Music NFTs and Web3
Blockchain is defined by IBM as: “a shared, immutable ledger that facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking assets…” A blockchain is an online, decentralised, publicly visible network that serves as a place to trade just about anything in a tokenised form. The technology is now widely used for trading tokens that represent alternative currencies, known as cryptocurrencies, but there is a rapidly growing market for trading art, amongst other things, in the form of NFTs.
NFTs (non-fungible tokens) exist on the blockchain and cannot be modified after their creation. The inability to modify an NFT is what makes it such a powerful digital asset. No one can mess with it, and it’s easy to verify that the NFT is genuine. NFTs can be representative of anything imaginable (a membership, a mortgage, a physical item). Their leading market is currently visual art and music. A ‘1/1 NFT’ is a NFT where there is only one copy available. The NFT creator is free to create as many copies as they like. Typically, the more scarce the NFT, the more valuable it is. Imagine there being only one copy of a David Bowie LP available in the world. Now imagine you bought it at a good price because you were an early fan of Bowie. Maybe you'll sell it later on, maybe it's your prized possession, with a value beyond money. Which brings me to my next point...
WHY BUY A MUSIC NFT?
For almost everybody that I have discussed music NFTs with, the question of “yes, but what do I actually get when I buy the NFT?” arises eventually. Many artists, including myself, are including some physical goods with the sale of their NFT, but the real asset that the collector is buying is the music NFT itself. So why would you buy a token that represents a song? A collector may want to:
support an artist financially (fundraiser mentality)
own an asset that will grow in value as the artist’s career progresses (investor mentality)
own and hold onto a piece of the artist’s story as a fan (collector mentality)
own the NFT to express their appreciation for the song (music fan mentality)
be rewarded by the artist for owning the NFT with tickets, giveaways etc (utility mentality)
These are just a few potential motives for buying a music NFT. As the blockchain space evolves and adapts, so will the reasons to participate in it.
HARRY HEART IN WEB3
I began to research blockchain technology in October 2021. Only once I began to collect NFTs from other artists did I see their potential. I created my first NFT ‘Okay Change’, which addressed my need for transformation personally, creatively, and from Web2 to Web3. This song served as a catalyst for a new uninhibited creative process for me, and quickly escalated to an eleven-track album titled ‘Cambistry’.
There are many marketplaces and blockchains to choose from when minting an NFT. I chose to mint my NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain using OpenSea, the most widely used NFT marketplace to date. I wanted a new approach for the release of this album.
Each track is minted individually as a 1/1 NFT (meaning there is only one copy available) on OpenSea at 0.06ETH over several months in 2022. Initially, OpenSea will be the only place where the tracks can be heard. Once a NFT sells, that track will then be distributed to streaming services (Spotify, Apple Music etc). If no one buys the track, then the track can’t be streamed anywhere else. The power to distribute the track, and ultimately the album, is in the hands of the collector. Keep an eye on the Cambistry NFT collection here: https://opensea.io/collection/cambistry
WHERE TO FROM HERE?
Explore NFTs by checking out music NFT marketplaces such as Catalog, SoundXYZ, Async, Royal, OpenSea and Zora. Listen to the NFT Now Podcast for interesting accounts from various figures in the NFT space and their experiences so far. Keep an eye out for independent artists that are using NFTs to further their career, this article from Right Chord Music has some great examples.
HOW DO I BUY NFTs?
I've broken the process down into a few steps in this Twitter thread.