Making it online as an artist – and into the metaverse
Web2.0 was sold as the shiny, glittery thing that would help launch a thousand artists. Starry eyed creatives set up their websites, uploaded images, uploaded music and then everyone sat back and waited for the cha-ching of cash registers to ring across the internet.
Only it didn’t quite work like that. Web2.0 unleashed digital copies, uncertain ownership and eventually a movement towards intermediators guaranteeing provenance. Think Spotify, think YouTube, think Amazon, think TikTok. The big dream was crushed by the monopolist tech companies offering artists and creators tiny percentages while making them slaves to digital marketing.
What if you wanted to be a musician and not a social media expert? What if you wanted to be an artist who didn’t need to network and build a community? What if you could instead collaborate, share content and more importantly, share revenues fairly across a platform.
There were a number of false starts in Web3. For sure, blockchain produced the trump cards of immutability and transparency, but it wasn’t until NFTs were unlocked as a functioning tool that the future looked a little brighter.
Gas fees remained high on Ethereum, the first great hope, while other platforms opted for proof-of-stake, but these platforms still required the upskilling of creatives in all things digital marketing. Being an artist online needed the next big step up.
And, funnily enough, it came in the form of an offline activity. Two digital and marketing gurus residing in Barcelona enjoyed hosting events. They wanted experiences. They dragged buskers in off the streets and invited their friends. They created tickets, charged an entry and paid the buskers. They had created their very own lemonade stand.
Do you remember those lemonade stands? Popularised in the new urban environs, kids placed lemonade stands at the end of their drive to sell to thirsty passers-by. Like the yard sale, it became synonymous with enterprise, value and ingenuity.
Kritarth Chhabra, or KC as he is known, has worked with high profile brands including Red Bull. Jakob Seeger has a background in business and marketing. They had created a community where a chef could host a tasting, or an artist host a workshop. Real people mixing and paying for an experience not readily available.
Then COVID hit and rather than destroy the ideas, it generated new ones as the projects and lemonade stands went online. The co-founders knew they were onto something and pulled together a concept of a no-code platform that bridges web2 and web3 – and empowers creators and brands to enter the metaverse.
“Our operating system enables anyone to create their own Lemonade Stand, which can have events, shops, NFT drops, and social interactive games to engage your community,” explains KC.
“The platform supports local creators like artists, musicians, chefs, and yoga instructors to partner with brands and collectively build community together.”
The real beauty of the site is the ability of Lemonade’s NFT marketplace to focus on utility and collaboration.
Seeger continues the story… “Creators and brands can assign benefits like access to events, discounts on products, gated communities based on token ownership via a simple dashboard. Tools to split revenue, royalties and rewards between Lemonade Stands are built in to further encourage and automate collaboration.”
Already some 800 creators and 45 brands are using Lemonade including Bacardi, WeWork, Lagunitas Beer. Additionally, the company has already integrated with many of the major social platforms such as Youtube, Twitch, Zoom, and Hubspot, with Ticketmaster, Shopify, Patreon, Opensea, and Discord coming in the upcoming months.
Lemonade’s long-term vision is to give all decision rights to the platform users by creating a decentralised autonomous organization (DAO). The token, LEMON, will be rewarded to active users of the platform which will be used as a governance instrument with special utilities, available if staked including limited edition creation features and exclusive access to merch, masterclasses, and events.
The size of this market has never been in doubt. Why else are the tech giants operating in the gig space. But while a massive $100billion of value is locked up in the creator economy, now individual creators can become lean start-ups doubling as vehicles for e-commerce, brand awareness, and audience engagement. It is evident that the creator economy is now simply a fundamental part of the global economy.
“The creator economy has become a way for people with niche skills to monetize themselves. As more tools become available to creators for both creating and monetizing, the market will continue to expand,” says Seeger.
“But our view is to distil that value down to the creators and not the platforms. This way, the creator can finally make a living just as any other profession, and collaborating where desired with marketeers, brands, venues, musicians, artists, graphic artists and anything and everything in between.
“This is the Lemonade Stand of the digital world.”