The recap of NYC NFT continues! This time, we’re bringing the spotlight to a powerful Web3 voice, Ashanti, who’s recently dropped an NFT collection on the 20th anniversary of her debut album. Whilst celebrating her music NFT drop, she is now also inspiring a new generation of artists about the power of NFT technology.
Ashanti made an appearance at the Music NFT Meetup by Cotton Candy Records during NYC NFT, speaking alongside her Web3 company co-founder, CEO of EQ Exchange, Janice Taylor. At the Music NFT Meetup, Ashanti spoke about her first hand experience being taken advantage by the music industry’s middleman.
Now, 20 years later, she is re-recording her original album, and with the help of Web3 technology, she will finally have full ownership rights of her music.
Ashanti is an advocate for Web3 technology, because she understands its power to help other female artists own what they create. The technology and resources are available to anyone who’s willing to learn how to use it, and she encourages other artists and creatives to do their own research.
Check out the full interview with Ashanti and her partner, Janice Taylor.
Ashanti on being the first Black female artist to co-found a Web3 company:
A: I mean just to hear you say that sentence is so surreal. Just being a Black female in this space is a blessing. I never dreamed of being able to say something like that. For me to have the courage and the self-esteem to dive into this space is a big leap for me. I’m super humbled, and I’m very blessed and I’m very inspired and motivated to continue to get the word out to other women.
Janice on partnering with Ashanti:
JT: Hearing the stories of particularly women of color in music, hearing her story how the very first contract that an artist signs, what struck me is they sign away their rights for life in the first contract. And when I learned about the industry I thought, this is criminal. I’m not from the music industry but when I first saw that contract, I saw that artists sign away their rights. There was no exit. There’s such an indentured servitude to it. And I thought ‘when you know better you do better,’ Oprah.
Now I know better. Now I know that something is a problem, how can I use this brain that I have to solve it? And being in the tech industry and seeing the emergence of these financial tools, I knew that I could use these tools to solve this issue that I knew was a grave issue.
Ashanti on re-recording her debut, self-titled album and why artists should own their intellectual property:
A: It is incredibly important to continue the narrative that owning is the way to go. Who wants to wake up and pour their heart, blood, sweat and tears into a project and have someone else next to you reap all the benefits while you do all the work?
So the way that my contract was set up years ago, now I have the right 20 years later to go in and re-record and own new masters of my first album. I’m extremely excited about that and I feel like it’s kind of like passing the ball to the new generation of female artists like ‘hey guys, look for that in your contract. Make that demand. Make that amendment to make sure that you get the opportunity to own your masters – especially as a writer and as a female.’
Putting your heart and soul into a project then watching someone else collect the checks is just like ‘oof, baby…’ Nobody wants to feel that feeling. I’m just incredibly blessed and I’m happy that I’m here to be talking about it and living it and to be actually doing it.
I have the intent and now it’s about getting it done. And Web3 is the next level.
“In Web2, other platforms own the things that you post. But in Web3, you get the opportunity to own what you create.”Ashanti
I think it’s so incredibly important to continue this narrative and to continue to spread awareness of how important it is to learn and get as much knowledge as possible to own what you create. Because no one else should get paid for what you create.
Ashanti on her first NFT collection with EQ Exchange, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of her debut album:
A: There’s so much joy in being able to own, and deciding if you want people to be a part of it — giving your fans insight into what you’re doing. It was crazy for me, because I dropped my NFT on the celebration of my 20 year anniversary, so the fact that I was re-recording and I had the opportunity to drop this incredible NFT and have the opportunity to share with my fans and allow them to come in on the journey was incredible.
We created a whole entire photo shoot from my first album 20 years ago, we did a side-by-side and I look kind of the same (laughs)… I was happy about that! But just to be able to be in this space doing something that I love, offering it to the fans — kind of like a mutual exchange. Giving something back while gaining, owning and educating.
Everything happens for a reason and the timing is just so perfect. Right now, where we are in music, where we are in technology, being women and having a voice and taking a stand, I think it’s important to continue the narrative of ownership.
“Right now, where we are in music, where we are in technology, being women and having a voice — and taking a stand, I think it’s important to continue the narrative of ownership.”Ashanti
Ashanti on her upcoming re-recorded album:
A: I’m definitely going to be re-recording every song. There will possibly be some new music on there too! Definitely some amazing features which I’m super excited about.
You don’t want to reinvent the wheel. And I feel like I have a classic album so it’s sonically just going to sound and feel big. With the new technology, it’s going to feel great. There will be a little bit of sprinkles of newness, but we want to keep the bulk of the classic.
Ashanti on her advice to artists entering Web3:
A: Put your heart and soul into what you create and know that you’re worth owning it, you’re worth doing the research and finding outlets to know how to own it.
Stepping into this world with my partner, she’s a genius at what she does. Understand that you’re worth that much — and that when you’re creating something that’s coming out of your soul, coming out of your mind, all the energy in the universe, and you continue to just ascend, understand that you own that and you’re worth it to know, ‘give me my sh*t!’ (Laughs)