The American rock band Kings of Leon released their 2021 album When You See Yourself as an NFT, becoming the first band and pretty much the first artists to successfully release their songs as NFTs. However, since the Nashville-based band took this daring step, the thought of NFT music has become quite appealing to independent artists.
Not long after Kings of Leon released their album, electronic dance music star Justin Blau — better known by his artist moniker, 3LAU — sold his album, Ultraviolet, a collection of 33 different NFTs, and netted $11.7 million, shocking everyone including himself. However, like with every other thing in the industry, NFT music desperately needed an A-lister on board to find its day in the sun; in steps, the Hip Hop Legend Snoop Dogg.
In recent times, Snoop Dogg has remained invested in all the edgy and new industries, from Cannabis to Blockchain; Snoop has remained relevant in the conversations and has recently upped the ante by releasing the first drop of his first ever NFT album, Death Row Session Vol.2. The first drop of the album sold for a total of 100 Ether
Travis Bott, the CEO of MetaLabs Agency, a blockchain solution and a DApps and NFT collectibles platform explains why NFTs are inevitable; “Blockchain, NFTs and the Metaverse are no longer just a possibility, they are an inevitability. It’s not a phenomenon that would change the world; it is already changing it as we speak. The resistance that we now see among elite record labels and big government is going to be short-lived because this phenomenon benefits everyone. We are literally recreating a digital version of our world, and it’s just a matter of when and not if, the entertainment industry comes into full alignment.”
Bott, who recently exited one of his companies at a 9-figure mark, has been one of the most vocal proponents of NFTs and the blockchain. As a successful entrepreneur with multiple exits, he has since thrown his hat into the blockchain ring. The MetaLabs NFT collection, Meta Bounty Hunters, recently did $18 million in mint revenue in just three weeks, which Bott cites as evidence of growing enthusiasm worldwide.
Indie Artists See A Way To Earn More
Besides being a daring move, Snoop’s release of the Death Row Session, Vol 2 was special because he featured four notable indie artists on the project who had already made a name for themselves in the Web 3 music space. Death Row Session, Vol 2 featured Iman Europe, MoRuf Adewunmi, Black Dave, and Heno. All four artists have been selling music NFTs since 2021.
In an interview with Fortune, Iman Europe highlighted one of the many perks of releasing NFT music as “Creative and Financial Freedom.” Iman insists that web 3 allows her to release music when she wants, value it at a price point it deserves and earn way higher than she would have from streaming services. “One ETH is the equivalent of almost 1 million music streams,” Iman explains. She adds of her collaboration with Snoop, “I made that in two minutes. A complete paradigm shift for sure.”
For most of these independent artists, the possibility of ensuring that they are paid quickly and handsomely for their art and not having to wait a year for royalty checks makes NFT music way more appealing than traditional streams.
Travis Bott explains why these possibilities are so exciting for independent artists; “Smart contracts carry out a set of instructions on the blockchain and eliminate reliance on middlemen, banks or record labels. I recently exited one of my companies for 9-figures, but the entire process of banks holding on to our money and transferring it from one bank to the other was a 26-day process, comparatively, I have brokered blockchain deals worth millions of dollars, within 15 minutes. The smart contract automatically disperses funds to all parties and sends us our brokerage fee. It’s impossible to get cheated and this has found application in music collaborations done on the blockchain. This is the future and this is why at MetaLabs, we have created a SaaS software platform where we help artists, influencers and businesses with Minting Models and Minting Strategies, Full Stack Development, eCommerce, Smart contract auditing, NFT marketplaces, and launchpads… an end-to-end experience that can easily move them from web 2 to web 3.”
Snoop Dogg seems to concur with the stance, as he explained on the Firefox Podcast. Snoop voiced his long-standing desire to see those who helped make the music compensated adequately. According to him, “My fans made me who I am, but have never had an opportunity to truly make money off my music and my journey.” Snoop’s eagerness to see people adequately compensated led to him highlighting the four new artists in the album and giving them a split in the smart contract; this way, Death Row doesn’t pay them; the smart contract executes pay from income, its automatic and transparent.
Building Stronger Communities
Snoop Dogg’s enthusiasm about the Web 3 space is not limited to the new album; he recently announced that he was turning his label Death Row Records into an NFT label. According to Snoop, community building and giving back to the fans are at the heart of this decision. In his words, “For all of my career, we have made music and charged the fans for everything from tickets to merch, and they could only enjoy the music in return, but now they can own a part of it, trade it and make money off of it.”
The possibilities that web 3 presents for community building are enormous; fans have always been metaphorically invested in the artists they love, but NFTs mean they can be invested and get financial returns.
“Just Imagine if fans could buy NFTs of a new artist, and hold on to it till that artist gets big, the value of the NFTs would exponentially increase in value.” Bott explains, “It works the same way real estate or any other investment works and fans can earn from their artist’s fame or success directly. There are many ways a community can be fostered around profit and artists are taking note of it. At Metalabs, we are constantly consulting for an ever-growing number of influencers, businesses and artists who want to take their brand from web 2 to web 3 and help them see why this is important and how to use Metaverse and NFTs to build community and create value within their existing communities. Community building would no longer be built just around a love for the art, but it can be made even more robust by allowing fans to own a piece of the artist’s legacy in some way.”
Bott continues, “The power of ownership is a key reason why NFT-based programs can build more robust communities. Meta Bounty Hunters, which serves as the NFT community behind MetaLabs illustrates this power; with a collection of about 8,888 elite members called Bounty Hunters, who share a community-first mindset, it’s one of the most valuable NFT communities on the internet.”
“The community pays our weekly reflection benefits to its community members to strengthen the community bond and also contributes selflessly to ‘Do Good Causes’ voted on by the Community DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization). These causes are usually focused on species, humanity, or the earth.” According to Bott, the power of ownership, communal purpose and a powerful reward system are responsible for the growth of the community.
The Death Row Session NFT drop may not have been the highest grossing NFT drop ever, but it has brought the prospect of NFT music to the limelight in a unique way. Web 3 offers a possibility for artists and fans to enjoy a larger piece of the pie, and according to Bott, “Whatever sectors of the industry are not yet happy, would have to fall in line and figure out a way to get their piece of the pie sooner rather than later.”