Entrepreneur Bets Music is an untapped niche in the NFT market
In high school, Cooper Turley flipped Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! trading cards for profit. His hustle has found several outlets since – journalist, DJ, trader, co-founder and investor.
Now, with $10 million in hand — some of it his own, some from millionaire crypto founders and investors — Turley has landed his next project: Changing the economy of creating and listening to music. .
The largest collection
The key, unsurprisingly, are NFTs. His company, Coop Records, is an NFT venture capital fund focused exclusively on music. Turley, who says he’s amassed the largest collection of musical NFTs in the world, is the sole sponsor, and sponsors are confident he’ll find diamonds in the rough: musicians, songs and projects that enable buying, selling and hits her. NFTs.
While NFTs in general are suffering greatly from the bear market, Turley says music NFTs are still an untapped niche. He estimates that 2,000 artists have hit NFT music and 10,000 collectors have bought one.
“It’s a way for anyone in the world to participate in a secondary market for a limited amount of digital goods,” Turley told The Defiant in a recent interview.
But NFTs are only the first step. Just as crypto tokens allow people to invest in startup companies as if they were shareholders, these tokens can also allow “investing in artists like you would invest in a technology company, where you can buy Tesla Stock , you can buy a Tesla car.
Turley studied music business at the University of Colorado in Denver. At the same time, he worked as a music journalist covering emerging artists, and as a curator of electronic music blogs and, briefly, as a DJ.
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Realizing that the music industry was not the most lucrative career choice, he turned to crypto. He was active in the ICO boom from 2017 to 2019 and wrote white papers for a few protocols.
After the 2018 crash, Turley, fresh out of college, kept going, attending developer conferences and writing for crypto-native publications, including The Defiant.
He started trading crypto and contributed to the on-chain governance of decentralized protocols. Turley co-founded Friends With Benefits, the tokenized social club that raised funds from venture capitalists and has been featured in The New York Times and The Washington Post. He invested in NFT Zora and Foundation platforms, and he helped a music streaming app, Audius, launch its own token.
Sponsors who have invested in Coop Records have cut checks from $50,000 to $1 million, Turley said. Most of the money will go to NFT music companies looking for pre-seed or seed-stage investors. About 10% will go to emerging artists, and the rest will be used to purchase music NFTs on the open market.
“From a platform perspective, I think there’s an opportunity to bring a wave of composability that didn’t exist before,” he said. “You have, for example, a distributor that puts your song on Spotify or Apple or Amazon music, but those are all streams that happen in silos.”
Turley envisions a future for musicians in crypto that goes beyond buying and selling digital collectibles. Musicians would see streaming revenue instantly, rather than the three to six month wait they experience with Spotify.
Fans can also invest directly in an artist as if it were a publicly traded company, by buying $5 worth of stock in, say, Kanye West. He understands that there will be opponents.
Artists Giving Ownership
“I think the idea of an artist giving ownership to their fans is scary because people think fans are going to dictate when they release music, who they release music with,” he said. declared.
Art has always attracted investors. But turning a work of art, whether a painting or a song, into an NFT invites financial speculation in a way that will make some artists uncomfortable.
“There’s almost a kind of pressure that’s put on artists, and so artists now have to juggle not only the creative practice of releasing music, but also the financial implications of having NFTs, tokens, etc,” Turley said. . “But I think for the best, most forward-thinking artists of the future, they’re going to be very capable of handling it and doing some really cool stuff with it.”
Turning this plan into reality will take time. First, Turley hopes to develop the NFT music space. Even that poses its own obstacles.
“Most music fans don’t understand why you would want a song to be an NFT,” he said. “The reality is that most people passively listen to a song on Spotify. They don’t really know who that artist is. They don’t really know much about the project other than whoever is playing on the radio.
Although most connected to the electronic music scene, Turley will look to invest in artists with the deepest connections to their fans, those who can become the next STS9, or Lotus, or Pretty Lights.
“For other investors in the space who want exposure without diving deep,” he said, “Coop Records can kind of be the vehicle that you can deploy your capital and be sure I’m going to invest it in companies that have a high potential for success.