Jumping the Ape-Shark

In Beats + Bytes by Nue Agency

Web3 is taking the reins from Web2. The technology is adapting and the culture is shifting accordingly. A wonderful, wacky new world is taking shape.

It’s wild how early we are. We’re going to look back and find many of the current trends laughable.

Over the past month, the producers of Board Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) have signed with a major agency (UTA), taken on one of the top music managers in the business (Guy Oseary), and inked a deal with Universal Music for their new “super group,” The Zoo. They’re working with Timbaland, and every celebrity under the sun is jumping on board. I’m impressed with the hustle and blown away by the prices they’re commanding.

But as the mania builds, this certainly feels overhyped and overvalued. Has BAYC jumped the shark-ape? If this isn’t one sell-out move after another then I’m not sure what is. Unless these JPEG apes write absolute bangers, it will be the beginning of the end of this brand’s relevance.

NFTs, on the other hand, are here to stay. They are the entry point to real use cases for blockchain. But so few of today’s ideas will truly blossom with the culture. The get-rich-quick mentality is a losing long-term strategy.

Another premature trend is the rise of avatar performances. As the metaverse becomes mainstream and the hyperverse takes shape, many moves don’t make sense yet. Justin Beiber is performing tomorrow as an avatar for WaveXR. I know it’s Beibs, but does anyone really want to see this? I can’t imagine it will actually be cool. From a cultural disruption standpoint, I’m interested, but from a general taste perspective, I’m skeptical. Taking avatar shows outside of the gaming world feels wonky to me. I’d rather see Beiber and Elvis battle virtually on VERZUZ, or something to that effect.

That doesn’t mean I’m bearish on livestreaming. I’m bullish! The pandemic opened up Pandora’s box and there is no closing it. We’re accelerating into the livestreaming future and I get tickled by the possibilities. It’s going to take a good bit of trial and error, experimentation, partnerships, alliances, and curiosity. Brands have an important seat at the table. Their marketing acumen and budgets may be the Medici’s of this era, more so than the crypto whales & VCs. The artists, platforms, marketers that lead now will unquestionably be well positioned to reap rewards in the not-so-distant future.

So, which new lane are you moving into? Don’t say neither 😉
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Also published on Medium.