Today’s interview is one of many fantastic conversations I recorded at last month’s Metaverse Expo 2022…
Multi-platinum recording artist Dyl shares how he struggled to make money, despite his hits… how he discovered crypto… and how he blended it with his passion—music.
He explains how he’s made more money with non-fungible tokens (NFTs) than from his 10-year record contract… why they’re a win-win for artists and fans alike… and how NFTs and the metaverse will revolutionize the entire music industry—from music labels to concert experiences.
(And check out Dyl’s album, Crypto Rich.)
Want to learn more about the incredible potential of crypto and NFTs? Come meet me in Palm Beach this weekend at the Crypto Connect & NFT Expo. Here’s how to get VIP passes.
- How Dyl got involved in crypto [1:40]
- The problems with traditional record deals [3:30]
- Why NFTs are great for artists and fans [5:28]
- The biggest misconception about music NFTs [7:40]
- Why NFTs and the metaverse will revolutionize the music industry [12:04]
Wall Street Unplugged | 935
How to get ‘crypto rich’
Announcer: Wall Street Unplugged looks beyond the regular headlines, heard on mainstream financial media to bring you unscripted interviews and breaking commentary direct from Wall Street right to you on main street.
Frank Curzio: How’s it going out there? It’s August 18th. I’m Frank Curzio, host of the Wall Street Unplugged podcast, where I break that headlines and tell you what’s really moving these markets. There’s special interview set up today, and I really want you to listen up, because personal interviewing is a multi-platinum artist. He’s a young rapper named Dyl, D-Y-L, where’s hit song, which he did with another young rapper named Wes Walker, called Jordan Belford. Yes, about the Wolf of Wall Street. Sold over two million copies. So, he is going to talk about his experience with his label. Actually, going to tell you how he got screwed by his label, which led him create NFTs, Non-Fungible Tokens, and start to doing performances in the Metaverse.
Frank Curzio: So, I interviewed him a few weeks ago in the Metaverse conference in Las Vegas, where he also performed the post-conference VIP event. And by the way, he’s awesome. He was really good. Anyway, I think Dyl’s story’s fascinating. He’s one of 35 people I interviewed, with very big social media followers that are going all into the metaverse and NFTs, fascinating people. But after you listen to this one specifically, you know exactly why they go in all in on these major trends. And here’s that interview, right now.
Frank Curzio: Dyl, thanks so much for joining us, man. What’s going on?
Dyl: Hey, how’s it going? Happy to be here at the Metaverse Expo. Let’s do it.
Frank Curzio: So, Metaverse Expo, probably something you might have not said two years ago. Now, you’re seeing so many artists like yourself get into it. Talk a little bit about what you do and introduce yourself to the audience.
Dyl: I’m a multi-platinum artist. I’ve been in the music industry almost a decade now. And about six years ago, I got into crypto and I found a new passion for crypto when I got involved. And I actually quit making music for a couple years until I realized that music is my true passion, and I wanted to use my platform as a multi-platinum artist to teach people what I had learned about the future of financial and creative freedom. So in 2018, I recorded this album Crypto Rich, which came out in 2019. It was the first album to tell a whole story about crypto through music. And now, it’s become one of the top selling music NFTs. We do shows in the Metaverse. We do IRL shows. We have merch. We have all different types of utility from iCollectors. So, it’s been amazing for me as an artist, coming from the traditional industry where artists typically get screwed financially, to this new way of doing things where now I’m able to get funding from my community, without having to give up all of my music ownership.
Frank Curzio: So, talk about the screw part, not in a bad way, and I don’t want you to mention names, but a lot of artists probably have gone down that path, and they figured out, and they got famous. And I hear that with so many people where they’ll come out the content, they’ll do everything. And next thing you know, they’re not making any money at all. And a couple years later, it’s like a shit show. Talk about that and how it led to what you’re doing now, because now you still have your audience. Your audience knows you, and you have social media, and now we’ll get to the NFT part. But talk about that and how it led to this.
Dyl: Yeah, the problem in the music industry is that the labels have built a business model of basically giving predatory deals. So, what they do is they look for new upcoming artists. They often sell them a dream. And unless you’re the top 1% of artists at that label, a lot of times you get left out to dry. That’s what happened to us. We took a deal, we were sold a big dream, but then ultimately, the label never reinvested in us. So, this song is multi-platinum over two million in sales. And I’ve only seen a tiny percentage of that, less than a living wage that I get every year. The average listener assumes that because I made this multi-platinum hit, you know that I’m making tons of money and all this stuff, but that’s very much not the case. So, that’s why I found myself going into crypto, because I was looking for that next play.
Dyl: I was looking for what I could do. I toured, I did over 100 shows. I got the chance to be in some of the best studios in the world, but I needed to find my next play. I got big into crypto and at some point I thought, “You know what, maybe music isn’t going to work out.” But I think it came full circle when I decided to tell my crypto story through music, and that’s brought me to where I am today. So in many ways, if that situation didn’t happen with the label, then maybe I’d still be looking for a label deal. Maybe I’d still be looking for that one up. But I think that early experience with the label taught me, “Okay, this is how the traditional industry looks.” And now, I don’t have to reach for that anymore because I understand that I can do all the things I need to do with me and my community alone.
Frank Curzio: And it’s good you come back from that, because sometimes when you have traumatic experience, people always focus on that, but they don’t realize that’s probably the best thing that may have happened to you. Because now, look at you now, and talk about the NFT part of the business, where this is you, this is your content you can sell directly to the audience. You have your business. Talk about that.
Dyl: Yeah, for sure. So, it was only a single song deal. A lot of artists get locked up in these deals or maybe they sign for a few albums. And then, they’re not happy about the income they’re going to make off those albums. So it puts you in a tough situation. In many ways, like a blessing in disguise, yes, they got my big multi-platinum hit, but at the same time, I still own all my masters. I can still operate independently. What’s amazing now, is that I have actually sold more music NFTs in the last year and a half than the label paid me in total, the last decade. That’s amazing because I didn’t give up any of my copyright ownership. I still own 100% of my masters. I’ve gotten funding from my community. And on top of that, I’ve created huge value for my community.
Dyl: A lot of my collectors are up 10 to 20X their Ethereum. I think we’ve done about a quarter million in sales, which has created over a million in market cap. So that means that we’ve created a lot of value for the people who bought the NFTs. So, it’s not just about getting the funding I need, but it’s about delivering value to my community, the people that choose to buy my NFTs that invest in me. That’s what’s been huge for me. And as far as building the NFTs, it’s all about utility. Like I said, I don’t give up my copyright. I don’t think that’s really what it’s about with NFTs. It’s about exclusive access to the artists, to concerts and festivals like I’m doing here, access to my merch, exclusive merch drops. And my discord community one on one calls. So, to me, it’s all about facilitating a direct connection with the artist. And I think that’s the future of the music industry. So, what I think we have here is the tools to unlock a billion dollar market cap for a music artist.
Frank Curzio: So, talk about, go through the NFT process with someone that’s never done it before, and they’re a fan of yours. How do you create it? How they buy it? And just talk about the whole part because it’s still a very small percentage of people that understand NFTs. But when they see people like you and other artists doing it, they’re starting to say, “Okay, I have a lot of great stuff too to offer. This is my content. I don’t have to go through anybody, any platform or anything.” Talk about the process.
Dyl: Yes. So, what I’ve noticed is music NFTs are very new. You think a small percentage of people understand NFTs? Well, a small percentage of those people understand music NFTs. So, it’s all very new. But the most common question I see from artists coming into the space, or the most common pushback, is they say, “Well, my fans don’t know about NFTs. So, I don’t think I should do music NFTs because my audience doesn’t know about that.” And what I’ve been trying to get artists to understand is that, this is a completely new opportunity to sell your music to a different group of people. It’s in ways like taking your music to a new country, which is the Metaverse. The best way to put it is that, there is a million or billion dollar opportunity here to sell your music in Web3, without onboarding any of your audience from Web2.
Dyl: Don’t get me wrong, onboarding is important. We want to bring our fans over from Web2 into Web3, but artists need to understand that music NFTs don’t have to change anything for your regular listeners, who listen on Spotify, who follow you on Instagram. They don’t have to do the NFT. They can still enjoy the music. They can still be listeners. The NFT offers something more. So, the NFT is far more than just the listening experience. You buy the NFT to invest in an artist, to have a bet on them, to get exclusive access to everything that they’re doing. So, when you buy into my NFTs, you’re buying into my community. And the NFTs do contain the music, but the music is on all streaming sites, Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music. And that’s really important, because that’s the marketing vector for the music.
Dyl: So, people always think, “Oh, you have to buy the NFT to listen to the song.” No way. That’s not what it’s about. You buy the NFT to have a connection to the artist, and to have ownership of the song. But what’s super important to realize is that, the music is still out there on-streaming. People can still listen. And I call it like a freemium model, where listening to the music is still free. There’s still music videos. There’s all these things. But if you want the premium option, you buy the NFT and then you’re fully invested with the artist.
Frank Curzio: So, we have a movie, The Metaverse Movie. And the biggest thing for me is, we ask everyone, what is the Metaverse? Because when you ask 100 people, you get 100 different answers, which shows how great and how big this industry really is. What’s your definition of the Metaverse?
Dyl: I would say the metaverse is a video game that is connected to real money using crypto.
Frank Curzio: That was probably the simplest one yet. I have to say. So, what’s the next stage for you? So, if people want to learn more about you and what do they have to look for in the future?
Dyl: Yeah, here’s the thing. Most people who will watch this have never heard Crypto Rich. So, I would say, listen to crypto rich, it’s a 19 song album. It’s my story about Crypto and Web3. And I realize that it’s all about building that brand. So for me, I’m thinking I have 1,000 collectors now. I’m thinking, how do we get 10,000 collectors to hold Crypto Rich? So it’s not all about, “Oh, I have to drop the new album and the new album and the new album.” This community is about building your core fan base. So for me, we’re actually doing a new drop for Crypto Rich. I’m continuing to scale up the community, while working on new stuff. So, I also have a new project called NFT Mix Tape. That’s coming soon, but I just want to illustrate the point that the music itself is not the same as the actual NFT.
Dyl: So, I can continue scaling up my collection for Crypto Rich while working on new music. And ultimately, the goal is to create network effects by having thousands of collectors, holding the NFTs related to the music, because they’re going to stream it. They’re going to comment on the YouTube videos. They’re going to help you hit the top of the charts. And the biggest vision for me, what we need to see for music NFTs to be successful, is that a music NFT funded artist makes it to Billboard, makes it to YouTube Trending, gets on the Spotify viral playlist, because I’ve had that stuff happen. To me, this is why I say, music has to be on-streaming. It has to be on YouTube. It has to be on these sites because, right now in Web3, there’s no platform to make music hit Billboard. Your Web3 sales, they don’t count towards Billboard. So the vision for me, is getting artists funded in Web3. And then, taking them to the top in the traditional industry, without the label.
Frank Curzio: Thanks coming on, man. All right.
Dyl: Yeah. Thank you.
Frank Curzio: So pretty amazing stuff, where Dyl is young, he’s under 30, but humble. Something you don’t see from his age group often. Supposed to be arrogant and crazy and understanding. Takes you a while in this thing, you really don’t know everything, but just humble. Got his head handed to him. Knowing that humble, especially being this famous. Also, you can see how the Metaverse, is going to play a huge role in concerts where he performs sometimes. So, if you’re looking at Ariana Grande, Marshmallow, Travis Scott, people you may not be familiar with. Probably, Ariana Grande you should be familiar with, no matter how old you are, but these are massive superstars in the music industry. They have huge global followings, huge social media followings, and they all like concerts in the Metaverse. So, let’s take Travis Scott to perform a fortnight, a year ago.
Frank Curzio: And if you look at the industry, most live music venues have 30 to 40,000 seats. Most we know some overseas, 100,000 Michigan, Penn State, but most of them on average, 30, 40,000 seats. Top performing artists make around $500,000 per concert with superstars. If you look at Lady Gaga, if you look at Jay-Z making one to two million per show. Travis Scott performing the Metaverse. According to Billboard, over 45 million people viewed Travis Scott’s virtual concert while it was live. That’s 1,000 times the size of the average audience who watches a live concert. Well, according to Forbes, Travis Scott made close to 20 million from this one event, that also include merchandise sales that will be done during the show. That’s about 10 times what Taylor Swift pulls in per concert. The event has also been viewed 193 million times on YouTube. I’m going to ask you a question.
Frank Curzio: What do you think these music artists of ours, are going to do going forward? Do you think they got to perform in the metaphor a lot? Yeah. You’re still going to have live venues and it’s not the same, but this was pretty spectacular. And we have rolling stone variety, huge opinions. Critics in the music industry say, “This is unbelievable.” Everybody in this is a game-changer. This happened over a year ago. So, you’re looking at lots of more artists. Sorry you have Justin Bieber. Probably the biggest following social media. Justin did one on a separate Metaverse platform. So, what do you think they could do with the amount of money you could make? The amount of people that attend? Does that make sense?
Frank Curzio: So, you’re looking at a younger audience that’s watching this. That’s fine. Dyl is under 30. He’s part of the Gen-Z. Gen-Z’s nine to 24. I think he’s 26, 27. But if you’re looking at millennials, it’s 25 to 40. Millennials are now 40 years old. So, what we call the younger generation right now is under 40, where everything they do is digital. That’s the world they grew up in.
Frank Curzio: So now if you’re 55, you’re 50. Oh like me, and you’re 60. You’re going, “Oh this metaverse thing. I don’t see people really going miss…” Well, think about 10, 20 years from now. The millennials going to be 60. Listen, the trend’s here. It’s not coming. Metaverse, it’s here. The amount of money and stuff like that, just wrote a huge education report. 17 pages that details everything. And if you read it, you’d understand, you’d invest in the metaverse right away after you read it. I really spent a lot of time, a couple weeks to write it. But now, say 20 years from now, where the millennial generation, Gen-Z, they’re all 60 and under. So, most of the world’s population will have grown up 100% in a digital world. That’s why the Metaverse going to be massive. But every major tech company is investing it right now.
Frank Curzio: It’s also why every major retailer has established a headquarters in Metaverse’s Central and Sandbox, whatever. This is a real statistic by Mackenzie, 80% of the people who have been in the Metaverse, have purchased something. If you’re a retail, it’s all about analytics, it’s all about data. That’s how you run all your supply chains, everything. You’re telling me 80% of these people have purchased something. You’ve seen restaurants. Chipotle did special deal during Halloween. Amazing. The best. They do it every single Halloween. Boost SPAC… whatever it’s called. And they sold by giving away discounts or whatever and burritos, I think they call it, they’ve ever done any other year that they’ve done this promotion.
Frank Curzio: So when you look at this, where 80% of the people who have been in Metaverse purchase something. It’s also why NFTs are going to be huge. Non-Fungible Tokens. As influencers, who have millions and sometimes tens of millions of followers are looking to capitalize on their name. And looking to do it without having to share it with, excuse my language, asshole third parties, labels, agents, brokers, who really don’t give a crap about you. They didn’t give a crap about you before you had hit songs. Are you famous? No. Now you have ownership. Also, NFTs as you could see, it’s more than just digital art and collections. You’ve been buying a few NFTs and man, the groups and the communities are insane. You’ll know why the Reddit crowd is so huge. You’ll know why Tesla had such a premium valuation for such a long time.
Frank Curzio: These guys are diehards. They love you. They’ll do anything for you. And I got four, 500 Twitter followers simply because I bought an NFT within a specific group. And these people were loving it. I’ve never seen that kind of commitment in 30 years from any type of group. Unbelievable. It’s very powerful, but they’re not just digital art collections. I know you’re hearing how people are getting robbed and this thing same with crypto. So, you had the proper protocols in place, which OpenSea is doing. Large platform for NFTs but, you’re noticing not just digital art collection, it’s access.
Frank Curzio: Dyl’s using NFTs to give his biggest fans exclusive access to his new album, all the songs. Also gives them access to him personally, where he does AMAs, which just ask me anything with this group of people. And they also have first right to the best tickets, front row seats, face value, when he performs. Now think about it. If you go back to the 60’s and replace Dyl with Rolling Stones, The Beatles, the who? Beach Boys, I’m not comparing them. I’m just saying this, because I know to die hard. I’m not saying this.
Frank Curzio: All these people, all those groups sold over 100 million records. Beatles, Rolling Stones over 500,000. Was it 500 million records? Wow! 500 million records they sold. I looked this up. The Beatles and Rolling Stones. 500 million, holy cow. But if you’re looking at the who Beach Boys is over 100 million records sold. Then look at Dyl, a rapper, and I’ll be honest with you. I never heard of before I interviewed him in Las Vegas, has quite a few following himself, where he has over 41 million people who watch his Jordan Belfort music video on YouTube. 41 million. I really never heard of… Holy shit, 41 million. But this is the access the artists are going to give their fans.
Frank Curzio: That’s the future. So, when you think about it right now, and investing in someone like that, say if they turn out to be that big. Now, you’re going to own a lot of stuff that they created early on. Think about memorabilia that’s being sold from those groups. Even past songs where that they’re just released after 40, 50 years or whatever and things that never… They just little bits and pieces and stuff like that. Think of how much that stuff is worth.
Frank Curzio: But if you’re a young music artist, you could try a label thing, which doesn’t work probably for 98% of people. If I had a guess. Dyl said they barely paid him enough money to live after having a multi-platinum hit. It’s crazy. Or you could own your own masters, build NFTs around your music. What Dyl said, he made more money from selling music NFTs in 18 months from what his label paid him in the last decade. Was also able to get him funding for his community to help build his business. So when you’re looking at NFTs, that’s why it’s so big. It’s much more in digital art. That’s why the Metaverse is the future. They’re seeing these numbers. What tons of money. Can’t say it, tons of money. Hundreds of billions dollars pouring into these industries from hedge funds, venture funds, the biggest names.
Frank Curzio: Also, every major tech company, Meta, Microsoft, Invidia, Apple, Alphabet. I can go with the next 20 largest. Let’s just stick with those five. You keep the score at home. These tech giants, going all in, position itself in the Metaverse, have a combined market cap of more than $6.5 trillion. They’re the gatekeepers, the wall guardians of the internet, and they know those days are coming to an end, which is why they’re going all in on the Metaverse. I have a lot of questions with this episode. Questions, comments, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s email@example.com. Also, you can get free platinum VIP passes. I’m going to be speaking and attending and we’re going to have a booth setup. The Crypto Connect Expo, that’s going to be in Palm Beach. If you want free passes, platinum VIP pass free. Just go to our website. There’s a banner there, curzioresearch.com, absolutely for free.
Frank Curzio: So you can go there, see me in person, watch my ugly face unless you watch this on YouTube, but you’ll see how much work we’re doing. You see how many people are going to be at our booth, where we’re going to be interviewing them and talking to them. It really is incredible. Just learning more and more and so many stories about Dyl, which I thought was fascinating. Maybe you’re like, “Frank, I didn’t care about whatever.” To me, that was a fascinating story. That’s the younger generation. It’s extremely powerful. It’s where the world is going and it’s not happening in five years, 10 years, it’s happening now. The money’s pouring in. The Today Show just did a special on the Metaverse. You’re looking at Time Magazine, this month’s issue, The Metaverse, it’s here. The money’s coming in. It’s pouring in. That’s the validation. Wall Street saying it’s a $13 trillion, $10 trillion, $8 trillion business if you’re looking at Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and City Group, which puts it at a bigger total addressable market than the next five major trends combined.
Frank Curzio: Throwing AI, EVs, whatever in there. But it’s here. Anyway, going to be meeting a lot of these people. You want to learn more, have free tickets. It should be really good concert, not a concert, but an event. There are no going to be concerts there. It’s going to be after party events there and some really exciting stuff. These guys really know how to throw a party and throw a concert. They’ve been doing it for a long time, concerts and expos. So, really cool. Should be sold out pretty soon. But again, we do have probably two dozen free tickets and those are platinum VIP passes for free.
Frank Curzio: Just go to our website, curzioresearch.com. If you’re interested in going, and seeing me or you get those tickets and you don’t have to see me, it’s up to you. But then for free it’s at least I do if you listen to this podcast. That’s going to be a very entertaining conference I’ll look forward to it. Again, that is this Saturday and Sunday. So guys, really appreciate all the support. Hopefully, I’ll see somebody at the conference. If not, I’ll see you next week. Take care.
Announcer: Wall Street Unplugged is produced by Curzio Research, one of the most respected financial media companies in the industry. The information presented on Wall Street Unplugged is the opinion of its host and guest. You should not base your investment decision solely on this broadcast. Remember, it’s your money, your responsibility.
The smartest and wealthiest people in the world are convinced the metaverse will outperform every tech trend before it… but what IS the metaverse?
Frank is making a documentary to find out.