searchsearch
NFTs In Music: Watch The Most Recent Pro>Sessions Installment To Learn About How You Can Use Your Art To Digitally Capitalize

news

NFTs In Music: Watch The Most Recent Pro>Sessions Installment To Learn About How You Can Use Your Art To Digitally Capitalize

The Recording Academy's Pro>Sessions takes a deep dive into the impact of NFTs on the music industry and how independent creators can leverage this technology to generate revenue in its latest installment

GRAMMYs/Jul 13, 2021 - 03:05 am

Last week, the Recording Academy shared its sixth installment of Pro>Sessions, a professional development series that focuses on driving revenue in today's digital economy. The episode explored NFTs, arguably the most talked-about digital trend on the market right now, and what opportunities for profit exist in the music landscape. What's an NFT? NFT stands for non-fungible token and these tokens are unique, one-of-a-kind digital files of items like drawings and music. The bulk of NFTs are part of the cryptocurrency Ethereum blockchain, and musicians such as 3LAU and Grimes are raking in hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars from the tokenized release of some of their original creations.  

The Recording Academy's Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer Lisa Farris sat down with musician and producer André Anjos, better known as RAC, and recording artist Ryan Paul, aka Wax//Wane, to discuss their experience and current involvement in the digital movement.  

During their conversation, Paul noted his interest in getting in on the trend: "The thing that really caught my excitement with NFTs wasn’t just tokenizing things like music, it was trying to capture that feeling of first opening a pack of magic cards when I was a kid, that thing of trying to collect all of these things and providing a prize for those who jumped in on this journey with us."

NFTs are certainly providing a new avenue for fans to financially support the artists they love, and in turn, receive a digitized rarity. It has also created an unconventional revenue pipeline for musicians. The tricky part is pricing and connecting with potential buyers, and that’s where marketplaces like OneOf and Nifty Gateway have stepped in.  

"Definitely lean into the platforms as a resource for pricing, they know the market pretty well and they will be able to at least give you an estimate or an approximation," Anjos said. "There is a lot of work going into working with collectors. It is really important to establish relationships with your collectors and foster that and they'll give you feedback on pricing too. Get a lot of feedback."

During the second half of the program, Farris continued this compelling discussion from the business perspective with Adam Fell of Quincy Jones Productions, NFT attorney Jacob Martin, and OneOf exec, Joshua James. OneOf is a green NFT platform built specifically for the music vertical.

James shared his passion for the new revenue source: "We are excited that if you are a new artist, and you want to sell $1 NFTs to your first 1,000 fans on Instagram, you can do that. And now three years later when you win a GRAMMY, that $1 NFT is essentially the rookie card and since we can protect the resale royalty, as that NFT trades in value over time, the artist essentially is making money at every transaction along the way."

Check out the full program above to learn more about the role of publishing in NFTs, smart contracts, the future of blockchains, resale values and royalty protections, and the potential pitfalls of selling music via NFTs. 

Black Music Collective Podcast: Watch Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis Discuss Their Legendary Legacy As GRAMMY-Winning Producers

Jack White Spearheads New Industry Conference "Making Vinyl"
Jack White

Photo: Michael Kovac/WireImage.com

news

Jack White Spearheads New Industry Conference "Making Vinyl"

The 12-time GRAMMY winner's label Third Man Records is a major sponsor for a new pro-vinyl industry event

GRAMMYs/Aug 17, 2017 - 11:33 pm

It's no secret that vinyl is riding a continuing wave of resurgence in sales and popularity. Just this year, it's been reported that vinyl sales are currently at the peak of a 25-year high, after rising 26 percent in 2016 alone.

Even as far back as 2014, indie labels like Asthmatic Kitty, home to Sufjan Stevens, were already reporting a minimum 3-month wait list for getting their artists' records pressed and ready for distribution, due to rising consumer demands for the once-dying format.

Jack White has been a major player in the return of vinyl interest, both before and after the opening his own pressing plant at the Detroit, Mich., offices of his label, Third Man Records.

On top of his ongoing contributions to the format, DigitalMusicNews.com is reporting that White's label has become a major sponsor involved in launching a new two-day business conference called "Making Vinyl," which will aim to bring together industry giants to discuss and promote the future of the pressing physical records.

Details are still forthcoming, but White is officially signed on as the opening keynote speaker, with Record Store Day co-founder Michael Kurtz onboard to deliver an additional keynote. DMN has also hinted that White will provide attendees with a multi-hour tour of the Third Man pressing plant.

Registration for the conference opens on Aug. 21, with the event slated to take place in Detroit on Nov. 6–7.

Gibson Guitars Names Slash Global Brand Ambassador

Set List Bonus: Bond Music Group And Vitalic Noise Official SXSW Showcase
Avan Lava

Photo: Faith-Ann Young

news

Set List Bonus: Bond Music Group And Vitalic Noise Official SXSW Showcase

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 04:22 am

Welcome to The Set List. Here you'll find the latest concert recaps for many of your favorite, or maybe not so favorite, artists. Our bloggers will do their best to provide you with every detail of the show, from which songs were on the set list to what the artist was wearing to which out-of-control fan made a scene. Hey, it'll be like you were there. And if you like what you read, we'll even let you know where you can catch the artist on tour. Feel free to drop us a comment and let us know your concert experience. Oh, and rock on.

By Brent Burns
Austin, Texas

South by Southwest is one of the world’s biggest music events, and definitely the largest spectacle to hit Austin, Texas, each year, drawing filmmakers and IT savants from across the globe. In this mass of music fans, industry veterans and the constant search for a charging station, it can be near impossible to find a place to just relax and enjoy the amount of talent surrounding you. On March 15 at the Avenue on Congress I found my refuge, the official SXSW showcase presented by Bond Music Group and Vitalic Noise, with a lineup so stacked there was nowhere else in all of Texas I would rather have been. 

Walking into the venue, downstairs there was a dancehall paradise packed with fans fixated on the superstar maestros of indie dance and electronic disco. Viceroy, a talented San Francisco-based DJ/producer, took the stage right after I arrived and the crowd instantly fell under the spell of his shimmering sun-drenched sound that mixes high-energy disco with massive pop melodies.

Next up was Los Angeles producer duo Classixx who provided the tasty meat in this all-star DJ sandwich, but RAC was one of the more anticipated acts of the evening. Taking to the stage with a glowing wall of lights that pulsed and moved to the beat, there was an instant rush of energy from the crowd. RAC brought their sound to life, starting with the infectiously bouncing disco remix of MNDR’s hit single "Feed Me Diamonds." Their energy was contagious and the entire club moved in unison to their sound.

Meanwhile, music fans could escape upstairs to the real oasis in the middle of downtown Austin, with 360-degree views of the capital’s skyline in all directions via the rooftop stage. While the best disco DJs kept everyone dancing downstairs, the upstairs stage was showcasing the best party bands at SXSW. The lineup featured talent from all over the United States: Washington, D.C.-based electronic group Volta Bureau, Los Angeles-based producer Goldroom and Chicago-based indie-electronica quartet Gemini Club.        

The lineup built up to the brightest stars of the night, showcase headliners Avan Lava, New York’s best-kept party band secret, until now. The band took the stage in matching outfits, custom made for them on a trip to perform at the W Hotel in Singapore, and emerged highlighted by a lighting setup that made the stage lights envious. It all might just have to do with the band’s co-producer Ian Pai touring with the Blue Man Group and Fischerspooner, or it’s just their mutual love for all things Prince, Michael Jackson and Daft Punk, but whatever their inspiration, Avan Lava brought a truly theatrical experience and energy to their live show, the perfect pairing to their party-anthem sound.

Austin’s iconic Frost Bank Tower created an epic backdrop for their show, which kicked off with the bass-heavy, '90s R&B infused track "Tear It Down." For the next 45 minutes the entire rooftop was transfixed on the stage and the five members of Avan Lava dancing in unison, their flashing lights and unstoppable energy. Avan Lava proved that the rest of SXSW has some very large dancing shoes to fill.

Avan Lava Set List:

"Tear It Down"
"Pure As Love"
"Feels Good"
"It's Never Over (Remix)"
"Take This City"
"Slow Motion"
"Somebody To Love Me"
"Freight Train"
"End Of The World"
"It's Never Over"
"Sisters"
"Wanna Live"

(Brent Burns is the dance/electronica GRAMMY.com Community Blogger.)

Are NFT Record Labels The Future Of Music?

feature

Are NFT Record Labels The Future Of Music?

NFTs present a new method for artists to build a community around their music — all while potentially earning more than they would through traditional record sales. GRAMMY.com unpacks the potentialities and pitfalls behind NFT record labels.

GRAMMYs/Jun 7, 2022 - 06:14 pm

NFTs have taken the internet by storm and becoming increasingly mainstream: A recent report.) found that there were over $86 million worth of NFT sales made in 2021, and trading skyrocketed to over $17 billion the same year. As the market for and creation of NFTs continue to boom, both independent and signed artists are flocking to the medium.

NFTs present a new method for artists to syndicate, sell and build a community around their music, all while potentially earning more than they would through traditional record sales. Electronic music DJ and producer 3LAU sold $18 million of NFTs, while deadmau5 racked up $2.7 million in NFT sales, and raised a seed round for his web3 music metaverse platform Pixelynx. As tokens, NFTs allow artists to have complete ownership over their music, often bypassing the common means of distribution and rights associated with traditional record labels.  

During this digital revolution, entrepreneurs and many established musicians are flocking to the space and creating NFT record labels to capitalize on this proclaimed gold rush of opportunity. With this comes the question — are these NFT labels viable, or just another way that brands and entrepreneurs are trying to cash in on the NFT craze?

What Is An NFT?

An NFT, or non-fungible token, represents a unique asset on a blockchain. An NFT has a distinctive identifying code that is documented on a distributed ledger, allowing anyone to see this public information from the point of creation to the most recent sale price. The Recording Academy recently got into the NFT ring, hiring three prominent artists to commemorate The 64th GRAMMY Awards with unique NFT content.

Fans can buy and sell their NFTs, and may own specific pieces of content without having physical copies. This means that an artist's copy is not one they possess physically; instead, it exists solely on the blockchain where anyone with access can see it at any time.  NFTs are one aspect of Web3 — the next version of the internet, which will be built on decentralized blockchain technology.

Are NFT Record Labels Actually Viable?

"I think NFT record labels are the future of music," says Wellington Lora, founder of music library The Cueniverse, which works with NFTs. "Can you imagine an artist releasing music directly to their fanbase, with no middlemen and all proceeds going directly to the artist? This is especially exciting for indie artists in helping to crowdfund their music career."

The NFT space is still being explored and interpreted by developers and users. But as more people become involved in creating NFTs for music-based purposes, there’s potential for this business model to quickly gain popularity.

"The NFT record label industry is still in its infancy," says Josh Neuman, President of metaverse development studio MELON. "When Snoop Dogg bought Death Row Records earlier this year, he said he plans to make it into the first NFT major record label, which would enable fans to buy and sell ownership of recordings, artwork and other digital assets from their favorite artists signed to Death Row. There’s also MoonwalkerFM, an NFT record label for the lo-fi genre."

Their sentiments were echoed by David Beiner and Jay Stolar of Hume, a metaverse record label. The two believe that the viability of web3 record labels will be dictated by how they use NFTs to engage with fans. "It’s not about the NFTs, it’s about building new fan relationships," Beiner and Stolar told GRAMMY.com via email.

"The best way to think of music NFTs is as a new form of media. With 8 tracks, cassettes and CDs, people asked how these new formats would change the dynamics of the music industry for fans," Beiner and Stolar say. "As a fan, you could now play music in your car and your music was more portable. A fan’s relationship with music became even more tied to their lifestyle and became something they could easily bring with them wherever they went. MP3s streamed across the internet were the next evolution of this."

This next evolution has major companies — from Facebook to Spotify — as well as labels and indie artists all vying for their slice of the metaverse pie.

"Music NFTs will similarly change how fans interact with music and how music integrates into our lives," continue Beiner and Stolar. "Labels can create new relationships where fans either have financial upside and/or creative input into the creation of music [by] their favorite artists."

As with any new format or culture shift, it’s difficult to say how they will change things, if at all, but NFTs could be primed to be the next big progression in music.

What Does Signing With An NFT Record Label Look Like?

It’s still uncharted territory, but many artists are already rolling the dice and signing with these futuristic metaverse labels. The number of NFT record labels currently in existence has yet to be reported.

"Blockchain/NFT record labels are not only viable, but will play a major role in flipping the music industry on its head in the coming years," says Thomas Pipolo, artist and Founder of Cotton Candy Records, who recently sold $20,000 worth of his music in a matter of hours as NFTs. Cotton Candy Records offers 80 percent of revenue to the artist, keeping 20 percent for itself.

"What artist, songwriter, producer wouldn't want to keep 80 percent of the pie? In today's music industry, labels and streaming platforms are the modern music industry's funding mechanisms," Pipolo tells GRAMMY.com. "Record labels ask artists for 70–80 percent of the pie, while major streaming platforms pay artists .004 cents a stream. Both are not viable."

Web3 platforms like NFT record labels are more viable and encourage a "work as play" mindset for fan communities, says Obie Fernandez, CEO of RCRDSHP, a digital collectibles platform built by and for the electronic music industry

"The prime motivation for participants is fun, but they can band together to form entities that look and behave kind of like record labels in that they take on A&R and marketing roles," he continues. "These entities may or may not eventually challenge the supremacy of traditional labels, but should certainly pull them in the direction of encouraging additional, authentic engagement between artists and their fan base."

Traditional record labels are already making the jump into the metaverse. In August, Sony backed NFT marketplace MakersPlace in a $30 million Series A round.

"As a music label, our number one goal is to support our artists — both in their artistic growth as well as new business opportunities. To that end, we are constantly aiming to stay ahead of the curve and support our artists in new ways of cross-collaborating between music, art and tech. NFTs are one example in this space," says Mahsa Salarvand, VP Head of the Global Business Office at Sony Music.

Head For The Future, But Tread Cautiously

Though a potentially great way for artists to prosper, the metaverse and NFTs are ripe with scams and companies attempting to take advantage of artists

Before committing to an NFT record label, artists should do their research to see if the firm has market traction, vet the leadership behind the project and verify any claims that certain artists have purchased their NFTs and are involved in the project. NFTs can be sent to anyone’s wallet address — just because an artist has an NFT in their wallet does not mean they are involved in the project. 


As with any new technology, it's up to content creators and consumers to determine the viability of NFTs. The more artists and labels engage with NFTs, the more they evolve and become valuable. The more they evolve and become valuable, the more artists and labels will entice others to use them.

"I do think there are some interesting issues that arise from the concept of NFT labels, governance being one of them," continues MELON'S Nueman. "It’s so interesting to consider the potential implications of a large group of owners voting on things like marketing and promotion spends. There are some incredibly interesting companies providing new ways to connect artists with their fanbases, while incorporating all the components of the music ecosystem. As the adoption of digital wallets becomes more mainstream, all of this is going to be a very exciting space to watch." 

The metaverse is a replication of our current habits without the constraints of physics. Within this interactive virtual space, Beiner and Stolar believe fans will have "the opportunity to enjoy music experiences in an entirely new way." They envision flying through a virtual concert or listening to the music in a variety of surreal environments; the possibilities seem endless.

"On the interaction side, mechanics like holding four of the artist’s music NFTs may allow you to choose the next song being played. When you go to play a game, maybe you’ll be able to set the music of the game based on music NFTs you own. You may also collect concert tickets, but the tickets will be digital and stored in your digital wallet as memorabilia. Perhaps having a certain number of digital concert tickets will unlock unreleased songs," they continue. "The level of fan interaction will go deeper, and the way in which we move about spaces will look much different; but at the end of the day, we’ll still be going to concerts and listening to music." 

Certain things won’t, and perhaps shouldn’t, change. After all, who doesn’t want to experience live music? While the future of the metaverse is unknown and exciting, it’s also clear that not all artists see it as something that will hit mainstream adoption.

"I think that there will be a big opportunity for artists to get placements in these different metaverses and play some virtual concerts, but I think the metaverse is so far away from being something that is mainstream," continues Pipolo. "I could be wrong, but it's not my thing."

Can NFTs Help Labels Stay Ahead Of The Curve?

"The market is down," says rapper, actor and entrepreneur Ja Rule, who recently put his focus into the metaverse. In March 2021, Rule sold a $122,000 NFT of a painting of the logo for his disastrous Fyre Festival. "I [first] heard about NFTs maybe like, a couple of weeks ago," he told Forbes at the time. "I wasn't too educated on them, and I’m still learning a lot about it...I think people got a little bit tired of the regular stocks-and-bonds way of investing."

In any business, stagnation will see you left behind and out of the game. This has been true throughout the history of the music industry, but is doubly so in its current climate — particularly for artists. Artists and labels that don’t continue evolving, pushing their creativity and embrace of technology, risk falling by the wayside.

As the landscape of music changes, so do its practices. NFTs may be the next big change the music industry and its artists have been waiting for. When asked if record labels in the metaverse were viable, Ja Rule reminds us that "anything is possible in the metaverse."

We're Probably On An Irreversible Course Into The Metaverse. What Role Will Music Play In It?

Berklee Online Adds Master's Programs For Music Production, Business

Berklee College of Music

Photo: Paul Marotta/Getty Images

news

Berklee Online Adds Master's Programs For Music Production, Business

Aspiring record producers and music business professionals can aim high with these new online master's programs

GRAMMYs/Nov 7, 2017 - 02:12 am

Berklee College of Music Online brings the premier learning institution's top-tier education experience to students all over the globe. Now, online students can pursue two new master's degree programs: Master of Arts in Music Production and Master of Arts in Music Business.

Each program involves 12 online-based courses as well as a culminating experience, which the school says could be creating a marketing plan or an album, according to Billboard. Students will have the chance "to spend a year doing everything they love and honing their knowledge and skills to advance their career in the music industry," said Carin Nuernberg, Berklee's vice president of online education.

The curriculum of these programs, which tackle many of the aspects affiliated with careers on the creative and entrepreneurial sides of music. Music Business students will study artist management, marketing, licensing, branding, and touring while Music Production students will dig into recording, mixing, mastering, vocal production, and audio for visual media.

More information on all of Berklee Online's degrees and courses can be found via website

Berklee, New York City Save Iconic Power Station Studio