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Warner Chappell Enters Web3 Through First-Of-Its-Kind Deal With Defient

WCM and the Web3 entertainment incubator will launch a digital museum in early 2023 to showcase NFT collectibles and celebrate the songwriting process.

Warner Chappell Music is the first major publisher to step into Web3 through a new deal with Defient — a Web3 entertainment incubator. The deal will allow the Warner Chappell roster, which includes Bruno Mars, David Bowie, Katy Perry and Lizzo, to tap into blockchain technology through digital collectibles, events and memorabilia.

The first project is a digital museum launching early 2023 called “Archives,” which will shine a light on songwriters through an exhibition of music, artwork and collectibles built around the song creation process. A limited-edition NFT mint pass will also give holders access to highly curated drops, auctions and virtual experiences.

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WCM believes the partnership will allow the publisher to unlock new methods of monetization. “By embracing the power of blockchain technology, we can create impactful new revenue streams and creative opportunities for our songwriters while giving music fans access to unique experiences,” said WCM senior vp of creative services Ashley Winton. “Not only are [founder & CEO] Sidney [Swift] and his whole team at Defient experts in this space, but they also have deep roots in music and know how to champion the voices of creators.”

Defient is a Web3 incubator with experience across the music industry and the emerging NFT landscape. Founded by Grammy-nominated producer Sidney Swift, Defient was instrumental in developing a Web3 record label, ChillRx, which has generated over $1 million in volume since launching in February 2022.

In a statement about the collaboration, Swift said, “We’re proud to be working with Warner Chappell as they expand into the web3 community that Defient is already so ingrained in. Having started my career as a songwriter and producer, it’s exciting to join forces with a forward-thinking partner and work towards making it easier and more accessible for songwriters and artists to leverage web3 platforms. Together, we want to use technology to empower creatives and help them elevate their brands.”

Major labels have already made the leap into NFTs via dedicated Web3 imprints such as 10:22PM at Universal Music Group and Probably a Label at Warner Records UK. Publishers have taken a slower approach, but WCM is optimistic that blockchain technology will offer new opportunities for its songwriters. “This is a unique opportunity to shape the future of music publishing,” said WCM co-chair and CEO Guy Moot and co-chair and COO Carianne Marshall in a joint statement. “With Defient’s support, we’ll be able to unlock new avenues in web3 on behalf of our songwriters and find different ways for them to grow their legacies and engage with fans.”