When You See Yourself, an album by the American rock band Kings of Leon, came out in 2021 as an NFT. This made them the first band and one of the first artists to successfully release their songs as NFTs. But since this risky move by the Nashville band, the idea of NFT music has become very appealing to independent artists.
Not long after Kings of Leon released their album, Justin Blau, better known by his artist name 3LAU, sold his album Ultraviolet, a collection of 33 different NFTs, for $11.7 million, which surprised everyone, including himself. But, like everything else in the business world, NFT music needed a big name to help it get noticed. Snoop Dogg, a Hip Hop legend, came along just in time.
Snoop Dogg has stayed involved in all the new and risky industries, from cannabis to blockchain. He has stayed in the conversation and recently upped the ante by releasing the first drop of his first ever NFT album, Death Row Session Vol.2. The album’s first drop sold for a total of 100 ETH, which is about $300,000. For many fans of the hip-hop star, this was a huge vote of confidence that blockchain and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are the future of the music industry and more.
Travis Bott, CEO of MetaLabs Agency, a blockchain solution and platform for DApps and NFT collectibles, explains why NFTs are inevitable “Blockchain, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and the Metaverse are no longer just possible, they will happen. It’s not something that would change the world; it’s already doing that. The resistance we’re seeing right now from elite record labels and big government will not last long, because this trend is good for everyone. We are literally making a digital version of our world, and it’s not a question of if the entertainment industry will catch up, but when.”
Bott has been one of the most vocal supporters of NFTs and the blockchain. He recently sold one of his companies for $9 million. Since then, he has thrown his hat into the blockchain ring as a successful entrepreneur who has sold more than one business. Bott says that the fact that the MetaLabs NFT collection, Meta Bounty Hunters, made $18 million in just three weeks shows that interest is growing around the world.
A way to increase profits for Indie musicians
In addition to being a risky move, Snoop’s release of Death Row Session, Vol. 2 was unique because it included four well-known independent artists who had already made a name for themselves in the Web 3 music space. Iman Europe, MoRuf Adewunmi, Black Dave, and Heno were on Death Row Session, Vol. 2. Since 2021, all four artists have sold music NFTs.
Iman Europe told Fortune that “Creative and Financial Freedom.” is one of the many benefits of putting out NFT music. Iman says that web 3 gives her the freedom to put out music whenever she wants, charge what she thinks it’s worth, and make a lot more money than she would have from streaming services. Iman says that one ETH is equal to almost a million music streams. She says this about her work with Snoop: “It took me two minutes to make. A complete change in the way people think.”
Most of these independent artists are much more interested in NFT music than traditional streams because they can make sure they get paid quickly and well for their art and don’t have to wait a year for royalty checks.
Travis Bott explains why these options are so exciting for independent artists; “Smart contracts use the blockchain to carry out a set of instructions and get rid of the need for middlemen, banks, or record labels. I just sold one of my companies for nine figures, but it took 26 days for the banks to hold on to our money and move it from one bank to the other. In contrast, I have negotiated blockchain deals worth millions of dollars in just 15 minutes. The smart contract sends money to all parties and sends us our fee for acting as middlemen. It’s impossible to be cheated, and this has helped make music collaborations on the blockchain possible. This is the future, so at MetaLabs, we made a SaaS software platform where we help artists, influencers, and businesses with Minting Models and Minting Strategies, Full Stack Development, eCommerce, Smart contract auditing, NFT marketplaces, and launchpads… an end-to-end experience that makes it easy for them to move from web 2 to web 3.”
As Snoop Dogg said on the Firefox Podcast, he seems to agree with the point of view. Snoop said that he has always wanted the people who helped make music to be paid enough. “My fans made me who I am, but have never had an opportunity to truly make money off my music and my journey.” he said. Snoop wanted to make sure that everyone got paid fairly, so he put the four new artists in the album on the cover and gave them a split in the smart contract. This way, Death Row doesn’t have to pay them; the smart contract does it automatically and clearly.
Making Stronger Communities
Not only is Snoop Dogg excited about the Web 3 space because of his new album, but he also recently said that he was changing his label, Death Row Records, into an NFT label. Snoop says that this decision is about building up the community and giving back to the fans. In his words, “For all of my career, we have made music and charged the fans for everything from tickets to merch, and they could only enjoy the music in return, but now they can own a part of it, trade it and make money off of it.”
There are a lot of ways that Web 3 can help people build communities. Fans have always been invested in the artists they like, but with NFTs, they can invest and get money back.
“Just Imagine if fans could buy NFTs of a new artist, and hold on to it till that artist gets big, the value of the NFTs would exponentially increase in value.” Bott explains, “It works the same way as investing in real estate or anything else, and fans can make money directly from their favorite artist’s fame or success. There are many ways that making money can bring people together, and artists are starting to notice this. At Metalabs, we work with an increasing number of influencers, businesses, and artists who want to move their brand from web 2 to web 3. We help them understand why this is important and how to use Metaverse and NFTs to build community and create value within their existing communities. Building a community wouldn’t just be about loving the art anymore, but it could be even stronger if fans could own a piece of the artist’s legacy in some way.”
Bott says, “The power of ownership is a big part of why NFT-based programs can make communities stronger. Meta Bounty Hunters, which is the NFT community behind MetaLabs, shows this power. With about 8,888 elite members called Bounty Hunters who share a community-first mindset, it is one of the most valuable NFT communities on the internet.
“The community gives weekly reflection benefits to its members to strengthen the community bond and also donates to “Do Good Causes” chosen by the Community DAO without expecting anything in return (Decentralized Autonomous Organization). Most of the time, these causes are about species, people, or the earth. Bott says that the growth of the community is due to the power of ownership, a shared purpose, and a strong reward system.
The Death Row Session NFT drop may not have been the highest-grossing NFT drop ever, but it has brought the idea of NFT music to the forefront in a unique way. Web 3 gives artists and fans a chance to get a bigger share of the pie, and Bott says, “Whatever sectors of the industry are not yet happy, would have to fall in line and figure out a way to get their piece of the pie sooner rather than later.”