How NFTs work in the music industry
26 Apr 2021
NFTs or Non-Fungible Transfers are a cryptocurrency-adjacent digital art format. Here’s a brief rundown of what music NFTs are, and why they’re sparking conversations:
NFT, literally stands for Non-Fungible Token. Fungible is something that has a defined value. So non-fungible simply means it doesn’t have a set, defined value. An NFT can be any digital file: a jpeg, wav, mp4, .mov, mp3, gif. Most NFTs in the music space have been short visualisers – typically videos between 10 seconds and a minute.
Digital artwork, by its very nature, can be copied and distributed instantly all around the world. But buying an NFT gives the customer proof of ownership for whatever they’re collecting, regardless of how many digital copies exist. Born out of the visual art world, NFTs create a sense of scarcity that’s inherently artificial—the token is rare, not the artwork itself.
The story of NFTs is about commerce as much as music. The range of applications to music seems widespread but also tangential: Grimes sold images of babies toting spears through space, occasionally with snippets of her music attached, while other NFTs confer their buyers with distinctive album packages or live show perks.
The reason the majority of the music NFTs have been put up by electronic artists is because the electronic community typically takes to early tech like this.
There are marketplaces out there where you can buy and sell NFTs. Some are curated and invite-only, some are open to anyone. Meaning, you could theoretically upload your piece of art today and list it tonight.