Music NFTs Could Be Digital Asset du Jour of 2022

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are primarily associated with art, but that's not the only form they can take. These nifty digital assets can shapeshift into music, video game characters, avatars, or anything their creators can imagine. Music NFTs have taken the spotlight lately, capturing the attention of traditional label Warner Music Group whose catalog extends to singers and songwriters Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa, and Lizzo, to name a few.

Technically these NFTs could contain entire songs or even albums. They could also be short excerpts featuring a particular lyric or drum solo. While the NFT itself is digital, the artists can use the sale as an opportunity to engage with the owner by attaching some text to the product in the form of a PDF containing a personal message that can be read.

Warner has partnered with OneOf, an environmentally-friendly NFT platform focused on entertainment and dedicated to Web3, the next version of the internet and home to the metaverse. Warner Music and Quincy Jones-backed OneOf will introduce “exclusive NFTs for a range of legendary music artists,” according to the announcement.

The NFTs are being minted on the Tezos platform, a proof-of-stake (PoS) blockchain known for having a low carbon footprint. Warner Music may be a traditional record label whose legacy goes back two centuries, but it is helping to pioneer yet another use case for NFTs through music.

Music NFTs

One of the critical features of NFTs is that they place the power of ownership into the hands of content creators. This makes digital tokens suitable for creators such as artists and musicians thanks to blockchain technology and products known as smart contracts, agreements that are automatically executed on the blockchain. An NFT's record of ownership exists on the blockchain, and this data is immutable in nature. As a result, an NFT's ownership history cannot be compromised.

With Spotify in the spotlight lately, it's interesting that most of the leading artists on the streaming platform don't even earn $50,000 in annual revenue.  NFTs are a possible solution to this paradigm because the blockchain cuts out the middle man and lets the creator keep the proceeds for themselves.

Coachella Creations

While digital art has been the most popular use case for NFTs, the profile for music-based NFTs is on the rise. The Coachella music festival is doing its part to help NFTs go mainstream. The music and arts festival has announced Coachella Collectibles, a marketplace built on the Solana blockchain for NFTs. Coachella is also featuring a trio of NFT collections comprising both digital art and sounds:

  • Coachella Keys provide lifetime access to Coachella every April. This is a bullish bet on NFTs because it suggests that they will be around for future generations.
  • Signs and Sounds showcase “festival photos and soundscapes from the Polo Fields.” NFT owners can redeem their NFT for a physical art print of the photo.
  • Desert Reflections are Coachella posters by designer Emek, and each one can be redeemed for a physical copy of “Coachella: The Photographs: 1999-2019 photobook.”

These are limited edition sets. Coachella is touting its NFT marketplace as an alternative for anyone who misses out on the sale.

Not Music to Kanye's Ears

One celebrity who is not interested in making a music NFT or any NFT is Kanye West (Ye). The rapper published a post on Instagram saying that he is focused on the “real world” and making it clear in no uncertain terms that he did not want to be bothered about NFTs. He ended the post with, “Ask me later,” seemingly leaving the door open to music NFTs down the road.

One of Ye's followers was quick to point out that Ye's Instagram post alone was an NFT waiting to be minted. And they're probably right. While it's not music, all Ye would need to do is mint the post on a blockchain like Ethereum and auction it off on an NFT marketplace. Tech entrepreneur and former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey did this, minting his first tweet onto the Ethereum blockchain and ultimately selling it for close to $3 million.

 

kanye
Source: Instagram

It's hard to believe NFTs only came on the scene in the past couple of years, considering they generated $25 billion in sales last year. Music NFTs could begin to grab a piece of a pie that is only growing larger.

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