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A playlist in your wallet with Coop Records

May 30, 2024
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Sonya Mann
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Cooper Turley is obsessed with two things: music, and the onchain economy. These passions are united by Coop Records, an onchain label that helps artists monetize their creativity through free mints (and occasional paid ones). Collectors get the opportunity to directly support musicians for those "patron of the arts" warm-fuzzies — and of course, to keep the tunes coming.

Cooper's specialty is bringing music onchain. He doesn't just work with the existing crypto music scene. Cooper and his team find artists out in the wild, through personal connections or "normie" social media, then invite those artists to try something new. Crucially, Coop Records will walk artists through the technical logistics, or even manage that whole aspect on their behalf. ​​"Crypto is really really intimidating to the average artist," Cooper said, so Coop Records helps fill the gap.

The value proposition? Get paid. A couple hundred collectors who vibe with a song can yield revenue equivalent to tens or hundreds of thousands of streams. On Spotify, a million streams is worth merely $3,700 (give or take). You can earn the same amount from two thousand mint fees on — and that's just the free mints.

Coop Records leverages this difference. "The artist is interested in making money and reaching new fans," as you might expect. Their existing audience knows nothing about crypto, generally, or might be actively hostile. But web3 is full of people who will happily spend $3-5 on a song simply because it sounds groovy and minting is fun. Artists are interested in reaching those enthusiasts, and Coop Records gets them plugged in.

The results are impressive: 230+ tracks released by 60+ artists, garnering 150k mints by 65k unique collectors. In May alone, Cooper Records earned 25 ETH across various revenue streams.

What's in it for the collectors? "People just want to support music that they like," Cooper told Splits. A free mint is a tip, the digital equivalent of dropping a couple dollars in a busker's guitar case. And the artists don't have to be "hyper-engaged" to benefit from putting their music onchain. "If an artist is really leaning in, they're gonna see more sales," but it's not a requirement. Coop Records can handle that side of things.

Cooper's platforms of choice are Farcaster for marketing, augmented by Boost, and for distribution. "I'm extremely bullish on onchain social," he explained. "For me it's been a very tolerant place to talk about onchain music and have that conversation be received positively." Coop Records uses the Splits functionality built into to share revenue directly with artists.

Move with the music

"Every artist releasing music onchain starts at square one," Cooper mused — a relatively even playing field, unlike the music industry at large.

Cooper has participated in the world of onchain music for nearly its entire existence, helping to create the scene and pioneer the interaction models. He's watched the artist-collector relationship go through phases as the technology and communities available have morphed over time.

Early on, he recalled, people were collecting music-related assets on Nifty Gateway, "very hype, high prices for random shit." (That quote is a decent summary of NFT history in general.) You could buy a special limited edition of a song and develop a direct relationship with the artist, but it was expensive. A niche audience of crypto-rich music lovers "wore music as their identity, they wanted to get closer to these artists." On the artists' side, it was "nonstop hustle" trying to ingratiate yourself with this small group of viable collectors.

Today the vibe is looser on platforms like Zora and The advent of free mints on L2s, which only charge collectors a low mint fee and cost artists nothing, have led to a more playful and carefree dynamic between artists and collectors. The artists put their music out into the onchain universe, and the collectors mint what they like, without expecting anything more in return. The facilitating platforms reward artists by distributing a portion of each mint fee.

As for the future, Cooper is interested in questions like: "How do you give fans more upside in a song's success?" Coop Records tried out using Liquid Splits for this purpose and it was the highest-grossing project on that month. Downside: "Every time we try something new we are ahead of the UI." That won't stop Cooper from experimenting when the mood strikes. "Being able to share onchain royalties with collectors is very exciting," as with's curator rewards.

So you better stay tuned. And this time we mean that literally 🎵

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