1. Shift the balance
Artists are typically protective of their work — and so they should be! Anyone who is seriously committed to perfecting their craft, whether it’s beat-making or song-writing, is likely to become attached not only to where their music is heard, but how much value it generates. Because third-party platforms have been the typical means toward successful distribution and earnings, it would come as no surprise that new artists can feel quite removed from the process of reaching their fans and securing royalties.
Considering that the historical use of third-party platforms isn’t necessarily all-that lucrative either (in some cases, artists are expected to dish out as much as 82% of royalties earned from streams and downloads back to the third-party distributor or streaming platform), it would be fair for any aspiring up-and-comer to feel demotivated when it comes to monetization.
But because NFTs can be concocted by just about anyone, variables for success and profit can now be personally controlled by independent artists. That NFTs can take on the form of songs, visuals, live engagement or a combination of these things, means that artists can promote their products at higher prices than they typically would the release of a standard single or album.
2. Get ‘realer’ with fans
Think of the Blockchain as the ultimate email marketing software, but instead of sending plain old newsletters, artists can utilize NFTs to deliver personalized and meaningful content directly to their fans. The ‘one click, send to all’ approach of mass-marketing certainly has its uses, but those wishing to share genuine artistic endeavors with their supporters and listeners now have a much more direct line. Because of the public-facing, transparent nature of web3 transactions, and because each NFT created is unique, artists will be able to trace each purchase to an individual fan, and vice-versa. Delivering tailored content to a dedicated fan-base, whether it’s collectibles, tickets or merch, now has the potential to be totally secure and exclusive.
Of course, this trend has been bubbling all year. Cypress Hill’s B-Real has offered an NFT ticket inviting a fan backstage for a 1-on-1 session, while metal-heads had the opportunity to join heavy-metal band Avenged Sevenfold for a day hang-out (as well as receiving life -time tickets and other exclusive offers) when they released their “Deathbats Club” NFT collection. In both cases, the artists were able to approach and engage with fans in a novel way, thanks to the versatile and direct nature of NFTs.
3. Fund your future
The stereotype of the ‘starving artist’ might be coming to an end. While funding the creation of an album or musical project is an understandably expensive undertaking, artists no longer have to rely on finding a major label to create a financial foundation for their projects. Because NFTs can be made from any kind of memorabilia — song lyrics, throwaway recordings, studio photographs — creators can be left to their own devices when it comes to raising the necessary funds to create a new venture. Even better, fans who have purchased NFTs that go toward an artist’s success can be rewarded in the future with exclusive offerings. In this way, the web3 architecture allows for a kind of crowdfunding exchange previously thought only useful for app or gaming start-ups.
The fact that NFTs can be wired with “smart contracts” (basically a fancy term for technology that tracks royalties to the original creator of a token) means that one-off sales have the opportunity to net long-term dividends. This is especially true given that NFT marketsplaces like OpenSea provide buyers the opportunity to re-sell tokens on the market, a mechanism that can boost the value of highly sought-after tokens. Given that a creator fee can be attached to an NFT collection, the possibility for ongoing royalties through secondary sales seems far more attractive than the traditional “make-it-to-radio” approach.
A recent example comes from electronic producer Deadmau5, whose Head5 collection was distributed with a 7.5% creator fee. Trading of the collection has brought in over $20,000 in revenue (excluding the initial sales!) since it started hopping the market just ten months ago. Now that’s what you call passive income!
4. Influence the culture
Although the mass-streaming of music has come with a multitude of benefits (especially for consumers and fans), the pressure to stay relevant and succeed has resulted in a bit of a quality vs quantity conundrum. Because such a miniscule percentage of streaming artists earn any kind of stable income, it might seem natural for amateurs to emulate the pros at the top. After all, if Drake’s still sitting at the top of the Spotify charts, maybe it isn’t such a bad idea to try and sound like him? Unfortunately, this results in a lot of a similar-sounding content.
Thankfully, web3 architecture and NFTs reward originality. NFT marketplaces don’t just offer a catalog of singles and albums, but also unique projects that combine and encompass all manner of digital art. Just recently, US producers Hit-Boy released KINGSHIP, a more-than-an-album NFT that comprises new songs, unique digital art, future access to metaverse events and even an exclusive invite to a private Discord channel where fans can interact with the artists. By capitalizing on uniqueness, originality and fan-interactivity, artists can use NFTs to drive the music industry to a more approachable, creative and quality-focused playing field.
The Publicator is dedicated to creating a platform for artists, fans and NFT enthusiasts that wholly embraces the decentralized future of the music industry. You can apply to be a beta tester at https://the-publicator.com/.
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