If we were to ask everyone reading this article to raise their hands if they feel they really understand cryptocurrency, NFTs or web3 in general, we suspect we would see very few hands. That’s not because very few people will read this article – it’s because it takes a certain amount of technical knowledge to know what a cryptocurrency is, what an NFT is and how either one works in regards to earning money. money to people. We’ll be very honest and say we don’t know everything we want to know about them either, but we do know this: NFTs are a big thing in the music world right now, and not everyone is happy about that.
The first major band in the world to release an album as NFT was Kings of Leon in March 2021. Later that year, they would become the first band to have an NFT play in space. It’s nice for Kings of Leon to have an entry in the record books again, but most people didn’t know what an NFT actually was at the time. The hellscape of 2022 with NFT video game carpets everywhere and people paying thousands of dollars for monkey jpegs was not yet a reality. NFTs did not have the largely bad reputation they have today. Nevertheless, musicians are still queuing up to get involved in NFTs. Are they intentionally scamming their users, or is it just the latest musical trend?
Dolly Parton enters NFT space
When there’s a new music trend, you can generally expect Dolly Parton to be a part of it. For a woman in her mid 70’s, she does an excellent job of staying ahead of the times and discovering new opportunities. It is often said that Dolly Parton is a better businesswoman than a musician – and she is an excellent musician. In early March 2022, Dolly announced that she would be “performing on the blockchain” at this year’s South by Southwest festival and that her performance as a free NFT would be available to all attendees. How exactly that works if each NFT should be unique is not clear – maybe everyone will get a slightly different view with some music added. She will also be selling NFTs of her own art, her upcoming novel and limited editions of her new album. It’s fair to say that Dolly has embraced web3.
Incredible as Dolly is, it’s hard to imagine that she has searched forums and message boards for information about web3. More likely she was inspired by facts that a few months ago someone paid half a million dollars to buy a piece of “digital land” next to Snoop Dogg in the “Snoopverse”, and that the world has gone crazy. Katy Perry recently made money selling photos of the kind she would normally offer for free on Instagram as NFTs for £250 at a time. This is a great way to monetize the artists who have been able to capitalize on the trends so far – but does it really offer anything for fans?
The NFT Kickback
There are signs that music fans may be waking up to the idea that NFTs aren’t as valuable as they appear to be or don’t make as much sense as purchases. Dolly Parton will probably be spared any backlash for being such a beloved figure, but Charli XCX recently discovered how much her fans hate the idea of her getting involved in NFTs. She was due to perform at an ‘NFT festival’ called Afterparty in late March, with the idea that top musicians would perform at an event where people could buy ‘NFT Art’. The only people invited to the festival are people who already own “utopian” NFTs, people who were invited by those who owned the NFTs, or anyone who could demonstrate that they had the capital to pay for coining such’ n NFT. Charli XCX fans made their feelings about her involvement in the event very clear, and she eventually left the festival before taking a break from social media.
Charli XCX isn’t the only artist to have felt the wrath of angry anti-web3 fans lately. Sunmi attempted to launch a series of NFTs under the name “Sunmiya Club” and was later forced to apologize. Hitpiece, which has been described as a ‘music NFT platform’, has recently come under scrutiny for the presence of an abundance of stolen music on the platform. There still seems to be a lot of confusion about what an NFT is and what one is entitled to. To be clear, an NFT is an item on the blockchain that points to a link, whether that be an image, a music file, or something else. The only thing the NFT owner really owns is the link. It has never been explained to anyone’s satisfaction how NFT owners are supposed to monetize their ‘assets’, but that doesn’t stop people from paying exorbitant prices for them.
Shouldn’t musicians be able to explore new frontiers?
NFTs can be a sensitive topic among those who believe in them as the future of digital assets and an even more sensitive topic among musicians making money from them. We shouldn’t blame musicians for wanting to make money. Thanks to platforms like Spotify, albums and singles now earn a fraction of what they made ten or twenty years ago. As recordings of their music became nearly worthless, musicians had to rely on live performances to pay their bills. In 2020, live performances became temporarily impossible. Artists have to make ends meet somehow, and NFTs probably seem like an easy way to do that.
On the other hand, there are several ways to use the digital world to pay the bills. Check out how many casinos and casino sister sites now have official, licensed music from top artists. It feels like every rock band from the 80s and 90s has its own official presence in casinos, and if we are to believe reviews on casino sister sites, the games are very popular. Often they take the form of a jukebox of the artist’s greatest hits, with the game itself almost an afterthought. Even in cases where a band or musician isn’t big enough to warrant a special game for them, casino sister site content still needs a soundtrack, and an increasing number of musicians are making good money providing those soundtracks. The subject may not be to everyone’s taste, but it still feels fairer than producing NFTs.
Musicians work and should not operate as charities. They have a right to make money and fans can spend as much or as little on their favorite artists as they want. Minting NFTs for thousands of dollars at a time, while those NFTs will likely prove worthless in the long run, probably won’t be good for the artists who indulge in the practice five years from now.
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