The Creator Economy is Dead. Long Live the New Creator Economy

Polygon Labs
November 23, 2022
Polygon Giga Brain
Image source: Dribbble

The year is 1859 and a powerful new technology is upending the art world. An ingenious invention is democratizing access to the means of artistic expression and has become a major hit with the masses. The very definition of fine arts and what it means to be an artist are in question. The FUD is so intense that Charles Baudelaire, an acclaimed poet and prolific shitposter, famously declares this new tech “the mortal enemy of art.”  

That technology is photography. Instead of destroying art and impoverishing painters, photography catalyzed the emergence of new art movements. With realistic portrayals of the world so readily available, painters began to look for other ways to depict reality: impressionism, expressionism, cubism, surrealism, and more.

It is not an accident that the concerns of that time closely echo those surrounding non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and generative AI models today. Creators experimenting with bleeding edge tech are bound to shatter long-standing norms. These days, technology is once again redefining what counts as art, how it is made, appreciated, sold and owned.

Web2 helped unearth legions of new creators, from bloggers and podcasters to game streamers and short-form videographers, and gave them access to previously unimaginable audiences. Then it left the new creator class at the mercy of ad-based, attention-focused revenue models and winner-take-all market dynamics.

Web3’s promise is much more than fixing the economics of culture production. We at Polygon believe the long arc of art history bends toward empowering everyone to be a creator. In the New Creator Economy, we have you covered. 

This is what makes Polygon the creator layer of Ethereum.

Read, Write, Own

Chris Dixon of a16z has an interesting take on the evolution of the Internet. Where Web1 was the “read-only” and Web2 was the “read and write”, Web3 is “read, write, own.” Digital ownership is at the very core of this next iteration of the Internet and NFTs are the key to unlocking this future.

The ideals of self-custody and digital ownership are already resonating outside of the crypto echo chamber and some of the biggest companies are getting onboard. Adobe’s Behance creative social media platform is adding support for NFTs. Instagram users will soon be able to mint, buy, and sell digital collectibles directly to fans and collectors on the app. All of these efforts are powered by Polygon.

Minting NFTs on Polygon is not only simple, it’s gas-free. Users also enjoy the peace of mind knowing that their digital collections live on one of the greenest blockchains in existence. The network has hosted more than 479 million mints and over $12 billion of NFT volume, according to Polygon data. 

[Read more: How NFTs Benefit the Artists You Know and Love]

Creator-First Business Model

There are many projects on Polygon designed with creators in mind, but music stands out because of the particularly stark contrast to the industry’s business-as-usual. Historically, music ownership has been limited to record labels, publishers, private equity firms, and hedge funds, with artists often retaining only a small percentage, if any. And fans have been relegated to the role of passive consumers. 

Royal creates a new paradigm in the industry: artists maintain greater control over their art, while sharing ownership with their fans, who can invest in their favorite music and earn royalties. Royal enables distributed music ownership through NFTs, or as they call them, Limited Digital Assets (LDAs). The platform is home to artists like The Chainsmokers, Nas and Diplo.

And the model works. Fans on Royal earned $36,000 in the first royalty payout across just four songs in July. This success is likely to be widely replicated across other music platforms building on Polygon, including LGND, StemsDAO and Bolera.

What makes building, creating and collecting on Polygon even more compelling is the proximity to a universe of Web3 projects. The network hosts tens of thousands of decentralized apps, including Aave, Uniswap, and OpenSea, and serves as an entrypoint to Web3 for global companies like Adidas, Robinhood, Adobe, and Stripe. And this is only the beginning.

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