Interview with Xcelencia ($EQUIS)

Can you give us a brief intro on who you are and what you're building?

Sure, I'm Xcelencia. I'm a Latin artist, mostly in the reggaeton world. I've been in the music industry for just about ten years now and got into crypto around 2017. And fast forward, I've launched my social token community. I started selling music NFTs, and that all led to me launching a crowdfund at the end of 2021. We successfully closed that just about last month. And now we're here continuing to build and do our thing.

image

Could you walk us through how you got started in 2017 from that initial introduction to web3 to launching? I think $EQUIS was the first asset that you issued, is that right?

Yeah, it was. Prior to that, I was going to do music NFTs but I felt like there wasn't a space for me because I didn't see any Spanish-language or Latin artists doing that. So I wondered if it’d work for my genre. That kind of held me back. But in 2017-2018, I did see a few creators tapping into the space and I noticed that very early on with RAC and Gramatik, who did a fundraise using what we now call social tokens. But at the time it was really just crypto because that was the ICO era.

I started seeing all of that, but I wasn't really ready for that step. So fast forward and I see a platform like Rally and that obviously spoke to me. I was like, this is what I was waiting for. This is what I wanted to do, but now it's much more organized. There's some structure, so it's a little easier to launch and do my thing. That was really my introduction to that and why Rally appealed to me once I came across it.

How have you in the years that you've been in the space seen web3 impact your community, and your journey as an artist and creator?

When I set out on this journey in 2018, I told myself I'd give myself about five years. So literally, now in 2022, is when I envisioned a lot of this kind of happening for me. At the time, the industry was very different. It was more about the financial investment side of things. Community building wasn't really a thing then. So when that changed, that’s when crypto appealed to me a lot more because I'm more of the creative type, even though I feel comfortable with the business.

Now you can play around with the idea of rewarding members and having them contribute. You have this direct access or communication with them. I think that's super cool. And one thing I noticed with my community, is that maybe they don't need to come into crypto right this moment, for now, they actually just love the idea that they have direct access to me. So whether I have my fan club on WhatsApp or on Discord, they have access to me regardless of holding my token or not. But let's see if maybe over the years they start to feel comfortable with the idea of joining more into what I'm trying to build within the web3 space.

As someone who's pushing the frontier, you're using a social token as well as NFTs. You’re also building a community that exists across Rally and the Ethereum ecosystem. I'd love to hear your take on why you’ve elected to use both within your community?

My community is mainly based in Latin America. Down there, they know what NFTs are. From what I’ve seen, most Latin American creators are digital artists, so they're not necessarily in the music space yet. They're figuring that out now. So I realized that Rally is a more familiar experience to onboard them, there's less friction. I knew that going through there was going to help me onboard people and bring them in.

Later I tapped into mainnet. That to me was about building a relationship with more of the crypto-natives. I knew they felt comfortable supporting me and understood what I'm doing. So for me, I see social tokens as this continuous engagement. I treat it as a sort of loyalty or rewards program where I can keep everyone in and have them contribute in new and different ways. Whereas I see NFTs as these ‘big moments’ or highlights, the things you really want to commemorate like a great song, you want to put it out as an NFT. For example, on Instagram, you have the stories feature and then you got your posts and it's like you save your greatest content for posts, right? And then stories are more of your day-to-day. It’s a different type of engagement and way of sharing.

image

Being a Puerto Rican, reggaeton artist, you care not just about onboarding your own community of fans, but also other Latino artists into the space. What have you seen be the biggest thing holding back more creators from entering web3?

I think it's a mindset play. I feel like a lot of them know how to get in, but they don't know why they should get in. A lot of the major artists that I've talked to, even the really successful ones know that something is happening, but they’re trying to figure out why they should come into the space. Right now, with big deals, artists are not struggling yet. When labels sign artists, the songs are assets and they're generating revenue through those songs. But I'm not consistently generating anything after selling a music NFT. So web2 artists need to understand why they should do it, and why/how we’re trying to build a new ecosystem. Since artists are conditioned to work with labels, either through a partnership or an artist sign, it's hard for them to understand the ownership model and to take advantage of how to leverage that in web3.

What advice you would give to anyone building for web3 creators today?

Lately, I've noticed that the communication layer is a bit of a struggle. It's funny, but if you could centralize all collectors, all of your community in one place where you can communicate and they understand what you're doing — that’s missing. There's Discord and Twitter, but I feel like lately it's been a bit of a struggle.

I think that more no-code tools like Bonfire are so important. That's what took some of the web2 stuff to another level. I remember building a website in 2013 in comparison to 2020 and it was such a drastic change, right? It’s becoming easier, more fluid, streamlined, and all-around a better experience. So I'm kind of seeing the same thing now. No code tools will be super beneficial to all of us, really.

It's shilling time. Where should we learn more about you or your community?

So obviously Twitter DMs are open. I also have a website where you can check out what I've done or what I'm building in web3. And there's also music there. Rally is where I have my social token. If you're interested in that, feel free to hit me up. I can airdrop using Bonfire. I’ll bring you in, you can join the discord, and we can go from there.

This interview originally happened on Twitter Spaces. See below if you’d like to listen to the full recording.