Non-fungible token (NFT) rewards are often seen as a sign of the times, transforming the relationship between artists and fans and creating a fine line between physical and digital experiences.
Earlier this month, British pop star and former One Direction band member Harry Styles played a show at Slade Castle in Ireland. Fans were invited to use EVNTZ, the official event app for the concert, and were able to open up a self-custodial digital wallet that can house future blockchain-based rewards. The app linked up with Co:Create, a Web3 infrastructure company, and powered the experience via its API that connects through Polygon, a well-known Ethereum sidechain.
Kim O’Callaghan, founder of EVNTZ, told CoinDesk that 5,000 of the 80,000 fans in attendance claimed wallets through the app, which garnered over 100,000 unique interactions.
According to O’Callaghan, the app serves as a one-stop service for fans that attended the concert. Through it, they were able to book transportation, post photos to social media and access merch. She teased plans for future in-app rewards linked to engagement within the fan community.
"The EVNTZ team is exploring a range of reward features powered by Web3, designed to empower the next generation of music fans," she said. "Our goal is to meet the growing expectation of fans who genuinely deserve better experiences in return for their loyalty."
The app, which O’Callaghan said plans to offer experiences for other artists in 2024, was designed to be a seamless entry point into blockchain technology without the need for prior experience. Through its user interface, brands can deliver rich experiences "without understanding Web3 or how to deploy smart contracts," said O’Callaghan. "From the fan’s perspective, the Web3 elements, such as spinning up a wallet, seed phrases and paying gas fees, are all kept under the hood – offering an optimized user experience."
In O’Callaghan's opinion, the events industry creates a disconnect for fans and doesn’t inherently reward fans for their dedication to a particular artist. She explained that blockchain-based rewards and experiences can help pave new pathways for artists and fans.
"By leveraging Web3, we can power community loyalty, enabling the creation of entertaining and gamified experiences that offer fans self-owned rewards," she said. "Fans can now be recognized and rewarded for their dedication and engagement with their favorite artists, and everything they do at a show can be part of an integrated, gamified, and cohesive experience."
Tara Fung, CEO of Co:Create, told CoinDesk that offering these experiences on-chain allows for transparency and an easier route for brands to connect with fans. She also noted that fans can use blockchain tools to influence the direction of their favorite brands and get rewarded for doing so.
“Blockchain allows for you to see who else is a part of and who else is participating in similar experiences to be rewarded for things that have happened at a specific moment, before that moment, or after that moment in real life or online,” said Fung. “At Co:Create, it's all about finding these builders who are creating these incredible experiences for communities and really focused on community-driven brands and helping them bring their vision to life.”
As Web3 critics have been grappling to define NFT utility, blockchain-based ticketing, loyalty and memberships have been on the rise. In March, Polygon teamed up with customer relation management (CRM) Salesforce to help clients create Web3 loyalty programs. In June, chef and television personality Guy Fieri and Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Sammy Hagar created a loyalty program for their liquor brand Santo Spirits, leveraging NFTs to reward their customers with physical items and experiences.
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