Want to Start a Fantasy Record Label? A New Game From FanDuel Co-Founders Makes It Possible

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Vault Music — a platform created by the co-founders of online sports betting company FanDuel that allows artists to create exclusive, limited-edition music releases — has launched a new game that lets players create and manage their own fantasy roster of musicians for cash prizes.

Dubbed Fantasy Record Label, the game — launched by Nigel Eccles and Rob Jones — is designed to create a new revenue stream for emerging musicians while simultaneously giving music fans a way to invest in artists.

To play, users are invited to “sign” five artists on Vault Music by purchasing a “vault” — a digital music collectible built using NFT technology — from the artists they see as having growth potential. Rosters are scored on the change in artists’ Spotify monthly listeners count, a metric that’s updated daily. Final standings are calculated by adding all five artists’ Spotify monthly listener gains and losses over a one-week period, after which the top 10 fantasy record labels win cash prizes.

As an artist becomes more successful, demand increases for their vaults, thereby raising the price of those assets and benefitting players who have “signed” them to their rosters. Players can buy, sell or trade vaults each week. Artists receive 70% of each sale, with 15% percent taken in processing costs and Vault Music taking an additional 15%. Each time one of their vaults is resold, artists receive 7% of the resale price.

“Think fantasy sports but for the music industry,” said Eccles, co-founder/CEO of Vault Music, in a statement. “I believe that unlike the sports and gaming industries, music has failed to energize top fans and embrace new formats. Streaming has been great for the music industry’s bottom line, but it serves passive listeners, not diehard fans. Our goal is to bring joy, pride, and competition back to collecting music, and create upside for both fans and artists in the process.”

Successful players also receive “Vault points,” which are airdropped each week based on performance and which are designed to encourage roster optimization and long-term strategy. “Over the next few months we plan to reveal more about the value of points,” Eccles tells Billboard. “Our first players are helping build the ecosystem so we want to use points as a way to track that so we can give back to them when the product is more developed.”

According to Eccles, nearly all artists on Vault Music will be available for players to “sign.” Some of the more prominent artists on Vault Music currently include BLÜ EYES, Jordan Hart, Naika, Telescreens and FLETCHER.

“The best part about this game is that we’re using fandom to put more money in artists’ pockets at the time when they need it most,” added Kara Burney, chief marketing officer at Vault Music. “Already we’ve seen artists earn more with a single release on Vault Music than they’ve earned from streaming in a year. That’s because in our game, just as with real record labels, up-and-coming artists have the most potential upside. Our players are incentivized to discover, collect releases, and sign the next music stars to their fantasy label before their big break. It’s a music economy where everybody wins.”

At launch, Fantasy Record Label is only available in the United States, though Vault hopes to extend it to other markets soon.

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