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Written by Ramsey Brown.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past couple of years, you’ve surely heard the hype surrounding NFTs. Non-Fungible Tokens have been shaking up both the art and crypto world but its most recent advances have been in the music industry.
NFTs offer a number of advantages for music. For starters, they can help artists monetize their work in a new and innovative way. They can also help create a more engaging and interactive music experience for fans.
But most importantly, NFTs can help artists connect with their fans in a more meaningful way. Fans can own a piece of their favorite artist's work, and artists can create a more personal connection with their fans by sharing exclusive content and experiences.
The possibilities and benefits of NFTs are almost endless. This is why it's no surprise that many famous artists and celebrities have decided to get into the NFT space themselves.
In this article, we’ll take a look at 15 NFT projects recently launched by some of today's biggest music artists — some of which may surprise you. We’ll discuss why these artists got into the digital art space and how their projects have revolutionized their source of income and fan communities. Let’s dive in!
Canadian rapper and now NFT exponent made huge waves last year when he dropped his first NFT album ‘When It’s Dark’. Lanez teamed up with E-NFT to conduct the auction, releasing one million copies at $1 each — all of which sold out in just 60 seconds.
Lanez immediately took to Twitter, saying that the NFT album had sold "one million copies in under a minute and that one of his NFTs had already been flipped for $50,000."
Although there was some scrutiny surrounding the project and concerns about the NFT’s security, trading process, and a series of unexplained fees, Lanez remains a trailblazer in the NFT music space.
In October 2021, platinum-selling and Grammy Award-winning recording artist Method Man dropped the first-ever Genesis non-fungible tokens on Flow from the Tical Universe. This project is said to be among the most advanced in the NFT music space.
The Method Man NFT collection – Tical World, is a comic character universe that consists of a series of original characters, apparel, 3D enabled animations, and unreleased music as NFTs.
The comic community will offer audiences to give creative directions, form storylines, and interact with each other. Fans or collectors of Method Man NFTs will be able to hold unreleased pieces of music or songs, which also include Gold VIP cards, athletic line, sole copies of the first artistic items.
On June 25, 1996, Jay-Z unleashed his platinum-plus debut album Reasonable Doubt, which has since been a blueprint for hip-hop greatness.
In June 2021, Sotheby’s and Roc Nation celebrated the 25th anniversary of Reasonable Doubt with Heir to the Throne (2021), a distinctive original artwork commissioned by Jay-Z and created by renowned artist Derrick Adams, presented as a one-of-one NFT.
Heir to the Throne (which was the original title for the Reasonable Doubt album) was auctioned off at around $139,000 with a portion of the proceeds benefiting The Shawn Carter Foundation.
Doja Cat has been breaking new records not only in music, but in the NFT world as well. The rapper/singer dropped her first NFT project last year with green NFT marketplace OneOf.
The NFT newbie auctioned off her collection to the highest bidder for an impressive $188,888 — rewarding them with an ultimate experience filled with various perks including a flyaway experience, concert tickets, dinner at Doja’s favorite restaurant, and more.
Don Diablo is another artist who made Blockchain history after selling the first-ever full-length concert for a whopping 1.2 million dollars. Diablo called the ambitious NFT drop, which sold in four minutes, a "next level sci-fi animated live concert experience."
The ambitious purchaser of the Destination Hexagonia NFT received a unique hand-crafted box, which includes a hard drive that contains the only copy of the high-quality file of the film in existence.
Dolly Parton is the latest celebrity to make her way into the world of NFTs, launching her own Dollyverse project sometime this year.
Parton has teamed up with best-selling thriller novelist James Patterson and Fox Entertainment’s Blockchain Creative Labs to release limited-edition NFTs of her upcoming album, Run, Rose, Run.
The Dollyverse NFT will include a free live-streamed performance from the 2022 South by Southwest Festival in Texas. The album is in conjunction with a novel of the same name, co-written by Parton and Patterson.
Rapper, entrepreneur, and hip-hop legend, Nas took a much different approach to his NFT by essentially offering a hybrid of crypto and traditional investments.
Nas partnered with music rights startup Royal on the venture. Together, the two launched tokens that will split 50% of the streaming rights (and streaming royalties) for select songs in his catalog.
The “Ultra Black” and “Rare” NFTs were such a success, all tokens sold out within minutes — quickly crashing the OpenSea website due to the overwhelming amount of traffic online.
In April 2021, 15-time Grammy award winner Eminem joined the NFT craze with his very own project, Shadycon.
The variety of ‘Eminem-approved collectibles’ included original instrumental beats produced by Slim Shady himself specifically for the release. The drop was said to be inspired by the rapper’s passion for vintage toys, comic books, and trading cards that trace back to his childhood days.
Eminem raked in an estimated $1.78 million from his first NFT release, with portions of the proceeds donated back to his Marshall Mathers Foundation and charity.
Blau, better known as the EDM star 3LAU, sold off 33 NFTs to celebrate the three-year anniversary of his Ultraviolet album. Various tokens included rewards such as custom songs, access to never-before-heard music on his website, custom art based on his music, and new versions of Ultraviolet’s 11 original songs.
3LAU broke records by selling the collection of limited edition NFTs for $11.7 million in the first-ever tokenized album sale, making it one of the highest-grossing music NFTs in history.
When the Tennessee rock band decided to sell their album, When You See Yourself, as a collection of NFTs, they made history as one of the first major bands to do so. KOL generated over $2 million in sales, with six ‘Golden Ticket’ auctions, which guaranteed four front-row seats to one show of every Kings of Leon headline tour for life.
The band made sure to give something back, donating $500,000 of their earnings to Live Nation’s Crew Fund to support live music crews struggling during COVID-19.
In March, Gemini’s NFT marketplace Nifty Gateway helped make Grimes
nearly $6 million richer in 20 minutes. The Canadian artist made $5.8 million selling a collection of 10 exclusive digital artworks — some, accompanied by original songs — called the WarNymph Collection, Vol. 1.
Grimes, who was born Claire Boucher, collaborated with her brother Mac Boucher in creating the works. Some of the proceeds from the NFT sales went to Carbon180, an NGO dedicated to reducing carbon emissions.
An unreleased Whitney Houston recording, made when she was 17, was bought as an NFT for $999,999 back in December 2021. Discovered by Primary Wave Music and her Estate last year, it was auctioned on the Quincy Jones-backed OneOf NFT platform.
The collection also includes thousands of fixed-price NFTs, including archival photos from Houston’s early life and career. Proceeds from the sales of the collection will go to the non-profit Whitney E. Houston Foundation.
TakeOff, ⅓ of rap supergroup Migos, launched his very own NFT project called ‘Apes in Space’. The collection launched in December 2021 featured 9,999 space-ape themed NFTs. At 0.3 ETH each, these apes cost significantly more than the primary sales of most avatar projects.
Takeoff has already begun building a brand around his budding collection, highlighting the project IRL by wearing unreleased Apes In Space merch. In the project roadmap, it also lays out plans to send one lucky collector into orbit on a real-life space journey with Takeoff.
Grammy award-winning singer, songwriter, and producer Lionel Richie teamed up with visual artist, Klarens Malluta to create an NFT that allows fans to own iconic moments from Lionel's career.
The digital assets were released in four limited editions: Hello, Vinyl Lionel, All Night Long, and Louder Than Words. Each one with a price tag of $250 and is available in 150 editions. The drop included art based on two never before published images and inspirational dialogue from the legend himself.
Snoop Dogg has long been interested in the world of NFTs, buying tokens under a pseudonym for quite some time. As of last year, he had about $17 million worth of NFTs and about 250 non-fungible tokens in his Blockchain wallet.
Last March, Snoop released his own NFT, which consisted of the original track and the Dogge coin. However, the singer dreams higher and wants to go beyond how other brands use NFT.
Snoop is in the process of developing his own ‘Snoopverse’ in the Metaverse. Along with this venture, he also has plans to transform Death Row into the NFT record label.
“Just as we revolutionized the industry by being the first major independent label, so I want to be the first major label in the Metaverse.” - Snoop Dogg
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