As we mourn the worldwide suspension of shows and music festivals, artists have been forced to adapt to an ever-changing industry. The conventional methods of supporting artists through purchasing music, concert tickets and merchandise have dithered in favor of royalties, live streams, and Patreon-style services. Now more than ever artists are in desperate need of novel sources of income that will outlast the shelter-at-home policies instilled for the foreseeable future.
Enter Matter: a fellow champion of the underground with a re-imagined vision for what a music streaming platform can be. Created by forward-thinking artists (including Josh Pan and Ryan Jacob), for artists, the project has undertaken the monumental challenge of building a culture-driven all-in-one hub for creators and fans to thrive together. We connected with founder and CEO, Paul Meed, to delve deeper into Matter’s approach to creating a new kind of application that better serves the modern needs of the music industry.
What separates Matter from other music streaming platforms?
Matter exists a bit separate from other music platforms in that we’re more than just a streaming platform. We strive to give creators from all sectors (music, culture, fashion, etc.) a new, sustainable way to showcase their art. The platform helps bridge the gap between creators and fans, while also making sure that smaller creators, brands, and collectives can be paid easily.
We didn’t want to pin ourselves against streaming giants, we want to deliver a platform that would be a digital culture epicenter
What does ‘beyond streaming’ allude to? How does Matter bring this to life?
Beyond streaming is based on the fact that we operate differently from the typical music platform model: where users pay a subscription to a company, and the company divides that between artists based on stream count. We didn’t want to pin ourselves against streaming giants, we want to deliver a platform that would be a digital culture epicenter.
Matter takes a different approach where our focus is on offering new means of engagement and monetization. It doesn’t matter if you’re a touring artist or a bedroom producer. We’re building tools that will allow anyone to leverage the internet to better achieve their dreams.
How can artists and content creators use Matter to make more meaningful connections with their fans?
It’s designed to be a place where you can authentically put yourself out there to your audience. Show them who you are with your music, your mind, your taste, your photos. You can talk to your fans in real time, put on a masterclass for them, or encourage them to get creative by posting stems and holding a remix competition. The possibilities are endless really.
In a world so saturated with content, ‘exclusive’ content on its own is not enough of a driving factor for an artist to monetize better, they need to be delivering experiences that a fan will walk away remembering and sharing with their community.
We’re stoked about Artist Clubs. Can you elaborate on how they work? What makes them different from services like Patreon?
Artist clubs are a great way to engage and build a community. Best of all, any creator can set up a club. During the uploading process, you can elect to keep content public or place it behind a subscription to your personal pass. As an alternative, you can provide discounts to your supporters for marketplace items. There’s also a built in function to maintain privacy by filtering your direct messages to supporters only.
There are a few key differences we see: we believe that the jump between a casual listener and a super fan isn’t discrete. Platforms like Patreon put the fan in the position of “pay now, or no content,” they also focus creator monetization entirely on the subscription. Instead, Matter uses it more parallel to a Costco membership. Get a fan’s foot in the door at a reasonable price point, introduce them to your back catalog, and allow them to connect with you in a more intimate environment. Their fandom and connection with you grows – from there, you provide them with discounts on high margin activities and products, unique things like a 1 on 1 call giving feedback on their music, recording a voicemail for them, drum kits, signed merch, etc. In a world so saturated with content, ‘exclusive’ content on its own is not enough of a driving factor for an artist to monetize better, they need to be delivering experiences that a fan will walk away remembering and sharing with their community.
Another point was issues of discovery and growth on Patreon. In the Patreon user flow you’re never really prompted to support other people on the platform, and there hardly exists means of discovery. If you make a page without existing audiences coming from your YouTube page or podcast, it’s nearly impossible to actually grow. To be successful on Patreon you need an existing fanbase; with Matter we want to be your first and last destination for fan and community support.
Any exciting features on your roadmap?
Most definitely! Along with our growing community, our roadmap is something that keeps us motivated to work harder each day. Bear in mind, what you see on the platform today is still very early. Over the next few months you can expect things like live-streaming, customizable visualizers, DSP integration, traffic sourcing engine, unique ways to collaborate on projects, and more (alongside tech upgrades like performance refactor, better mobile apps, and an electron desktop app).
What are the advantages of using cryptocurrency/blockchain in the context of Matter?
We keep it simple with respect to blockchain use. The value of blockchain technology can be a part of our stack, without making it the headline, or something a user even notices going on – but they still benefit from it.
Initially, we planned to have our own currency but quickly realized that it would be a convoluted experience for users. It shouldn’t require esoteric knowledge on things like wallet security or trading. However, we use blockchain on Matter Smartsplits that allow you to share revenue with anyone on your team. That theme will play more of a role once we introduce the traffic sourcing/attribution engine (patent pending).
What areas do you see Matter succeeding where other projects have failed?
Each platform has their own strengths and weaknesses – but some of the more prevalent themes we go after:
Create exposure and monetization opportunities for the whole team of creatives, not just the lead artist. Allowing your art live alongside your branding and aesthetic. Contextual commerce, using exciting content to drive commerce. Easy social tools to promote and make content around your art. Transparency. Novel methods of monetization. Cross-platform engagement slippage (bring everything important together). Create financial motives for you to support genuinely great content. Hosting multidisciplinary content.
What steps does Matter take to avoid copyright issues? Is there a takedown policy?
As of now, we implement a pretty typical takedown process you would find on other user-generated content platforms. At later stages, we will be looking for direct deals that allow for more derivative work and artistic freedom.
As the music industry leans into leveraging the internet, what role do you see Matter playing in the streaming and content creation sphere?
Matter would sit as a digital hub for all kinds of creators. A location where they can create their art, build and engage their audience, and open new sustainable revenue streams.
The biggest players in the music scene have done little to adjust to the shifting landscape. Time and time again major record labels and ticketing services have done everything in their power to squeeze every last dollar out of a waning industry, leaving the artists who they profit off of begging for scraps. The time has come for relentless innovation and bold transformation. Matter brings something entirely new to the table: a home for all kinds of content creators, a groundbreaking medium for revenue, and an imaginative space for sincere connections.
Sign up for their Beta to experience the magic yourself.