Clarence Greenwood, singer and “Citizen Cope” artist, joins Yahoo Finance Live to talk about the music industry and streaming trends, income opportunities for musicians moving away from touring, blockchain and streaming. integration of the musical public in web3 and crypto.
Brad Smith: Citizen Cope has made a career in music with 20 years on the road. And now the artist is also keeping pace with blockchain and exploring where technology will play a role in the future for recording and performing artists. Singer and artist Citizen Cope joins us now, alongside Yahoo Finance’s Ali Canal for more.
And it’s great to have you here with us today, especially since we know that the whole music industry, and especially for artists, has changed dramatically over the past two years. , no longer being able to do shows and now starting to return to shows. For you as an artist, what has this transition meant? And where have you leaned the most during this time?
CLARENCE GREENWOOD: I think it just led to a way to adapt. And the thing with the music industry is that you always have to adapt and change because it always changes. It has changed several times over the years.
So there was the Napster thing, changing CDs from vinyl to CD, then to Apple Music, then to streaming. And the living thing has been a vital part of most people’s lives. So when that changed, I think a lot of people were sort of used to being able to maneuver around a bit.
And I did live concerts from home. And I was able to kind of get into the whole NFT thing and start doing a lot of research on it and see where Web3 was going with music.
ALI CHANNEL: And I want to come back to this point, because you also said in a previous interview, and I quote, “the idea that the only way for an artist to earn a living is to play live is a kind of dangerous mentality for the ‘art”. And like you said, for a very long time, touring was the easiest, fastest way for artists to earn an income. But now, as you mentioned, we are seeing a boom in NFTs for music, there are also more artists selling their catalogs of songs, like Stevie Nicks, Red Hot Chili Peppers. So what do you think of what’s going on in the space right now, especially when it comes to artists making a living?
CLARENCE GREENWOOD: Well, I think a lot of people started selling their copyrights. And I think the idea of just being a musician and having – for years, everybody’s been telling the story of, oh, you have to be on the road, and you have to sell goods, and all that kind of stuff to make a living. And I think that mindset was kind of stuck in a lot of ways because the potential of music is so great.
And the fact that in music, you know, the greatest musicians like Michael Jackson or Paul McCartney aren’t worth as much as someone who’s kind of new to the field like someone, Daniel L, for example, who has ran a big business. But to have come so quickly and amassed this fortune in such a short time without music, it shows that the artist hasn’t necessarily done the best job of figuring out how to maximize the potential of this gain.
ALI CHANNEL: And you’ve been in the business for a long time now. What do you think of this streaming boom? Artists have a complicated relationship with this, mixed feelings about the revenue royalty structure. But at the same time, it’s a proven way to connect with fans and potentially gain a new fanbase as well.
CLARENCE GREENWOOD: I think the streaming is amazing. I think they did a really good job of releasing music. I think the only thing that’s lying is – the only difference is that they didn’t figure out how to break what – the artist wasn’t really in the room during those conversations. And the artist has generally not been part of the industry.
But I think as things change hopefully the artist will be part of that conversation in the future because I think the streaming companies have relied on the record labels and the owners of master to report to artists. But it’s a whole new kind of paradigm and a whole new world.
So I think you can’t really blame any streaming service or record company because it’s so new. But at the same time, the artist was not at the table. And I think artists should stand up and start being represented in some way when these licensing happens with streaming companies that artists are involved in.
Brad Smith: I’m super excited to hear more about where you think blockchain and cryptocurrency could play a major role in revolutionizing the music industry, and especially everyone involved. There’s been a big push towards smart contracts, which basically in the music industry would allow artists to make sure that the percentage they’re supposed to make from their production, their writing is accounted for , and even everyone down to musicians, sound engineers, etc. And so where do you see this playing a major role in the future of the music industry?
CLARENCE GREENWOOD: I mean, I think it’s amazing to be able to have this kind of information and be able to do this kind of accounting. So I think it’s going to be awesome. The question is how to integrate fans into Web3. I think it’s going to be kind of a transition for society as a whole.
So I think your normal fan won’t necessarily know how to access the blockchain yet. So I think finding the right platforms to be able to get your blockchain stuff that’s actually good for you is going to be a bit of a challenge. It will take a little time. But eventually the blockchain will have this information and the fee will be a bit easier.
But at the end of the day, you still have to have people listening to your music. And you have to find people who are into it. So I don’t think production, marketing and promotion are going to change that much.
Brad Smith: Listen, I think you make a great point. At the end of the day, the music should always be good. People have to want to listen, to dance, to applaud, whatever their form of expression. It’s great to have you.
CLARENCE GREENWOOD: [INAUDIBLE]
Brad Smith: It was a great opportunity to have you with us today. We have our own Ali Channel, that of Yahoo Finance, and Clarence Greenwood, singer and artist — Citizen Cope joins us today. We appreciate the time.