The Crate Coalition Manifesto


As we increasingly move to digital spaces and trans-act in online economies, it’s essential that we don’t fall into habits of isolated consumption –

lest we forget there are human beings on both ends of every song: the people who make it and the people who listen to it, support it, and amplify it.

The Crate Coalition is made up of people who echo this belief.

  • The Crate Coalition is a community of music heads who believe in a more interdependent music ecosystem.

  • We organize in digital and physical spaces, honoring curators and cratediggers through content, events, and a shared love for music sharing and discovery.

  • This manifesto is our community agreement, and anyone can sign it to become a member and join our community here.


My name is MacEagon Voyce, one of the co-founders of Grey Matter. A few years ago my dad bought 87 records on an online auction for $52. One was the self-titled EP by The Lewis Connection, a Minneapolis funk band that formed in the 70s.

On the corner of the album, still wrapped in cellophane, was a note that read “to a blood I grew up with – to Ransom, from Pierre. Thank you.”

My dad did some research and unearthed some of the record’s history. It turns out The Lewis Connection included a recording of “Got to Be Something Here,” which features the barely discernible strumming work of a young Prince. The album wouldn’t arrive until 1979, after Prince’s major label debut, but because the track was recorded several years earlier, it’s thought to be the earliest recording in existence of Prince’s playing. As such the record goes for several hundred dollars.

I ended up tracking down Pierre Lewis and recording a podcast episode with him, and later I tracked down the Minneapolis bar where Lewis still performs on a regular basis. This is how music discovery works with context – it’s a point of connection to other people, a reason to seek out other humans. This is how digital and physical worlds can come together to create something neither of them can do on their own.


“The computer can’t tell you the emotional story. It can give you the exact mathematical design, but what’s missing is the eyebrows.”‍ - Frank Zappa

Music has been a fundamental part of human life since time immemorial, pivotal to the way we form culture, convey feeling, and identify with one another.

Emotional exchanges and connections that happen through music remain irreproducible by anyone besides humans: chance conversations at record stores, the sweaty camaraderie of a punk show mosh pit, thanking an artist to her face, and conversely, hearing from a fan that your music means something to them. Add to that the power of human-to-human music discovery — the whispered lineage of “my god, have you heard this yet?” These are those eyebrows.

Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa

But we live in an era where the convenience of tech shouts louder than our friends. Torrenting incited a paradigm shift that people still welcome wholeheartedly. Suddenly, people had the ability to access all music for free within the comforts of home, and that level of convenience is not so easily surrendered.

Streaming – the industry’s bid to recapture some of the immense value being lost to platforms like Napster and The Pirate Bay – formally cemented the notion that music should be free or almost free. In turn, the cratedigging hip-hop producers of yore no longer had to use actual records. Everything was available online, and now much simpler to sample and arrange.

Today, on the biggest streaming platform in the world, 98.6 percent of artists are earning an average of $36 per quarter.

“Many of [us] likely want to support artists, at least in theory, but they usually wind up falling short,” says Shawn Reynaldo in his excellent First Floor newsletter. “Why? Because they’ve been led to participate in systems that were set up to capitalize on their apathy.”

Streaming platforms promise listeners personalization but the tradeoff is isolation. By obscuring other people’s behavior in their platforms, they remove opportunities for shared meaning. They remove the human element that’s so inherent to music, and they force us to gather on exploitative social platforms detached from the music itself.


Apathy is made easier when platforms decontextualize the artists by prioritizing playlists and lean-back listening. It doesn’t matter what you’re streaming as long as you’re streaming, they say – the ‘who’ doesn’t matter so much.

Without the context, we lose the narrative thread – maybe we even forget there are people behind the music at all.

But for some reason, people still collect physical records, and that means something. Whether it’s the paradox of choice, the longing for something tactile, the restored context that’s abstracted by digital formats, the artwork, the higher sound quality, the collector’s mentality, the physical scarcity, better-than-streaming pay for artists, or an attempt to transcend the cursed algorithms that perpetuate our listening bubbles.

Economies are built around this essence of sharing and discovering music with other people. Record shops sell them, listening bars play them, selectors mix them on dancefloors, friends message each other songs.

Cratedigging is not simply an act of seeking and buying. It’s a hunt for DNA. It’s a belief that curation is care. It's an adventure outside the closed walls of our streaming platforms and into the hearts and minds of other human beings.

Cratedigging is a lens into our collective love and appreciation for music – to share and discover with other people.

As we increasingly move to digital spaces and trans-act in online economies, it’s essential that we don’t fall into the habits of isolated consumption –

lest we forget there are human beings on both ends of every song: the people who make it and the people who listen to it, support it, and amplify it.

The Crate Coalition is made up of people who echo this belief.

  • We are the connective tissue, gathering around music in digital and physical spaces.

  • We are the interplay between personal expression and collective context.

  • We support the emotional story, because it’s the origin of community, support, and shared meaning.

  • We are the eyebrows.


A new internet movement is enabling a reality where software serves our relationships, not owns them. Folks are using unique tokens to reimagine ownership and community building, where a token can represent shared equity in a piece of art and membership in a community. It’s an opportunity for more direct connection, and it can be a bridge between the digital and physical worlds.

For all of these reasons, the Crate Coalition is building in this spirit. If you’re:

  • a music community seeking a new place to gather

  • a music head looking for more authentic ways to share and discover music

  • and/or a believer in a more interdependent music ecosystem…

collect this post and come join us in our Discord community here to connect with people through the music you love.

Subscribe to Grey Matter
Receive the latest updates directly to your inbox.
Mint this entry as an NFT to add it to your collection.
This entry has been permanently stored onchain and signed by its creator.