While most NFTs are about as useful as a digital trading card at the moment, there are examples of musicians using NFTs to do something a little bit different. Metal titans Avenged Sevenfold, for instance, released 101 NFTs and later revealed that the seven with ‘gold eyes’ will include a perk: you get a meet and greet with the band at “any show you go to, forever”. Their NFTs aren’t just photos either, they include unreleased music and exclusive artwork.
The band then launched the Deathbats Club, which is a “first of its kind” blockchain community. To be part of the club, fans must own one of the 10,000 Deathbats, which are NFTs made on the Ethereum blockchain. Given the limited supply, it’s likely that fans who buy them early will be able to sell them on for a profit down the line. As with Avenged's first NFT drop, owning one of these NFTs will come with a range of perks and utilities including merch discounts, private merch sales, giveaways and more. Some rare perks will also be attached to certain Deathbats, including "free A7X shows for life". Ultimately it’s like an exclusive fan club, powered by the blockchain, with the initial sales (and probably a percentage of future NFT sales) helping the band financially.
In fact, NFTs can easily include things like solos, riffs, sections of songs, lyrics or exclusive videos (the NBA have made over $500 million through selling NFT videos). Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda also released an NFT mixtape using the sustainable blockchain Tezos. Both of these projects sold out.
Alt-popstar Grimes’ recent NFT campaign landed her $6 million – a huge sum. According to this Spotify royalties calculator, you’d need just over 2.5 billion streams to get the same return. So if you care about artists, and they’re earning more, that’s nice for them, right? Of course. And if an artist does start earning millions from NFTs, it can remove their reliance on a major label business structure, as they’d be financially comfortable enough to release records independently and on their own terms. So you’d get more of the artists’ creative vision, they receive more of the proceeds, and they actually own the masters to their own songs.
But there are more reasons to care about NFTs than just helping your favourite artist pocket a bit of cash – you could actually generate income for yourself. When the artist sets up an NFT to sell, they’re able to code in specific clauses (like with contracts) that mean they receive royalties each time the NFT is sold on, but they could also code in something that gives the previous owner a percentage. So you could, in theory, buy an NFT from your favourite band, sell it, and pocket a portion of its future earnings.