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By Webb Wright, NY Reporter

January 6, 2023 | 3 min read

The Mastercard Artist Accelerator, created in partnership with Polygon Studios, is designed to help five emerging musical artists leverage blockchain-based technologies.

Mastercard is harnessing web3 in an effort to support up-and-coming musical artists.

Today, the financial services company announced the upcoming debut of the Mastercard Artist Accelerator at the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The program will connect five emerging musicians with mentors, fans and technical resources as they learn to navigate the (sometimes confounding) world of blockchain-based technologies and experiences.

Slated for launch in the spring, Mastercard’s new web3-based music program will include “a first-of-its-kind curriculum [that] will teach the artists how to build (and own) their brand through web3 experiences like minting NFTs, representing themselves in virtual worlds and establishing an engaged community,” the brand wrote in a statement. Fans will also be offered access to “unique resources through our collaborations and priceless experiences – in real life and the metaverse” through the Mastercard Music Pass, a limited-edition NFT.

The Mastercard Music Accelerator is being developed in partnership with blockchain platform Polygon Studios.

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Web3 has recently emerged as a transformational force within the music industry, particularly since the onset of the pandemic, which forced many (especially less-well-established) musical artists to find new ways to connect with fans and earn a living. NFTs, for example, have enabled many artists to provide their fans with access to exclusive merch and experiences, while bypassing the sometimes exploitative contractual hurdles presented by labels and other third-party intermediaries.

“Music is a global passion, and connecting people to their passions has been our mission for years, so choosing to invest in this program was a natural way for us to advance this objective,” says Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing and communications officer at Mastercard. “We also see that web3 holds tremendous promise for artists and creators to create, own and monetize their content, but only if they know how to leverage it. Take NFTs, for instance – a key to unlocked monetary potential. If emerging artists have the skills and knowledge on how to create NFTs, they are able to then support their career... we feel that AR, NFTs and blockchain are technologies that will continue to gain ground – when effectively executed.”

This isn’t Mastercard’s first foray into web3. In October, the brand announced Crypto Source, a program aimed at helping banks to get started providing crypto services to customers. Mastercard also launched a partnership with crypto exchange platform Coinbase in early 2022 which allows customers to use Mastercard cards to purchase NFTs via Coinbase’s NFT marketplace.

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