What Are Music NFTs & How Do They Work?

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What Are Music NFTs & How Do They Work?

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are unique cryptographic tokens recorded on a blockchain that represent items such as art, contracts, images, books, and even, music. The introduction of NFTs has shed light on many industries, especially the creative. It has shown creators that they can take ownership and credit for their work(s).  

In this guide, we look at how NFTs have impacted the music industry by understanding what music NFTs are, and how they work, and highlight NFT releases that have impacted the tone of the music industry.

What is a Music NFT?

Music NFTs are music files that have been minted and recorded on a blockchain as unique digital tokens. Like all other NFTs, music NFTs provide the buyer with cryptographically verifiable ownership. 

Moreover, music NFTs allow artists to embed royalty payments, enabling them to earn every time their NFTs are sold by the owner to another fan, for example.

How Do Music NFTs Work?

Musicians have faced a lot of challenges when creating and distributing their works. In many cases, artists need to be represented by a manager and a music label that provides them with the platform to thrive.

Unfortunately, this is not the case for many artists. Instead, artists have found themselves in dead-end contracts that stifle their independence and take away their rights to earn from their works. 

Music NFTs help to solve this problem. 

When an artist creates an NFT of their work, be it music or merchandise, they have the sole right to sell and distribute it on different platforms and consequently, cut off the ‘middleman,’ which in many cases is the record label. 

To create an NFT, the musician needs to identify what they want to bring to the market. They may decide to sell an audio file, signed merchandise, a ticket to a performance, or anything else they deem valuable to their fans. 

Next, they need to identify which NFT marketplace they want to utilize to mint their NFT. Popular marketplaces that sell music NFTs include OpenSea, AirNFTs, Nifty Gateway, and Rarible

While minting, the artist can decide to create a single NFT, a limited number of NFTs, or an unlimited number. Whatever the case, the NFTs will then be made available to the public for purchase at a stated price. 

The rise of music NFTs has numerous advantages for artists and fans. Some of these include ensuring that musicians earn royalties whenever their NFT is sold, cutting out exploitative intermediaries, providing a platform for new musicians to share their music without being associated with a record label, and helping them build an active and interactive fanbase. 

Many musicians have already started reaping the benefits of music NFTs. Below, we highlight some of the most notable NFT music releases and projects to date. 

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High-Profile NFT Music Releases

In December 2021, one of Whitney Houston’s unreleased demo tracks was sold on the OneOf marketplace for a whopping one million dollars. The music NFT also included some footage of the late Whitney Houston, which was compiled by an artist known as Diana Sinclair. This release was one of the most successful NFT sales in music NFT history. 

Another successful NFT release was by 3LAU, a DJ and producer. His collection consisted of 33 NFTs, with one of them being a custom song with creative direction from the buyer, which was sold for $3.67 million. In the same year (2021), there were other releases by various artists such as a collection of 10 NFTs by Grimes, which sold for $10 million. In 2022, French Montana dropped an NFT album and Snoop Dogg and Whiz Kalifa launched music NFTs based on the Bored Ape Yacht Club.

2022 has also seen some progress in the music NFT space, with Nas dropping his collection of 1870 NFTs in collaboration with 3LAU and the Coachella festival selling their tickets, collectibles, art prints, and more as NFTs.  

As the year progresses, we are looking forward to more music NFT releases, and to observing what impact they will bring to the artist’s and fan’s experience.