• The program is accessible to those who have the "limited-edition" Music Pass NFT
  • Five artists from different genres have been selected to participate in the program
  • The payments giant partnered with Immersve to allow transactions wherever Mastercard is accepted

Mastercard has launched a new artist accelerator program for musicians that will only be accessible to holders of the financial services provider's Mastercard Music Pass NFT (nonfungible token). The New York-based payments giant, in recent months, has been moving forward with its Web3 initiatives.

"The limited-edition Mastercard Music Pass NFT is the key to unlock the Mastercard Artist Accelerator program, a Web3 platform that gives free access to educational materials, unique AI tools through our collaborations, and Priceless experiences to boost creativity for music artists," the payments-processing giant said in a press release.

The initiative, which was helmed alongside blockchain developer Polygon, seeks to "take advantage of Web3 technologies to educate and get more people on board with the digital transformation happening in music," Mastercard added.

Web3 is often described as a series of interconnected and open-source decentralized applications that work through the utilization of blockchain computing, as per Forbes.

The NFT-gated musician accelerator program is available for free until the end of the month, not only for musicians but for fans also.

"We also believe that Web3 can be a powerful tool in connecting people and building communities around shared universal passions," said Raja Rajamannar, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer and President of Healthcare Business at Mastercard.

As part of the efforts to help support musical artists around the world, Mastercard has recruited five artists from different genres to participate in the program, CoinTelegraph reported. The selected artists will be exposed to an AI-driven music studio as well as Web3 technologies.

The program was first announced in January during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2023. At the time, the payments provider said the goal was to help guide artists on how they can incorporate Web3 tech into their music.

At the time of the incubator's announcement, Rajamannar said that participating artists were expected to learn how to mint NFTs and represent themselves in digital channels while establishing a community of support in the industry.

"We see that web3 holds tremendous promise for artists and creators to create, own and monetize their content, but only if they know how to leverage it," Rajamannar told TechCrunch.

Both Visa and Mastercard earlier decided to delay some products and services with crypto-based offerings due to unstable market conditions and regulatory hurdles haunting the industry.

"Our efforts continue to focus on underlying blockchain technology and how that can be applied to help address current pain points and build more efficient systems," a spokesperson for Mastercard told Reuters.

While Mastercard appears to be pushing back crypto-based services, it continues to explore in Web3 integrations to power some of its systems.

In February, the payments innovator announced its partnership with Web3 payment protocol Immersve to "give consumers the ability to use cryptocurrency directly from their web3 wallet to make digital, physical or even metaverse purchases, wherever Mastercard is accepted."

Under the said partnership, USD Coin (USDC), a stablecoin pegged to the U.S. dollar, will be used in transactions without the need for a third-party collateral.

Illustration photo of a Mastercard logo on a credit card
Representative image of Mastercard. Reuters