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NFTs could be the solution for a more equitable music industry

July 4, 2022

NFTs offer musicians a new way to market their work, by selling music as NFTs under their name

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In the era of live streaming music on platforms such as Spotify, it’s extremely difficult for musicians to make a living, as they often earn mere pennies for every stream of the music they worked so hard to create. As over 90% of streaming goes to less than 1% of artists, most musicians aren't left with too many options. But the newly emerging NFT music industry is challenging the current system. Here’s how.

Why the music industry needs NFTs?

Musicians find it very challenging to make a living the way the industry is constructed at the moment.  In order to sign a record deal a musician has to sign off almost all his or her rights to a label company, with huge sums of income going to intermediaries like lawyers, agents and distributors. Even world famous musicians who have made it big, like Kanye West, have spoken out about their struggles. West once called the music industry “modern day slavery.”

The NFT music industry is growing

NFTs offer musicians a new way to market their work, by selling music as NFTs under their name. Because of the community aspect of NFTs, this comes with some distinct advantages, including the ability for musicians to interact with their fans, who in turn are willing to spend more money in order to purchase unique first editions of songs as NFTs, and get rewarded with free concert tickets, meet and greet with their favorite artists, and other benefits. 

Decentralized fan funding is another main advantage for the NFT music market. Fans who purchase NFT music help fund future albums, and in return can become co-creators and develop their own music, or even receive a share of future profits instead of the conglomerate production companies. Artists get to retain rights over their own creations, and receive royalties for future sales.

Can the NFT music market replace traditional record labels?

That is still speculation. The NFT music market is still relatively small compared to streaming platforms, but the NFT music business is growing. Websites that are specifically designed for NFT music, such as Catalog, are becoming populars with both creators and fans, enabling unique opportunities and collaborations in the NFT music industry.

The ground-up, community oriented aspect of NFTs definitely has its advantages, but like the NFT market in general, it is yet to be discovered by the majority of the population. Time will tell how large the NFT music industry can be.

Q&A

What is an NFT in the music industry?

An NFT is a unique digital asset stored on the blockchain. In the music industry this will usually be some type of audio file, like mp3. But it could also be other files used in the music industry such as a music video or a promotional album cover.

Can NFTs be used for music?

Yes. Any digital file can be made into an NFT. Therefore music files can be made into an NFT by storing them on the blockchain, with a verified owner.

How do musicians use NFTs?

Musicians sell their music as NFTs. They also engage with their community as NFT ownership enables musicians to know who is buying their music.