excited to just play with on the Web 3.0 side and to see happen in the space.

 

Dan Runcie  32:21

It’s great to hear, because I think you can see both sides of this, you understand what needs to be done and not just using yourself as not even more, not even a use case. But essentially you understand what needs to be built, what you would want for yourself as an artist and how you navigate all of that, as well. And while we have the time, we’d love to chat a little bit more about you and what you’ve been doing with your artists career on that front. First off, how you manage the time between the two, because I’m sure it’s both hats to wear. And I’m sure it’s a lot from that perspective, but how have you navigated doing both of those things? And I know that you’ve also said in past interviews, you want to be known more for music moving forward. So how does that continue to or how does that evolution continue to progress based on where you see things going?

 

prettyboyshav  33:11

Yeah, well, I think, I appreciate it, that question. You know, me, myself, Connor and Matt, we’ve always understood that there’s this fluidity, I think, between myself being an artist and being a part of the company. And in fact, I think we’ve all come to realize it’s a huge advantage. When I talk to artists, I relate to them, I can understand their problems when we make decisions, you know, in the room. And I think I consider Connor and Matt artists and themselves. I think Matt, what he does on a technical level and building this tool, I’ve always fallen in love with the art of tech. And building product is very much like making music. It’s a new creative entity that didn’t exist before that you created the outside world. I think it’s very similar. And I think Connor himself is a writer and an incredible artist. And if you don’t have art and tech, then what do you have? You know, so I think we’ve all come to understand that, that the prettyboyshav journey is our guinea pig. And it’s a part of our story. And it’s cool. It’s really cool. I think more than anything, the company is us three, and to have their support in that I think is first and foremost. And to have investors supporting them too, I think is first and foremost, I think people understand that it only really makes me better as a founder. And they’re one and the same. You know, being an artist and having more artists lead music companies is kind of, I hope, the wave of the future. I think on a personal level. You know, I’m really proud of the music I’ve put out there. I think it’s some of the best music out there, whether I’m a co-founder of that company or not. And I have a new album coming up that I think is just a huge step of growth and I think addresses a lot of my own values of growing up as an Indian American understanding my own perspective, telling my own story. And it’s a story that when I was 15 the two things that my sort of Northstar were, were, man, I wish I could be an artist without having to be Drake and just being you know a sustainable artist because this is what I love to do. Why is it that somebody can be an accountant but I can’t be a musician, right? And why can’t those existences coexist? And I think for me, I think just seeing more people like me making pop music, more people like me, getting our nails painted, wearing earrings, wearing cool clothes, and breaking kind of the boxes that that we were put into. So, for me, I think all of this stuff comes from a deep sense of mission and a deep sense of serving our 15-year-old self. It’s something that Virgil talked about a lot. And I think that’s ultimately, you know, what I’m in service to when it comes to both Indify and the artists journey, but it’s cool to see them coming together more and more, I had my first interaction where, I was actually with Peter Boyce and John Exley and we were in LA celebrating Peter installation actually just invested in the company. And it just turned Peter’s birthday, and we were sitting having a great time. And somebody came up to the randomly and was like, Are you prettyboyshav? And you know, as a kid, you always, see, I was more excited than her. But as a kid, you always wonder, as an artist that’ll ever happen. I think that moment is one that you know, we all got to share together, John and Peter, we wouldn’t be here without them. They’ve been supporting for six, seven years. So to have that with them, you know, and be on this journey together, I think is super cool.

 

Dan Runcie  36:05

That’s powerful. And those stories are always great when you hear them because you know your, it definitely won’t be the last time.

 

prettyboyshav  36:11

Yeah, yeah. Let’s see. Got more work to do then.

 

Dan Runcie  36:15

Well, Shav, this is great. Thanks so much for coming on and sharing both your journey as an artist and your journey as a founder, as we both say artists are founders and you’re a great embodiment of that statement. But before we let you go, is there anything else that you want to plug? or love for the Trapital audience to know about?

 

prettyboyshav  36:32

Yeah, I would just say you know, follow Indify on Instagram and Twitter. I think it’s a good follow. And, you know, we’ve done a lot of work behind the scenes in the last year and a half. I think we’ve got to do a better job of telling our story in front of the scenes and there’s gonna be a lot of content coming in the next year and storytelling coming out of these artists and these incredible stories, you’re going to find amazing music, so you know, give us a follow, follow the journey. Come along.

 

Dan Runcie  36:57

Good stuff. Good stuff. Thanks, man. 

 

prettyboyshav  37:00

Cool. Thanks so much, Dan.

 

Dan Runcie  37:02

If you enjoyed this podcast, go ahead and share with a friend. Copy the link, text it to a friend, post it in your group chat, post it in your Slack groups. Wherever you and your people talk, spread the word. That’s how Trapital continues to grow and continues to reach the right people. And while you’re at it, if you use Apple podcast, go ahead, rate the podcast, give it a high rating, and leave a review. Tell people why you liked the podcast. That helps more people discover the show. Thank you in advance. Talk to you next week.

 

Dan Runcie

Dan Runcie

Founder of Trapital

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