Who says superstars have fun with all NFT music? While jaw-dropping NFT titles abound, PlayTreks has quietly built its blockchain solution for freelance and DIY artists. Now, the pre-Series A company is hitting critical thresholds in its “The Playgrounds” NFT marketplace.
Last year, we first introduced PlayTreks, a Belgium and UAE-based company involved in music distribution, data analytics, streaming monitoring and a blockchain-based market. Since then, the pre-Series A company has been quietly attracting independent artists to its NFT music marketplace to generate bigger revenue and stronger fan relationships.
PlayTreks launched The Playgrounds with a fairly simple goal: to allow creatives to monetize their content by turning it into non-fungible tokens (NFTs). A few months later, the first stages of this mission are taking shape.
“The Playgrounds” is now driving an increase in daily sign-ups. According to stats shared by Playtreks Founder and CEO Anjo de Heus, the burgeoning artist platform now has over 6,000 independent musician members. Given the early nature of music NFTs, this is enough to signal a proof of concept while forming a core user base.
The company says it is now gearing up to reach 20,000 users by the end of the year, with most taking advantage of the platform’s music NFT capabilities. Earlier this year, Playtreks partnered with DMN to further accelerate this ramp-up.
Playtreks is already attracting some interesting indie names.
That includes musical composer and performer Chris Payne, who performed with Gary Numan and was co-writer of Visage’s early ’80s synth-pop hit “Fade to Grey.” Longtime David Guetta collaborator Chris Willis is also on PlayTreks, as is Zaine Griff, whose collaboration credits include David Bowie and Hans Zimmer.
Playtreks also features EDM producer Bolier, Nigerian afrobeat musician Sam Derry and visual artist Mohamed Essawy.
“Essawy rocks with his art, sells a lot as an NFT and is a great ambassador. He also happens to be a music producer,” de Heus explained.
When it comes to the NFT music scene, PlayTreks has become an interesting piece.
According to HTF Market Intelligence, in terms of total NFT music revenue, PlayTreks took a 4% market share globally. This beachhead was accomplished in about a year, with PlayTreks rapidly increasing the capabilities of its platform and its member artists.
Along with its menu of music distribution capabilities, PlayTreks also functions as a data analytics platform that offers artists valuable insights gleaned from content platforms such as social media and streaming services. The addition of blockchain, NFT, and cryptocurrency components gives PlayTreks its most compelling competitive edge.
“The goal was to bridge the data gap for all platforms, including streaming, social media, radio, etc.,” de Heus explained.
Using Playgrounds blockchain technology and a copyright control mechanism, musicians can create, share and create different types of digital content. According to the PlayTreks model, this approach will incentivize musicians to distribute on traditional endpoints while capturing the potentially lucrative benefits of NFTs.
According to PlayTreks, musicians can have up to seven different sources of income using its platform. Artists can use any of these options in any combination. This diverse model could force reactions from more established distribution companies, as well as dedicated NFT music games.
The Playtreks concept has already attracted support from early investors.
The company is currently playing with an €800,000 ($841,000) seed round, with a Series A target of €2.5 million ($2.64 million). Anjo de Heus has set a wider valuation of the company at 30 million euros.
Just recently, ticketing platform NFT Arthouse attracted a round of $4 million. SoundMint, a company focused on expanding NFT music format possibilities, also raised a $1.7 million funding round. Elsewhere, John Legend’s Our Happy Company, which focuses on “democratizing NFTs for the masses,” raised $7.5 million.
These funding cycles suggest a similar future increase for PlayTreks, with a broader NFT boom increasing the odds.
In 2021, NFT’s sales volume skyrocketed to $25 billion. Interestingly, NFT’s trading volume was just over $40 million in 2018. But by the end of 2021, NFT’s trading volume grew to $44 billion.
The market capitalization of the NFT industry is expected to reach $80 billion by the end of 2025. Currently, the growing enthusiasm and shared interest in NFTs is arguably at an all-time high.
This is all happening against a music industry growth spurt. According to the IFPI, global recorded music assets alone generated $25.9 billion in 2021, up 18.5% year-over-year. IFPI reported revenue of $21.6 billion in 2020, an annual gain of 7.4%.
But that growth is potentially starting to taper off. Just recently, Spotify recorded a modest gain of 2 million subscribers in the first quarter, which pales in comparison to previous year-over-year increases. Suddenly, the industry is looking at a potentially saturated and slower-growing streaming music sphere, and looking to new revenue-generating areas. This includes very early but promising possibilities like the metaverse and musical NFTs.
Anjo designed PlayTreks after an eye-opening experience in the music industry.
In late 2018, de Heus found himself in a studio with a DJ/producer and other artists. The musicians went on a rant about the music industry, prompting Heus’ technologist to begin researching solutions to a series of problems. Anjo immersed himself in the music production business by establishing a record label. He quickly began to identify serious problems.
“Something is seriously wrong,” Anjo told Creative Skills Europe, referring to his impressions of the music industry.
As a record label owner, Anjo had to subscribe to over 20 platforms to understand what was going on with his artists’ music. This was a problem with disparate data analyses, and de Heus concluded that there was a huge divide between streaming platforms and the artists using them.
“You can’t expect an artist to be computer literate,” noted de Heus. “You can’t expect an artist to spend time making music in front of a computer to figure out what’s happening to their music. An artist will make music, that’s it.
Anjo De Heus’ vision was to bring about transformative change within the music industry by using data and technology to enable artists to manage their logistics within a single platform.
“It was quite an ambitious project, but today…we really see that it’s a very attractive proposition,” Anjo said.