NFTs must evolve beyond PFPs and the Metaverse to stay relevant in 2022, and Monstercat CEO Mike Darlington explains that music may be next
Music-based nonfungible tokens are an emerging frontier in the crypto and NFT space, but the first questions that come to mind are: What are they? And what are their utility?
Music NFTs are relatively new to the scene and cannot be pinned down by one definition. At the most basic level, however, they are verifiable digital collectibles, with a core component being the integration of a song.
One of the first collections was “Audioglyphs,” which cemented itself as revolutionizing the way users consume music, synthesizing an infinite stream of audio for each NFT. Creators and investors began to discover the novelty of music NFTs, as they lessened the barriers of access to artists and consumers.
Electronic DJ and NFT collector 3LAU made history selling his record-breaking album Ultraviolet for $11.7 million. He also created the royalty sharing platform Royal, which has raised at least $71 million so far. Recently, John Legend announced the launch of his own music NFT platform, suggesting there are more artists interested in the technology.
While the price and popularity of music NFTs have not surged quite like visual art NFTs, some platforms have emerged to provide a more universal user experience while giving creators methods to monetize.
In an effort to gain more perspective on the matter, Cointelegraph spoke with Mike Darlington, CEO of Monstercat, about the future of music NFTs, their impact and the use cases for Monstercat’s sold-out nonfungible token collection “Relics.”
Cointelegraph: How do you define music NFTs?
Mike Darlington: Music NFTs are verifiably owned collectibles that incorporate music as a major focus element of the token itself, allowing for the musician’s work to play as important a role as the visual artist’s.
CT: Can you walk us through Relics and its potential impact in the Metaverse?
MD: Relics is Monstercat’s debut digital collectibles platform — the first of its kind to operate within a record label. Each music collectible, also called a Relic, has the ability to integrate music seamlessly and verifiably in the Metaverse. Once you own a Relic, it has the potential to become your theme song as you travel between worlds, games and play-to-earn ecosystems, bringing a whole new community of music fans to Web3.
CT: In what ways can music NFTs shape and change the music industry?
MD: One of the immediate benefits we’ve seen is the increased opportunity for artists to directly connect with their superfans. Whether it’s through rewards, exclusive access, ownership, etc., music NFTs are becoming one of the most powerful tools for community-building and engagement. They also enable a new form of perpetual royalties that can be shared with the visual artists. There’s no longer a need to reach hundreds of thousands of fans to achieve career sustainability — with just a small group of passionate collectors, artists of all sizes can make a fair living from their work.
CT: In what ways can investors or collectors benefit from music NFTs?
MD: Anything from access to immersive experiences, to unlockable content directly from the artist, to exclusive communications. With Relics, specifically, as the song’s performance increases in real time, so does its rarity — a benefit for both the fan and the artist. The platform also gives collectors musical access within the Metaverse and play-to-earn ecosystems, which, as a label, is something we can do with ease in an otherwise tricky landscape without the proper rights and licensing.
CT: What exactly is “dynamic rarity,” and what is its implication for NFTs in general and music NFTs specifically?
MD: Dynamic rarity is an evolving trait that changes based on how well the Relic’s original song is performing in the traditional music ecosystem. As a song does well on traditional platforms, the gemstone rarity will also increase on its corresponding Relic. This innovation connects Web2 and Web3 in a novel and healthy manner while not alienating the importance of either. It turns the fans into tastemakers, with the song’s history all on-chain.
Music NFTs will continue to emerge and evolve as the underlying infrastructure gets developed to suit more use cases, like in-game integrations or providing royalty-sharing benefits. Just as NFTs changed how users interact and consume visual art, music NFTs are already gaining traction to revolutionize how users create, listen and use them.