Metaverse IPs go beyond favoured playlist discovery and top-tier artists, says eDAO’s Mairu Gupta

In June this year, decentralised Ethereum scaling platform, Polygon launched the new organisation eDAO to help create and spotlight global art, media and entertainment IPs for Web3. By eDAO COO Mairu Gupta’s own admission, the initiative started out at the ‘height of the bull market’ not too many months ago.

At the time that eDAO was being formulated as a platform for facilitating virtual events in the metaverse for the art world, Gupta says that “interest in NFTs was skyrocketing”, especially from the Indian and American film and music industries. “Many artists were curious and wanted guidance on entering the Web3 space. So, there was a product-market fit and there weren’t enough folks building in the space; that’s how eDAO was formed,” says Gupta in a chat with Music Plus.

Scaling up

Headed by co-founder Anand Venkateswaran (formerly of Metapurse, which remains a mainstay for funding NFTs), eDAO is currently backed by Jump Capital, Alphawave, Brevan Howard, Polygon Studios and Polygon CEO, Sandeep Nailwal. In the following months after their launch, Gupta claims that their first IP – a collaborative series called Unlabel whose first season brought together 16 artists for eight NFT artworks – reached more than seven million people and engaged 60,000 art fans worldwide. This included the likes of Santanu Hazarika, Aaron Pinto, Sajid Wajid Shaikh, Eeshani Mitra and others in different team-ups. “We’re considering music as the theme for Unlabel Season two,” he reveals.

eDAO was not forthcoming on details of how much money is being parked into IPs and facilitating the creation of NFTs or even how much they have earmarked for future projects like music IPs. Instead, Gupta preferred to talk about the community they are building and tapping into, so that artists – especially musicians – in India can exist beyond the music industry or indie circles in one country. There’s no estimate either on how much money is currently going into developing the Web3 space for music, because Gupta feels things are just getting started in terms of user adoption. “NFTs for musicians have been sold in the millions globally; those case studies can be a separate discussion in itself. The eDAO and music industry collab is definitely global and you’ll be hearing some news shortly on that front,” he says.

Different and disparate

Gupta is clear that metaverse IPs aren’t really going to compete with live, on-ground and in-person experiences like music festivals. They do hold up a mirror to “how humans interact in real life,” according to Gupta. “The difference is that real life constraints such as limited real estate to fit only an X amount of people, or having to travel long distances do not exist in the virtual world,” he adds. eDAO is presently focusing on understanding what the community wants from its and existing real-world IPs alike.

What would metaverse IPs mean for the music industry? Gupta says there would be a chance for a deeper connection between fans and artists, going beyond surface-level consumerism that has so far favoured playlist discovery and “top-tier artists” with streaming numbers. “The metaverse has the potential to actually inverse this narrative with a richer, more immersive experience that allows for artists to connect with their fans in newer and innovative ways of storytelling,” Gupta says. He points to the creation of metaverse music platform alive.house as ones who are doing a great job. 

eDAO’s own weapon of choice to build IPs and experiences for artists is the dynamic NFT or dNFTs. As described previously by the platform, dNFTs utilise smart contracts and socketed architecture for NFTs to “evolve in response to user behaviour”. Gupta adds, “By harnessing this technology, eDAO offers fans not just unequivocal ownership, but also multifaceted experiences that are accessible across multiple devices.”

Metaverse IPs can also serve as an extension of physical events and experiences like music festivals or concerts. Gupta points to the utility for a proof of attendance protocol (POAP) becoming similar to a virtual NFT. “[It] will confirm that you went to see Armin Van Buuren at Tomorrowland – verified and with provenance on the blockchain,” he adds.

With Unlabel season 1’s NFTs live now on Rarible, the wheels are in motion for more, although Gupta only offers a cryptic hint. “I can’t tell you about the forthcoming partnerships just yet, but I can tell you there’s a ‘Kohinoor’ hidden up our sleeve and you’ll be hearing about it soon.”

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