NFTs are nothing new to Steve Aoki.
Aoki has been involved in the NFT area as a musician for a few years and wants to see these unique assets alter the music industry.
Gala Games and its newest branch, Gala Music, are also favourites of Aoki. On February 10, he presented the keynote address at a private Gala Music event at the Forum in Inglewood, California, which opened with one-on-one Q&As.
Sarah Buxton, Gala Games’ COO, spoke about gaming and music, followed by BT, an electronic artist who discussed his Orbs NFTs, which were released on Monday. The Orbs sparked debate in the NFT world over the weekend due to their high beginning price—11.1 ETH each (about $32,000)—although the price will gradually decrease until all of them are sold.
Following the one-on-one interviews, H.E.R., BT, Kings of Leon, 3lau, and Aoki himself performed live.
Aoki described himself as a “futurist” in his opening Q&A. He believes that NFTs will completely change the music industry, which currently pays artists a pittance in royalties. According to Aoki, his live DJ engagements account for roughly 95 percent of his music earnings.
NFTs are one-of-a-kind tokens that can be used to signify ownership of an image, a piece of music, or even a physical asset on a blockchain like Ethereum or Solana. Within the last year, the market for NFTs has skyrocketed, and it is now a multibillion-dollar industry.
“If I didn’t have DJ-ing… I would have to get a job,” he said, drawing laughs from the crowd.
Royalties aren’t worth thinking about under the existing economic setup, according to Aoki, but innovations do aid artists slightly.
“But if I was to really break down, OK, in the 10 years I’ve been making music… six albums, and you [combine] all those advances, what I did in one drop last year in NFTs, I made more money. And also, I was way more unhinged with music,” Aoki said.
He believes that one of the reasons NFTs are so interesting is their reliance on the communities that sprout up to support them. That’s fantastic news for Aoki, because many musicians have devoted fans.
He referenced BTS as an example, but omitted to mention the backlash that the Korean pop artists received after declaring their NFTs.
“As music NFTs become more of a part of how we integrate and support artists, the labels will have to do more than just add the song on a playlist,” Aoki said.
Aoki is both a maker and a collector. He not only owns a number of NFTs from the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), but he’s also worked on an NFT marketplace in Solana. He’s currently establishing Aokiverse, an NFT-based membership club that will “coexist with the real world.”
Aoki defines Web3 as “ownership,” which includes “ownership of your data.” He believes that as technology advances, the days of Facebook and Instagram storing user data will go away, and the internet will become a tool for individuals to empower themselves.
“There will be a new version where we’ll show what we own,” he added, “and that will be a part of who we are.”