Welcome to the 4th issue of the NFT Humpday Report, a weekly column covering and providing embedded analysis on the NFT economy’s biggest topics du jour. Brought to you by WIP meetup collaborators and nft42 community hub TokenSmart.
The NFT economy has experienced a boom this year, and one of the ecosystem’s most promising sectors has been the arts. Yet while visual arts have dominated the scene so far, musical trailblazers — from crypto OGs to major new oncomers and innovative projects in between — are bringing audio to the fore of the NFT arena in unprecedented fashion.
Why It Matters: The programmability and ownership dynamics of NFTs make them a promising new avenue for artists to earn a living through and to do so on their own terms with self-sovereignty. This a major development for creators, who’ve traditionally fallen prey to middlemen and rent-seeking structures.
Why Audio NFTs: Audio NFTs provide liquidity, ownership, provenance, and scarcity around music in ways that have never been possible before.
They also offer:
Automatic, customizable royalties.
New creative possibilities (e.g. tokenizing an album + album art into a single or limited-edition audio/visual hybrid).
Programmability (e.g. tokenizing a jam session into multiple parts, with collectors activating different riffs to constantly collaborate on a song).
NFT staking (e.g. locking up an audio NFT to farm social tokens).
New curation economies.
Trailblazers to Watch: As the music scene around NFTs keeps picking up, there are key innovators you’ll want to keep on your radar. They include:
NFT artist, musician, and social token pioneer Digital.
NFT artist and musician Godfrey Meyer, a.k.a. Boomboxhead.
NFT record label and platform DAORecords.
P̷̖̟͉̼͗̅̄̅̇͋̌V̷N̶X̷ , a new audio NFT project from acclaimed musician and producer Boys Noize and sus boy.
Key Events in 2020: Like the rest of the NFT economy, the audio NFT sector has been ramping up in recent months. We’ve seen how:
NFT platform SuperRare rolled out MP4 support (Mar. 2020).
Digital released the first original NFT MP4 (Mar. 2020).
RAC released $TAPE, a tokenized cassette album, through Zora (May 2020).
Digital launches the DIGITAL collectibles smart contract through InfiNFT (July 2020).
Lil Bubble, creator of the “All Time Low” crypto parody of Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road,” released their first NFT (Sept. 2020).
3LAU joined SuperRare (Oct. 2020).
RAC and his collaborator Reisinger Andres broke the all-time USD sale record on SuperRare, selling their “Elephant Dreams” NFT for 70 ETH (Oct. 2020).
In Their Own Words: Don’t take my word for it when it comes to the promise of audio NFTs. The artists themselves have plenty to say on the matter.
Digital told TokenSmart: “I think the audiovisual category of collectibles holds great promise. Music presented as an MP4 is nothing new, that’s just YouTube. Tokenizing the video and allowing for fans to own and trade it is where shit gets crazy.”
Boomboxhead told TokenSmart: “Cryptoart is spreading like Mycelium across the digital substrate producing the most interesting digital fruit. NFTs and the current art Renaissance are thriving. It’s giving musicians and artists an outstanding use case to use blockchain for an emerging digital asset class. We are creating VR art galleries, people are minting entire avatar bodies, worlds, audio NFTs, all while developers find ways to bring these tokenized digital assets with us through the metaverse with webXR ... I am most excited about Virtual Production, Virtual Events, and the ‘Crypto Music Industry’ that is about to take off.”
Boys Noize noted by tweet this week: “Re-defining value and creating a new form of music and art is incredible. The devaluation — especially in music — powered by the industry has to change. This is a great experiment and more will follow!”
RAC said during a new livestream: “We’ve sort of been devaluing art and music for a long time. [NFTs are] sort of just proof that there’s a lot more value here than people like to think, clearly.”
Going Deeper: We’ve only just begun to see innovation and adoption kick off around audio NFTs. That said, expect lots more experimentation from here as artists try new things and explore new avenues to connect with their audiences using NFTs. Creator economies are coming, and tokenization is going to be the gasoline that helps the whole thing seriously catch fire. More and more folks will take notice accordingly, and that’s good for artists.
Thanks for reading the 4th NFT Humpday Report! Check back this time next week for more excellent NFT ecosystem coverage! Cheers🌠