Lens has become a core part of our music strategy at Ziggy Ziggy.
We started actively posting content there in March and have been blown away by the community engagement and tools available.
But what exactly is Lens Protocol? And how can you use it as part of your music campaigns?
- In part 1, we’ll show you all the tools and apps on Lens and why it matters.
- In part 2, we’ll go deeper into some of the most successful artist strategies and case studies.
Let’s get straight into it!
Wait, what is Lens?
Lens Protocol is a new social layer only possible in Web3.
Here’s the lightbulb moment that made it click for me:
Imagine you built a following on Instagram … but those fans are also automatically subscribed to you on YouTube.
Your subscribers also see your content on their TikTok feed and can unlock exclusive rewards.
… and if all those platforms shut down or change their algorithm, you still have access to all your subscribers and take them to whatever new app appears.
Your followers belong to you, no matter what platform you’re on.
That’s the essence of Lens.
How does it work?
‘Lens Protocol’ is technically a foundation layer (built on the Polygon blockchain). It gives you ownership of your community data and followers.
You can think of it as ‘the garden’
Within the garden, dozens of social apps are starting to grow on top of it.
This is the difference between the ‘protocol layer’ and the ‘app layer.’
On the app layer there are social media apps, video platforms, blogs, live streaming, music discovery and lots more.
Because they all grow on top of the same protocol layer, they can interact with each other in ways that are impossible for Web2 social apps.
Do we really need more social media apps?
Yes! Although Web2 social is incredible at reaching a mass audience, it has some deep-rooted problems that Lens is working to fix.
- Own your audience! In Web2, if TikTok YouTube or Instagram changes their algorithm or shuts down, your audience is gone. With Lens, you own the audience. So if one of the apps disappears, you keep the relationship with your followers. It means you always aggregate your social capital and followers wherever you go.
- Your community goes with you. In Web2, you need to build an audience on TikTok and YouTube and Instagram. But on Lens, every social app is ‘interoperable.’ If you have 500 followers on one app, your audience follows you to other apps. Your content comes with you too. If you post a video on one app, it will surface across other relevant apps.
- Content worth collecting. Your content can be collected by your community. It’s a step deeper and more personal than ‘likes.’
- Instant monetization. In Web2 you can’t monetize your content directly (Instagram won’t even let you post a link!) On Lens, you can turn on ‘paid collects’ at the protocol level and earn directly across all the apps in the ecosystem.
Lens for music and creators
The early shoots of a music scene are growing across the Lens ecosystem and I think it will be hugely beneficial for musicians, creators and curators to plant some seeds in the garden!
So, what exactly are the most useful apps and tools for artists on Lens?
1. Social and messaging
Lenster - This is probably the first place you’ll visit when you start exploring Lens. It’s the primary web-based social feed for the Lens ecosystem — the equivalent of Twitter or Facebook.
Orb - Orb is the main mobile app for Lens. In my opinion it’s the best user experience across the Lens ecosystem, on par with Web2 social apps. The ‘Sounds for you’ feature is especially good for finding new music.
XMTP - XMTP is a messenger app with end-to-end encryption for the Lens ecosystem so you can message your followers and collectors from one place, whether they found you on Lenster, Riff, Lenstube or any other Lens app. XMTP is also the core technology behind Coinbase's new wallet messaging feature.
Buttrfly - Buttrfly is the closest Lens application to Twitter. It recently launched a Spaces feature.
Riff - Riff is the native music app of the Lens ecosystem. Upload music snippets or full tracks and it will appear across your Lens social feeds. Your fans can ‘collect’ your music straight from the feed and pay you directly.
Spinamp + OohLaLa - Spinamp and OohLaLa are music aggregators and playlist tools. They gather music from various different platforms in Web3 so you can listen to them all in one place. Both have support for Lens so you can add music on Lens to a playlist. (Disclaimer: Spinamp is a sponsor of Ziggy Ziggy Season 1)
3. Video and live streaming
Lenstube - The Lens equivalent of YouTube. Your community can watch your videos, collect them or even pay directly to own it. When someone likes your video on Lenstube, it also shows up on other social feeds like Lenster.
Hypeshot - A live streaming service similar to Twitch. You can host token-gated live streams for your followers, sell NFTs during the stream and even do live airdrops to your viewers.
4. Blogging and articles
T2 - T2 is the home for writing and articles on Lens. Think of it like Medium, except your audience can collect your writing and it automatically populates across the Lens social feeds (a huge selling point in a world where Twitter kills your engagement if you post a Substack link!) T2 is a great way to bring back the golden era of music blogs and curation (something we’re trying to do with Ziggy Ziggy).
5. Platforms with Lens integration
Bonfire - Bonfire is one of my favourite standalone tools for artists. It lets you build a custom homepage with drag and drop features to create an NFT release. It has Lens integration so you can gate content on your Bonfire site only to Lens followers.
Guild - Guild is the leading tool for token-gating communities. It has support for Lens so you can set up a Telegram or Discord chat exclusively for Lens followers or collectors.
Decent - Decent is one of the best tools for creating NFTs with no code (our Ziggy Ziggy Season 1 NFT is powered by Lens). Decent has Lens integration so you could create an NFT and make it available only to your Lens followers as a reward or incentive to follow you.
That’s all for part 1! In the second part of this guide, we’ll introduce you to real-life strategies and examples of how artists have used Lens to grow their community, sell their music and engage with fans.