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Back, Beats and Beyond

September 30, 2023
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Hello everyone,

So this is the 6th monthly update, and yes that means we have been live, at least in our current form, for 185 days. As most of you know I don’t tend to pull my punches so I’m not going to start now and will therefore begin with ‘Back’ as candidly as I intend to narrate ‘Beats’ and ‘Beyond’. For those of you new to this format, those titles are simply an easy way for me to chat about what’s happened, what’s happening, and what’s coming — well that’s broadly the idea anyway …


Let me please start by saying, thatI am very mindful we’re all (still) waiting and that many of you were expecting, with some confidence, that the MUSIC token launch would have happened in September. In truth it could have, I would perhaps argue, it should have. We have most certainly been building toward it and with 67,890 BEAM holders at the time of writing (yip, you read that right), we’re well on the way to proving this isn’t just about a ‘token’, it’s the start of what I hope is a genuine (mass market) play for music, artists, fans — and the experiences and desirable content connected to them both.

Candidly, I didn’t expect in a new venture such as MUSIC, that the road would smooth, predictable or entirely conceivable from the outset (I rather believe that one is likely not innovating as much as they could if it was), but I do concede there have been curve balls (as well as learnings), that have taken me, a self-professed ‘chess player’, by surprise time and again.

The market is still pretty illiquid, there are reports that only the top 5% percent of NFTs are worth something (while the remaining 95% are ‘worth nothing’). The expectations and promises continue to mount up, while many of the values and audience numbers continue to fall down. ‘Faith’ in ‘the space’ and indeed in projects operating within it has been questioned, shaken and in some cases irrevocably quashed. Where does this leave you? Us? MUSIC?

Well it may appear, no further forward, or indeed worse off. No token, no progress > no chance. But perhaps I can add, if you will allow me, another perspective for consideration..

Since our tech rollout 6 months ago MUSIC counts:

  • 12,000 unique track holders
  • 78,050 paired tracks
  • 14,529,188 BEAMS against artists
  • 85 artists/groups on the platform
  • The first version of our app on Android
  • And over 6.4 million streams

While the iOS release of the app is held up (with us having to further — legally — prove streaming rights), the development of both iOS and Android has continued on at pace and ‘Gamma’ is expected to be released in just over 2 weeks time — it will be ready for both device types, my hope is Apple users will see some version of Beta first.


Staying on the topic of app for a moment. Today with the push of Get PLUCKED! on iOS (yes we celebrated, the VOX and Music teams are very close — and the whole ecosystem will continue to champion collaboration and cross functional utility — also known as interoperability), we thought our Android friends in music might like an update too.

We will shortly be pushing (likely Monday now) an updated version of the app.

This latest version enables you to connect with others (sharing the music together in unison), remember this isn’t just about recreating what people expect but rather delivering something new to enjoy. This update also connects STGE to the wider Gala Music ecosystem and economy — so when you login, you can stream and also have an impact on the platform’s performance as well as your own rewards.

New features include:

Listening Parties — as the guys put it:
“Great music shouldn’t be listened to alone. Join our listening parties any time and see how fellow fans are reacting to their favorite songs with real time emojis. With this new feature, our old pre-configured playlists are now gone and so is the skip button!”

No skip?? Correct. This is now moving toward a listening experience. You might also like to know that songs are now being streamed 24/7 directly from MUSIC player nodes.

The team has also deployed the base technology that will enable MUSIC artists to stream their own stage live to your screen — there’s a little more to do here but we’re close now — please see my previous comment on the expected timeline.

They have also added dynamic backgrounds to songs, improved the colours so that it’s easier to see track details and added customisation to your username and profile picture. Oh and apparently (iPhone user here …), you can now like songs from your music player on your lockscreen or notification bar and add them to your playlist — handy.

Talking of liking, let’s cover popularity and the now somewhat infamous V2/V3 algorithm.

Listen Counts, BEAMS distro and Popularity Algorithm

On October 01, 2023. We will be rolling out V3.

This will be based on 3 popularity metrics:

  • Gala Music platform listen count
  • Repeated listens (discounted)
  • DSP daily listen count

DSP listens will continue to have a lower weighting than Gala Music platform listens.

Exclusivity boosts -exclusive tracks don’t have DSP listen counts, so the ‘exclusivity’ boost assigns a further weighting to these tracks MUSIC platform listens. This is something we will continue to monitor — we may remove the boost for exclusivity going forwards (as on-platform listens are already weighed more heavily), once the platform gains wider adoption.

There are of course other factors that affect the amount a track owner (and player operator) receives in distribution, including pairing count — as this essentially dictates how many other track owners the distribution is shared with, and how it is hosted. Remembering, track owners share 50% of distro with the Player their track is hosted on, of course if you self-host the split is not applicable.

Before I move on to slots, I do just want to touch on an issue that came up today. Until Oct, 01, there will be no change in V2 — and on October 01, 2023. V2 will become V3. To avoid any confusion or doubt, there were no changes made to the distro algo — although there was a problem identified (and now rectified) in ingesting a DSP listen count, from the new data source. This led to an excessive amount of reward distributed to Never Be Alright by Seon. I really am sorry for this — while bugs, issues and teething problems are still expected (albeit fewer in number), I’m readily aware that flagging new versions, code pushes and other updates ahead of time, will help hugely when inconsistency and unexpected behaviours happen. We will be communicating technical updates and releases going forward and along with our usual QA process we will be inviting in some community testers too.

Node Slots

Player node slots are currently limited to 10 slots per node. Currently there are just over 260k slots and 78k pairings (~30% pairing rate). If per node slots increase now, then the pairing rate will drop. The limit also ensures that the value for running one node doesn’t outstrip the value for those who hold multiple nodes. The current thinking is that the restriction actually helps reward node owners for their early support — it was of course never designed to penalize them. As mentioned on numerous occasions we are very much on the side of incentivising behaviours (to help mass scale), the punitive approach in my opinion can be restrictive, perhaps even, destructive to a healthy ecosystem.


What will October bring … Well, while we want our token live, we do, despite delays and a few curve balls, still want to launch it in the best possible way, with the right partners. Those who have the reach and influence we feel would bring the most value. The aim for full launch was the end of summer, and while we were tracking to this, summer has now most definitely ended. That said, even with the delay, the updated plans we’ve made mean we are not expecting to push into the New Year, and are still aiming for a 2023 full launch.

Talking of a full launch, October will absolutely see STGE deliver live, shared and interactive music experiences — on both Apple and Android. Our focus, with a slightly extended timeline, will be happy BEAMS holders, so expect more utility, less sales, more stability and a lot more listeners (and marketing). If we have time to build further demand and a stronger mass market proposition, then we will of course happily take it.

I appreciate there were a fair few questions and concerns in Discord over recent days, I will of course be in there with the team to discuss some of these with those who would like, but before I go I would like to touch on decentralization and MUSIC’s role in this platform, as well as yours.

In the source of truth, we shared that beyond this test phase (i.e with the test token BEAMS), the system will mint tokens, based on a bonding curve that will take aggregated ecosystem activity as its input. This will ensure supply is inline with demand and utility — important for sustainable growth, scale and ecosystem health.

We will also be implementing a DAO-like structure where token ownership comes with voting rights — these rights will impact aspects such as artist onboarding, upgrades and experiences. .

I will draw it to a close there, but hope some of this content has provided you with a little more insight into the status, progress and plans we have, and that the same is not just useful but welcomed. There is of course, always more to do and a full launch to deliver,

Onwards we go,

My best wishes to you all,