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How music NFTs are shaking up the music industry for fans and artists

BY Mortuza Reza

22nd Sep 2022 Music

How music NFTs are shaking up the music industry for fans and artists
Music NFTs are changing how we own, sell and consume music—but at what cost? We explore the revolutionary potential of music NFTs, and some potential drawbacks

What are music NFTs?

Music NFTs are digital assets that represent ownership of a piece of music. They can be used to buy, sell, or trade music rights and royalties.
Music non fungible tokens can also be used to track the use of a song or recording, ensuring that artists and producers get paid for their work.
It’s 2023 now, and NFTs have already made a big impact on the music industry through pioneers such as Grimes, Snoop Dogg & Steve Aoki.
"NFTs have already made a big impact on the music industry through pioneers such as Grimes, Snoop Dogg & Steve Aoki"
Many artists have started selling their music as NFTs, and some have made a lot of money from it. In the future, we expect more artists to start using NFTs and for the music industry to continue to be disrupted by this new technology.
In this article, we’re taking a deep dive into exactly why major artists are betting on the trend, and we’ll take a look at all you need to know about the music NFT industry in a nutshell.

Why are musicians selling music NFTs?

Grimes' NFT, "Death of the Old", sold for $388,938.00 on Nifty
For artists, music NFTs provide a new way to monetise their work and earn revenue from their music. Traditional merch, such as clothing and music posters, is one revenue. Music NFTs present another opportunity for artists to offer their fans more valuable collectables.
For fans, they offer a new way to support the artists they love and connect with them more meaningfully.

Types of music NFTs explained

There are two main types of music NFTs: those that represent ownership and royalty share of a song, and those that represent the right to stream a song.
However, as the industry evolves, we’ve seen many forms of music NFTs offering different perks and benefits to artists and fans.
"Ownership NFTs are like digital versions of vinyl records"
Ownership NFTs are like digital versions of vinyl records. They give the owner the right to download and play the song whenever they want. These NFTs can be resold or traded like any other cryptocurrency. In some instances, they may come with royalty sharing rights for the fans.
Streaming NFTs are like digital versions of streaming services like Spotify. They give the owner the right to stream a song for a certain period of time. These NFTs can also be resold or traded.

Which music NFT marketplace should you use?

If you're interested in buying, selling, and trading music NFTs, or if you're an artist interested in creating your own music NFTs, there are a few things you need to know before getting started. That includes the best marketplaces for music NFTs.
Music NFT platforms offer a variety of features that allow users to create, listen to and share sound experiences. These features include:
  • A library of sounds that can be used to create sound experiences
  • The ability to create and share custom music
  • Royalty sharing mechanisms for NFT owners
  • A marketplace for buying and selling music NFTs

SoundXYZ

Credit: Bob Bekian, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons. Snoop Dogg sold his album, Death Row Session: Vol. 2, as an NFT on SoundXYZ
SoundXYZ is a new music platform that allows artists to create and sell their music as NFTs. The platform also has a built-in wallet that allows users to store and manage their NFTs, as well as a marketplace where they can buy and sell music.

Royal

Invest in talented artists and receive a percentage in streaming royalty rights. Royal not only helps music artists mint royalty-bearing music NFTs but also enables NFT holders to share revenue from the royalties. This way, both artists and fans gain profit.

Opulous

Opulous is a blockchain-based NFT music platform that allows artists to create, distribute and trade digital music assets. The platform uses smart contracts to manage the transfer of ownership and royalties between users, providing a decentralised and transparent way to monetise digital music.

GlassXYZ

GlassXYZ is a music video NFT marketplace where fans can own, trade and mint music videos by their favourite artists. It's a great way to own a visual creation by musicians.

Foundation

Foundation opens a new world filled with boundless opportunities for the music industry. It enables artists to mint their own 1/1s. The single edition NFTs can then be sold directly on the platform. Aside from creating NFTs, users can also collect and sell music NFTs.

How can music NFTs improve music for artists and fans?

NFTs' blockchain technology proves ownership in the digital sphere, which could combat music piracy
Some of the benefits of music NFTs include the ability to help artists monetise their work, as well as providing fans with a new way to show their support.
Music NFTs also have the potential to help reduce piracy and ensure that artists are fairly compensated for their work.
In addition, music NFTs can help create a more immersive and interactive experience for fans by giving them access to exclusive content and behind-the-scenes looks at their favourite artists.

How could music NFTs disrupt the music industry?

NFTs could potentially do away with record labels, but it is unclear whether or not that would be a good thing.
There are pros and cons to getting rid of record labels.
On the one hand, NFTs could allow artists to have more control over their work and keep a greater share of the profits.
"NFTs could allow artists to have more control over their work and keep a greater share of the profits"
On the other hand, record labels provide important services like marketing and promotion, which could be difficult for artists to replicate on their own.
Ultimately, it is up to each individual artist to decide whether or not they want to work with a record label. There are benefits and drawbacks to both options.

Which artists are selling music NFTs?

Celebrities are just beginning to experiment with NFTs, and it is still early days for the technology. However, it is clear that NFTs have the potential to revolutionise the way that celebrities sell their work and connect with their fans.

Snoop Dogg

Snoop Dogg, who is a well-known rapper and music producer, has recently released his new project that involves NFTs. On April, 20, the rapper, songwriter and entrepreneur dropped Death Row Session: Vol. 2 as a non-fungible token, or NFT, on the platform SoundXYZ.
All 1,000 copies quickly sold out for a total of 100 Ether, or just over $300,000, in a single day.
This project is interesting for a few reasons. First, it shows that NFTs can be used for more than just collecting digital art or gaming items. They can be used for more traditional applications like music releases.
Second, it demonstrates how NFTs can be used to create a more interactive and engaging experience for fans.
At the 2022 MTV VMAs, Eminem joined Snoop Dogg to perform their new song “From the D to the LBC” in a metaverse game environment made by creators of the Bored Ape Yacht Club.
Snoop and Eminem have both invested in Bored Ape Avatars, from the BAYC, a move that solidifies their believe in NFTs and the future of music being tied to web3.

3LAU

Justin Blau (3LAU) is one of the earliest adopters of music NFTs. In February of 2021, the electronic dance music star’s Ultraviolet collection of 33 different NFTs netted him a reported $11.7 million.

Bored Brothers

Bored Brothers (a metaverse duo produced by OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder and Kygo) released their first music NFT genesis collection, DRIP, with 300 limited editions priced at 0.1 ETH each.
“DRIP” is also the title of their first music offering using their Bored Ape Yacht Club avatars, which dropped exclusively on SoundXYZ, the platform where artists can sell their music as NFTs.
As more artists establish a metaverse persona, it also gives them the opportunity to experiment with different sounds that would otherwise be unusual to their core fan base, creating an opportunity to break into other genres and earn additional income.

Nas

In January of 2022, the rapper Nas teamed up with 3LAU to release his first-ever music NFT collection on the platform Royal. The collection consisted of 1,870 NFTs across two separate drops, both of which sold out in minutes. And it brought in more than $560,000 in total revenue.

The Chainsmokers

The Chainsmokers improved the release of their album So Far So Good by releasing 5,000 non-fungible tokens worth a total of one per cent of So Far So Good‘s streaming royalties. The release was hosted on Royal.
Those who purchase the tokens will additionally gain access to a private Chainsmokers Discord channel and potential IRL experiences in the future.
This move upgraded the value proposition of the music act’s album and garnered a lot of attention to their work.

Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden made their debut in the NFT space with their recent 17th studio album Senjutsu.
The heavy metal band’s mascot, who has appeared on Iron Maiden’s album covers, on merchandise, in concerts, and their Iron Maiden Displate metal posters, was also animated into an NFT collection with 44 different limited edition versions for fans to collect and own.

What are the limitations of music NFTs?

Making and selling NFTs is energy-intensive, which creates a higher carbon footprint
It’s clear that NFTs are becoming more and more widely adopted into popular music and popular culture; however, there are still a few reservations that people have about the technology itself pertaining to the music industry.

Potential to devalue music

If music is turned into a digital commodity that can be bought and sold like any other asset, it could lose its intrinsic value. Music has always been something that is enjoyed for its own sake, but if it becomes just another investment vehicle, that could change.

They could exacerbate the divide between the haves and the have-nots

If only a small number of artists are able to cash in on NFTs, it could create an even wider gap between the music industry's top one per cent and everyone else. The already-unequal playing field could become even more skewed if NFTs become a major source

They could be bad for the environment

The process of creating and selling NFTs requires a lot of energy, which could have a negative impact on the environment. There are also concerns that people will hoard NFTs, leading to mountains of digital waste.

They could be used to exploit artists

Some worry unscrupulous businesses will use NFTs to exploit gullible or desperate artists. For example, an artist might be persuaded to sign away the rights to their music in exchange for an upfront payment in the form of an NFT.

They could be a passing fad

NFTs might just be a passing fad, and the music industry could find itself stuck with a lot of worthless digital tokens if the bubble bursts. Only time will tell if NFTs are here to stay or not, but for now, there are plenty of reasons to be cautious about them.
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