The music industry has delivered countless beautiful and expressive tunes that have dynamically evolved over the last three decades. But the sad truth remains, many artists are prone to exploitation, with unscrupulous record labels and production companies known to milk every ounce of value, leaving them with less than their fair share.
This has been a huge hurdle for up-and-coming artists considering that signing a record label became synonymous with success, even up to this day, to some degree. For the most part, a record deal could make or break your way to stardom.
In the 1990s, the Internet was one of the most significant factors that affected how musicians earned a living in their profession; Music streaming sites also became a hit in the following years, but the artist and fan relationship remained lacking since interactions were still limited to physical events. Thankfully, the music industry never ceases to innovate.
Why NFTs Matter in the Music Industry
NFTs have been introduced into the scene to create a breakthrough that could bridge the gap between fans and artists and cut out the middlemen (record labels). The results have been magnificent so far, but since the NFT industry is still new, there is a lot of experimentation going on to see what works (and what doesn’t). But even today, we have seen harmony between these two worlds, and multiple pioneering artists have built great communities from scratch by simply publishing their creations as NFTs and networking across Twitter.
Whether you’re just getting started or have already released multiple albums in the past, incorporating NFTs in your records will be worth your while. Even if you don’t dabble in it today, even chances are you’ll rediscover it once it hits global adoption. Just the knowledge of how these digital assets work alone can put you at an advantage later on. It just pays to be early.
What are Music NFTs?
Music NFTs are musical files with audio, and sometimes with accompanying visual components that are created as NFTs. They serve as a way to store digital files, including all data and ownership rights that come with them, on a blockchain, a type of Internet database that is accessible on the Internet 24/7.
Unlike record labels, NFTs on the blockchain are controlled by no one. Even artists can have limited options in changing their NFTs once released. This ‘immutable’ aspect is partly the reason why NFTs are perceived to have value since they could stay frozen in time and serve as proof of a fan’s interaction with an artist.
Fans may buy an NFT simply because they love the music and want to support the artist. Others may view them like any other collectibles on the blockchain and speculate on their price to make a profit. Regardless, NFTs create a paradigm shift in the way artists and fans interact, with many ways to experiment with monetization and profit-sharing. And the best part: the artists and fans share revenue with no record label taking a cut.
Additionally, in the world of music NFTs, the community does not gatekeep non-artists; equal opportunities are provided to the musicians, fans, and anyone who wants to experience advancement in this industry. The changes are open here too, allowing each and everyone to enhance the status quo. Some experts believe this new transformation can change the industry in ways that we can’t even imagine.
Famous Artists in the NFT Space
The popularity of NFTs started in 2021, pushing changes to almost every aspect, including the music industry. Since then, many famous artists were drawn to the possibilities it can offer. Although they have various reasons for joining, the web3 space enabled them to experience a more innovative way to connect, and even reward fans. Here are some of them:
Kings of Leon
Kings of Leon was the earliest artist to have produced an NFT album called When You See Yourself on YellowHeart, enabling their fans to buy their music asset. One of its singles, Time in Disguise, was also the first music NFT sent into space. Hayley Arceneaux, a cancer survivor, and a medical officer of Inspiration4, was tasked to play the song.
The band pursued a mission to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital by distributing the proceeds of its NFT sales to families who needed aid in covering their hospital bills, while some were used to increase the cancer survival rate from 20% to 80%.
Kings of Leon is a four-member rock band formed in 1999 composed of Caleb Followill, the singer; Nathan Followill, the drummer; Jared Followill, the bassist; and Matthew Followill, the guitarist.
Snoop Dogg entered the NFT space by releasing his album Bacc on Death Row (B.O.D.R.). He partnered with Gala Games, a blockchain gaming platform, to make 25,000 NFT Stash Boxes priced at $5,000 each. Its concept involves gaining one out of 17 songs from the album, which encourages holders to collect them all as surprises await them: a party with Snoop Dogg, a concert experience, and other rewards.
The involvement of Snoop Dogg in the NFT community has become more evident from owning an estate in The Sandbox to producing listen-to-earn opportunities in this industry. He aims not only to become one of the first majors in the metaverse through music but also to influence other artists to join him.
NFT Music Chart
Top of the Blocks, an NFT music chart, displays the top ten weekly rankings of who rocks the board based on sales volume. Although electronic music was once the best scorer, other styles have ranged differently over time.
The latest record shows the music NFTs by ranking:
Violetta Zironi, an X-Factor finalist, has all her five songs from the Moonshot collection dominating Top of the Blocks; #408, #403, #397, #205, and #402. She only explored the NFT world this year, and her career is already heading to the moon.
Donwill came straight towards fourth place with Don (It’s Me). His first achievement surprised everyone, but his experience in the industry is no longer new to those who know him. He is a rapper, DJ, and producer that tries to reach his audience through music NFTs.
Gnar Heart has numerous popular tracks WVRP #3074 was the only song that entered the top ten list. It is currently in seventh place with $1,000 worth of sales.
The Opportunities in Music NFTs
Music NFTs can provide a wide variety of opportunities to artists of all levels. The key is to put some effort into discovering ways to connect with potential fans and positioning oneself to be able to bring value to them. And this can be done through different means.
Every artist in the NFT space can form collaborations with anyone, whether they be other artists, projects, or even platforms (depending on your social following). There is a popular trend of combining digital art with music to form audiovisual pieces like the Lima Dimensi.
Binerica is a local artist who collaborated with different creators to provide potential collectors with an exceptional experience through NFTs.
When visiting the Binerica website, collectors can find ten tracks that serve as coordinates that lead to NFT collections. Visitors can both enjoy the music while appreciating the artworks created by collaborating digital artists.
Music NFT platforms allow artists to provide royalties to their holders, allowing the community to gain shared revenues. For instance, Royal enables artists to grant streaming royalty rights to their collectors. In this way, musicians and fans become partners through music.
Another platform is Opulous, which provides buyers with royalty revenue that can potentially increase if the career of their chosen artist advances. The concept revolves around giving the musicians the support they need, and then sharing their success as they grow.
Musicians can establish strategies to be able to connect better with their crowd, such as creating NFTs that provide holders special privileges. In return, fans can show their support by buying digital assets. Essentially, NFTs allow artists to foster a two-way communication process that can strengthen their relationships over time.
This is a huge step in the right direction considering that in the past, artist-fan communication was one-way, where the artist releases a song or album, and fans decide whether they buy or not, but there is no conversation.
Now, we have all these different mechanisms and platforms that enable fans to consistently reward holders, such as providing different utilities like exclusive access to concerts, whitelisting for all future album releases, and a whole lot more.
The Challenges of Audio NFTs
Music NFTs have been growing with different artists, even independent ones have seen massive sales. In a space with as vast potential as this, fraudulent activities are bound to be all over the place. One of the prominent issues involved HitPiece, a company that attempted to make music NFTs without copyright from the original artists. The affected performers have already taken action to solve the matter. Although HitPiece shut down its website before, it decided to relaunch.
Additionally, NFT artists can set prices on their recordings, which can vastly range depending on popularity. The competition can be challenging, especially for beginners who have no experience in both NFTs and music. With this in mind, they would need to figure out how to market their product the same way web3 projects do, by being active on Twitter, Twitter Spaces, and Discord, where most NFT enthusiasts hang online these days.
Violetta Zironi, a Berlin-based singer and songwriter, explains it plainly:
You’re basically networking all day. You jump from panel to panel and party to party and meet people all the time. And you showcase your music.Violetta Zironi
Her music collection, Moonshot, was able to bag $40,000 quickly (and still growing) on OpenSea. It goes to show how putting yourself out there can yield excellent results. This doesn’t mean that it is a requirement. There are tons of other artists that don’t necessarily spend too much time on Twitter, but the less famous you are, the more important networking becomes.
NFTs and the Music Industry
The music industry has long been following an outdated model, and the emergence of NFTs provides artists with an alternative path to stardom and a better way to interact with fans. The growing possibilities within this space are difficult to ignore; most notably, the community is starting to adapt to its transformation. However, it is still too soon to decide about the future of the music industry with NFTs, and we only know one thing: its evolution has just started.
Do you have plans to go big in the music business through NFTs? If so, it’d be an honor to have you in our web3 community. We don’t have all the answers, but we are assembling an army of visionaries, pioneers, and average people with great ambitions in the web3, metaverse, and blockchain spheres.
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