CSA Exclusive: Rockstar Moves to Cannabis Retail, NFTs

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For Raine Maida, lead singer and founder of the alternative rock band Our Lady Peace, the cannabis and NFT retail industries are natural evolutions of the music industry.

Maida, whose Toronto group released their first album “Naveed” in 1993 and will soon release “Spiritual Machines II”, is co-founder of the Canadian cannabis brand Loop / Pool and Chief Product Officer of the NFT platform S! Ng. He recently worked with Age of the chain for a chat about his cannabis and NFT activities and even a little bit about the rock and roll industry.

“My friend Ian Kaulansky started the cannabis brand Loop / Pool,” said Maida. “Cannabis has always played a huge role in the music industry, and I was drawn to the medical side of it, such as an aid to sleep and pain management.”

While Maida states that Loop / Pool is not a charity, he takes pride in pointing out the social aspect of the business.

“Some of the money goes to a coalition of artists to proactively fund activities like recording an album or video or touring,” Maida said. “Cannabis and music have a good marriage.”

Loop / Pool currently sells mostly cannabis edibles of a variety of varieties through what Maida calls a “robust network” of hundreds of trading partners across Canada.

“We select our trading partners and our producers selectively,” commented Maida. “Cannabis is an exploding business, but we’re starting small and focusing on quality over quantity. This approach will persist when we look at other cannabis products such as infused beverages. “

Loop / Pool recently obtained a license to sell its product through third-party retail stores in the Canadian province of Ontario. Maida said the company could potentially get into cannabis direct trading through e-commerce, but he’s happy with the growth so far.

“Ontario is like the California of Canada,” he said. “At the moment we are only active in Canada, but we would like to move to the USA. Cannabis is like music, there really are no more limits. ”

Maida also laughingly pointed out how the cannabis and music markets differ.

“Music is practically free; Cannabis, not so much, ”he said. “That’s an exaggeration, but not really. However, people are willing to pay for music, but streaming has robbed them of the opportunity. “

As an example, Maida said that during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bandcamp’s e-commerce site, which sells physical musical items such as T-shirts and records, ran a program where artists received 100% of all revenue from their sales Products on Fridays.

“It was hugely successful,” said Maida. “People want to support artists.”

To this end, Maida also participates in the burgeoning one non-fungible token (NFT) industry. NFTs are unique digital assets stored in a blockchain ledger that certifies the owner. There is no way for an NFT to have more than one owner and only the certified owner can sell it. In addition to helping groups develop NFT merchandise as S! Ng’s Chief Product Officer, he is preparing the release of an NFT version of the upcoming album by Our Lady Peace.

[Read more: Three reasons retailers find NFTs nifty]

“It will be our first full album available on NFT,” he said. “There will be added value as a digital collector’s item.”

Other features of the NFT version of the album include separate stems of vocal and drum parts, as well as an alternative demo version of the lead single “Stop Making Stupid People Famous”. A single NFT version of the album offers a full fan experience with a merchandise package, meet and greet, and dinner with the band, plus the ability to see a concert from the back of the stage.

“We want to support the fans and give them more fun,” said Maida. “The NFT will appear as a separate limited edition of 5,000 to 10,000 copies. Maybe we’ll post more when it’s sold out. The NFT album hasn’t officially been released yet, but I’m deep in the room – it’s not a sideline for me. “


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