You may have been increasingly hearing the term NFT bandied about, and NFTs have been regularly in the headlines over the last year in terms of their skyrocketing value. NFT stands for a non-fungible token; in contrast to their fungible brethren, each NFT is unique and can’t be exchanged for another object. NFTs rely on blockchain technology and denote ownership of unique objects, like a digitized album of music – as such, they can act as certificates of ownership of digital work.
The rise of the NFT has made massive waves within the music industry, with the tokens offering artists near-infinite ways to both connect to their fans and monetize their output without needing a middle man or intermediary. For example, the band Kings of Leon released their latest album both through the standard means and as a collection of NFTs, to the delight of hard-core fans.
New Opportunities for Artists
For all types of artists, such as those taking their first steps in the industry, bands making copyright-free music, or artists operating purely within the digital sphere, NFTs represent a valuable, innovative opportunity to get their work into the public domain and in front of audiences. NFTs offer fans the chance to ‘invest’ in, for example, an unsigned band or a new artist releasing his/her first digital collection of tracks. As they become increasingly used, they could well serve to level the playing field so that it is not just established artists who can generate significant investment in their work – and their future.
For this ‘investment,’ the fan, in return, gets something truly special: an NFT representing ownership of a unique live track, for example, or an unreleased demo. As well as being a unique item in itself, this token could rise exponentially in value if the band or artist gains mainstream success. NFTs, therefore, make for a symbiotic relationship between artist and audience, cutting out the influence of or need for studio managers or label bosses.
How to Buy Music NFTs
First of all, you’ll need to find a platform that sells this type of NFT. To date, the vast majority of NFT sales have been related to artwork, but this is changing, and more music-related tokens are entering the market every day.
One of the best marketplaces to buy (and sell) NFTs is Opulous; this popular, innovative platform allows artists to incorporate a share of their future royalties in the NFTs sold through Opulous, meaning that these tokens, as well as having inherent value to fans, could also generate passive income for them.
NiftyGateway and OpenSea are examples of two other hot marketplaces where you can buy and sell music NFTs.
Once you’ve identified the platform you want to use, you’ll need to download a crypto wallet (if you don’t already have one) and make sure that it’s a type that can accommodate NFTs – not all are set up to hold them.
You can’t buy NFTs with cash – you need to purchase them with crypto. But exchanging your money for crypto is an easy process: simply head to a reputable crypto exchange website, where you’ll be able to purchase a range of cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin and Ether.
Once you’ve got your crypto in your wallet, all you need to do is follow the onscreen instructions on the platform you’ve chosen to buy the NFT you want!
How Do I Sell a Music NFT?
If you’re an artist wanting to sell an NFT, then it’s an easier process than you might think! As above, you’ll need to sign up to a platform specializing in NFT sales and create a crypto wallet. Once you have identified the digital file that you want to transform into a token, then you’re ready to mint your first NFT!
NFT minting is the process by which your digital file is turned into a non-fungible token ready to sell, and step-by-step instructions on how to go about this should be provided on the platform you’re using to sell your NFT. It’s usually a quick and easy task, and there isn’t a charge to mint NFTs, as this is passed onto the eventual buyer.
Once your NFT is minted, you can sell it on the platform by following the onscreen listing instructions.
The Future of Music NFTs
The autonomy over their work – and their maintaining of rights over it – are key reasons that NFTs are becoming so popular with artists and are very likely to play an important role in the future of the music industry. Added to this, the increasing complexity of licensing agreements makes NFTs attractive, too, as they’re a rock-solid way to prove ownership.
Musicians are already finding innovative ways to make the most of the opportunities that NFTs offer: the singer-songwriter Imogen Heap has uploaded one of her tracks, ‘Tiny Human,’ onto Ethereum’s blockchains; it can be downloaded for free, but listeners will need to pay a fee if they want to remix it.
NFTs are set to shake up the music industry, connecting artists with their audiences, helping new bands get investment, and monetizing music in ways never before dreamt of.