Since the COVID-19 pandemic has kept musicians from touring worldwide, many artists have turned to new sources of income to stabilize their careers.
For now, the newest way for musicians (and digital visual artists) to make money looks to be blockchain technology. If you’re a musician, you might be wondering how you, too, can get in on the revenue from non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
By creating and selling collectible digital items, musicians have been able to make back some of the revenue they’ve lost due to canceled shows. Fans bid on limited edition NFTs created by their favorite musicians and, if they win, they gain the rights to that digital token.
Although it may sound nebulous and overly techy, NFTs are the future of generating revenue from your creative content. Even meme creators have cashed in big time! We’ll break it down into simple terms and show you how even you can make money from selling your own NFTs.
What Exactly is an NFT?
A non-fungible token is essentially a digital collectible sold through a ledger known as a blockchain. Blockchains are both public and digital and provide a new way for musicians to engage directly with their fans. Simply create a unique digital item and then put it up for auction or sale.
For example, the Kings of Leon recently released a new album as an NFT. Along with the album, buyers gained exclusive access to live performance material, including tickets to the next Kings of Leon concert, whenever that may be.
While the album is available playing on streaming platforms, you can only get access to the bonus material as an NFT.
How Do Musicians Make Money from NFTs?
Compared to selling an album through a typical market, such as iTunes, selling it as an NFT makes the album and any additional material a limited-edition item.
But the buyer is not just buying access to the token; they’re buying the authenticity and ownership of it directly from the musician.
Tokens can be more than just an album, though. Artists can sell their autographs, images, and even handwritten copies of their song lyrics as tokens.
When artists sell these items as NFTs, the buyers get exclusive ownership of the token, regardless of how many digital copies there are. The musician earns revenue outside of a third-party contract with a record label.
This means artists earn income directly from the buyer. They don’t have to pay a cut to their managers or record label.
How Do Musicians Benefit from NFTs
Besides gaining an additional revenue stream, musicians benefit from selling NFTs by cutting out the middlemen. Normally, when artists sell tickets to their concerts or events, a third-party ticket seller will take a small percentage of the profit earned from every sale.
However, an NFT is a one-to-one sale, meaning that the artist earns the full profit.
Additionally, blockchain sales act as a roundabout way for artists to copyright their work without going through a label or major record deal. We even wrote an article specific to NFTs and how copyright works.
The blockchain itself stamps the token as a unique non-fungible token, meaning that no one else can replicate it without facing legal repercussions.
This puts the power back into artists’ hands rather than forcing them to rely on record labels and streaming platforms such as Spotify or Apple Music.
How You Can Create an NFT
Now that you understand what NFTs are and how they benefit musicians, you’re probably asking yourself, “how can I make one?”
First and foremost, you’ll need some computing power to mint a non-fungible token. To offset the power demand, you’ll have to pay a “gas fee” as well as a minting fee that gets added to your overall charge. Minting an NFT isn’t always cheap and we discuss what to expect and how to do it here. Or check out these two articles to learn how to really save money:
Now that you understand you need to mint your NFT you will now need to pick a crypto wallet that can handle the transactions and store your crypto. There are many out there and discuss the 9 most popular and useful ones in this article.
I have a few different wallets but I seem to use MetaMask and Coinbase the most.
You may also have to pay a listing fee, depending on the blockchain you use to sell your token. For example, the minimum cost of creating and listing an NFT on the Ethereum blockchain will run you anywhere from $75 to $100. (Prices fluctuate heavily and hopefully in the future, there won’t be list fees.)
As a musician, you’ll likely want to check out Rarible or Mintable. These are both top blockchains that market to musicians.
Dig around before you settle on a platform because you may find other options better suited to your musical style—for instance, XLR8r markets specifically for electronic musicians.
The music industry has been forced to change over the past few years as musicians have been forced to stop touring while still giving a cut of their revenue to major labels.
Rather than lose a stream of revenue, musicians have turned to blockchain NFT sales to earn back the rights to their art and earn some extra income. Now, you can too!
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