As far as the music industry goes, the weight of power has never been in favor of artists until the advent of NFTs. Power rested with the centralized streaming platforms and record labels.
Because of this, artists got a tiny percentage of the income their music earned; streaming platforms and record labels got the lion's share.
Having no choice, these artists had to rely on the big platforms, as they could not get their music across to fans and their audience without the platforms.
Likewise, artists could not have a closer one-on-one relationship with their fans beyond the interactions set up by these platforms. Having no power over their music rights, they couldn't sell their songs or independently make money from them without record labels.
Because of these standards, which were the norm in the music industry, it was difficult for unknown artists to earn a living. Very few artists ended up becoming stars and celebrities, and they were the ones that benefited from the industry. A young artist with a small following couldn't earn a decent income from their music, and even when their music made what can be considered sizable, the streaming platforms and record labels only gave them a minor cut.
Because of how shortchanged artists have been in the music industry, the advent of NFTs has been embraced by different artists and is still being adopted by many.
Contrary to how many people still identify NFTs as jpegs of apes, cats, and robot-like humans, NFTs have many uses across different industries, especially the music industry.
Many artists have begun to utilize NFTs to connect better with their fans and bypass the stronghold of centralized platforms to reap the benefits of their hard work.
Many artists have turned their music into NFTs and sold them to their fans for thousands and millions of dollars.
For the music industry, NFTs represents not just a new technology but the dawn of a revolutionary technology that is changing and will continue to change the dynamics of how music has been created, listened to, and sold in the future.
In this article, we will look at some NFT artists that have made and sold NFTs and the work they have done with music NFTs.
Kings of Leon
On March 5, 2021, Kings of Leon, a popular rockstar band, released their album as an NFT. The album, When You See Yourself, was released as three types of tokens called NFT Yourself.
Their NFT collection brought in over 2,000,000 USD. This is regarded as a feat, because they were the first band to sell an NFT album. Perks offered were deluxe versions of the album, unique digital artwork, and lifetime front row tickets to their concerts.
In February 2021, Justin Blau, widely known as 3LAU, is considered one of the early adopters of music NFTs. He released the first blockchain-based album creating a historical record. Notwithstanding his small fanbase, he sold his NFT album Ultraviolet, auctioning thirty-three NFT linked vinyl records for a whopping 11,600,000 USD.
3LAU's success with NFTs showed how much an artist could gain from NFTs with a loyal fanbase irrespective of size.
In March 2021, a musician and visual artist made almost USD 6,000,000 on the NFT marketplace Nifty Gateway in twenty minutes.
The songstress sold a series of ten pieces of digitally created art and video accompanied by her original songs.
Among the pieces, a unique one called Death of the Old, set to an original song by Grimes brought in the highest amount of USD 389,000.
In December 2021, a never-been-heard-before demo recording NFT by Witney Houston sold for a whopping $999,999. The album titled One of One was sold on the One of NFT marketplace paired with the digital video of Diana Sinclair.
The winner of the One of one NFT received the full personal right to the demo only - they did not have commercial rights to sell or license the song.
This one-of-a-kind sale signified the entry of Iconic artists into this new era of music.
Famous rapper Eminem made USD 1,780,000 from his first collection of NFTs called Shady Con. The rapper sold his collection on the NFT marketplace Nifty Gateway.
In his collection, the video STANS Revenge sold for USD 100,000. It is viewed as the most valuable item in the collection. Also included in the collection were action figures modeled after characters in his widely acclaimed music videos, among others.
With the sale of his first NFT collection, Canadian singer The Weeknd raised over USD 2,000,000 in 24 hours.
The collection comprised eight pieces, including a main standalone video, The Source, which featured an unreleased song and a 3D model of The Weeknd's head. The video sold for USD 490,000.
The Weeknd's NFT drop is distinguishable from drops by other artists because, unlike others, The Weeknd's The Source was exclusively given to the buyer of the NFT and not released on any streaming platform.
In April 2021, Snoop Dogg released his first NFT collection titled A Journey With the Dogg. The collection showcased Snoop Dogg's memories from his early years, including his original track NFT which was inspired by the community.
The auction was only available for twenty-four hours, and it made over USD 200,000, with a particular piece Death row selling for USD 108,000. Fast forward to February 2022, Snoop Dogg released an album called B.O.D.R.
Accompanying the album, he also released a stash box NFT collection together with the decentralized record company Gala Music. By February 14, Snoop Dogg sold over 8000 stash boxes for USD 5000 apiece, resulting in a whopping USD 44,300,000.
Like the artists above, many more artists are tapping into NFTs. As the NFT industry grows, there are bound to be more albums and songs released as NFTs instead of on streaming platforms. The world of music is changing, and artists will be the biggest beneficiaries of the new world, all thanks to NFTs.