Kings of Leon will be the first band to release an album as a non-fungible token (NFT) as part of their campaign “NFT Yourself.” This band isn’t the first to use this crypto technology. Canadian musician Grimes sold millions of dollars worth of art in just a few minutes using NFTs. Even the 2011 meme Nyan Cat is being sold as an NFT. This technology isn’t brand new, but Kings of Leon’s announcement could make the usage mainstream and change the music industry forever.
What’s an NFT??
A non-fungible token is a unique and not interchangeable crypto token. An example of a fungible token is Bitcoin: You can trade one Bitcoin for any other Bitcoin, and they’re basically the same thing. But if you get a Kings of Leon NFT, you can’t just trade with your buddy who has another kind of NFT and get the same access. NFTs don’t hold money as Bitcoin does; they can hold uncommon assets such as art, tickets and music. But similar to Bitcoin, NFTs run on blockchain technology – one of the driving forces behind the rise in crypto. Blockchain offers transactional speed and security that traditional banking lacks.
How will Kings of Leon’s rollout work? Any fan who wants to hear the new music can listen on Apple, Spotify, Amazon – all of the “traditional” spaces. But the crypto-curious can buy Kings of Leon NFTs on YellowHeart, gaining access to limited-edition album art and vinyl, digital downloads and front-row seats for life. Here’s the catch: They’re only selling their NFTs for two weeks. After, they will be a tradable collectible. As collectors do with sports memorabilia and trading cards, you can hold on to these NFTs and possibly trade them if they increase in value.
Why artists use NFTs
Artists have had a hard time making money. People are less willing to pay for art since the Internet age because there’s always a way to find it for free. Remember when you would have to buy an entire album to hear your favorite song? Next, you could purchase one song at a time. Now, you can have nearly every musician’s entire catalog for $10 a month.
With the introduction of Spotify and other music streaming platforms, the price per song has dropped significantly. Plus, most musicians can’t tour right now, which is traditionally a major income source. With NFTs, artists can sell their music again. Fans truly want to pay for it because it’s unique and collectible. Additionally, NFTs allow artists to earn royalties on their digital art. For example, let’s say that someone buys NFT art from you. If they trade or sell it, you get a percentage from that sale! Kings of Leon also can automatically direct that resell money to an organization of your choice.
The industry may change forever
Some people are skeptical about digital art, which is understandable. We’re accustomed to giving great value to objects that we can pick up, touch and hang on our walls. But like it or not, the world is going digital. No matter how many Urban Outfitters stores sell record players, people primarily will listen to digital music.
However, one possible risk for digital art is that the internet is always changing. Old files don’t match new systems; the next thing you know, you no longer can open that file. Also, you could be like the unlucky guy who lost his crypto wallet password and missed out on millions of dollars. But physical art holds risk, too. Objects can be lost or stolen, and original pieces can become sensitive to camera flashes.
Finally, of course, cheaters always will try to find a way to get NFT assets for free, but fans and artists can find real value in this crypto market. Which artist will jump on board next?