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  • Writer's pictureJeff WIlson

Merge Drop and New Pricing Structure

Latest drop: The Collection of Hands (10 pieces, edition of 10 each, digital woodcuts)

In honor of Ethereum Merge, I’ve opted to not only drop a new collection but also a product and pricing approach that I hope more artists working in this space might take inspiration from.


My Audience, My Product

I’ve been thinking a lot about my audience lately - and more specifically who they may be and who I want to focus on.


With Web3, that connection between artist and those who appreciate the work are closer than they have ever been. There are ways to engage, interact, and even collaborate that have previously been challenging or simply not possible. There are now significant, new opportunities that we don’t yet fully comprehend.


Before unraveling those new interactions, as a newcomer to the artworld, it has become clear that I need to better understand the work I want to produce and how that maps to my audience.


After decades in developing product in the technology world, I know there are a number of approaches to this.


I know I want to produce more significant work that is meaningful and requires a significant amount of effort. That said, I don’t want to price anyone out who may be active and enthusiastic but simply do not have the wallet for high end work.


Whenever I see two opposing perspectives, I naturally gravitate to a spectrum — filling in the gaps and providing rationale for the steps.


The challenge is in how to release work that appeals to different audiences without causing confusion, diluting the brand, and negatively impacting those that own more valuable pieces.



My New Product Approach

I am opting for a tiered approach overlaying special cases and utility accounting for the various reasons one chooses to engage. This framework provides options and delineates the work allowing individuals to clearly identify the items that meet their goals, interests, and price points.


  • Tiers: distinct product levels with their own characteristics and value props

  • Special cases: individual items that may have more or less value within a tier

  • Utility: addresses the new engagement models afforded by Web3 including alpha (new) information, access to drops, and other benefits beyond the actual “art”



It’s About Options and Personal Availability

What one gets and what one pays is ultimately based on these tiers, differentiating the work and pricing while allowing my audience to engage at any level that best meets their needs.


Ideally, this approach:

  • Rewards early adopters

  • Opens the door to first timers

  • Provides additional value when blending digital and physical art experiences


Tiers

  • High-End Work

    • Likely 1-of-1s, larger pieces, and those with more significant compositions, meaning, and story

    • Targeted at traditional, high end collectors, investors, and those that want showcase pieces

  • Standard Work

    • Small editions of more supplemental pieces that may not be the centerpoint of a room but still visually interesting

    • Targeted at a broader enthusiast market who love art, want to enhance their personal environment, but don’t need to one of a kind pieces to satisfy that need

  • Entry-Level Work

    • Larger editions of more simple work, perhaps more decorative than meaningful, pisces for more mass consumption

    • Targets those newly introduced to fine art, younger collectors, and those who are eager to participate but may have limited ability

  • Creative Commons (CC0)

    • Experimental work, individual items that are released for all to use IP-free in any manner they see fit

    • Targeted at artists, entrepreneurs, and anyone who feels they can take my work in new interesting directions without impacting owners of any other tier


Special Cases

In addition to the tier structure, nuances of items within a tier may also impact price, positioning, and availability.


These may include:

  • Size and complexity differences at a higher tier

  • The official first piece in an edition

  • A one-off experiment of what is otherwise in a lower tier edition

  • A full second edition released at some later date

  • …And other nuances that differentiate work within tiers


Utility

Tiers and specific items will impact the broader experience of owning my work. This is one area that will certainly evolve over time as I — and my audience — discovers what works and what may not.


There are some examples however that are easy to predict:

  • Tiered access to new drops

  • Special pricing on commissions

  • Airdrops and exclusive alpha

  • VIP conversations and collaborations

  • …and who knows what else?


Keep in mind, I may just pull a switcheroo from time to time offering lower tiers a special, exclusive something — power to the people!


Top Tier: High-End Work

At the top, I am focused on those who desire high value, exclusivity, and luxury products.


For the benefactor, I want to provide:

  • Extra value in the art itself

  • Exclusive , ongoing utility beyond the work

  • Something unique they can truly call their own


For the investor, I want to provide:

  • A reason for a “secondary” sale

  • Their investment isn’t a flip but an actual investment

  • That even ephemeral involvement is meaningful and part of something


Tactically, and truthfully, I am not entirely clear on what this tier looks like. Most likely, on the surface, 1-of-1s, larger sizes, more complex compositions, and challenging techniques.


These pieces are gold. They are significant. People are inspired to show off prominently. They are entirely distinct from other work by 10x. They are not the same.


I have some ideas but excited to experiment and explore what this might come to.


I am looking for those who want to collaborate, those who want to be part of this exploration.




Mid Tier: Standard Work

Much of my current work may fall into this category. Compositions that are reasonably complex and meaningful, has something people can relate to, and shows some amount of effort, skillset, and artistic maturity.


These are most likely small editions of around 10 or less. They may not be unique but they are of limited supply.


These are still significant-enough pieces though may lack some of the prominence top tier work may invoke. Fun to own, clearly take some skill and effort to produce, and, for the holder, a worthwhile purchase.


These are curious and interesting pieces to display. They may not be focal points in a space but may be supplemental to other more cornerstone artwork or fill gaps in nooks and crannies in your environment.


Examples:


Lower Tier: Entry-Level Work

This tier is what launched this whole structuring effort as an attempt to find the right product to reach those who are just starting out, don’t know the breadth of my work, and, most importantly, may be left behind in the world of true collecting because they are simply priced out.


My intent is to find a relatively easy to produce product, release in larger editions of around 100, and provide pricing that allows all to participate.


These items, even when priced lower, should not dilute the investments others may have engaged with in other, higher tier work.


They are both easier to produce and drop some of the exclusive/luxury value props to provide an easy access point to my work and the world of collecting. These may be lower-end items but still have some limits and maintain the quality and brand-focus of the full body of my work.


My The Collection of Hands will be my first drop at this level. It is a testament to this approach and an experiment in the details laid out here. I encourage you to check out that work and, please, let me know what works and what other ideas are sparked.


Examples:


No-IP Items: Creative Commons (CC0) Work

There’s something very interesting about releasing work to the public domain.


In one sense, I can only produce so much and would be thrilled to see when new and interesting ways people may take my style and work.


On the other hand, it is somewhat frightening to think about losing control of my brand and possibly having work other people purchased in good faith used inappropriately.


My hope is that releasing some work with a CC0 license, this may release the valves on potential piracy as well as open up creative applications, and expand the scope and reach of my brand in one fell swoop.


You will not likely see items the scale and complexity of high-end work released as CC0 and no work sold will later turn this route unless called out clearly on a piece prior to purchase.


The intent is to create a collection of work meant for this use, to feed the community, and permit experimentation, profit, and creativity in a manageable format.


There are no current CC0 items and, when released, they will clearly be identified.


Special Cases

Any tier may have nuances that will be called out affecting price and availability. The Collection of Hands, once dropped, will likely incorporate some of the following.


First Pull Exclusivity

In traditional printmaking, the first of an edition is special. This is less intuitive in digital environments, but, in this case, one piece will be initially released as the “First Pull” before any others in the edition.


It will have special pricing and be the only one available for some limited amount of time. For those that want an edition but, perhaps, a special one within the edition, this would be it.


Free Mints

There are likely many reasons to drop free mints and the approach is gaining popularity.


For my collections, I think one may likely find a subset of no-cost items within an edition released earlier than the remaining priced normally.


This is to drive engagement and reward those early adopters.


There may be other times select items within editions may be temporarily released for free just to keep you on your toes.


NOTE: This is not a foregone conclusion for The Collection of Hands but something that is still on the table.


Not-Free CC0

This may sound counter-intuitive in a number of ways. It is, however, a blend of “First Pull Exclusivity” and “CC0” and serves as a basic way to promote and publish a piece of art with the attached license.


While the art associated with an NFT of this type may be covered by the CC0, the NFT of the first release of the work itself may be of some interest.


Additionally, for those out there attempting to fund the arts, this serves as a way to continue feeding the community by paying for the art’s public and IP-free release.



A Word to My Fellow Artists and NFT Creators

I am by no means an expert here. I have spent my entire career in a very different industry and only recently turned professionally to fine arts (and especially to Web3, NFTs, and crypto). See my story here: https://www.whackwhack.art/post/introductions


I do bring a certain amount of “product” knowledge from other industries and am eager to collaborate, combine experiments and experiences, and work with my community to flesh out what this new digital/physical artworld can become.


  • I urge you to think about your work as product

  • It is OK to maximize your time, audience, and profit - everyone wants you to succeed

  • Product positioning can be challenging, give yourself a framework to align more directly with the groups you want to interact with

  • Pricing art is very hard, move away from thinking of your work in one large bucket, give it structure that allows you to calculate more easily and isolate perceptions

  • Ask for the big payday for some of your work that truly deserves it and give away the simple bits to pay back the community in ways that will expand your reach and give you a boost


Please reach out to me if any of this product and pricing thought process is of interest to you. Through collaborations, we can all learn from each other, build on each other, and promote each other.


I, for one, am excited to work with you and hope I can be of service in return.



Conclusion

For everyone else, please check out my latest release (The Collection of Hands) which will be available for purchase once the Ethereum Merge occurs.


You may also take a look at my introduction to the artworld to get a feel for what brought me here.


If you have feedback as well, even those who are not artists or crypto-experts. I am often inspired by loosely-similar experiences from completely distinct domains.


I find there are only so many things to solve. We often work on the same challenges in very different environments. Seeing how others solved the same issues in completely different contexts, help provide a variety of lenses that ultimate cast greater clarity to the best solutions.


Reach out. Happy to chat.



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