Canadian Musician - March-April 2022 - Page 10







The music industry has been buzzing with the success of cryptocurrency-styled digital tokens –“ NFTs ” – in 2021 , that are powered with blockchain technology and “ unique ownership ”. Artists such as Grimes and 3LAU auctioned off limited NFTs with exclusive digital products to online bidders , raking in $ 6 million and $ 11.7 million respectively ( Grimes did short videos and images set to her music , while 3LAU launched a new album collection through limited digital tokens ).

What Are NFTs ? In a nutshell , “ non-fungible tokens ,” or NFTs , are digital tokens that provide proof of ownership . Being “ non-fungible ,” NFTs are verifiably unique and can ’ t be copied or replaced with something else . They are stored on a particular blockchain with specialized access only available to their exclusive owners . NFTs contain a traceable and detailed history of who purchased and owned the tokens themselves , as well as a link to a digital file containing the exclusive content , limited edition content , experiences , perks , merchandise , and privileges on offer to the owner .
Raine Maida , lead vocalist and songwriter for mega-successful Canadian rock band Our Lady Peace , is also the chief product officer at S ! NG , an NFT marketplace and ecosystem for artists and fans to securely create , buy , sell , organize , view , and listen to their digital assets . He talks about how selling content through blockchain technology , especially NFTs , provides “ more than a time stamp — it tracks it and gives you a digital ledger … and it gives what you call ‘ immutability ’ over all these blockchain servers without being able to switch the metadata . So , you have confidence that your idea is secure and safe .”
“ So , when you go to sell something , say an [ exclusive ] demo , you know that it ’ s validated ; there ’ s proof of ownership , proof of stake , and proof that it ’ s a one of one . That ’ s where the power comes in . You get a digital certificate of authenticity ,” Maida adds .
NFTs are stored on the popular Etherium blockchain , which means that they are verifiable and genuine based on the NFT ’ s history of ownership . Canadian electronic artist , Clarion , discusses how the platform itself is “ decentralized ” in Mixmag . He elaborates : “ This means that your music and art is not controlled by any authority , be that tech CEOs or shady governments .”
NFTs can also be embedded in “ smart contracts ” on the blockchain that contain the terms of use for the NFT ’ s content and can be adjusted upon each resale . Fans are generally required to have a digital wallet in order to be able to access online auctions to bid , win , and access the rare content on offer . A great in-built advantage is that the musicians can hardwire a percentage clause in the contracts where each digital resale or transaction can put a revenue percentage back into their pockets .
Maida explained this further in a recent Canadian Musician Podcast chat : “ Say if you do 10,000 copies of a limited-edition album , that becomes collectible and a bunch of people want them . So now you find people selling them on the secondary market . Say each album was worth $ 50 ; however , they ’ re reselling for $ 1,000 on the open market due to high demand for whatever reason , within that smart contract we are making a royalty [ from the resale ]… [ With concert tickets ,] you can go and buy half the tickets on the secondary markets , but they ’ re not sold out to the fans , they ’ re sold out in the markets