As a music fan looking to support your favorite artists, just listening to their music isn’t good enough. Not even if you’re constantly choosing them on Spotify, because these services tend to focus on the consumer and not the artist. Meet Mo Jalloh, CEO, and Paolo Gava, CTO – Founders of Zimrii, a project focused on helping independent musicians maximize their ability to develop and sustain their music careers. By reducing the number of intermediaries through the introduction of blockchain technology and tokenization, music artists everywhere could actually release music independently and have a closer relationship with their fans!
Hi, Mo! Could you tell us a bit about yourself? We heard that you used to be involved with sports. So are you used to being a person of the media? Is this why you have a deal with the media industry? And what’s with the “Zimrii” title? What does it mean and who was the one to come with the idea?
I used to play a lot of tennis growing up in the UK, as well as football. I’ve love listening to different types of music and watching live bands. I have friends who are in bands, so they have been attracted to the industry. The word Zimrii comes from an adjustment to the Latin word for music.
Paolo, hello. Being a CTO of such an establishment means being at the center of attention as well, but information about you is scarce. Why so secretive? Could you share a few details about your personal career and experiences? How did you enter into the blockchain industry?
Secretive? Do you really think so? Maybe you are right, I kind of like to work from behind the scenes. I’ve been working in IT for more than 20 years, and I worked with different types of technologies and industries. I feel really lucky to be able to work on something that I like.
I started to “play” with the blockchain years ago, back when Ethereum started becoming popular. With Zimrii I basically work with the two things that I’m really passionate about: music and technology.
But you two are probably not creating this project alone. What about your team? May we ask you to tell us more about your departments? There are a lot of blank places as well. Is this a corporate policy or just a tendency to remain anonymous among your employees?
We have a technology team ( two onshore and two offshore) and a marketing team to execute the product strategy. Both teams have great experience in achieving excellence and delivering great products.
So Zimrii gives the crowdfunding industry retailing services for content creators, which are ensured by blockchain technologies. Let’s deal with crowdfunding services first. What downsides do these services have as of today? How could you make it better?
I don’t see too many downsides with crowdfunding. Crowdfunding allows music fans to support their artists so they can continue to make music and go on tour. We are looking to make it better by introducing the tokenization of music artists into a crowdfunding model.
There are a lot of media intermediaries out there, and they enforce a lot of expenses on artists and musicians. How could you reduce those expenses, and why can’t those companies do it themselves?
We are providing a more direct fan engagement model so that artists can have a closer relationship with their fans, which reduces the number of intermediaries, thus reducing costs to the artist.
So publishers have their own share of problems, but how do you plan to compete with Apple Music or Google Remix? The same goes for Netflix and other well-established companies.
Netflix and the others tend to focus on the consumer, whereas our focus is on how the independent musician can maximize their ability to develop and sustain their music career while having a closer relationship with their fans. Our focus on independent artists is not in direct competition to the other big players.
It looks like bringing it all into one consistent system might turn into a market-changer. But in order to change something, you have to start it first. Who is your initial audience? What kind of strategies do you implement to attract users and content creators?
Our initial target audience is independent music artists. We have presented at several music conferences in Brisbane and Sydney, and we are actively marketing and talking to artists to explain how a blockchain music platform can benefit them. We are also sponsoring the Independent Music Awards in Sydney.
While providing more control to the creators and making fan support more organized, you might gain a lot of influence in the industry soon. And with great power comes corruption. Aren’t you afraid to turn into the ones you are actually “fighting” against? Do you have some conceptual countermeasures in place to avoid this outcome?
No, we are not afraid at all! Our mission is to empower musicians and that is all we are focused on.
The global release date of the platform is coming near. So, “how’s the flight been so far?” Did you notice something that made you alter the project in some way? May we ask you to share some of the experiences you have accumulated over the years when Zimrii was developed?
We are currently going through a product/market fit of the product with our current user base, which will mean that some aspects of the platform may change, but that is expected so that the platform meets the needs of the users and artists that it is intended for.
We also shouldn’t forget about Zimrii token. Information about this is scarce for some reason. Could you tell us more about the “life cycle” of the coin? How is stability achieved, because popular musicians or filmmakers might turn into huge coin holders and start trading them in the open market. Is some regulatory policy planned?
We have engaged a company to assist us to develop the token economics so that there will be demand for the token and that its utility is properly devised. The mechanics of how the Zimrii token works is in the white paper.
Let’s go back slightly and talk about benefits some more. It seems that the Zimrii network has a lot to offer in terms of creator support. But what about a general user? What benefits do they have?
The Zimrii platform caters to both musicians and fans when interacting with the platform by making music available for sale and for fans to purchase music directly from the artists.
Did you have any sort of collaboration with other blockchain projects? Do you have some competitors, possible allies, or do you prefer to stay uninvolved with other parties? What do you think about the landscape of the blockchain industry overall? Are you “on trend” in this regard?
Collaboration and community is key as we look to introduce a new technology into an industry that may not understand it at first. We keep in touch with other music blockchain projects to share experiences as well as general blockchain knowledge. We are actively involved in meetups communities about the blockchain and cryptocurrency.
As we all know, digital piracy is a serious matter. There are a lot of opinions out there regarding this issue, and it seems that you are planning to prevent this activity with Zimrii’s content. Do you think that smart-contracts and other blockchain technologies could protect content from piracy? What countermeasures do you have in place?
We have never suggested that we are solving piracy in the context of smart contracts. As part of our roadmap we are looking at protocols such as rights attribution, which could assist with the reduction in piracy, but piracy will always be a thing.
As a businessman, you are probably trying to stay up to date with the blockchain industry as well. May we ask you to share some of your resources? Maybe some literature or an expert that you trust?
I keep up to date by reading Coindesk and Cointelegraph. I regularly seek out books on the blockchain so that I can stay on top of this fast moving industry!
As a group working with different manifestations of the media industry, you probably know a lot about the future of this industry. So, how much is going to change in the coming decade, and do you have any personal insights to share?
I believe that the trend of musicians looking to release music independently in order to have more control in their music careers will continue. Record labels may need to adapt to this paradigm shift, but its difficult to predict how the industry will react to the introduction of the blockchain in music.