Vezt Review (2023): A Game-Changer, but What Went Wrong?

Would it be possible to invest in the music industry? Be able to make money from your favorite music? Be a part of the music industry without being in it at all? Not as a recording artist, producer, manager, or any executive? Well, thanks to Instagram, of all places, I found Vezt. It is a mobile app that allows users to invest money in their favorite songs. It allows music fans to share the royalty rights of songs they love. In this article, I will give my official Vezt review.

I used this app for a while and thought it was a great idea. I believed that Vezt could change the music industry for the better. However, the app to me didn’t last long enough to see its full potential. They had a long way to go, including more work to build the brand itself, internal issues to resolve, and areas to improve upon. All of which I don’t think is happening.

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About Vezt

According to its website, which has never been updated, Vezt is the first-ever music rights marketplace. It is a platform designed for music fans to share the royalty rights of their favorite songs and benefit from the money they make. To make this possible, Vezt provides artists, songwriters, and producers with funding collected from their fans. In return, fans receive a share of the royalties earned from their favorite songs. The earnings fans receive are based on how much money they contribute to the song.

How does Vezt handle a song’s royalties for fans?

Well, they collect song royalties on behalf of fans from performing rights groups, music publishers, and record labels. Royalties handled by Vezt are tracked through blockchain tech, which they call Initial Song Offering, or ISO for short.

Initial Song Offering (ISO)

Every song that is available on Vezt is its own ISO. It includes a set date and time when royalty rights will be available to the public. Also, an ISO sets how much in total royalties music fans can contribute to their favorite song. That ISO is open until the set date and time expires or the ISO sells out, whichever comes first. The Vezt app is a digital marketplace of ISOs where artists and songwriters share a percentage of their song’s earnings.

When do Vezt users receive their shares of royalties?

The FAQ states that you will get your share of royalties once per quarter. However, this is after Vezt notifies the ISO’s payment sources. Depending on the ISO, the payment sources are record labels, performing rights organizations, or publishers, depending on the details of the ISO.

Co-Founders

Vezt’s co-founders are Steve Stewart and Robert Menendez. They and the rest of the Vezt team come from the finance, tech, and entertainment fields.

How to Use Vezt?

First, download their app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Next, make an account. Once you click on ‘Create Account:

  1. If you’re over 14, you’ll click ’14 years and over.’
  2. Next, you must consent to all of Vezt’s legal pages before continuing:
    1. Terms of Service
    2. Account Terms
    3. Privacy Policy
  3. Check off to receive notifications. I noticed that there’s no system setting that follows to ensure this happens.
  4. Finally, confirm the terms and conditions.

Afterward, you enter your username and create a password, and that’s it. No email verification and certainly no password retrieval if you forget it. Honestly, the account creation and login infrastructure needs to be safer. To me, this is just way too simple.

When you are finished creating your account, add the debit card you plan to use to contribute to an ISO. After that, you can see the songs that have active ISOs. Hopefully, you will find your favorite song. If not, you can always send Vezt an ISO request. Once you find a song you like, you can add funds to its ISO if it is not sold out or expired. Finally, you place your order and officially hold rights to the song.

The ‘Learn’ section in the app states that you will get your share of royalties once per quarter. However, this is after Vezt notifies the ISO’s payment sources. Depending on the ISO, the payment sources are record labels, performing rights organizations, or publishers, depending on the details of the ISO.

My Opinion on Vezt

As stated earlier, Vezt can change the music industry for the better. The tech era we now live in has made access to music easier for fans. However, this has caused the value of music, specifically how it is monetized, to drop tremendously. As more fans stream all their favorite songs for one low price per month, it is hard for the music industry to benefit.

The Issue with Music Industry and Money

Don’t get me wrong, successful artists have always struggled to fully profit from their music because executives are known to systemize the industry in a way that benefits them first and the most. However, music streaming has made it so that now, even they are not profiting from their artists’ music the same anymore. Streaming services pay out micro pennies per stream.

Even if an artist accumulates millions of streams for their songs over time, that small amount earned still has to go to the label executives, producers, writers, if not the artist, and anyone behind the scenes before the artist can receive their cut. Which, at this point, is not much.

Solution Opportunity

Vezt had an opportunity to put money back into the music industry lost from streaming in a way that benefits everyone, especially the artist and the fans. What I did like about Vezt is its idea. I liked how music fans like myself can put money into my favorite song’s royalties as they are being earned traditionally. I’m earning passive income for myself, while the artist has a more direct way of making money for the music they make, thereby reclaiming their work. This can essentially put money back into the industry in a way that could benefit everyone.

Music Artist Endorsements

At one point, Vest had endorsements and partnerships from a growing number of musicians. In an interview with Cheddar, Vezt co-founders mentioned they have been in discussions with DJ Khaled, Bruno Mars, and Wu-Tang Clan, to name a few. Even the late rapper Nipsey Hustle did an official campaign with Vezt not long before he passed away.

Issues With Vezt

Well, like many startups, Vezt had a lot of growing pains and improvements to make. However, It does not seem that those growing pains and improvements will be getting addressed. This is a shame because Vezt’s reputation has declined significantly before they could truly build it.

My concerns with using Vezt include, but not limited to:

Old Songs on the Platform

Many ISOs that are currently available and have been available on the app are older songs. I was concerned about this because these songs, regardless of if their ISO sells out in the app or not, based on Vezt’s business model, would not generate enough passive income for fans because the song itself is not as popular as it once was. The bulk of the royalties the songs earned were earned around the time they were first released BEFORE Vezt launched.

For example, one song I remember investing in was Anaconda by Nicki Minaj. Before you start judging me, hear me out. While yes, I do like Nicki Minaj as an artist, I think she’s dope. However, I didn’t care too much about the song itself, although the music video was fire, if you know what I’m saying.

Anyway, I chose to invest in this song’s ISO because I thought it would be a good investment. It reached number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, sold millions of copies, and its music video surpassed over 1 billion views on YouTube. Also, the song’s ISO goal was $25,000, and it was quickly approaching that goal.

With all these factors at play, I felt this was an ISO I shouldn’t pass on. However, the issue I had with this was that the song had already been released before Vezt. Also, the song and the album it was on had already reached their peak sales and streaming performance. At this point, there wasn’t much royalty revenue to be expected because the song’s hype had finally died down. I’ll get to more details about my overall earnings with Vezt later, but I hope you get what I’m trying to say, I didn’t make any money.

Unpopular Songs on the Platform

Another concern I have with Vezt is that other ISOs that are available are for songs that were never released as a single by the artist or their label. What I mean by this is Vezt often offered ISO’s for songs that can only be found on artists’ albums.

As a result, it is hard to tell if the song is worth buying a share of their royalties. When considering commercial success, unlike singles, these songs can only be measured by how well the overall album they’re on did. While factoring in these songs’ performances is possible, I must be honest. Music listeners today are less likely to hear an entire album anymore. Unless they are playing it from start to finish all the time, they will only hear what they like on the album. From an investor’s standpoint, this is not enough information to decide.

Unpaid Royalty Shares to Users

My main concern with this app is that it does not pay royalty shares to users. For example, when I first started using Vezt, I only put $30 into four songs. After waiting a couple of months, I only earned ten cents. However, after a while, I stopped getting paid at all.

According to Vezt FAQs, first, their answer to the question “How do I get paid” states:

“Vezt notifies payment sources such as record labels, performing rights organizations (“PROs”), and publishers to pay the artist’s and songwriter’s applicable share of royalties to Vezt. Our in-house royalties team aggregates such royalties and accounts your corresponding share to you when earned four times per year as outlined below.”

Then, Vezt’s answer to another question, “How often do I get paid, ” adds more confusion. It states:

“After completing an ISO for your favorite recording and/or song, it can take up to 7 months or longer before these royalties are received by the record label, publisher, or performing rights organizations, as these companies and organizations pay on differing and inexact schedules. When there are royalties to report, Vezt will account to you within 45 days after the end of each calendar quarter in which we receive and processes such royalties. ASCAP, for example, “pays its members for U.S. performances approximately six to seven months after the end of each three-month performance quarter.”

Reputation Decline

Despite all of this information, when users should get paid and how much is still a mystery. It is a mystery, so much so that it has truly hit Vezt’s reputation. If you were to research Vezt for yourself today, you would find plenty of complaints from users who did not get paid. Many of these users contributed thousands of dollars towards ISOs and have not received anything.

Isn’t that wild? While I played it safe by only investing $30 and received pennies back. Some people truly believed in this app and invested hundreds, even thousands, of dollars. None of them have received any royalty shares at all. To make matters worse, NOBODY from Vezt has come forward to address these concerns.

Here’s a specific example, back when this blog post was first published in 2020, I received an email from a reader who felt compelled to share his experience with Vezt. He told me he invested over $3,400 into Vezt within the last two and a half years. He did not get a single penny back for the money he put in. Every time he reaches out to Vezt, they tell him a different story. Like many others, he too questions whether Vezt is legit.

He said more, but unfortunately, not long after his message and I updated my article, I lost my website entirely due to financial reasons. My loss of access included my website-tied email. By the time I could retrieve my website, it was too late to retrieve my old emails. I also couldn’t retrieve my blog posts as originally published. While I thankfully keep drafts of my work backed up elsewhere, unfortunately, the email is completely gone.

Limited Payment Options

Another minor concern was that users must provide a debit or credit card to make an ISO purchase. However, they can only get their earnings via PayPal. Not that Vezt pays its users their deserved royalties, but I still wish there was another option for people who don’t use PayPal. But first, they should pay them!

How Can Vezt Improve?

Well, for starters, find some new owners. I would happily buy Vezt if I had the resources to do so. But seriously, yes, Vezt does need new owners:

  1. The co-founders are not invested in growing and improving this company as much as they should. While the app has been updated, the website still needs to. Also, people still need to get paid their ISO royalty shares, and nobody in leadership responds to any questions.
  2. They are less knowledgeable than they claim to be and should be in either the finance industry, tech industry, or, most importantly, the music industry.

The cofounders should pass on this company to people who can create a platform that delivers on its idea.

Pay Users their Earned Royalty Shares

Most importantly, Vezt should focus on improving how they pay their app users the royalty shares they deserve. Right now, people view them as a scam because royalty shares are not being paid. It does not make sense because people are spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on their ISOs. Vezt is looking at potential legal liability here, and I’m surprised I haven’t heard of any legal actions being taken so far.

Reward Incentives

After improving how royalty shares are paid to users, Vezt should offer an incentive for users to keep buying ISOs. I stopped buying ISOs after my first four because I did not see the value in continuing in a timely manner. This sucked because, over time, I came across ISOs of songs I enjoy listening to. However, I was increasingly starting to feel like I was giving my money away.

An example I have to incentivize more ISO buying is a referral program. This program should pay current users money to buy an ISO of their choice for every new user they refer to the app. Of course, that is if Vezt will ever have an app worth referring new people to.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, while Vezt had the potential to be a game changer in both the finance and music industry, they had a long way to go before that could be realized. And unfortunately, it does not look like they will ever achieve that at this point. Enough people have tried to support them and lost money as a result. Some people, unfortunately, have lost a lot of money trying to support this app. It just doesn’t help the situation at all that anybody from the platform can answer the user’s plea for answers.

Again, as good of an idea as this seems, I would stay away from this platform until either the people currently in charge get their shit together, someone comes in, take over, and make the necessary improvements, or somebody takes the idea of this platform, improve upon it and make it both better and more trustworthy.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed my Vezt review. Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below. If you have any suggestions on what I could write about next, please get in touch with me and share your ideas.

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This post was originally published on: 08/25/2019

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