Mastercard accelerator program to help emerging artists break into Web3

January 6, 2023, 6:45 PM UTC
Mastercard executive Raja Rajamannar said Web3 technology can help emerging artists gain a following and earn money for their work.
Gerardo Mora—Getty Images for Mastercard

Mastercard announced today at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas an accelerator program to help five up-and-coming artists—musicians, DJs, and producers—build Web3 brands.

Raja Rajamannar, the company’s chief marketing and communications officer, said the Mastercard Artist Accelerator will connect artists from around the world with Web3 and music industry mentors.

“We’re trying to really give them that opportunity to break through and then shine,” Rajamannar told Fortune. A Mastercard spokesperson told Fortune that the company is in the process of selecting the five artists, and that any interested candidates can apply on its website.

The accelerator, which will be enabled by the Polygon blockchain, is set to launch this spring, he added. The five initial artists will receive guidance with Web3 tech, such as creating their own NFTs, which Rajamannar said could give their growing fan bases access to special perks.

Through Mastercard’s own limited edition NFT, the Mastercard Music Pass, new fans of the emerging artists can also get exclusive Web3 and music educational materials, and participate in collaborative experiences both online and offline.

Sometime before the end of 2023, the five artists will show off what they’ve learned during a livestreamed artist showcase.

The new program builds on Mastercard’s previous engagements with Web3 technologies, including crypto and the metaverse, which Rajammanar said have helped the company reach an expanded audience.

Last spring, the company worked with The Recording Academy to bring Grammy Week, a week of events leading up to the Grammy Awards, to the digital world game Roblox

The company also launched the Belle Block industry group last June with the goal of bringing more women and non-binary people into Web3.

Rajamannar said the program would be considered a success if the company can help the five emerging artists get more fans and attention for their work.

“That’s the whole purpose at the end of the day,” he said.

Our new weekly Impact Report newsletter examines how ESG news and trends are shaping the roles and responsibilities of today’s executives. Subscribe here.