Payment processing platform Mastercard announced a web3-based Accelerator program for music artists. The program, which starts in spring 2023, will prepare emerging musicians, DJs and producers to build their brand through web3 experiences, including minting NFTs, engaging with a virtual community and live performances in the metaverse. The space will also enable fans to participate through the Mastercard Music Pass, an NFT that gives access to web3 Music educational material and resources.
Music labels have been embracing web3, forging multiple partnerships involving NFTs. Universal Music created a music group consisting of four NFTs that are Bored Ape Yacht Club characters. In August 2022, Eminem and Snoop Dogg performed as Bore Ape NFT characters in the Otherside metaverse at the MTV awards. More recently, in December 2022, Warner Music Group acknowledged the importance of building communities for artists in different mediums. It partnered with Polygon and LGND.io to launch a platform that sells songs as NFTs.
Mastercard’s Accelerator program, announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), also leverages the Polygon blockchain, and follows on Mastercard’s historical support of the music industry, having sponsored the GRAMMY awards and the BRIT Awards.
The company’s ultimate goal is to enable people to pay for the NFTs using Mastercard without buying crypto. In February 2022, the company expanded its consulting practices to include crypto & digital currencies. In unison with service expansion, the company is also keen to increase its web3 user base. Last year, the company announced it’s working with seven major NFT platforms and enablers, including ImmutableX, and the web3 metaverse The Sandbox. The Accelerator program is another step in its wider strategy.
Visa is also pursuing similar strategies to engage in the web3 space, having launched its crypto advisory practice in 2021. Its Visa Creator program was announced in May 2022, gets underway this year, and extends to entrepreneurs working in art, music, fashion, and film, targeting those that aim to expand their businesses through NFTs.
Both companies recognize the need to be active in the sector. Currently, card payments have a 3% transaction cost and long settlement times that impact merchants. Cryptocurrency payments are perceived as a disruption in the payment-tech space, as they are faster with lower transaction fees for some blockchains. Consequently, Mastercard is working towards providing the choice for its users to accept and pay crypto through multiple partnerships with companies like Wirex and Bitpay, as well as engagement with Central Bank Digital Currencies.