Melody on the Blockchain: Empowering Artists by Tokenising Music Royalties

Throughout history, music has wielded an undeniable power, moulding societies and leaving a profound impact on individuals. The music industry, set to generate an astounding $65 billion in revenue by 2023, has traditionally seen profits concentrated in the hands of a select few major platforms and publishers. To remedy this imbalance, a transformative solution has emerged: Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), offering musicians a revolutionary path to distribute and monetise their artistry.


By embracing NFTs, artists can transcend geographical boundaries and connect with a global audience, paving the way for a more inclusive and diverse music landscape. The inherent security and transparency of NFT platforms empower creators, granting them control over their work and ensuring fair compensation for their talents.


This burgeoning trend in the music industry heralds a new era, where artists and fans can forge stronger bonds. As NFTs reshape the traditional dynamics of music distribution, the entire ecosystem benefits, allowing musicians to chart their own path and fans to engage with their favorite artists in unprecedented ways.


How Can They Transform the Music Industry?
Empowering Musicians through Music NFTs: The advent of NFTs has opened up a world of creative possibilities for musicians. By harnessing the power of blockchain technology, artists can now craft, showcase, and share their music in unprecedented ways. NFTs act as unique digital assets, enabling musicians to tokenise individual tracks, music videos, or even entire albums. With this innovative approach, fans can now own a distinct piece of their favorite artist’s work, creating a deeper and more personal connection between artists and their audience.


A Paradigm Shift in Fair Compensation: Embracing NFTs not only transforms how music is consumed but also revolutionises how artists are compensated. By tokenising their music, musicians gain the ability to receive higher royalties and maintain full control over their creations. The immutable nature of blockchain technology guarantees the security of ownership rights, protecting artists from manipulation or unauthorised use of their work. As a result, musicians can rightfully claim the rewards of their talent and hard work whenever their music NFTs are bought, sold, or traded. Simultaneously, fans who invest in these NFTs play an active role in supporting their beloved artists, while also gaining the potential for economic benefits as the value of these unique assets evolves.


Below is a chart from Royal’s blog about how copyrights generate music royalties.

One of the Biggest International Superstars Can Look Into Tokenising Music Royalties as NFTs: Taylor Swift
In the pursuit of artistic independence and ownership over her music, pop sensation Taylor Swift has embarked on a remarkable journey since 2021. Rerecording and releasing her entire back catalog of albums, she is determined to break free from her previous record label’s constraints. Her unwavering commitment to reclaiming what rightfully belongs to her raises questions about the complexities and challenges that young artists face in the music industry.


The fact that such a talented and established artist like Taylor Swift must undergo a painstaking and expensive process to regain control over her work serves as a glaring reminder of the convoluted landscape artists navigate. The music industry has earned its reputation as a perplexing space where aspiring musicians can unknowingly find themselves entangled in unfavourable or exploitative record contracts. This reality highlights the need for increased awareness and education to empower young artists to make informed decisions about their careers.


Novel Approach to Music Royalties
The allure of a democratised and decentralised music industry, where artists can directly engage with their fans through NFTs, has captured the collective imagination. One particularly promising application gaining traction is the concept of “music NFTs,” enabling the tokenisation of song royalties. This innovative approach empowers fans to not only support their favorite artists but also become stakeholders in their success, earning a percentage of the revenue generated by the music they cherish.


Justin Blau, otherwise known as 3lau, a popular DJ and founder of Royal, one of the few companies working to forge connections between the conventional music industry and the world of blockchain, expressed that, “I would say maybe 10% of musicians have a good understanding, 1% of musicians have a great understanding, and 0.1% of musicians have an amazing understanding of the legal and financial structure behind the music industry.”


Artists are Coming Forth to Tokenise Their Music
Within the realm of tokenising traditional music royalty streams, three prominent companies are leading the charge: Blau’s Royal, Anotherblock, and Bolero.


Royal places a strong emphasis on streaming and has already forged partnerships with renowned artists like Nas and The Chainsmokers. Leveraging the Polygon network, Royal’s NFTs offer flexible storage options, allowing users to choose between a custodial wallet managed by Royal or the self-custody capabilities of wallets like MetaMask.


Anotherblock, a key player in the space, is no stranger to collaboration with high-profile musicians like The Weeknd and R3hab. Like Royal, streaming royalties take centre stage, with Ethereum (ETH) serving as the foundation for their NFT ecosystem. For interested investors, acquiring NFTs is accessible via ETH, through self-custodial wallets or the third-party service, Paper.


Lastly, Bolero adds its distinctive flair to the blockchain royalty landscape with the launch of “Song Shares” on the Polygon network in February. Despite being a newer entrant, Bolero has already made waves, collaborating with notable artists like Agoria and Yemi Alade.


In February, the royalties of Rihanna’s chart-topping anthem “Bitch Better Have My Money” was tokenised as NFTs, sparking a frenzy of interest. The announcement of this unique opportunity led to an astonishingly rapid sell-out, with the entire collection of NFTs claimed within mere minutes.

At the heart of this initiative lies the collaboration between the song’s producer, Jamil “Deputy” Pierre, and AnotherBlock.


Beyond their music prowess, The Chainsmokers have also carved a unique path as Web3 innovators, leading to an exciting development with their latest album, “So Far So Good.” Last May, they released 5,000 NFTs alongside their album, offering fans a chance to partake in 1% of the royalties. This bold endeavour marked the most prominent example at that time of musicians embracing NFTs to share their success with their devoted supporters. While esteemed artists like Nas and Diplo have ventured into issuing royalty-generating NFTs tied to specific songs, The Chainsmokers’ approach sets a remarkable precedent: they are the first band to offer NFTs tied to an entire album, and the best part is, they are providing this opportunity to their fans at no cost.


Challenging the Status Quo
In the traditional music industry, it is evident that some key players seem hesitant to challenge the status quo. The existing model, with its intricate and often perplexing structure, appears to favour these industry stakeholders, granting them financial gains even if it comes at the expense of the artists themselves.


However, the potential for transformative change is palpable. The marriage of music and blockchain technology through NFTs brings an exciting wave of change to the music industry. As artists and fans alike embrace this transformative shift, we find ourselves immersed in a dynamic landscape of possibilities.


Will this groundbreaking shift in how royalties are distributed truly empower artists and reshape the dynamics of the music industry? As we navigate this uncharted territory, one thing is certain: the convergence of Web3, blockchain, and music is on the cusp of reshaping an entire industry, opening doors to new possibilities and redefining the very essence of musical creation and fandom.

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