What are NFTs exactly, and how – as an independent musician – can you get involved? From photos to gifs of NBA players dunking, NFTs have taken the digital world by storm.
Do independent musicians actually make money by selling their music as an NFT?
A lot of the news lately is about NFTs. Nothing seems to be out of the ordinary, such as paintings and gifs of NBA players dunking. So, what are NFTs and could they perform for you as an independent artist?
As you may already know, NFT refers to non-fungible token. This is a way of verifying ownership of original digital art. Previously, with physical art, the original was always clear. Originals, for obvious reasons, will always be worth more than copies. There is only one original Van Gogh painting. There is only one original tape recording of Bob Marley’s Catch a Fire album.
The question is how does this work with digital files and digital art?
Anyone who gets their hands on a copy of a digital work of art, an image, or a recording has a copy of equal quality, therefore, have a copy of equivalent value to the original. Until recently.
NFTs enable their creators to add a bit of data to an electronic file, or, more precisely, a non-fungible token, in order to prove it has as its provenance the history of its ownership and the provenance of its creator.
Digital files with that location data sit on the blockchain. It is a method of digitally tracking and registering data. This is similar to how cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin operate. An original NFT is worth more than any otherwise identical version. It is the original, you can prove it.
Additionally, in light of the fact that blockchain data allows people to track who owns an NFT, NFTs will be able to be purchased and sold numerous times, and owners’ information will also be recorded and confirmed in that database. The Digital Artwork with an NFT can be resold at a profit if the owner is inclined to do so. In essence, an NFT proves ownership of the digital work and makes it collectible.
It’s likely that you’ve heard about Beeple’s most recent NFT, which consisted of 5,000 of his digital images, selling for nearly $69 million. Grime’s NFTs of her recordings were sold for close to $5 million. In fact, the latest album from Kings of Leon was an NFT, and just about anything digital can be sold as an NFT. The first tweet, posted by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, was sold for $2.9 million in an NFT.
Would you benefit from NFTs?
Are NFTs for you, and can you make money with them? Well, that depends on what your overall financial situation is. If you’re already established as an artist, maybe. If there’s demand for your music, NFTs should be able to make you money.
It’s early to consider NFTs as a revenue source if you’re not already famous. NFTs are merely a bleeding-edge concept. Many of the people buying NFTs for big bucks today made big bucks from speculation in cryptocurrencies.
Traditionally, independent artists have adopted technologies first developed and adopted by major labels and major artists. When CDs first came out, they were developed and pioneered by majors, and the first artists on those CDs were all on major labels. Independent artists only adopted CDs when they became mainstream.
In spite of early sales at impressive valuations, NFTs are clearly not mainstream… yet. Do you know anyone who owns an NFT?
The NBA Top Shot digital trading cards are gaining ground among digitally-savvy consumers but it’ll take some time for NFTs to gain a wide audience.
It’s too early to determine whether NFTs are appropriate for your music, but NFTs will likely become a permanent fixture in the creative digital landscape. Then you can start thinking about releasing your next creation as an NFT if the format becomes mainstream and if consumers accept and buy them in large numbers. Then we will return to discuss NFTs in depth, so keep an eye on the news and see how they develop as a creative format.