The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of the editors or editors of Rolling Stone.
While the Covid-19 pandemic has hit the entertainment industry hard, it has hit independent artists even harder, especially when it comes to protecting their income-dependent consumer fan base.
When musicians and producers turned to social media to keep their careers alive, hosting virtual gigs and regular content drops, it didn’t take long for platforms like Facebook and Spotify to begin. installation of guardrails. This posed a challenge for the many struggling artists who just needed to stay afloat.
With the return of concerts, independent artists have some catching up to do, starting by leveraging technologies like blockchain and crypto to stay ahead. Music-Linked Non-Fungible Tokens, or NFTs, have proven to be a new way to connect both for the artist and, finally, for their fans.
An NFT is an electronic identifier that authenticates the existence of a digital asset, typically in the art world, or in this case, a limited edition piece of music or related benefit, not available anywhere else. NFT token contracts are unique, so the owner of the NFT token contract is the owner of the original artwork; NFTs create virtual scarcity that elevates value.
Despite the recent slowdown in the NFT market, this technology remains a powerful instrument for independent musicians who do not always have the same luxury and the same resources available to them by mainstream platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, which are aimed at largely to renowned artists. .
Consider intellectual property
As the pandemic continued to endure, it became increasingly clear that independent artists need a more robust toolbox and more innovative revenue streams. While it may seem obvious that the nearly saturated digital streaming market is made up of many platforms, it is important to assess each platform’s mission in what it specifically offers to its artists versus what it is. consumer fan base.
To break the barrier between the artist and the fan is to implement as many mechanisms to allow the fan to feel, in effect, loyal and invested at their favorite artists. For any piece of music, made up of many elements that are not always attributed to a single artist, copyright protection is of the utmost importance in today’s digital age, which has been fueled by the birth of the peer-to-peer (P2P) file. -share.
But the start of innovative advances in the music industry allows for more direct participation from fans and investment opportunities for artists. For example, platforms like ROCKI offer fans the opportunity to support their favorite artists by investing in their work and getting a share of the royalties. In December 2020, Israeli progressive house artist Guy J released “Cotton Eyes” exclusively on ROCKI, which was auctioned off for a record 40 ETH, or roughly $ 24,200 for a portion of future royalty rights to ROCKI.
Artists get creative
Even more mainstream artists are getting creative in the way they leverage technology to interact with their fans. In March, rapper Post Malone released an NFT that would allow fans who joined the company’s “Moon Club” to participate in Posty’s World Pong League via a live auction on Clubhouse. It was the very first experience for NFT holders to play beer pong against the rapper.
In May, a new collective of artists NFT known as “TestaMint” enters space with artists Billy Morrison (Billy Idol), Dave Navarro (Jane’s Addiction) and Jim “TAZ” Evans. Launched by Elevated Games CEO Jaron Hinds and South Park Executive Producer Frank Agnone, TestaMint has reportedly created the world’s first eco-friendly blockchain ecosystem, which the company says makes it 66,000 times greener than Bitcoin and 17,000 times more ecological. friendly than Ethereum.
And then there are those artists who have used the NFT craze to help fuel unorthodox opportunities for their fans to show their support in a way that differs from previously established industry standards.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, activist and co-founder of Pussy Riot, whose recent songs support and empower women victims of domestic violence, launched their four-part NFT series back in March for the group’s last clip “Panic Attack” on the Foundation platform. Pussy Riot also sponsors a NFT Political Art Prize in order to cover transaction costs for artists.
In 2015, Imogen Heap became one of the first to use and defend Ethereum blockchain for its music, which is why it is not surprising to see her dabble in the NFTs. In April, Heap created short audiovisual clips sold as NFT on OpenSea, which it created during collaborative jam sessions live on the Endlesss app. The project removed a total of 20 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which more than offset the emissions generated by NFTs.
Will our musical landscape change?
NFT’s influence on our musical landscape could forever alter decades of alternate ownership access.
According to the RIAA’s latest year-end report, streaming now represents 83 percent of total industry turnover. But with a problem: in the “pro-rated” model, 90% of what is broadcast is music from the top 1% of performers. It’s no secret that Spotify pays artists between $ 0.003 and $ 0.005 per stream, but revenues can be less than that. Freelance artist Gilligan Moss said he received a check for $ 8.19, representing his music which has been broadcast only 92,000 times.
With the emergence of NFTs, independent artists may have a fair chance to compete, perform, and survive among the most influential artists in the industry. In my opinion, companies that put their fans and artists first could, over time, thrive far beyond what platforms have set as precedent in the industry. It’s time to bridge the gap between artist and listener.