In less than a year, NFTs have grown from an obscure corner of the crypto universe into a mainstream obsession, driven in no small way by the music biz. At first, the projects tended to be simple, like Kings of Leon’s most recent album being sold as an NFT in March or Shawn Mendes’ digital recreations of personal items like his guitar in May. This fall, more ambitious NFT strategies have emerged — including NFT communities like Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) linking up with industry giant Universal Music Group and mainstream hitmaker Timbaland. Let’s get into it.
- Universal signed four Bored Ape Yacht Club avatars as part of a Gorillaz-inspired NFT-based metaverse band. What does that even mean? Glad you asked! The world’s biggest record label has partneredwith the owner of the four NFTs to launch a new “band” called Kingship, which shares a manager with NFT fan Snoop Dogg. Plans for the group include performances at metaverse events and eventually releasing a line of digital collectibles.
- Timbaland, who has produced hits for Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, and Missy Elliott, announced a separate partnership with Bored Ape owners via his new metaverse-themed production company Ape-In Productions, which is set to release a song by another virtual ape act called TheZoo. Timbaland also released a recent EP as a series of NFT collectibles, in which each element of the song (drum parts, basslines, vocals) is an NFT fans can mix and match to create their own remixes.
- A key feature of BAYC is that NFT owners receive full commercial rights to their avatars, meaning they can sign their digital friends up for virtual bands, license them to appear in advertising, or rent them out for a range of other purposes — which likely wouldn’t fly with other major NFT projects. (Try licensing your NBA TopShop clip of that Derrick Rose layup to ESPN and see what happens!) The specific Bored Apes in Kingship belong to NFT whale Jimmy “j1mmy” McNelis, an early collector of hundreds of Apes.
Why it matters… What’s the source of all these Ape-themed acts? BAYC creator Yuga Labs has some serious music-biz muscle in its corner. In October, the NFT project signed with U2 and Madonna manager Guy Osearyto pursue music, TV, film, and other projects. Oseary, who bought an Ape of his own prior to the deal, is arguably the biggest player in artist management — his firm boasts an artist roster that ranges from Britney Spears to the Weeknd. Many saw the move as a sign that NFT communities will be an important part of the music industry’s future. Or as Celine Joshua, founder of Kingship’s Web3-focused record label puts it, “We’re literally inventing what’s possible in real time.”
– Story Provided by Coinbase