Each week, we host top names in DeFi on the CertiK Security Leaderboard Live AMA. The CertiK Security Leaderboard is your one-stop shop for everything security related in DeFi. Head over to CertiK.org and check out the ranking of dozens of projects, their security scores, Skynet statistics, and much more data.
This week we had the pleasure of talking with Mary Spio, the CEEK Founder and former rocket scientist, and Jarred Winn, a CEEK Advisor helping with marketing, community growth, and more. CEEK is a streaming platform for VR. CEEK tracks viewership on the blockchain and also provides artists, content creators, etc. payments through smart contracts. The platform currently features some of the biggest names in music and sports including Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and more.
If you missed the chat, don’t worry: here’s a recap of some of what was discussed.
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CEEK not only has a slew of software components on their chain such as NFT Marketplace and VR City, but you also released your own VR headset. Can you talk us through the CEEK ecosystem and the components there?
Mary: When we started out, there were no mobile solutions for VR and we knew having a platform that was based on music distribution, that it was super important to have a mobile VR headset. The other aspect of the headset is that it addressed a lot of the issues that exist in the market today, one of them being that the depth perception was not being addressed by other headsets. The 360 Headsets allow you to hear directional audio which directly addresses the market’s needs.
You guys have some huge name partnerships, such as some of the artists you work with, but Universal Music Group is a huge record label. Is this an exclusive contract you have with them or will you look at onboarding Sony and Warner in the future?
Jarred: We are not exclusive, we are actually working with artists across all labels. We are actually already working with Sony and Warner, but we have a special partnership with Universal that allows us to create exclusive content with the artists. CEEK is not agnostic to one vertical when it comes to that. We are trying to open it up with a goal to provide access to artists at a much larger scale and not be limited by venues, partners, or labels. Any artist who is interested in gaining that exposure is where CEEK jumps in.
Mary: Absolutely, we are definitely not limited to one label or the other. We are working globally with a lot of artists who are not with labels to truly decentralize music distribution.
Do you guys see any conflict between the mission of DeFi and onboarding these large record labels who have a reputation for centralized control over access, revenue, distribution, and career making or breaking artists?
Mary: I don’t see a conflict as such in the sense that when you look at some of the biggest artists that are out there, some of them are signed to labels but you also have some huge international acts that are not signed to labels. The future of music distribution is decentralized. Artists now have the tools such as CEEK to go directly to their fans and cut out the middleman. They will be able to transact the way they want to transact whether it be NFTs or selling virtual tickets. Today, a huge part of the revenue comes from record labels and major artists, but the future and where we’re going is not with centralized organizations. Labels are going to have very unique goals and I think many of them will become publishers and purchase the artists’ NFTs.
What does the future of CEEK look like? What is on the roadmap or any exciting news you want to share with us today?
Jarred: The thing with working in media or music is you’re often under confidentiality agreements and what not. However, on the side of crypto there are some exciting things happening. We recently just went underwent an audit with CertiK which was a milestone in the progress of what we’re pursuing in front of that. We just deployed on the Binance Smart Chain, and we are also excited to announce that we will be listed on PancakeSwap in the coming weeks to expand our reach and improve upon who can participate in the CEEK ecosystem.
Aside of UMG, I noticed that T-Mobile and Apple are partners listed on your website as well. Can you dive into what those partnerships entail?
Mary: Sure, so in terms of T-Mobile we are partnered with them for a net zero rating, for a mobile carrier that means that when users download the CEEK app, they don’t have to pay additional data on top of the data they are using which is great because VR and streaming is extremely intensive. So their users can use the CEEK app without having to pay additional data which helps promote the use of our app. In terms of Apple we have worked with them for about two and a half years. This is primarily a promotional partnership where they provide the Apple Card or Apple gift code to our users so they can receive free credit to use on the platform.
Turning towards your work with CertiK; can you speak to how the auditing process went, why you chose CertiK, and why you chose to employ Skynet and the Shield solution as well?
Mary: CertiK was highly recommended and it is an industry standard. The process was great and there were a few things pointed out that we were able to update. CertiKShield is about protection for our users, which is super important to us. It is important for them to be able to participate and have that protection. So the process has been great and we’re very excited to be working with CertiK.
What is the purpose of CEEK and what makes it different from other projects/competitors?
Mary: From the VR/music perspective, there are companies out there that are doing similar things but what makes us different is that we have a native distribution platform and recently got listed as a digital streaming platform alongside the Spotifys of the world. I would say that we are solving the biggest problem facing the streaming ecosystem, which is trust. Most artists don’t know how they are paid and many artists, especially international ones, don’t get paid. They will get a billion streams and get paid close to zero. So now, by providing that transparency for them to see how their streams are performing, and then having smart contracts for them to be paid in CEEK, they aren’t susceptible to the delays in payments and other problems with traditional payments.
Where does the CEEK token come into play in the ecosystem?
Mary: Paying artists, tracking streams and not having to rely on a third party to tell them how many times their streams were played, and offering the NFTs. Even before the NFT craze, we were looking at the ability to transfer value from inside a VR world to outside the VR world. I have a son who plays Roblox and seeing the amount of money he spends which can’t be transferred to outside the virtual world is not cool, so by tokenizing in-app experiences you can take your CEEK elsewhere to use for more than just watching concerts.
How do you raise awareness, eliminate doubt about competition, create adoption from users, and encourage artists who potentially want to join the platform but are hesitant?
Mary: To raise awareness with artists, we have had some super successful streams, for example according to Billboard we had the biggest stream of 2020 with Ziggy Marley which had 9.4 million streams in a 24-hour period and similar success with so many other artists. One of the reasons I launched CEEK is because I saw so much being left on the table. For example there was an Adele concert where she sold only 100,000 tickets and 10 million people tried to buy those tickets, so with CEEK, the other 9.9 million people who couldn’t attend could attend a virtual concert. So artists recognize that this is a way to extend their reach beyond whatever venue they are looking at.
Jarred: Largely, the crypto audience is a challenging audience to captivate and build trust with as we have seen projects come and go and the strong ones survive. CEEK has been around for a while at this point and one of the things we work hard on is to achieve credibility through affiliation, the partnerships we choose, and the people that we work with. Being able to bring on these artists we work with and develop a reputation through that and building our presence through the crypto space and being accessible across an array of platforms. We have done a number of exchange listings, migrated to BSC, and have been a very active team. We actively look for the next frontier to maximize exposure to the widest audience possible. It is more than just what’s good for CEEK, but what is good for crypto. We want to grow our community and grow the accessibility for everyone who wants to be a part of it.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of blockchain based streaming?
Mary: This leads to why we are moving to BSC. When we started out we were Ethereum based so we had to do a lot of back chain and what not to do recording and there were a number of other challenges. When someone makes a purchase for content they do not want to have to wait or pay the exorbitant gas fees, for example when someone makes a purchase for $0.99, they don’t want to have to pay $19 in gas fees. Those are some of the challenges we have faced.
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That wrapped up this week’s AMA with Mary and Jarred from CEEK. For more AMA sessions with top DeFi and crypto projects, keep an eye on our social channels and subscribe to our YouTube channel.
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This interview has been edited for clarity and concision.