Artists are selling their music as NFTs – and they’re making millions

The unique blockchain assets could be ushering in a revolution in fan to artist relationships.

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NFT Bitcoin

Image: Alamy

Deadmau5, Grimes, 3Lau, Jacques Greene, Tory Lanez and Kings of Leon are all getting in on a slice of the NFT action. The most jaw-dropping figure comes from 3Lau’s recent sale, in which he accumulated $11.3 million from an NFT auction.

NFTs – Non-Fungible Tokens – are commonly likened to digital pieces of art. In short, an NFT can represent the ownership of an original copy of a song, album, merch, or any unique item. The NFT is held in the blockchain, where it cannot be copied or deleted. The buyer owns this digital piece of art, which can change in value depending on popularity, and if they want to sell it, they can. An NFT can currently be purchased with Ethereum and Polkadot cryptocurrencies.

Image: Alamy

This doesn’t necessarily mean that the piece of digital art can not be enjoyed by other fans. Jacques Greene, an underground electronic music producer, recently sold the rights to his new single Promise and accompanying animation for around $20,000, but the track can still be streamed and purchased.

In the case of DJ and producer 3Lau, 33 NFTs of his work were auctioned, including a special edition vinyl record, unreleased music and a custom song with creative direction from the buyer. The latter was sold for $3,666,666. He’s now opening a marketplace on his website where buyers can sell their NFTs to other fans. Every time a resale happens, 3Lau receives a royalty, though it’s not been revealed what percentage this is.

In December 2020, Deadmau5 sold 6,000 collectables as NFTs with a collective value estimated at $96,940. Grimes auctioned 10 NFTs for $6 million, including unique images and short videos set to her music.

Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda sold a digital piece of art for $30,000 and explained on Twitter: “Even if I upload the full version of the contained song to DSPs worldwide (which I can still do), I would never get even close to $10k, after fees by DSPs, label, marketing, etc.”

Kings of Leon are releasing their new album When You See Yourself as an NFT, along with a collection made up of three tokens. It comprises 25 unique pieces including a limited-edition Golden Eye vinyl as well as the chance to win one of six Golden Ticket live experiences for the band’s upcoming tour.

Multi-platinum recording artist Tory Lanez, who is set to release his PLAYBOY album on Friday, will be sharing three unreleased tracks as NFTs. Only 450 will be available via BondlyFinance. These will be released at 2pm EST today (4 March 2021) and are expected to sell out within hours.

Various artists and media outlets are hailing the NFT boom as the future of fan to artist relationships. As briefly highlighted in the Colin and Samir podcast, NFTs can be used to cultivate a superfan community. Instead of a subscription model, fans can buy into a community and instead of cancelling their subscription, they would sell their NFT to another buyer interested in joining the community.

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