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Brand Strategy Music NFTs

Mastercard amps up ‘Music Accelerator’ web3 program


By Webb Wright, NY Reporter

March 10, 2023 | 5 min read

The financial services brand is continuing to move ahead with the effort despite a broader trend of brands turning away from web3.


Mastercard announced its web3-oriented Music Accelerator program in January. / Adobe Stock

Mastercard is continuing to invest in its mission to establish itself as a web3-savvy brand.

Today, the credit card giant unveiled the names of the first two musical artists who have been selected to take part in the Mastercard Music Accelerator, a program designed to provide five up-and-coming musicians with the support and resources they’ll need to effectively wield blockchain-based technologies as they build their careers.

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The program was originally announced to the public in January at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

The two emerging artists that were named in Mastercard’s press release (released earlier this morning) are Manu Manzo – a Venezuela-born American singer-songwriter who landed a “Best New Artist” nomination at the 2015 Latin Grammy Awards – and Young Athena, a British R&B singer. The latter three artists participating in the Music Accelerator program will be announced in the coming weeks, per Mastercard.

“As an up-and-coming artist, I am always trying to find new ways to break through all the noise to be seen and make an impact in the music industry – and reach new possible fans,” Manu Manzo said in a statement. “The Mastercard Artist Accelerator gives independent artists like me the necessary tools and support so that we can connect with a lot more people and create our own personalized path toward our dreams.“

Together, the five artists “represent a range of genres and geographies and were chosen because of their unique story, sound and inclusion-focused mindset,” Mastercard wrote in its press release.

Today’s announcement from Mastercard arrives at a time when many brands, dazzled by the sophistication and potential marketing opportunities posed by AI models like ChatGPT, have been stepping back from their efforts to promote themselves as experts in Web3 – an umbrella term which in corporate-speak encapsulates immersive and blockchain-based technologies like NFTs, crypto, VR, AR and some online gaming platforms.

Mastercard is giving music fans the opportunity to engage in the new Music Accelerator program through the Mastercard Music Pass NFT, which will be hosted on the Polygon blockchain. When the Music Accelerator program was unveiled earlier this year, the brand wrote that its NFT will unlock “unique resources … and priceless experiences – in real life and the metaverse.” The brand added today that the NFT “leverages Mastercard’s design principles as well as its sonic melody to create a striking digital collectible.”

The Mastercard Music Pass NFT will be redeemable starting in mid-April, per the brand.

In addition to NFTs, Mastercard has also made a recent effort to promote itself as a cryptocurrency proponent and expert. In October, the brand launched a program called “Crypto Source,” designed to assist banking partners as they start offering their own crypto services.

“Mastercard is a big believer in the power of new technologies - whether that’s AR or the metaverse or web3 more broadly – to bring people together in exciting ways,” says Raja Rajamannar, the brand’s chief marketing and communications officer.

“We have been thoughtfully and carefully exploring and experimenting in these spaces for years so that we get an understanding of how they can be used to engage with people around the world. Web3 technologies will continue to gain ground – when effectively executed. The Music Accelerator program is an authentic and meaningful way for our brand to show up for these artists, while we further embrace the web3 space and engage with people in a new way.”

For more on the latest happening in AI, web3 and other cutting-edge technologies, sign up for The Emerging Tech Briefing newsletter here.

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