Music industry

When Fans Become Investors — The Use of NFTs in the Music Industry | by Pavle Marinkovic | April 2022

User is also the owner of a song

Photo by Soundtrap from Unsplash

Social tokens cut the middleman from the music industry.

They position you and me as artist investors in ways we could not have imagined just a few years ago.

And if you are not into traditional investing, this path can be an interesting alternative.

Especially for younger people who want to explore innovative ways to earn a living.

Music royalties, self-produced A&R works, NFT collections and other opportunities arise thanks to the technological revolution unfolding before our eyes.

Who has always owned songs and music albums?

Labels and music publishers first, then artists.

The former gets over 70% ownership of the art, while the creator gets a small fraction. For reference, Kanye West got 22% for his 6th album Yeezus, but generally the percentages hover between 12 and 15%.

This is modern day slavery.

But today’s artists can produce albums with home studio and retain ownership of their creations. For example, Billie Eilish’s album When we all fall asleep, where do we go? was made in an ordinary bedroom with his brother’s modest installation output and ended up being a big hit around the world.

It doesn’t happen often, of course, but today’s technology allows artists to have more freedom to create and sell their music.

And fans can layer on that new business model.

With the creation of musical NFTs, you can invest directly in culture. The user (fan) acquires part of the artist’s creation, whether it is an album cover or a song’s intellectual property, and becomes an investor.

And where do you invest?

Through ownership, fans are incentivized to increase the value of this network, which brings us to the next point.

Traditionally, an A&R (artist and repertoire) person would be responsible for finding and signing new artists to a record company.

They listened to a bunch of music, scout clubs, and followed people through social media, all of which were aimed at finding the next big thing.

The hunt can now come from individuals like you and me.

If you love researching new music and are good at finding potential pop stars, you can work by investing in that artist’s fan token, on platforms like Bolero Music, or buying fractions of their song IP (as than NFT).

By diving deep into the communities they want to be part of, people will find and promote the ones they are invested in and make them thrive. When the music community grows stronger, the artist thrives, which means you thrive.

It is a course of socio-musical entrepreneurship.

The music fan is financially incentivized to grow the network and make that artist or song a hit.

People are able to do so much with the right incentive. Make dozens of TikTok/IG videos, contact your friends and family, associate directly with the artist, create and maintain a community of fans, and all these actions are aimed at strengthening the network and making it more profitable.

And you would not be alone.

Think of all the other social tokens and intellectual property rights holders on songs working for the same purpose.

Each fan is a driving force that wants the project to succeed both for the artist and for themselves. Oh, and the artist gets free marketing from all those believers.

A win-win situation.

The industry has been destroyed by middlemen.

They took 80% of the profits and sucked the lives of artists:

  • The labels drowned the indebted musician with recoverable fees.
  • Publishers micromanage the life of the artist.
  • Artists faced an ever-increasing spiral of risk (always trying to sell more, play bigger venues, long tours, etc.)

Everything revolved around scarcity (e.g. “x” number of tickets for live shows) and status (e.g. photos at that exclusive concert) which has now migrated into the digital realm.

With social tokens, the game has changed and the middleman loses a lot of his power.

Ideas like 1,000 Real Fans and Royalty Ownership are powerful tools that artists and fans can support and weed out the big players in the space (or at least drastically reduce their reach).

One of the most vibrant communities revolves around music.

Music lovers are everywhere and with the right artist, they number in the millions.

With NFTs, we are able to symbolize these communities.

The owner and user of the music become the same person. They promote artists and strengthen the network to make it grow.

It is a basic human condition. People want to increase the value of things they cherish and find useful. Whether it’s a nation (eg “America is the best!”), a currency (eg you must buy “x” product/service in US dollars), or in this case of a social token, they will pump his system to increase the value to his network.

In an industry historically driven by institutions that are too greedy, why not turn fans into investors for change?

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