Before we get into how NFTs can boost your music career, let's clarify some terms and explain a few concepts for non-crypto-natives.
So let’s explore NFTs, with a little help from SNL…
- “Non-fungible token”
- Limited-edition crypto asset
The term "fungible" refers to something that may be replaced with an identical, interchangeable item.
Consider a $1 bill; it has the same spending power as any other dollar note, right?
⇒ A $1 bill is fungible.
Until that dollar is framed behind the cash register at a neighborhood café or signed by LeBron James. Suddenly, that banknote is one-of-a-kind, limited, and NON-fungible. It is irreplaceable.
An NFT is a data unit that exists on a blockchain, akin to a fungible coin like ETH or BTC. It can be kept, bought, or sold in the same way. However, the non-fungible nature of the "token" is what distinguishes an NFT as a verifiably restricted digital entity.
Consider it a tradable receipt on a public ledger that anybody can read, and this receipt demonstrates... something.
What that something IS depends on the NFT.
An NFT can signify:
- Community membership
- Support for an artist or cause
- And much more…
An NFT could represent:
- The deed of your home
- Your medical records
- Evidence indicating you were a client at a 5-star restaurant on its debut night
- A weapon you got in WoW but wish to use in the next game Legend of Zelda reboot
- Your profile picture or your avatar
- Backstage pass
- Concert ticket
- Entrance to a private social club
- Bullet points for your future CV, stored in your crypto wallet
- And… MUSIC!
Possibilities for music-related NFTs include:
- Video content
- Community membership
- And more...
Here are some exciting benefits of NFTs:
- They are "immutable." That is, forever. Isn't that lovely? NFTs may provide a solution to platform impermanence.
- YOU decide their worth. Well, sort of. You establish the initial parameters, but the price is determined by your target audience's willingness to pay. This switches your focus from producing a high level of casual engagement to leveraging the strength of your community.
- Less is more. If you can focus on your community rather than vanity metrics that will never allow you to compete with major artists, you may experience some mental health advantages as well.
- Distribute fractional royalties. This one is tough because selling the rights to your work with the promise of future payments is illegal, but it's still a great use case.
- Digital collectibles. In a world of infinitely replicated media, we've finally found a method to instill ownership and exclusivity. The wonderful thing about NFTs is that they allow both scarcity and plenty (of the same artwork) to coexist!
- Revenue from resale. Earn a commission every time your NFT is transferred.
- Pay-splits in cryptocurrency. Because of the "smart contract" aspect of NFTs (basically programmable money), you also have an intriguing approach to governing rights and handling accounting in a timely and effective manner.
- Possession of bragging rights. Platforms like Twitter (and probably Instagram soon) allows you to use image-based NFTs as profile pictures. Wearing a Sex Pistols t-shirt indicates that you are a member of a specific group or community, just as wearing a Sex Pistols t-shirt indicates that you need to shower.
- Extra functionality. Want to join a band's secret Discord server or get behind the scenes? Keeping the NFT to their final album might be the key to unlocking such an event.
- They're fun. Yes, adopting cryptocurrency is a pain in the a$$. The learning curve is steep! But if you get beyond the initial stumbling blocks, there's a lot of exciting stuff going on with Web3. NFTs can be a motivating part of the journey.
Top artists and NFTs
Some of today's biggest musicians, from The Weeknd to Snoop Dogg, are making waves in the NFT industry. How are they making headway in the music industry?
Well, you guessed it right. NFTs!
As mentioned above, NFTs can range from art and sound recordings to tickets and more.
NFTs generated an impressive $25 billion in overall sales in 2021!
EDM artists were early leaders in the realm of NFT. In 2021, 3LAU sold 33 NFT collector replicas of his album Ultraviolet for $11.7 million, making it the first record to be tokenized.
Since then, musicians such as Grimes, Shawn Mendes, The Weeknd, and others have released their own NFTs. Snoop Dogg also stated that Death Row Records, his old company that he bought in February, will become an NFT label.
What Does The Future of NFTs and Music Look Like?
For starters, we may see more artists use NFTs to reward their audience. This would strengthen the bond between artists and fans and encourage fan involvement.
Second, new services that let you develop and sell NFTs without any programming skills might emerge. This would facilitate people's involvement in NFTs and music.
Finally, we may see more platforms that enable the creation of smart contracts for the selling of NFTs.
Kristin Robinson (Billboard’s music publishing reporter): “Technology has always been a really big part of the music business, and has really dictated how we make music, how we consume music.”
Overall, musicians are beginning to see the benefits of integrating music with NFTs. As artists aspire for success in their professions, NFTs are becoming a unique method to leverage the promise of this developing blockchain technology.
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