Mar 5, 2024

Coachella announced their partnership with NFT platform OpenSea for Keepsakes, a series of collections that unlock IRL utilities at the California-based music festival.

Video transcript

Today, Coachella and Open Sea launched their partnership for keepsakes, a series of collections that unlock IRL festival utilities. Joining us now to discuss is Coachella Innovation lead Sam Scho over Sam. Welcome to the show. Hi Jen. Thanks for having me. Thanks for being here and congratulations on the launch of these new NFT collections. Let's start at the beginning. Why Open Sea? How did the partnership uh come to fruition? Yeah, we uh we've experimented in this space before and uh I think a lot of interest from fans who want, you know, awesome experiences at the festival and we wanted to find a really safe, secure and trusted partner and no one's been doing it longer than Open Sea has. And so we started having conversations with them and, and both felt very aligned on uh the experience that we wanted to provide for fans, the tech technology, technological experience that open Sea uh could provide for us for our fans and uh we were just very aligned. No work out. Tell us about those fan experiences. You just described when fans are interacting with Coachella Nfts, do they know they're interacting with NFTS? Like what's your marketing roll out like to get the most people excited about something like this. Yeah, we uh in general um at Coachella, when we're thinking about innovation and new technology experiences for fans, we try and abstract away the technology. It doesn't matter what kind of technology it is, it doesn't matter what the public perception of that technology is. Fans want to be entertained, they want to have fun. It's a Coachella, it's a very fun and entertaining experience. And so we really focus on the experience itself and we don't really talk about the technology. And so uh a lot of our marketing campaign and roll out is very uh creative storytelling. It's focused on the experiential benefits. Um And fans know that this NFTS or not, it doesn't really matter to us. Are there any onboarding challenges? Do fans need to set up, let's say a wallet to use it, walk us through that fan experience? Yeah, Open Sea has launched a new wallet that has a really simple and easy on boarding process for fans. It's email based, it's a very familiar process for them. And that was definitely one of the uh one of the benefits and one of the reasons why we're working together because Open Sea wants to make that process extremely easy. As do we obviously, when you look at the evolution of NFTS over the past few years, um and you maybe saw the downturn in the market over the past year. Did that worry you at all as you were building towards this? No, uh you know, I think for, for Coachella, um we are focused on like real world utility and benefits and, and, and using NFTS as a way to make those benefits ownable and transferable and sellable if, if a buyer wants to. And so um the kind of state of the market doesn't really matter to us. It's more so around what the technology enables and that's been true from the start and remains true. Now, what is the experience look like? Walk me through it. I'm someone who's heading off to Coachella. How do I interact with this? Yeah. So on open seas starting today at 10 a.m. PST uh you'll be able to buy these uh Oasis keepsake NFTS and when you purchase them, you're able to redeem the NFT, the metadata changes at the NFT. So other people know that the NFT has been redeemed and that gets you a VIP pass to Coachella. It gets you access to this really amazing uh oasis lounge at the festival with shade and seating and complimentary beverages. Um And so the value is, is I think really amazing for fans and um and the experience at the festival like having places to sit and shade um when you're running around Coachella trying to catch 59 shows is a really amazing thing to have. So I guess in, in your mind, what is the future of music festivals look like. Well, uh it looks uh I think the same for a lot of people. I don't think anybody is ever gonna want to stop just watching amazing music with no technology in between them and the artist that's performing. Uh But there will also be a lot of, a lot of new things. I think we think a lot about how um music experiences can exist and be really amazing online and how we can use tokens uh both purchased and earned to allow people to customize their experience online. And, and IRL, like we're doing this year, as you're thinking through this though, are the folks you're working with? I mean, you're the end of innovation lead. It's your job to think about these bold and bright futures. Is everyone buying in or is it taking some convincing? Uh Yeah, I think once again, like it's about this experience that we're providing to fans and people look at the experience objectively and say, yeah, that's cool fans want that, let's offer that to them. Uh and see what happens. It's all a big experimentation as, as innovation generally is and um as long as it makes sense on both sides of the table, then then people are, are OK to experiment. Thankfully. Um We are, we work um on Coachella which has been built by a group of amazing people over the past 25 years. Uh and the kind of spirit of innovation has constantly been there at Coachella, whether we're talking about stage production or how they build out the venue site or the technology that they provide artists for their performances, um very innovative group of people over there. And so that's the reason why it's all possible are the artists involved in the NFT project at all? Uh Not yet. Uh Not, not nothing that we can announce right now. Well, now I'm on the edge of my seat. I feel like there's an announcement coming with some of the big, big artists, but I guess I guess we'll just have to wait and see. It doesn't feel like you're gonna give me a sneak peek. No, no has there. I guess as you're talking to artists, you know, we recently spoke to the CEO of a company who is implementing A I technology into the music creation process. He told us on the show that, you know, artists are still a little bit resistant when it comes to technologies. Like a I when you're working with the artists from the festival. Um I guess my question is similar to the festival goers, are they accepting of this new technology and the opportunities that, that it has the potential to unlock? Or are they still a little bit reluctant? It's hard to speak on behalf of, of artists because I'm not one, but we do collaborate with them on new technology programs uh all the time and what artists want to do is also pretty simple and straightforward. They want to express their art, they want to reach new audience members, they want to make their existing fans really happy. And if technology can help them do that, then they're generally interested. As long as we're kind of abstracting away that technology and making it just feel super accessible to their fans. You mentioned that this isn't Coachella's first foray into NFTS. You mentioned that the project is going to be more safe and secure. It's going to allow folks to trade their NFTS if they want, hold on to them, do whatever they want with them. Um Did these solutions come from the experimentation with the ftxnft? Yeah, for sure, we learn a lot during that process. Um It was really the reaction and um acceptance of fans was, was amazing and that's what's encouraged us to continue exploring the space. Uh But we also learned around a lot around the needs for safety and for uh the ability to self custody. All these things are important like web three kind of principles. Um And so we're, we're taking what we've learned and, and reapplying and that's what innovation is about. And for our audience who is listening, um Coachella did launch an NFT with FTX that a lot of mainstream brands got involved with FTX. I think that it's unfair to single out just one, not only mainstream brands but web three brands as well. I want to call back to that situation, not to dwell on it too much. But there were some NFTS that were stuck on that platform are the holders of those NFTS going to get any kind of um opportunity to participate in this project in a different way or how did that scenario and end up playing out? Yeah. Uh Some of the like the biggest part of that campaign was these lifetime pass Coachella Key NFTS and we've maintained relationships with all the holders there continued to offer them the benefits that they purchased. And we've a part of our uh kind of coming back to this space this year has been reissuing the old Nfts to make sure that anybody who had one is whole and their benefits remain. Um So, uh from our perspective, everybody is, is happy and they got what they paid for. Well, that's great to hear. And I, I guess looking forward, how are you taking those learnings and moving forward? Um And the reason I ask you is maybe there are some mainstream brands who look at that scenario and are maybe a little bit afraid of getting their toes wet. What kind of lessons can they learn from this? And how are you taking the since you learned from that and moving forward, learning, re evaluating, breaking things down and building them back better than they were before? Like I think that's what innovation is about, right? Like you, you're not going to have 100% hit rate when you're innovating and trying new things, especially in really fast moving places like 13 or A I or mixed reality spatial computing. Um And so, uh you know, safe and secure partners, self custody, easy sign up like these are all the things that we learned from our last go that we're applying to the process and the program for this year. Um And so we feel we feel really good about it and I'm sure that we're gonna make some mistakes and learn more this year about how to make it even better next year. And that's, that's what the process is. What do you think it's going to take for more mainstream brands like Coachella coach has been around for quite a while. You work with some of the biggest artists on the planet. What do you think it's going to take to convey some of the other brands that have been around for a long time to start experimenting with this kind of technology? I think it, I think there's a lot to that, to that answer, but I think new use cases is a good way to kind of sum it up. Um A lot of people when they think about NFTS, they think of pfps, which are an amazing kind of killer app for the NFT Space. Um uh But I think like when, when brands are thinking about the space, there's other use cases that are probably more relevant to what they do and how they service their consumers. And so it takes brands like Coachella and other brands that have been doing a lot of really innovative work in, in this space to really pioneer those new use cases and, and for other brands to kind of take notice and, and do some of the experimentation themselves. How did you get into NFTS? What was your first four way for a into NFTS? It was like back in the, the 2020 time frame like that, that whole cycle. Um And uh really just being fascinated with the idea of artists being able to sell their work online for the like digital artists, being able to sell their work online for the first time. Um That to me did and still stands out as a really incredible innovation in this space. And of course, that has changed a lot over the past, you know, 34 years. Um But I still think is, is uh something that a lot of people are very focused on continuing. I know I asked you what the future of music festivals looks like through uh technological lens. But if we broaden that out just to NFTS, now you just mentioned it's been an evolving landscape over the past few years. What do you think that killer use case is gonna be for NFT? Si think a lot of it is going to come down to like in my opinion access. And when I say access, like access to some unique experience online or offline. Um And using NFT is both purchased and earned. And I think like that's an important distinction um to allow people to customize their experience, whether it's on a website or a um like uh 3D kind of video game, Open World game or uh an experience, an event like Coachella. Um there's a lot of ways to customize those experience based on what people like, who people want to be around. Uh And I think tokens do a good job of that. And so I think that's the use case that I'm most excited about. I think you highlighted something really important there, purchased and earned for some people who are looking at the space from outside. They maybe think NFTS are kind of weird. They're super expensive. There's something I can't really afford to participate in and I don't see the value, but it sounds like you're saying that that narrative is going to change to offer some real value to everyday folks, folks who might be attending festivals like Coachella who are not as embedded or enthralled in this industry as maybe you and I are. Yeah, I think you look at like a lot of the web through loyalty stuff happening. There's some amazing brands pioneering, a lot of that work is a space that uh we're going to be engaging in. And um tokens are, are just a piece of data about somebody and you can buy that, you can earn that. Um And but like understanding people, their likes, their interests, their preferences, tokens are a good way to do that. And so I think um earning it through like value additive actions with a brand is just as good as, as buying it and it being more of a commerce play for a brand. Sam, thanks so much for joining the show this morning. This has been such a delightful conversation and congratulations on the launch. Thanks for having me, Jen. Appreciate it. That was Coachella innovation lead Sam Schoon over.

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