Kings of Leon is creating a world first in space while supporting charities at the same time.
In preparation for their flight to space beginning on Sept. 15, the Inspiration4 crew is teaming up with SpaceX for an auction to raise $200 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
The online auction will start Thursday at noon and will run until Sept. 20. At 10 a.m. ET, a limited edition space pen, toys from Space Racers and custom-made jackets featuring artwork provided by patients from St. Jude will be available.
However, the most notable item is a new NFT [non-fungible token] song by Kings of Leon from the group’s recent album When You See Yourself.
The all-new live recording of “Time in Disguise” will become the first minted music NFT to go up in space, marking a major milestone not only for the band but also the music industry.
“It means so much to us to be a part of this historic moment,” Kings of Leon exclusively tells PEOPLE. “When we wrote and recorded ‘Time in Disguise’ in the studio, we always thought it had a spacy feel to it and then the visuals from our live show have that vibe, as well.”
“To now have that song and those images be a part of something as historic as this is really cool, and having it raise money for a cause we’ve always cared so much about, makes it even better,” the band adds.
Identified as non-fungible, non-shareable tokens by Merriam-Webster dictionary, NFTs are virtual assets that are stored on a blockchain and are used to certify ownership and authentication (of specific digital assets or rights relating to them).
Several celebrities have recently gotten involved in the streaming industry, including Star Wars actor Harry Potter, actor James Cameron, and actor Robin Williams.
Previously the band has created music NFTs for St. Jude and Hayley Arceneaux, who is a civilian astronaut, and will also receive an iPhone through this project.
In Memphis, Tennessee, Arceneaux works as a physician assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where she fought cancer at 10. She is one of four civilians who will be on the first space mission ever. Along with Jared Isaacman (the CEO of Shift4 Payments, the company sponsoring the SpaceX flight) and Christopher Sembroski, sian proctor will join her.
Arceneaux, 29, will have the King’s NFT song on his iPhone, as well as original artwork and footage of the group performing it at a concert two weeks ago.
The Kings are hoping that this moment will transform the future of music, a moment made possible by NFT pioneer Yellowheart. Arceneaux will perform the track for the Inspiration4 crew in orbit.
“As many know, this is our second music NFT. Big visible moments like this continue to make people aware of this idea,” Kings of Leon tells PEOPLE. “We see a more direct relationship with fans as the key to artists of all kinds making a living in this business.”
“NFTs are a huge part of that better future for music. We believe doing things like participating in this massive moment, not only generates money but generates awareness for the charity and the role NFTs can play in the future of raising money and restructuring the music industry,” the band adds.
In addition to the phone, an auction bundle including a meeting with the band and the SpaceX crew and tickets to see Kings of Leon live in Los Angeles will also be offered.
St. Jude tells PEOPLE that the auction funds will be added to the $128 million already committed to Inspiration4’s fundraising campaign.
It is difficult for the Kings to pick out one thing they are most excited about, with so much to look forward to.
“There’s so much,” the band says. “Seeing blastoff, getting to meet the Inspiration4 crew when they return from orbit. We’re excited to meet the auction winner. They will also get to meet the crew and tour SpaceX, as well as come to one of our festival dates — it should be a good time!”
And, the band jokingly adds, “Maybe we’ll get some new fans from another planet!”