5 Causes Why NFTs Don’t Matter (YET) for Indie Musicians

NFTs will save the music business!

They’ ll restore music’s worth!

Artists can higher merchandise themselves with NFTs!

These are simply a few of the claims I’ve been listening to about NFTs, that are all the fashion within the music press and… on Clubhouse.

Each music biz dialogue is crammed with chatter about NFTs nowadays. Each enterprise journal is speaking up NFTs prefer it’s some Gold Rush. Silicon Valley cheerleaders are scooping up NFTs left and proper!

Saturday Evening Stay even did a sketch about NFTs:

So right here’s what that you must find out about NFTs for those who’re a DIY musician:

Overlook about them (for now).

Significantly, you’ll know when it’s time for NFTs. Till then, don’t fear.

Sure, for those who’re a sufficiently big artist to capitalize on verifiably-limited digital merchandise, cool — dive into NFTs, or let your supervisor deal with it. 

And sure, there are lots of promising big-picture prospects and thrilling present makes use of for NFTs. They might finish the follow of ticket scalping, which might assist each followers and artists. NFTs may additionally profit artists who license their music. And the Blockchain may stand in for copyright registration, because it’s performing as the same time-based witness of a piece’s creation and utilization. The checklist goes on.

However for those who’re a model new or rising artist, nonetheless working laborious to easily attain listeners, drive consciousness, and construct a modest fanbase, there are different issues it is best to give attention to. Ignore the hype round NFTs. Flip round now. Cease studying. Cease studying!!!

Oh, nonetheless right here? Okay, wonderful. Let’s find out about NFTs then: What they’re, how you can mint them, and why they’re not the reply to your prayers.

What’s an NFT and why do they matter to the music business?

To oversimplify: an NFT is a restricted digital merchandise. Consider it like digital merch or art work. 

One thing uncommon or one-of-a-kind. 

Who buys music-related NFTs? Collectors, diehard followers, and randos which have cash to burn proving their cachet within the Secret Order of Aficionados.

“NFT” stands for “non-fungible token.”

Fungible signifies that one thing will be changed with an similar, interchangeable unit.

So non-fungible means it could actually’t get replaced.

[Bear in mind, you continue to have time to show round. And after a time period like “non-fungible token,” I hope you make the proper alternative.]

A non-fungible token is a unit of information that lives on a blockchain; a blockchain is a public, digital ledger proving possession. The “public,” distributed nature of that ledger helps forestall tampering and fraud. Thus the blockchain additionally helps guarantee correct rights attributions and permits for the monitoring of subsequent transactions because the NFT is purchased, offered, or traded.

Every time the NFT is re-sold, the unique creator can earn a proportion of all future transactions. In perpetuity. Which means the income you earn per sale will probably improve as your profession and stature develop as an artist. As a result of the identical NFT now instructions a better value.

Cool, proper? However there are (at the least) 5 issues with NFTs.

1. NFTs don’t invent demand

For our functions, let’s say your NFT is a few type of digital music content material, comparable to:

  • A whole music
  • A riff or musical concept
  • A picture of the album cowl 
  • A band emblem
  • A live performance recording
  • A filter
  • A music video
  • and many others.

Or perhaps it’s a Microsoft Paint picture you made whenever you have been Four years outdated. Or maybe you’ve determined to precise your musical model within the type of animated trading-card GIFs that resemble Rubbish Pail Youngsters.

Whereas any of these recordsdata could be replicable, the “official” NFT model will not be — thus limiting possession, and rendering that individual presentation of the digital content material extra uncommon. In principle, when amount is restricted, worth will increase.

However provided that there’s demand. Simply because my neighbor made a one-of-a-kind voice memo of his canine barking doesn’t imply I need to purchase it.

As Vladislav Ginzburg says, “the normal rules that govern the worth of collectibles nonetheless apply—high quality, authorship, uniqueness, shortage, provenance, and cultural relevance.”

Ask your self this: Do I’ve diehard followers with expendable earnings who pays large cash for an NFT if the identical content material is out there elsewhere on-line at no cost?

[Bear in mind, you possibly can cease studying at any time.]

Already promoting shirts and vinyl? Nice. Promote these higher.

BUT WAIT! Didn’t I say NFTs are all about restricted portions? Why would the identical NFT content material be obtainable elsewhere on-line?

As a result of let’s get actual for a second; you don’t have additional time in your life.

2. DIY musicians should be selective about shortage

As an impartial musician you may already be liable for songwriting, recording, videography, modifying, design, advertising, touring, and infrequently sleeping. 

You don’t have bandwidth to create one set of fantastic songs which might be broadly obtainable on Spotify, AND THEN make a bunch of separate songs that only some folks can hear. 

You don’t have time to make a bunch of nice music movies for TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, Fb, Triller, and Snapchat, AND THEN have an entire different manufacturing course of for limited-edition movies.

I imply, positive — every now and then you may do one thing like that. However this isn’t a sustainable behavior for the typical indie artist.

Everytime you create one thing nice, it’s to your benefit to deploy that content material as broadly as you possibly can in an effort to attain and entertain as many individuals as potential. Not promote uncommon gems to no matter wealthy weirdo desires to hoard a bit of your brilliance.

And severely, can we speak for a second about the kind of fan who desires to be the ONLY individual to listen to a selected album, or see a portray, or learn a one-of-a-kind ebook? What’s their deal?

Music is private, but it surely’s additionally communal. It ought to be shared. With the viewers. But additionally amongst the viewers.

3. You’re competing with well-known artists

What persons are actually obsessive about proper now’s the stylish idea and supply format of an NFT, not essentially the contents inside. It’s an financial system and information story based mostly totally on hype. The hype is fueled by already well-known or well-connected folks cashing in.

As soon as NFTs lose their de facto luster, we’ll have a musical panorama that’s crowded with competitors, and fewer investor-types who need to purchase NFTs “simply because.”

Which leaves you in precisely the identical place you’re proper now.

Relying in your outlook right now, you’re both competing with Beyoncé for streaming consideration (and shedding) or responsibly performing just like the cottage business you’re! Which means that your success is tied to the methods during which you enchantment on to your followers, asking them to do one thing that has an instantaneous impression in your profession.

If that’s the place you’re already at, what’s the profit (to you) of an NFT?

Your fan might be MORE more likely to ship you $1000 USD via PayPal for a signed vinyl and their title within the liner notes. As a result of to buy an NFT, that very same individual must Google what the hell an NFT is within the first place, purchase the crypto to purchase it (yeah, you and your followers will want cryptocurrency to dabble in NFTs), after which they’ll have to leap via a number of extra hoops to lastly buy.

That’s quite a lot of obstacles to beat for the typical music fan.

4. You hardly ever profit from evangelizing a brand new platform or expertise

Within the restricted time that you just command your followers’ consideration, that you must deepen that relationship, both by furthering your personal story or studying extra about theirs.

How a lot time are you able to afford to spend educating your followers about some new app, market, or digital development they don’t care about but?

As soon as they DO care, be there. Till then, be the place they already are.

5. NFTs resolve issues that don’t exist for lesser-known artists

Some folks I actually respect are thrilled about NFTs. And I do know I most likely sound like a luddite right here, however your common DIY artist simply doesn’t undergo from the issues that crypto/blockchain fanatics assume have to be solved.

Digital music utilization is already being tracked and monetized in a extra thorough approach than ever earlier than. Rights are being precisely claimed. Royalties are being paid. It’s not an issue of funds.

DIY artists additionally don’t have an issue creating exclusivity or shortage. Previous to NFTs there have been loads of IRL methods to offer that worth: restricted pressings, meet-and-greets, personal Zoom concert events, signed CDs.

However talking of rarity, within the digital age quite a lot of these items simply looks as if false-scarcity to me.

Theorize and mathamattack me all you need. I believe we’re wired to see a distinction between shortage within the digital realm and shortage within the bodily world. And sure, I do know an NFT is just about the identical as arbitrarily saying “I’m solely going to print 25 of those shirts, so order now!”

However it nonetheless FEEEEEELS completely different to your common human (at the least right now) when the complete course of from creating, to purchasing, to accessing an NFT occurs digitally.

What’s the actual drawback on your common artist? Identical as at all times. Obscurity.

Get previous that big issuue and also you received’t have any bother promoting issues: NFTs, boxed units, outdated socks…

The way to mint and promote your personal NFTs

So, you continue to need to make a few of your personal NFTs? I award you 100 factors for stubbornness.

Listed here are the fundamental steps you’ll should take to create and promote NFTs associated to your music:

Prepared your pockets

You’ll want a approach to purchase, promote, or swap NFTs.

A “pockets” is a digital place to retailer your cryptocurrency whereas additionally storing personal information used to validate transactions. Some wallets are used for particular currencies, comparable to Bitcoin, whereas others enable for a number of cryptocurrencies.

With one thing like MetaMask (obtainable on cell and as a Chrome extension) you might have a safe approach to entry Blockchain-based functions. Extra to the purpose, that is the best way you’ll receives a commission on your NFT gross sales!

Simply make sure you do your analysis on which pockets is finest for you. Additionally make sure you obtain it from the right official supply — as a result of there are some scams that trick folks into going via a fraudulent signup stream.


NOTE: A brand new-ish, free app known as S!NG provides you a approach to create NFTs with out a pockets. You possibly can checklist these NFTs on the Open Sea market talked about in additional element under.

Fill your pockets…

… with cryptocurrency comparable to ETH, BTC, USDC, DAI. You’re going to want crypto in an effort to cowl the prices of making your NFTs.

Select your NFT market

A market is the place folks make, purchase, promote, and commerce NFTs. Try choices comparable to the place you possibly can “mint” and promote the NFT in the identical place. While you create an account you’ll additionally have the ability to flesh out your profile as an artist/vendor. 

Create an NFT assortment 

Inside OpenSea, you possibly can checklist collections of NFTs (gadgets which might be grouped collectively by theme or sequence). Give the gathering an excellent title and outline.

Mint your tokens!

As soon as your assortment is created, you get to the enjoyable half — truly making your NFTs. 

You possibly can add a digital file together with every other unlockable content material that you just need to be bundled with the NFT. Then write an outline for the merchandise.

Set the amount and preliminary value of your NFT

Now you select what number of of this explicit NFT merchandise you need to make obtainable. Bear in mind: restricted is the secret. One-of-a-kind is at all times an choice too.

After you set the amount, checklist the shopping for value.

In case your NFTs don’t promote on the asking value on Open Sea, somebody can enter a bid at a lower cost. It’s as much as you whether or not you need to say sure or no.

One different factor to know, the associated fee to “mint” these tokens is paid (by you) in crypto when the NFT truly sells.

Inform folks you’re promoting NFTs

Once more, I wouldn’t anticipate armies of wealthy folks to come back calling. So it’s as much as you to unfold the phrase about your unique, digital merch.

However holy moly that was quite a lot of work to make, checklist, and market this NFT stuff, wasn’t it?

Possibly it is best to’ve simply supplied your followers some autographed vinyl. ; )

Are NFTs the way forward for the music business? 


How a lot ought to that matter to your common DIY musician within the current second? 

Not a lot. 

Hold specializing in getting your music on the market, making connections, and constructing an viewers. Then do a greater job of promoting them the merch, experiences, and patronage entry you already provide.

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