With the help of technology company Genies, Warner Music Group is creating avatars and digital wearables for its artists. WMG’s deal marks the first time a major record label enters the smoldering NFT trend. Artists from Deadmau5 to Grimes to Shawn Mendes have dipped their toes into the water.
NFTs should prove to be a big business in the future, but they are currently unstable. Indie artist 3LAU, who is a cryptocurrency proponent, had a single NFT of his three-year-old album Ultraviolet earn $11.7 million. On the other hand, Kings of Leon recently released their latest album When You See Yourself as an NFT, making it their first album to be released in the style-to mostly negative reviews.
“WMG is consistently focused on positioning its artists and songwriters at the forefront of the rapidly growing digital media ecosystem,” said Oana Ruxandra,
In response to the NFT and blockchain market’s explosion this winter, labels have looked at the business with an eye toward long-term revenue as they sort out how best to cash in on it. Sony and Universal Music Group have thus far held off on getting in on the action.
WMG has partnered with Genies to “produce and distribute virtual beings that facilitate fan engagement across immersive platforms and metaverses,” according to the company.
WMG chief digital officer, in a statement. “As avatars and their customization become an increasingly relevant avenue for self-expression and merch generates diversified sources of revenue, WMG’s partnership with Genies will enable our artists and songwriters to tap into a new form of self-expression and audience reach.”
Geneies is a household name in the industry. Recently, Genies launched a 3D avatar and online buying platform that allows creators to sell exclusive limited-edition digital wearables including clothes, accessories, and tattoos to accompany their fans’ Genies avatars.
With Geni’s newest partnership with Giphy, users can embed their Genie avatar on different social media platforms.
The company has also partnered with Dapper Labs, which produces licensed collectibles such as NBA Top Shot, in which WMG is an investor. Through that arrangement, Warner Music Group artists and songwriters will be able to serve up exclusive “Digital Wearables Drops” available on Genie.
“Both music and avatars provide humans with the ability to fully express their authentic personalities. Cultural icons and figures are some of the most expressive people on earth and they should not be constrained by real world limitations. This partnership allows the leaders of culture to fully immerse themselves into the fantastical realm of the metaverse and build new, direct, and authentic connections with their respective followings and fanbases,” said Akash Nigam, CEO of Genies.
Other artists on the WMG roster include Anitta, Cher, David Guetta, Paramore, Linkin Park, Wiz Khalifa, Bebe Rexha and Charli XCX.