The rise of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), social tokens and cryptocurrency has made way for a new creator economy. But what will today's creator need to know for success?
Ahead, BFF speaks to Latashá, a singer, songwriter, rapper, producer and performance artist who rose to stardom in 2021 after minting one of the first NFT music videos on blockchain. Latashá is also the founder of ZORATOPIA, a brainchild of the popular marketplace and protocol, Zora. Joining Latashá to discuss creator tooling is Kirthiga Reddy, founder and CEO of Virtualness, a mobile-first platform designed to help creators and brands navigate the complex world of blockchain and Web3.
I define the creator economy as the evolution of what the internet needs to be. We created the internet — and by that, I mean the people actually built this thing. We created it together with content, with the developments, et cetera. What we're finally witnessing within Web3 is just the big payback for all that we've built here. There's so many cultures and communities that actually made the internet the place that everybody wanted to be. And they did not receive any payback for that. And now with Web3, we're actually witnessing these communities and culture find everything that they've been needing for all that they give. And it's really, really exciting to witness.
I'm witnessing creatives — musicians and visual artists — now seeing everything that they've been offering to Instagram and YouTube for pretty much nothing. They are now finding a means to actually make some sort of income back and then build their community with that income. So it is really exciting. I think this is what the universe is calling for us.
Tomorrow, the creative economy will just be the economy. We won't be talking about the creator economy as a separate subset. If you think about the number of creators that we have today — 300 million creators, of which over 160 million joined this global creator economy only in the last two years. It's just tremendous to see the growth in the creator space. I think of creators as the ultimate entrepreneurs. Creators are often the producer, the director, the actor, the brand — all are rolled into one. So truly, I think of creators as the ultimate entrepreneurs. And to me, the creator economy is all the products: the tools, the channels, the education, the service providers and the business models that enable creators to be fully empowered entrepreneurs.
There's a lot of tooling that needs to be built to serve the needs of creators today. There's just so much complexity, so much having to understand all of the Web3 jargon. But people care less about the technology, and it's more about what the technology can enable. With Web3 and blockchain, the ability for creators to have a direct connection with their fans, freedom of expression where they can share in ways that are most meaningful to them and also shift the dial on monetization are key needs that we are hearing.
As we build Virtualness, certainly those were all key themes that we had in mind as we built for the mobile-first experience (which seems to be missing in today's tools). We created an end-to-end platform that lets you start from the designing, the creation, the minting to be able to interact directly with your community.
I could talk about a lot of the parts of tooling because Zora has been transforming and growing into so many things right now.
When I did [my song] Culture, we were just leaving the auction base. I think Culture was one of the last auctions that we did on Zora, and I sold it for 5 ETH utilizing Zora's auction tool that we used to have.
I also utilize my Twitter often. As everybody knows, I kind of made the Twitter space the the silent auction at headquarters so all my squad would see me pushing my music videos. And so I'm just so grateful for the community because I don't think any of my auctions would have done well without my community pushing me. It was a lot of sharing within group chats and getting retweets and support and people pushing with me and people getting excited for each other. I think that was the beauty of the auction.
Now Zora has grown — especially during the market we're in right now — to a different kind of tooling, which is the create tool. I'm really, really excited about it. With the create tool you could still do an auction, but it's a little bit different than what it used to be. You could also do a generative drop straight through Zora without needing a developer. It's just the press of a button, and then you have a drop there for you.
You could also do an additions drop where you could just release a number of pieces during a limited timeframe. Zora has also built out the DAO builder's tool now, so you could build your own DAO. It's incredible all the things that you can do on Zora right now. My favorite right now is the builder's tool. We're going to be utilizing that for Zoratopia very soon. Zoratopia is going to be extending into a DAO for the community to now participate in creating events with us and deciding what education we push forward. We're going to be doing that through the builder's tool, which allows you to mint and send NFTS or PFP or whatever you decide to your community so that they have special toolings within the DAO and the community channel. I'm super hyped for what Zora is doing because there's so much growing out of it.
This is not financial advice. If you don't want to spend money investing in crypto or Web3 — you don’t have to. The intent of this article is to help others educate themselves and learn.