Mastercard Debuts Web3-Based Musician Accelerator Program

Mastercard, Artist Accelerator, entertainment, Web3, NFTs

Mastercard says it wants to help musicians use Web3 to build their audience.

To that end, the company has launched its Artist Accelerator, designed to give musicians tools to function in a digital economy using the Polygon blockchain.

“Web3’s capabilities have the potential to open a new dimension for music content creation, collaboration and ownership; however, this nascent space has yet to fully deliver — particularly for emerging artists,” the company said in a Friday (Jan. 6) news release.

The launch comes as businesses are increasingly trying to woo creators of all stripes. Buy now, pay later company Klarna, for example, launched its Creator Platform, while American Express teamed up with TikTok to help small businesses attract the younger consumers who flock to TikTok’s platform.

YouTube, which paid out more than $30 billion to creators over the past few years, debuted its “From YouTube to You” project, which includes a series of videos, live streams and Shorts from popular creators who curate gift recommendations and exclusive product drops and deals.

Mastercard, meanwhile, teamed with financial services platform Bump and card issuer Highnote to launch the Bump Creator Card last year.

“The global creator economy has expanded over recent years and is believed to include approximately 200 million creators,” Bump said at the time.

For its newest venture, Mastercard said the accelerator will choose five “emerging artists,” including musicians, DJs and producers, and teach them how to create their brands using Web3 experiences such as minting NFTs and representing themselves in virtual worlds.

However, as PYMNTS noted last week, virtual worlds have become something of a gamble, with last year’s “metaverse meltdown” slated to extend into 2023.

Recent research by PYMNTS suggests that the world continues to get more digitally connected, meaning immersive experiences should be poised for a takeoff. However, last year saw a decline in sales of virtual reality headsets in the U.S. and in augmented reality (AR) and VR headset shipments around the world.

This isn’t Mastercard’s first Web3-centric venture.

Last year, the company announced a plan to make Web3 and cryptocurrency more accessible to women and nonbinary people through The Belle Block, a community designed to help them learn about the technologies.

About three-quarters of women who are familiar with crypto said they would use it more if they had a better understanding of it, Mastercard said at the time.