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Even in the depths of the bear market, web3 continues to progress, and the music industry is among those where its advances are the most visible ?
The way we create and consume music is being disrupted by the blockchain, and more specifically – by the tokens, both fungible and NFT, that can be created on it. The NFTs grant a true ownership of the underlying asset, be it a music track, a concert ticket, or a right to interact with your favourite artist. Fungible tokens contribute to creating a fair environment, where both artists and their fans can get a just reward for their participation.
This is what web3 means in practice, and this is how it progressively helps the music industry to get rid of the gatekeepers, allowing musicians to finance their work, get fairly remunerated for their streams, sell concert tickets more efficiently, and engage with their fans in a myriad of new ways 🎶
Music NFTs are on the rise, as more and more famous artists are releasing NFT albums and singles. Usually issued as addition to the traditional channels, these NFTs come with collectible artwork and special perks, such as front-row tickets to the artist’s shows.
Music NFTs are becoming an important additional monetization source: in 2021, Kings of Leon’s NFT album hauled in about $2.5 million, DJ 3LAU’s – $11.6 million…
NFT albums are becoming ever more popular, and record labels try to not miss out.
This August Warner Records UK partnered with music NFT marketplace Serenade to launch a new music format they called Digital Pressings – an NFT featuring full length audio together with unique artworks and unlockable rewards.
The first band to try this format was none other than the iconic Muse, selling out 1’000 NFTs in just 25 minutes.
Other than Serenade, music NFTs can be created and traded on specialized platforms, such as Async, Sound, Rcrdshp, Smart Label… as well as generic marketplaces, such as OpenSea or Rarible.
NFTs are programmable and can be used to give its owner the right to collect a share of its royalties. This quality is exploited by Royal, a marketplace that allows its users to buy and trade music NFTs and earn a share of the attached royalties alongside the artists, as the music streams on platforms like Spotify or Apple Music.
Royal is a great tool for financing young artists, but it also already features tracks of already famous ones: rapper Logic, Diplo, The Chainsmokers, and 3LAU (the DJ is actualy Royal’s founder).
Other platforms that propose their versions of music investment include Emanate, Opulous and Decent.
Audius, another web3 music platform, ambitions to become a streaming service in its own right.
Audius promises a new type of revenue distribution, where users pay artists directly when streaming their music, ensuring a level of revenue transparency that traditional services like Spotify cannot provide. This system, however, is yet to prove itself: for the moment $AUDIO token is used purely as encouragement and only top 5 artists are actually paid every week.
This summer Audius suffered a hack, with $6 million worth of $AUDIO stolen and platform’s governance dynamic impaired (the attacker succeeded at transferring the entirety of the Audius community pool to their wallet). The hack only added insult to injury, as $AUDIO was falling fast together with the larger the crypto market crash and losing over 90% in the last 12 months.
Despite all this, Audius shows that there’s a real interest in its value proposition: the platform now counts around 250,000 artists (among whom Katy Perry, Jason Derulo and 3LAU) and 7.5 million listeners. It also signed a partnership with TikTok, allowing its creators to directly upload their Audius songs to the social network.
Selling concert tickets as NFTs not only streamlines the process, bypassing middlemen, but also help fighting bad players in the secondary ticketing market. Platforms like Yellowheart, can inscribe the rules for ticket sales into the smart contract of an associated NFT, precising the price of a seat, a maximum reseller price…
Selling tickets as NFTs can also help better distribute the revenue. Their smart contracts can be programmed to send an agreed percentage of the price to the artist, promoter, the venue… and do it not only for the initial ticket sale, but for every consecutive resale too.
NFTs are also a great way to organize communities, and Afterparty and Friends With Benefits use this property to token-gate IRL community experiences.
NFTs offer a new type of artist-fan relationship, which can go beyond exclusive merch or meets & greets.
Steve Aoki has created Aok1verse, a whole NFT-gated virtual world with numerous perks, ranging from live chats with the DJ to co-creating a song.
Pixelynx is a platform that explores new ways of music consumption and experiment in bringing gaming, augmented reality and metaverse elements into the music space. Founded by DJs deadmau5 and Richie Hawtin, yesterday Pixelynx was acquired by Animoca Brands, a web3 behemoth.
This is a creator economy, and services like Rally enable any artist to launch their own token-fueled crypto economies to finance their work and engage with fans. FanCircles allows an easy launch of a customized fan experience app, and web3 publishing platform Mirror helps crowdfund and spread the word.
The web3 music potential is huge, and new high-profile projects appear regularly:
This spring John Legend’s music NFT platform project raised $7.5 million.
In summer, Napster, the legendary P2P streaming service of the 2000s, shared its plans to launch its own token. Previously acquired by Algorand and Hivemind, it is now poised to explore even more web3 opportunities for artists and fans.
Last week Warner Music Group announced a partnership with Polygon and LGND, an e-commerce builder, to create a music and collectibles platform.
The classic Windows media player Winamp added NFT support…
The music industry is ripe for disruption, and the profusion of web3 projects shows it is already underway 🚀