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.