21 September 2021
Music companies have had a love-hate relationship with technology since affordable cassette recorders made it possible for fans to share pirated copies of record albums. Widespread distribution over the internet – much of it unpaid – has made record companies reinvent their business models.
That may be why record companies and recording artists are so eager to embrace blockchain technology. It’s easy to imagine a world in which encrypted digital music files are copied freely, but players don’t operate unless NFTs for the music appear in your wallet.
The blockchain-based music platform Audius has attracted attention and investments from lots of musicians. Recording artists Katy Perry, Nas, and Jason Derule have recently invested in the streaming platform, which is exploring innovative ways of combining NFTs, social networking, and even TikTok integration.
The artists are looking for an alternative to streaming services like SoundCloud, which they say provide minimal royalties to musicians.
Other artists are taking the challenge into their own hands. In March 2021, Kings of Leon introduced an NFT that included a copy of its latest album, custom artwork, musical outtakes, and other benefits. The band raised $2.2 million in initial sales, plus an additional $246,000 from subsequent transactions – the band earns 10% when users sell the NFTs to each other.
Another reason artists like NFT distribution is that they can send promotions about their future releases to NFT holders. Blockchain technology combines the ease of internet distribution with built-in copyright protection.
“I would say within the next 10 years, 70% of albums will be released in NFT form,” says Kings of Leon singer Caleb Followill.
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