Timbaland on Launching Mastercard’s First Album and Joining the NFT Game With Bored Ape

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The post Timbaland on Launching Mastercard’s First Album and Joining the NFT Game With Bored Ape appeared first on Consequence.

Timbaland is at the top of his game, and he has been for quite some time. The hitmaker, producer, and businessman has cultivated his own little empire of media, community, and technology, culminating in the launch of his Beatclub platform. Now, Mastercard has teamed up with Timbaland and Beatclub to remix two tracks off of their first music-based project, a collection of 10 songs from emerging artists entitled Priceless.

After announcing the venture in 2021, Timbaland and business partner Gary Marella launched Beatclub in early 2022 as a platform to help unknown producers grow their skills, trade and sell beats, and foster a community of like-minded creatives.

“Games have a community, gamers have a community, people who play Fortnite have a community,” Timbaland tells Consequence, “but where’s the community for creators and producers and songwriters and beat makers?”

The legendary producer has tapped several other high-profile names in the music industry to help curate and contribute to Beatclub. Endorsements have come by way of stars like J. Cole, Mike Dean, and Justin Timberlake.

The platform’s focus on quality collaborations and creative communities caught the eye of Mastercard, who had been developing their first foray into original music. A collection of songs to coincide with their “Priceless” campaign, the Priceless compilation features ten tracks by ten different artists each incorporating Mastercard’s theme into their instrumental. Beatclub was then brought in to remix two standout tracks, while Niclas Molinder produced the album.

“[Beatclub CEO Gary Marella] called me and said, ‘Mastercard wants to do a collab,’” Timbaland tells Consequence. “He said they wanted to do something with sonics. And I’m like, ‘Finally! But why is it a [payment company] that understands sonics?’ You never know who’s watching outside of who you think is watching.”

To Timbaland, the partnership is yet another avenue to help introduce what he believes is the future of the music industry: Creative communities, new ways for artists to monetize their work, and the development of up-and-coming talent. Timbaland has been in the game for a decent amount of time now, and he does not intend to get left behind.

Priceless is available now exclusively on Spotify, with other streaming platforms to receive the albums at a later date. Check out the project below, followed by Timbaland’s thoughts on the album, the development of Beatclub, Verzuz, and more.

What inspired you to start the Beatclub project, and what were its initial goals?

We live in a world of technology, right? Me being a producer, I’m looking at the wave of creators. So, I need to create a community, because we’re the only place that doesn’t really have a community. Games have a community, gamers have a community, people who play Fortnite have a community, but where’s the community for creators and producers and songwriters and beat makers? So, let me create an Amazon for beats and lyrics and everything.

And I’m like a lot of producers and writers, you just have songs sitting around. Let’s figure out a way to make income. Let’s provide income with that music just sitting. It can go to a young person that can be an up-and-coming star. So these artists go on the platform curated by me, because I listen to everything. And other producers are brought on the team, like Mike Dean. Real top-notch people that are the generals of the platform. It’s like curating the next big producer and putting them in front of the world. And really having a platform that people know that this is where you get your music, this is where you want to find the best loops, the best curated songs from artists.

It’s gonna be quality over quantity. And that’s what led me to do this platform. It’s really a community of creative writers. And really breaking the wave and getting into NFTs. I feel like music will be sold on smart contracts. So, we’ve got to cut out the middleman and just try to change the narrative for creators. Because what’s going to happen pretty soon, AI is going to take over us and it’s like, everything in the world wants to be simplified, you know? And I just try to be at the forefront of change.

How have you felt like the first era of Beatclub has gone so far?

I’m glad that my passion and my dream is getting recognized, but I don’t even know where we are. I keep the blinders on. I run and I keep running the race. When you’re in something that is your baby, you just keep spreading the word. Everybody wants that magic moment, but no. People want to be like, “Man, why is he still on that?” Then, after a while, a shift in the universe changes and he’d be like “let me check this out” and “he’s been preaching this shit for a while.” So I’m just Beatclub, Beatclub, Beatclub the same way Travis [Kalanick] was when he was Uber, Uber, Uber.

I feel like we are just getting started. We still climb up the mountain and I’m just happy the whole team is climbing with me. They believe in the vision. They know my heart. They know what I am. Let’s build something together, so that way I can vacation with people that we built something with. You look at Jeff Bezos, it’s like thousands of people on the stage. But we don’t know that because he’s at the forefront. That’s how it usually is. But people don’t want to go on vacation by themselves. You don’t want to be the only one making it to the top. You want your friends. That’s what it’s about. You take care of people that help you up along the way. So me, I’m just leading the rest of my life running with blinders on.

Is there anything within the next five or ten years that you’re hoping Beatclub will tackle? What is the platform’s next goal?

I think just being big in the Web3 space. Like, changing the narrative of how stuff is being handled and how music is getting distributed, and really showing an easier process. Because I feel like all those old processors are ancient in this market. We’ve been conditioned to do all things so, you know, long walk down the long road when there’s a shortcut right here to get you to the end of the street.

And you always doubt the shortcut. “Man, I’m just gonna take this same block to go all the way back.” I’m like, “Yo, there is a shortcut there. It’s been here the whole time.” That’s how life is, unfortunately, but I’m all about trying to show the world a shortcut. And, the real task is that we know, we see the beauty on the other side, but the real catch is, can you take the perseverance to get people to the other side?

When it comes to mentoring other artists through Beatclub or other mediums like MasterClass, how do you approach providing them with the knowledge you’ve gained through your experience without turning them into little Timbalands?

I kind of do it now with my Twitch and YouTube pages. It’ll be the second year coming in July. When you come to my class, I’m not trying to make you into another me, I’m trying to train your ear to hear better music. And I think I do a great job. I think doing my twitch and doing it on my own time has gotten me better. You really have to train yourself for that. It’s been two years training and I’m still in training. But I feel like the two years has led me up to do the mentorship with Mastercard. And I’m ready to do that.

I had to think about it because everybody says, “I love your MasterClass.” That really stuck with me because I’m like, “I need to be doing this more when it comes to music.” I’ve always been shy, because I’m an introvert. Creators kind of stay to themselves. We just like to create, we don’t want to be in the forefront of talking. But sometimes, I have to give people hope and encouragement, but like your father would. Like, I’m not gonna self-censor. I know we live in a sensitive world. Well, I tell people when they come over here, leave that shit at the door. You’re gonna get the real and you’re gonna appreciate it, like a coach. You can call your mama, but this is how I treat it. I want professionals. I want the best. You can thank me later.

And a lot of producers at first were like, “Man, he’s so hardcore.” What you want? You want me to lie to you? Do you want me to keep telling you that it’s good when it ain’t. No, I’m gonna be the first one to say you gotta keep going. That’s the point. Y’all think stuff comes overnight. No, you gotta get chastised and get built. It’s like anything. It’s like me working out. People didn’t like that, but now they love it. They look for it. So if I clown somebody, I got these little signals that I do, these little templates. And if it’s bad, I do this thing called “Eugene” that everybody waits for. They love it. They’d be like, “Yo, can you play me? I know you’re gonna Eugene me, but I just want to hear you say Eugene.”

I’m sensitive to everything that goes on with stress. I’m a person that’s gonna love you, but I’m gonna chastise you at the same time. I’m not gonna let you take advantage of my time or let you waste your time. I’m not gonna abandon you, but I’m going to chastise you. Because you’re not going to present this and think this is great. No, we’re not gonna do that.

How did the Mastercard collaboration come about?

They saw what we were doing. You never know who wants to go to the next level when you don’t have an idea of who wants to go to the next level. That’s how I look at stuff. I need to broaden my horizons when it comes to thinking because I might say, “Let’s just go to this person that’s music related,” but not knowing that a brand wants to come in and they know that they need sonics and better sound to uplift a brand. And so it’s like, wow, finally, people are starting to connect that they need music.

Music is everything. When you wake up you hear music. Sound is music. That means something. It does something. It’s a drug that you don’t even know that you’re taking. I know that Mastercard believes in that and sees that. And we use their theme through the songs. What I take from these things is to stop underestimating your reach and things take time to birth into the world. And I thank God for Mastercard, you know, because it just uplifted me when it comes to people who want to connect music with their brand and really be a part of the whole community, not just one thing.

When it came to the two remixes, how did you pick which songs to remix, and which producers from Beatclub to collaborate with?

That’s what Beatclub is. I think I’m better now at listening than actually doing. So if I can hear something great, I can probably make something great. So, to me, I knew which producers from Beatclub and I heard [“Gotta Go Dancing” and “Got Me”], I said, “These two are great.” That’s the whole beauty of Beatclub. Guess what? Timbaland wants to collab with you on this record. It’s like, “What?” It’s like Wheel of Fortune, and that’s the whole beauty of me picking two producers that I don’t even know, but I believe in their talent. And their sound was great. Now that producer that’s probably across the world, he’s now done a track with Timbaland. Which, back in the day? It would have never happened. That’s the beauty of technology.

Verzuz has also proved to be a hugely successful project. What has it been like taking it from Instagram Live to bigger and bigger platforms?

First of all, it lets you know that dreams come true, that you can wish for the unimaginable and the sky is just a view. Verzuz, like you said, started on Instagram. Now we are a business and trying to build it into a billion-dollar business, if that’s what God said it to be. It just grew because of what we tried to do. We just re-educated people on music catalogs and music that’s shining a light on the musicians and their art, giving them their flowers. Whoever would have thought it was a true platform?

It was all done out of love. It’s no fraud and that’s why God blessed it to grow the way it’s grown. You know, as a business grows, you always have difficult times and problems and things you know get a little more intense. But I love and I’m loving the growth that me and Swiss [Beatz] have built. It’s only getting better.

Is there anything else in the pipeline? Any new projects or music coming out?

I’m in the Web3 space. I went to Bored Ape [Yacht Club, an NFT collection] and I premiered my video. My ape is called Congo, and Congo premiered a video where he picked a girl that is 7661, which is somebody else’s ape. I don’t know if it’s a her or a he who owns the ape, but their ape’s name is Pinky. So, Congo and Pinky. Congo presented his first song. He’s a music producer in the Metaverse and he just dropped his first video, premiered it at Ape Fest. So, that’s how I like it. I’m more into character.

Most music for me, I’m gonna drop it as antiques, like collectibles. I don’t really care about if the song’s a hit that could be on DSP. That’s great, but I feel like it’s cool if you have something that the world doesn’t know. Because we are already oversaturated with so much music as it is. So it’s just like making up a new playlist for your own and having a Timbaland collection that you can sit with and do what you want to do with it. So, to me, I’m having fun in this space. I’m loving the space, it has given me ways to create.

Timbaland on Launching Mastercard’s First Album and Joining the NFT Game With Bored Ape
Jonah Krueger

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