12 May 2023

Public record

Creating a media metalabel with Quorum

An interview with Quorum's Samantha Marin on going multiplayer and releasing a zine.

Samantha Marin is the cofounder of Quorum, a media collective with a podcast and newsletter. Recently, Quorum joined together with the Bounty Hunter podcast and its host, Brandon Nolte, to form a collaborative media metalabel.

What is Quorum? Why is it “going multiplayer”?

Quorum is a metalabel for creators shipping work about DAOs. It’s a brand umbrella for creators to share business and marketing resources while enjoying creative collaboration. We’re united by the fact that our work focuses on DAOs and how they can grow and evolve to fully embody their promise as the future of work.

When did it click to join forces?

Brandon and I met in BanklessDAO and did a podcast collaboration together called the DAO Toolkit miniseries, which is a series of short episodes focused on specific ideas and advice that contributors can take with them to better thrive in the DAO space. Over the course of the collaboration we realized we were serving the exact same audience and creating content with a similar angle, just using different mediums and trying to advance different brands. We realized it would make sense to continue the collaboration but a traditional media company didn’t seem quite right because we wanted to retain creator autonomy and play with tools that felt more web3. We learned about metalabels by listening to some podcasts with Yancey on them, and were sold on the model!

I was sold on metalabels as an idea because, in my experience, the creator economy is very individualistic and lonely, which is completely opposite of how humans naturally behave. Metalabels open up the opportunity for collaboration and break open the isolation into a more natural formation of groups. They also make it so that every creator doesn’t have to design their own brand, build their own audience, and run their own sponsorship strategy to make money. Multiple creators can share those resources—brand, audience, sponsorships—together. 

What do you see as some opportunities for creating a more collaborative writing practice?

I see Quorum as a way for like-minded creators to come together and create work together. Writing can be a very lonely practice, so finding other writers is necessary for most writers to grow their skillset. For example, most professional writers have trusted alpha readers who read their work before it goes to an editor, then they have editors who work hard to make it better. A metalabel is a great combination of the co-creation of DAOs and the value and taste alignment of traditional media brands. I see metalabels as the future tastemakers of the internet so I’m excited to explore that further! 

Describe the DAO Anthology zine and how it came together.

The DAO Anthology is a curated collection of the best articles in the DAO space published over the last few years on all corners of the internet. There are 15 articles, 21 writers, and a total of 25 people involved in creating this. 

My role in DAOs—both at Bankless and now at Aragon— has always been that of a creator. With this zine, I wanted to try something new–  to step into a role of curator rather than creator. 

I had the idea for a curated collection of DAO articles back in the winter. The half life of an article on the internet is so short that a lot of great pieces get buried and lost. Which is a paradox, because theoretically the internet should be better at preserving artwork. But because of the sheer volume of what’s put on the internet every day, in some ways it’s actually worse at preserving work. 

So, rather than creating new work, I started digging to find articles that had already been published but that made a mark on the DAO industry, changed my thinking about DAOs in some way, or advanced an interesting argument that I believed more people should read. It felt like an archeological process of unearthing important artifacts in the DAO space, which was really fun.

What did you learn as part of the process creating this drop?

I learned that people are really excited about the idea of print media right now. I’ve been sensing this general interest in physical rather than digital items—for example, Boys Club’s zine had a print component that was very popular, and the Metalabel print releases have been amazing—but it was cool to experience the creation of a physical item firsthand. Writers loved the prospect of their words being in actual, physical matter, and having a byline on a piece of paper you could hold. This was really exciting for me and it makes me want to continue exploring print as a medium.

I also learned that working in print introduces constraints that are challenging (in a good way!). You have to be much more thoughtful about word count and image quality and size. You also have to think about timing, because print and shipping in general takes much longer than, say, minting a Mirror writing NFT. This was a fun and unique challenge for me. I liked the constraints because it forced me to think about what was most important to have in the zine. It was like having an extra editor.

Collect Quorum's DAO Anthology here.

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