Today we interview music artist and producer RAVEN who is making a splash in the crypto world.
In this interview, we start to unpack how it is she got started and how you can start leveraging crypto for your music.
I got started with playing the drums when I was a kid. At the age of 17, I had my first high school band, called HighAmp. We played Emo, Highschool Rock and a little bit of Punk.
After that, a Punk band followed called Pussy Brown. Yeah, this band name wasn't my idea. 😀 I was 23 when I entered the band playing with a bunch of 40-50-year-old men. It was so much fun. The songs we played were tough and really fast. So for a small woman like me, it was hard work sometimes. I remember when we had the first concert, people were laughing as soon as I entered the stage because they thought I could never play this fast punk. But well, they stopped as soon as I started playing.
After this one, I had a band only consisting of women called "Sugar of the Universe". We did many concerts during the years and I loved it. But at some point, I felt, I wanted to make electronic music, to start producing. So I bought Cubase and a basic studio set up and started getting into the software. It was quite frustrated in the beginning when you never worked with any of the DAWs before. But I stuck to it and finally made my very first song as “Raven” in 2015 (“You Say To Me”). It was awesome to be able to just bring my own ideas to life exactly the way I wanted to. And I was surprised myself, that I already had such a unique sound after the first song. This was really totally “me” for the first time.
That's how it all started. I have stuck to producing ever since. But I also realize I miss playing the drums, so I hope to have time to get back to this soon.
Getting value for what we musicians and artists do is tough. We put a lot of time into learning to produce, mix, and master. This is a real profession and it takes years to become really good at this. Most people do not know or value how time-consuming this is. We do not only need to learn how to make music, but also how to make nice cover art, and how to promote ourselves if we don´t have money to pay someone for this. It´s like I learned a few professions at the same time, becoming a serious musician.
The market changed so much with Spotify, Deezer and co. Tons of music is available at all times. People don´t take music as a rare and special good anymore. They just take it for granted that there is music everywhere which is free. That is probably the biggest obstacle. It is hard to earn money with it. People spend thousands of dollars on a new cellphone or tv, but they are not willing to spend more than 1 dollar for a song that took probably weeks to create and bring to perfection.
I still need to do a lot of side jobs and commission work for others to be able to pay my bills. I am used to living at the edge of poverty. That's what most of us musicians know. And it can get very frustrating over the years. It brought me to the point of giving up on music quite often. But I always came back to this because it´s what I love, it´s what helps me express myself and become the real me I always wanted to be.
It would be a dream to make a living of what I love. I think everyone deserves this. There is still a long way to go, and I think we need a change in attitude in the world to be able to achieve this. But the crypto world has really helped me get closer to that goal.
I was searching for ways to promote my music without having money to pay for in 2016 I think. I found a page called “Atomcollector Records”. You were able to collect credits if you listen to other people's songs there and you then used these credits to promote your own music. I used it a lot, found some nice music through it and also found a lot of fans through it. We had a discord server for the community and searched for ways to be able to promote ourselves.
And then one day I found a site called Musicoin. It was a page to upload your music like Soundcloud. But you were getting paid in crypto for it. This was all new to me, but I was really fascinated by the whole crypto world, so I signed up for the site as one of the first musicians. Shortly after, my music was trending on the site, giving me lots of listeners. I earned more in 3 months there than I had earned the last years with 'normal' music sites. It was still far away from being enough to live from it. But the feeling was awesome! People valued my music, I earned with my music. All the work started to pay off.
Unfortunately, the site didn´t last very long and it was gone around 6 months later. But it was the first ray of hope for me. It showed me that there is a world where my music matters. So I kept digging deeper into all the crypto stuff, finding new sites. I found one called Choon. After a few weeks, I was one of the 10 biggest musicians on the site. I earned ALOT of crypto. But having money for the first time, I didn´t wanna rush it. I wanted to think about what to do with the money instead of wasting it. So I only took a few of the coins off the site, which ended up being a big mistake. I exchanged around 1500 Euros of tokens for fiat and left the rest on there. Well, some months later, the biggest 20 musicians were falsely accused of cheating and our accounts were just taken down, without giving us any of our earnings back. I lost around 8 ETH worth of coins (at that time it was around 32000 Euros), which was, and still is ALOT for me!
It would have changed my life as a musician, it would have given me the opportunity to quit my job and only make music for a year or two. Shortly after, the site was gone completely. It was obvious what happened, the same that happens with a lot of crypto projects. The developers just wanna make quick money, using musicians or other people for it. It was very frustrating.
Well, I learned a lot from it: Don´t leave your coins on these websites. Always cash out to a safe wallet right away. Until that time I didn´t find any good music crypto sites anymore. This is really sad. I really hope there will be a good solution soon.
The biggest breakthrough was when I entered the Hive blockchain. At its core, it is a blogging platform, where you write blog posts and get paid if people upvote or comment on your posts. I started blogging and saw that people really liked my music and followed me. But Hive has more around it. People started building games on this blockchain. Games, which you earn if you play. There is one game called “Rising Star”. It is about starting as a lowly busker and becoming a famous musician. The game is based on NFT trading cards, and I was lucky to become a legendary (very rare) card in the game. My card was only minted 100 times and it has a sales price of 500 Dollars and more right now. The game website has an in-game radio stream where my music is shown and people can listen to it while playing the game.
I stopped being active on Hive for about a year due to real-life problems. When I came back in November 2021 I was surprised, almost shocked (in a positive way), that people actually know me. Every time I entered a discord server or a chat space, people were going crazy and screaming that Raven just entered the space and actually talk to them. I was like: What the hell is happening here?! Most people told me they know me through this game, they heard my music on this in-game radio and they love what I do.
I was not used to this and it still feels weird to be a celebrity for these people. But it shows me that I am on the right track with my music and that the crypto space is where I belong. It has become my home and I stopped promoting my music on normal platforms because I don´t see any sense in that anymore.
In Hive and the whole crypto space people really value artists, they appreciate the hard work we put in every day, for years, without getting anything back most of the time. They just love individual and different artists. They really appreciate us.
I won´t lie. Crypto is a freaking complicated space. It took me years to understand all I needed to make my thing. And I would not categorize myself as a professional. This space is growing rapidly, and it´s a learning curve each day and won´t stop. But I love learning about it. I love all the new possibilities that open up each day. You need to have a fascination for this world. But if you have this fascination as a musician, then GO USE IT! Don´t be discouraged if you don´t understand a thing in the beginning. This is totally normal. It is a different language at first, you need to give yourself time to learn it. But you should take this time! Because I am absolutely convinced that this is one of the biggest chances you have as an artist! Not only as a musician. This space helped me to discover so much more that I can do. I can create NFT art, I can participate in games, contribute my music to these, and I can find collaborations and awesome partnerships. I transformed from a musician to a real artist in this space, having people encouraging and supporting me on my journey.
Go use this chance! Be patient with yourself to understand all you need to. Get into Discord servers to find help. The crypto communities (and most of them have a discord server) are very friendly, helpful and supportive! You will find people helping you with your questions there. Go make use of it! These discord communities were the biggest help for me and I found some real friends, fans and supporters there.
Don´t have the feeling you need to be everywhere in the crypto space with your art, cause you can´t! There is too much going on. I needed to learn this. Accept: Ok, I can´t be everywhere. It´s just too much to catch up with. And this is ok.
Go find your niche. Find the communities and blockchains that really feel right for you. Follow your instinct. You are an artist, you have a good instinct, and you have good access to your emotions and your gut. Go use it, it will show you the right path. Get creative and explore new things.
Find the communities and blockchains that really feel right for you. Follow your instinct.
And apart from that, don´t forget to save your crypto in your wallet, and don´t make the mistake I did as explained above. 😉
I believe crypto will be the future of music at some point! Right now, we still need some solid music sites like Spotify, Soundcloud or co. But I know many projects which are being built right now, so I have confidence.
I hope that these sites will supersede the “normal” music industry at some point. Giving artists the chance of earning what they deserve for their hard work.
Also, the metaverse will be playing a big part I think, giving you the opportunity as an artist to perform live in a virtual space. That is so cool and could really be a part of the future of music.
Apart from these sites, crypto will be a space for every artist to be able to do what they really love, to self-actualize themselves. This space gives you the opportunity to not only earn with your final product but to earn during the process! This is awesome! You can make posts about the progress of your songs, about the “behind-the-scenes” stuff. Let people participate in your journey, in your workflow. The community loves it, loves to get to know more about the artists, and gets to know more about the process of how the song or your art comes together. This is the biggest advantage I see. You are not dependent so much anymore if anyone buys your final product. This changed my whole view of my art. I see the whole process now as my art, not only the final product.
Crypto also gives you the opportunity to become creative more than you ever were. This world is full of new opportunities. Produce music for crypto games, create NFTs, create your own crypto token, become creative and invent new ways! This space is still small and there is a lot of room for creation and invention!
The value is, I believe, to be close to your artist. To get to know them. Not just their music or their Instagram profile. Get in touch with the artists through discord servers and communities, which play a big role in the crypto space. Participate in the process of the artist creating their art. Find out about the person behind the art.
Participate in the process of the artist creating their art
The artist will be always thankful for these fans! These people change the artist's life. That is what we are doing it all for. For the people. To make people happy, to bring them some joy in their life with our art. And to give loyal fans special stuff and behind-the-scenes art which they would never get without being so close to the artist.
I believe that if you show value as a fan to the artist and you will get this value back 100 times. Creating a good fan-artist relationship will make both sides happy and bring us back to what is really important:
Art should not be an industry, it´s a way of living and there are people behind this who put all their lives, every second and all their possible effort into their art to bring some more joy and individuality to the world. The world needs art and it would be a dull place without it. Show the support that is needed for artists to be able to go on colouring the world and make it a better place for everyone.
Crypto has a very negative effect on most people. The reputation is bad due to many scammers and shit projects. Yes, scammers exist. A lot of them. That´s why it´s always important to do your own research and talk to people who use these crypto spaces and sites. If you put time into that, you will find the perfect spots for you, spots which will help you achieve more with your music than you probably did so far.
I think a lot of people are also discouraged because it´s so complicated and they need to learn so much to understand all this. But it will be worth it. Yes, we are not only musicians, we need to learn a lot more to be able to market our music right. But this will make you a valuable professional at some point. Valuable for your own art and also to support others on their journey. All this effort will definitely be worth it!
We are still waiting for THE awesome music platform to earn solid money with it (Although I think Blocktunes could be it, it is still under development).
But I definitely recommend the HIVE blockchain. Start from there. Make blog posts about your art and accumulate fans and true supporters. This community is so much more supportive than everything else I know. Start from there and connect this to other sites where you upload your music, promote your music through the Hive blog, create NFTs or even your own crypto token and use this community to spread your art.
Hive is full of creative people and possibilities for collaborations pop up all the time. Go make use of this.
I always have 100 projects at the same time. The last years were full of commission work for others, music production or graphics design. Right now I am getting rid of all these leftovers to be able to focus on my own projects soon.
I am currently working on my next song, which is almost done. And I will release this as NFT in a very special way that I have never seen before. I am very excited about this because I can be creative in a way that I have never known before.
I am also working on some Halloween songs and a new song for a music video. I am lucky and got the opportunity to shoot a music video in Hungary next year (I got this opportunity through Hive).
It is so much fun to explore new ways, learn about creating NFT, and learn about making awesome animations and graphics.
I also want to start DJing and making live sets of my own music someday.
The Hive blog is the centre of my activities. You can read about everything I do there.
Apart from that, my Discord server is another good way to miss nothing that I do.
For the non-crypto people, you can still find my music on YouTube or Spotify. But I am currently trying to get all my music over to 3Speak, which is a hivebased video platform, where you can earn with your videos. And also over to Blocktunes, which is a crypto distribution service.
I am also very active on Twitter.
The source code for the frontend of this website is available on GitHub.