British/Lebanese songwriter, artist, musician, and producer Tatiana DeMaria was born and raised in the UK and Paris on what she’s described as a “diet of punk rock and hip hop.” As a young teen, she founded the rock band TAT, and by the time she was eighteen, the band’s debut album, Soho Lights, produced two UK chart-topping singles. TAT toured throughout Europe and North America alongside bands NOFX, Bad Religion, Alice Cooper, Joan Jett, and more, and played The Vans Warped Tour five times becoming a fan favorite. In 2018, DeMaria began a solo career with a unique sound of her own. Her credits include writing, producing, and performing movie soundtracks (Blue Crush 2) and commercials (Pepsi, 7 Up, etc.). She recently recorded eight songs for and made a performance in the new American Pie: Girls Rule movie.
Not only a performing artist, but the talented DeMaria has also delved into the blockchain and NFT market and can be heard in speaking engagements discussing the “NFT Revolution” for musicians. She minted and sold her first-ever guitar solo piece (Genesis) in a matter of hours. She also recently partnered with FutureOf (https://www.futureof.fund) to create new platforms leveraging AI and algorithms, centered around Nacci’s powerful data (https://www.naccix.com) to enable or artists to monetize and thrive as businesses in an industry that has favored viral hits and quantity over quality and sustainability.
So excited to hear of your partnership with Nacci and FutureOf. Tell us a little more about this endeavor and how the partnership was formed.
I met Dionna, the founder of Nacci and FutureOf, and we instantly connected; we are eerily similar and found a lot of common ground. Dionna has a profound love for music, and I run several businesses for my music. In discussing music and tech, we started discussing how we could help solve many points faced by musicians today where the landscape doesn’t support monetization of their work and involves a tremendous amount of entrepreneurship on the part of the artist.
As much as the gatekeepers may seem reduced, they are merely replaced by other practices and platforms that are also equally hard to make a living at as you have to employ so many more skills now that have nothing to do with music. The upside is it puts the control in your hands, but the downside is that it puts the entire process in your hands which is a tremendous workload taking time away from creating music or content, which is a big issue for independent artists currently.
Taking the business model I use to run my business and the tech Dionna had been developing, we started to develop new structures and tech helping musicians go back to putting their time into making music and taking the pressure off the business by creating tech solutions.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the future. How will this program help musicians?
Independent artists are expected to behave like entrepreneurs and run full-time businesses but also be full-time creators, marketers, and social content creators. It can be brutal to achieve all of these things but also very difficult to monetize as music monetization within this streaming model is practically negligible with streaming pay being so low.
So we’ve built and are building a selection of tools that help leverage AI and data to help take an immense portion of that pressure off by providing a business structure and AI programs that can automate a lot of this legwork and focus on actual growth results and income for the artist.
One example of a paint point we address: Constant online marketing takes up a huge amount of time and money whether you go at it alone or with a team, limiting time and money to create music, produce, and tour in a huge way.
Some artists may also seek help. The current model has artists spending their limited budget on people’s time, not results. For example, if an independent artist has $2300 to spend and wants help to grow their audience, they might hire a marketing agency to help. The agency will typically charge $2000 for a month as their retainer to run ads and audit social accounts and only spend $300 on actual marketing that could generate any kind of ROI/results. The goal for these platforms and widgets is to flip this balance and have $2000 go towards marketing and $300 towards the setup. Whether you are doing this yourself or with an agency, our tech is able to learn, recommend and automate processes, drastically reducing spend and time on the part of the artist while being a lot more statistic and data-focused, achieving greater results.
Not saying there is anything wrong with a marketing agency, but the gap between what an artist can afford in both time and money and what they need to do to grow their audience in the current climate is enormous and a massive pain point for the vast majority of independent artists. These current marketing setups are rarely recouped with monthly results, so the spend is mainly just outgoing. The goal is to always be able to recoup your spend and make a profit on top of it, however big.
NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are garnering major attention, with some selling for outrageous amounts. The band Kings of Leon was very successful with their NFT. How did you approach the process of creating and selling your NFT?
I think the most important approach for anyone creative when it comes to NFTs is to create value for your community. An NFT is basically a digital certificate of authenticity with a smart contract inbuilt, which is great because it allows us to attribute value to new collectible pieces we create, in all forms, with utilities that were much harder to do before.
But what is more important than that is what you are actually creating and why. What is the collectible, and why is it of value to your community and fans?
I minted and sold the first-ever Guitar Solo on the blockchain. This was directed at my community in two ways. Firstly, they know me as a guitar player, so it was a natural piece to want to own if they’re into it as a collectible, and second, being my first NFT and first-ever Guitar Solo minted and sold on the blockchain is an even more rare collectible.
Had I tried to NFT a piece of 3D art alone with no sound, it might have fallen on deaf ears and not sold to my community if it didn’t connect with them and why they like what I do. The guitar sold within a few hours at 4 am.
Do you have another in the works?
Ironically my next piece will have a 3D art component, but it is very much about the piece of music attached to it as well. I have a few NFTs coming that I’m super excited about.
I have several NFTs in the works, but my main focus is on an NFT platform we have been building and looking forward to launching very soon. It focuses primarily on the Utility of NFTs in the entertainment space, which I’m super excited about. It provides a tremendous amount of opportunity and support for artists, as well as awesome value for fans, so I can’t f–king wait. More on that soon!
Share with us your outlook for the NFT Revolution?
NFTs are digital certificates of authenticity and go across every industry and will revolutionize the way we will interact and trade value in the future. The tech isn’t perfect yet, but the promise of NFTs as a non-fungible token, a true secure certificate with smart contracts inbuilt, has infinite uses. You could NFT a house, a car, music, a PDF. A way of securely recording anything in digital form. Until quantum computing and AI disrupt the blockchain space in the future, this is where we’re at.
Are there dark sides and potentials to blockchain? Of course, as there is with all technological progress. Progress is here, so our goal is to always find positive ways to interact with tech, and FutureOf’s mission is to use data and tech for good.
Besides your partnership mentioned in this interview and creating NFTs, what else do you have in the works?
I have a new studio single coming out this summer called “Fresh Meat,” which I’m very excited to drop. More music videos, an EP coming up, and I’m currently working on my debut album. Keeping busy on this end 🙂
With venues reopening, do you have any plans to go on tour?
Absolutely. I’m planning it around the scheduled releases and openings, so I’ll be announcing some dates soon enough.