Are NFTs the new disruptive force on the music scene?

·4-min read
Canadian singer Grimes (L) and American band Kings of Leon (R) have succumbed to the lure of NFTs, unique tokens that ensure the authenticity and traceability of a digital work.

After shaking up the art market with the record-breaking sale of a digital work by Beeple, NFTs are now taking the music industry by storm. So much so that musicians like Kings of Leon and Grimes have sold more than $25 million worth of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) since February.

Some see NFTs as a new gold mine for artists, whether in the visual arts or in music. The latest sales figures for these unique tokens, which establish a certification on a digital file, seem to prove them right. According to Music World Business magazine, the revenue generated by NFTs in the music industry has exceeded $25 million in the last two months.

Musicians such as Mike Shinoda and Grimes have contributed to the record amount. The Linkin Park band member sold "One Hundredth Stream," a digital work auctioned on the Zora website, for $30,000 in February. Meanwhile, Grimes turned to the Nifty Gateway platform to offer her fans the chance to buy the creations of her latest art series, "WarNymph." They were snatched up for a total of nearly 6 million dollars in about 20 minutes.
"Just bought [the video of the track] 'Death Of The Old' by Grimes for 258 ETH," one of the buyers proudly posted on Twitter, where he also posted the music video that they just became owner of.

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An NFT album

While some big names in music are taking advantage of this craze by selling digital artworks, others are looking to rethink the musical experience. This is the case of American DJ Justin Blau, better known as 3LAU, who celebrated the third anniversary of the release of "Ultraviolet" by selling a collection of 33 NFT around the album. One of them, which allowed its purchaser to record a new single in NFT with Justin Blau, was sold for 3.6 million dollars. In total, the American DJ's auction of a collection of NFTs based around "Ultraviolet" generated more than 11.5 million dollars.

Back in early March, Kings of Leon made headlines when they announced the release of their new album... as an NFT. "When You See Yourself" is available on traditional streaming platforms like Spotify and Deezer, but an NFT version with unreleased material is being sold for $50 on the site YellowHeart . The American rockers are also offering six NFTs, dubbed "golden tickets," which provide access to concerts on all their upcoming tours as well as VIP treatment: private driver, backstage access and an exclusive meet-and-greet with the band.

While Billboard revealed that this NFT album helped the band raise over $2 million, Kings of Leon announced that they were extending the sale of "NFT Yourself" until March 19. A decision the band justified in a statement on YellowHeart, since deleted, by the fact that many of their fans were buying NFT for the first time, and that "breaking new ground is never easy."

Artists' new best friends?

While the purchase of unique digital goods is not a novelty in itself, NFTs open new perspectives, especially for the remuneration of artists. At a time when Spotify and others are being criticized for their unequal remuneration system, these unique tokens could allow musicians to free themselves from the constraints of music streaming, while rethinking the "fan" experience.

At least that's the opinion of Shara Senderoff, president of the startup Raised In Space, who spoke about NFTs in January during the NY:LON Connect conference."It's the ability for a fan to purchase an asset that is scarce, that is limited, that is exclusive, and has potential offerings tied to that that make them as a loyal fan feel unique, feel rewarded," she declared . A point of view shared by the American group Portugal. The Man. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, the rockers went back to why they launched their own cryptocurrency, PTM Coin, even proclaiming that cryptocurrencies and NFTs are "the new rock'n'roll."

Caroline Drzewinski