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NFTs For Music: NFT Music Marketplaces and Music NFTs

NFTs have become synonymous with visual artwork following their meteoric rise to the mainstream. Today, you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t immediately make that association, given the entrenchment of pfp (profile picture) collections and 1/1 art in the space. 

However, visual artwork is simply one of a near-endless array of applications for this technology.

The music industry faces the same challenges of predatory intermediaries that plagues the art world, arguably to an even greater extent. With the advent of streaming, service providers continue to claim the lion’s share of artists’ revenue, making it challenging for musicians to rely on streams as a sole source of income.

A table showing the number of streams required for artists to earn $1 by platform

Streaming service payouts (nftnow)

Why Use an NFT Marketplace For Music?

As with their visual counterparts, music NFTs offer collectors a means to directly support the artists they love. Further, NFT drops from musicians often include special offerings, such as unreleased tracks, event passes, signed memorabilia, and more.

NFTs have also given rise to novel forms of music collections. Generative music NFTs, such as those pioneered by Audioglyphs, each contain a unique combination of rhythms that collectors can use to create their own tracks.

Music NFT Marketplaces

While Music NFTs are available on major generic marketplaces, such as Opensea, Looksrare, and Rarible, a number of dedicated Music NFT marketplaces have emerged in recent years.

Currently invite only, Catalog is a dedicated music NFT marketplace that allows artists to upload their music for sale via direct purchase or auction. Uploaded tracks are free to stream, allowing collectors to browse and listen at their leisure. Importantly, as with visual art NFTs, creators receive 100% of proceeds from initial sales, and are able to set their own royalties for secondary sales. 

Serial hit-maker and entrepreneur 3LAU recently launched Royal, a novel marketplace with fresh mechanics designed to further bridge the creator-audience disconnect. Specifically, Royal allows collectors to invest in their favorite artists and earn royalties based on their streaming revenue and growth.

Three tiers of access with different exclusive benefits

A drop by prolific hip hop artist Nas, with tiered benefits (Royal.io)

Alongside Catalog, Sound.xyz claims the title of arguably the most popular dedicated music NFT marketplace at present. Sound offers an interesting value proposition – where artists can mint NFTs that provide access to listening parties for their latest releases, in addition to single and album mints. The platform boasts daily listening parties, and has played host to releases from the likes of Snoop Dogg, Pussy Riot, and Daniel Allan.

Music NFT Market

Given that art-based NFTs have claimed center stage in the NFT market, it’s unsurprising that music NFTs remain a small segment of overall trading volume. Leading generic marketplace Opensea illustrates the nascence of this budding sector – top collections to date have yet to claim 10K ETH in cumulative trading volume. For context, the top 100 art-based NFT collections all boast volume >8K ETH at the time of writing. 
 

Music NFTs ranked by total cumulative volume

Top Music NFT collections by volume (Opensea)
 

As a small subset of the overall NFT space, music NFTs have invariably been hit hard by the market-wide downturn observed throughout 2022. However, the rapid innovation in this sector could likely make music NFTs strong contenders once the tides turn. 

NFT Music For Sale

When it comes to current offerings, there is a wealth of options to choose from. Sound hosts numerous drops daily, which can be browsed directly on the platform’s home page. Meanwhile, Royal’s fractionalized, revenue sharing approach offers plenty of opportunities to support some of the largest artists around. 

If you’d like to experience the power of generative music NFT collections, the hypnotic beats and surreal artwork of Audioglyphs could be worth exploring.

How to Sell Music as NFTs

As with visual NFTs, the process for minting music NFTs for individual creators is becoming an increasingly seamless experience with no coding knowledge required. Sound and Catalog both offer easy minting options, while Opensea supports an array of file formats that allow you to mint NFTs across the spectrum of media – music, art, video, and 3D models.

For creators looking to mint large scale music collections, especially generative ones, coding knowledge is a necessity. Anyone looking to do so may need to recruit Solidity developers in order to mint directly on-chain via a new smart contract.

What Origin Protocol Has Done With Music NFTs

Origin has made significant waves in the music NFT space, having partnered with 3LAU to launch his Ultraviolet collection, which garnered over $13m in sales and remains the highest music NFT sale to date. 

3LAU's record breaking music NFT drop powered by Origin

Always looking to push the envelope, Origin also partnered with obsessively innovative multitalented artist BT to launch a unique collection in late 2021. The album, Metaversal, blends audio, visuals, coding, and cryptography to create a truly immersive multifaceted experience.

The collection can be described as a cryptographic treasure hunt, packed with easter eggs that gave astute collectors benefits like 1-of-1 NFTs. Metaversal keeps track of lunar cycles, and plays different versions of the album across three modes: day, night, and full moon. 

Auction winners received physical vinyls of the album, along with handmade 3D printed waveform sculptures. 

Undoubtedly, the music NFT market is still in its infancy. However, with the brightest minds rapidly advancing what the technology can offer through novel mechanics and holistic experiences, it’s tremendously exciting to consider this sector’s trajectory as it gains further traction.

FAQs

How do you create music NFTs?

Music NFTs can be easily minted with no coding requirements via NFT platforms like Opensea and dedicated music NFT marketplaces.

What are the benefits of music NFTs?

Music NFTs allow collectors to support artists without their earnings being split with predatory intermediaries. Additionally, music NFTs provide fans with access to unique perks like custom vinyls, event passes, and unreleased songs.

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Yasthiel Devraj