How to Mint Music NFTs
As the music industry completes its migration toward digital services and streaming, one question continues to arise: How do artists get paid?
When users stream music over Spotify or other streaming apps, the artists make only fractions of a penny per play, making it difficult for many artists to survive on streaming alone. Finding out how to mint music NFTs offers a solution to this problem by giving music lovers an exciting new choice in how to support music artists.
As an artist, minting music NFTs allows you to better control how your music is released, how it is consumed — both digitally and physically — and how you get paid. You can even add extras or add-ons that will increase the value of your NFT, as well as increase the likelihood a customer might buy one.
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A Brief History of Music NFTs
Kings of Leon was one of the first major artists to show how to mint music NFTs, with the release of its 2021 album When You See Yourself on the Yellowheart platform. In addition to exclusive digital copies of the music, NFT holders could claim a limited-edition vinyl album as a physical counterpart to their token, among other bonuses. The album generated more than $2 million in sales, with a quarter of that amount going to support music crews suffering during the pandemic.
Singer-songwriter Jon Christopher Davis also bridged the world of digital and physical with a range of NFTs corresponding to physical albums for his “Vinyl Revival” song. Looking further out to the world of music, Coachella has sold NFTs for lifetime passes to upcoming festivals and physical art prints of photographs captured from the show.
As an artist, minting music NFTs can be a compelling way to generate revenue. For example, rapper Haleek Maul is estimated to have made over $225,000 on music NFTs, while earning a mere $178 through Spotify during the same period. This highlights the enormous earning power of NFTs compared to streaming platforms. NFTs as a whole generated $25 billion in sales in 2021!
Types of Music NFTs
Music NFTs come in different shapes and sizes. Here are four ways artists have brought their music to the blockchain.
- The most common music NFT is the “single edition” NFT, or what’s called a 1/1. A 1/1 is a single, unique item, like a painting. In music terms, this would be a single track or album offered as a single NFT.
- “Open editions” are NFTs minted in an unlimited number, meaning there is no limit on the number of NFTs minted. Often, though, these NFTs are offered for only a limited time.
- A “limited edition” is an NFT with a predetermined number of editions. You, as the artist, get to decide how many NFTs will be minted. This can be useful in ensuring that your work remains in demand but that a significant number of your fans can still access it.
- Physical-backed NFTs broaden the possibilities of music NFTs even further, allowing artists and collectors to bring nearly any kind of music collectible on the blockchain: exclusive albums, autographed instruments used in the tour or in the studio, and more.
How to Mint Music NFTs
The first step in learning how to mint music NFTs is deciding what kind of NFT you want to mint. You can mint strictly digital assets, like music or video files, or you can tokenize physical assets as laid out in the previous section. If you’re interested in learning more about bringing your brand to physical-backed NFTs, Dibbs can help you with this process. We securely vault authenticated assets, tokenize them, and set them up to create new sources of passively recurring revenue as they change hands across the blockchain.
Fill out the form below to find out more about how working with Dibbs will benefit your brand, then read on for more of the fundamentals behind making music NFTs.
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To mint music NFTs, you will need to enter the blockchain economy yourself. You do this by creating a wallet. Wallets are online tools that allow you to access the cryptocurrencies used to purchase (and mint) NFTs. Some wallets are specific to a certain currency, while others, like MetaMask or Coinbase, allow you to use different currencies.
The next step is to decide which blockchain you want to use to mint your music NFT. Blockchains are the online registries of who has purchased what, and the different blockchains are associated with specific currencies. Individual blockchains also have unique attributes, like fees and transaction speeds, so it’s important to carefully consider which blockchain you want to be associated with before you commit.
Ethereum is by far the most well-established blockchain for NFTs. Millions of users per day buy and sell NFTs using ETH, the Ethereum crypto-currency. And Ethereum is supported by almost all of the major marketplaces. Other examples of blockchains include Bitcoin and IBM Blockchain.
Once you’ve decided which blockchain you want your NFT to be a part of, you will need to acquire some of the currency associated with that blockchain. This will cover the gas fees or other fees associated with minting your music NFT.
Common to the Ethereum blockchain, gas fees are incurred when minting an NFT or making a transaction. These fees are generated algorithmically, based on supply and demand, and so they vary from transaction to transaction. Gas fees compensate the miners who verify transactions and secure the network.
Next, you have a little more homework to do in deciding on which marketplace to offer your music NFT. Just like blockchains, different marketplaces have different benefits, so choose carefully.
- OpenSea is the world’s largest NFT marketplace, making it a great place to start. It offers access to a variety of NFT wallets, but it charges relatively high fees compared to other marketplaces.
- Rarible is another popular NFT marketplace based in Moscow that prides itself on relatively low fees.
There are also music-specific marketplaces that could offer advantages for music artists.
- Catalog is one of the leading music NFT marketplaces, accounting for $2 million worth of music NTFs as of February 2021. Catalog specializes in single-edition music NFTs, or 1/1s, and uses the Ethereum blockchain.
- Other marketplaces using the Ethereum blockchain include Beat Foundry and Foundation. FormFunction and Groovetime are marketplaces that use the Solana blockchain.
- Arpeggi is a unique marketplace allowing for the creation of music NFTs directly on a blockchain and uses its own technology.
Mint Your Music NFT
Once you have selected your preferred NFT marketplace, you will need to register an account, then determine how many NFTs you want to mint and set a price. Keep in mind that the rarer your NFT, the higher the price you can charge: One of the most expensive music NFTs ever sold was Ultraviolet, by the American DJ, 3LAU. Ultraviolet was minted in only 33 copies and sold for $11.7 million.
Protect Your Assets
Minting music NFTs offers a lot of promise for artists, but there are risks inherent in any new technology. Web3 is no exception. With a variety of options to choose from and multiple blockchains and currency models on the market, working with a trusted partner is the best way to ensure you are making the right choices and getting the most value out of your music NFT offerings.
Learn more about how partnering with Dibbs can benefit your brand.
Jonathan Barbone is the Senior Director of Partnerships at Dibbs. Jonathan was an avid Magic: The Gathering card collector as a child.